Here’s to women.
Here’s to women who get up earlier than everyone else to start the coffee in a dim kitchen with the glowing light of sunrise pressing in from the window.
Here’s to women who go to bed later than everyone else, switching over the laundry and turning off all the lights, checking the locks on the doors.
Here’s to women who wake in the night, from bad dreams or snoring or to tiptoe into a bedroom and check a little one’s breathing. Here’s to women who can’t sleep, who lay awake on their pillows cataloguing all the tasks they will have to perform tomorrow, all the smiles they will have to fake, all the comments they will have to ignore.
Here’s to women who walk the sidewalks with headphones crammed in their ears, the volume up as high as it will go, just to block out catcalls and horn honks.
Here’s to women who layer on foundation and blush and eyeliner and mascara because they want to, because it makes them feel empowered. Here’s to the women who layer it on because they feel obligated, because they feel naked without it. Here’s to women who wear none of it, proudly.
Here’s to women who suck in their guts, here’s to women who flaunt them. Here’s to women with bubble butt and pancake butt, here’s to women with muffin top and droopy boobs and perky tits. Here’s to women in a size 4 and a size 14 and a size 24.
Here’s to women who stay home with their children and make endless PB&J sandwiches, who tolerate Callou just as long as they can stand it. Here’s to the women who change diapers and wipe noses and remind “Say please,” and never have an adult conversation all day long until 5 PM.
Here’s to the single moms, doing the work of two people, alone.
Here’s to the women pumping in silent rooms alone, the women who fear punishment for being away from their desks just to stock milk to feed their babies. Here’s to the women who stare at glossy pictures on cubicle walls and blink back tears and ache with missing their child.
Here’s to women who don’t want kids and yet are still asked about it obsessively. Here’s to women who have to defend their choices, over and over again.
Here’s to women who are waiting, and waiting, and praying for the day their womb takes fruit and houses life.
Here’s to women who are tired of being interrupted. Here’s to women who are expected to wait patiently while a man has an outburst, to women who are then told they’re the emotional, irrational ones.
Here’s to women who are the breadwinners, who bring home the bacon.
Here’s to women balancing work and children and house work and book club and Bible study and soccer practice. Here’s to women baking cookies and cupcakes and pies. Here’s to the women who have dinner on the table by six, and here’s to women who can’t cook at all and order take-out. Here’s to women remembering the schedules of five different people. Here’s to women making phone calls and paying bills and filling up gas tanks on E.
Here’s to women who drink, to women with a glass or two of wine, a beer after dinner. Here’s to women who love their coffee and bring it to each other. Here’s to women meeting for tea in sunlit shops.
Here’s to women taking selfies. Here’s to women taking group pictures and posing together, hands pressed flat on thighs, hands on jaunty hips. Here’s to women in boots, and to women in bare feet. Here’s to women in leggings, in yoga pants. Here’s to braless women, and to women who wear three sports bras just to jog. Here’s to women in flannel and silk and pearls and men’s jeans and a grubby old T-shirt.
Here’s to every woman who has cried in a locked bathroom stall and then wiped her eyes and squared her shoulders and marched back out to face whoever drove her to tears.
Here’s to women who smile even though their heart is sinking. Or breaking. Or breaking again after she’s found the courage to mend it.
Here’s to endlessly polite women. Here’s to women who say “fuck you,” loud and proud. Here’s to women who want to speak up but are fearful.
Here’s to women who are scared. Scared to walk down the street alone, scared to be out after dark, scared to speak their mind and be punished for it. Here’s to women who are told they aren’t enough, who are told they need to be thinner, tanner, smarter, quieter, taller, stronger, softer.
Here’s to women who survived assault. Here’s to women who still manage to put on clothes and eat food and make conversation even though they have been hurt and victimized and live with that every single day. Here’s to women who have to see their attacker in the workplace or at family gatherings or on the TV. Here’s to women who reported their attack and were asked what they were wearing, how much they’d had to drink. Here’s to the women who didn’t report their attack because they just could not stand to relive it, out loud, one more time. Here’s to the women who now will have to live every day in a nation whose future president sexually assaults women, and jokes about it. Here’s to women living in a nation where a man can be stand accused of this crime and still take the country’s most prestigious office.
Here’s to those women who didn’t survive. Who didn’t survive their attack, their assault. Who didn’t survive their demons, the voices in their heads, the emptiness in their hearts. Who didn’t survive this world.
Here’s to the women who are happy and joyful. Here’s to women with hope. Here’s to women with fortitude. Here’s to women who get up every morning and know they’re facing the exact same challenges as yesterday, but keep doing it anyway. Here’s to the strong women, because it’s all of us. Here’s to that inner strength we all have inside us. Here’s to women helping each other find their own strength. Here’s to women helping other women. Here’s to women helping men understand. Here’s to women believing in other women, appreciating other women, here’s to all of us building each other up.