The Women's Fund recently reached out and invited me to write a post sharing what the phrase “Power of Me” means to me. Those many only be three little words...but together they're one heck of a big statement.
So big, in fact, I had trouble getting this post started. I sat down to write several times last week, and found myself in late-night standoffs with every writer's worst enemy: a cursor taunting me from a blank, white screen.
In search of a spark of inspiration, I googled "powerful women." The images that popped up were a grid of symmetrical smiles, pearl necklaces, tidy hairstyles and practical heels.
Point taken, but that's certainly not my kind of power. My smile is lopsided. My signature hairstyle is a messy bun. I go barefoot whenever possible.
Up next, I headed to the Thesaurus in search of synonyms. What I found were: forceful, controlling, wicked -- adjectives better suited for a Disney villainess casting call than characteristics of someone I'd want to know or spend time with.
Just when it seemed all hope was lost, I stumbled my way across an etymological revelation that gave me the clarity I'd been seeking.
The word "power" comes from the Anglo-Norman French poeir, an alteration of Latin posse (‘be able.’) Posse is the same root behind the word "possible."
And for me, that's what the Power of Me all about. Possibility and potential.
It's hard for me to pin it down in words, in the same way I would struggle to articulate the experience of blinking or breathing. I come from a long line of courageous women who have pushed boundaries, crossed lines and defied norms. Women who raised happy families and raised the bar. In doing so, they also raised me to understand that given enough determination, dedication and hard work, anything is possible. I've never considered that a belief...because in our world, it's fact. There are generations of stories to prove it, and a certain kind of courage that has been handed down in our DNA. A willingness to stand up, stand for something and take a stand.
As I'm writing this post, it has occurred to me that maybe there's a reason it was so hard to write about the Power of Me. Perhaps it's because my Power of Me is just one chapter in a much greater story. A story about the Power of We.
*This blog post was sponsored by The Women's Fund of Central Ohio. In exchange, I received two tickets to The 2015 Keyholder event. (One of the most inspiring nights in Columbus!)