Spotlighting the Strong Women in My Life - Part Two

I continue to reflect on the strong women that I know and who have influenced and inspired me.  As I examine these women they share certain traits but in other ways they are dramatically different.

Today I am reflecting on my best friend.  In some ways, she is a feisty, opinionated, outspoken woman who isn't afraid to express herself.  In others, she is soft, compassionate and serves others.

She is a hard worker and a provider for her family, but not in a traditional sense.  She takes care of others, though she is a single woman with no children.  She has chosen this freely, empowered not to feel burdened to live up to someone else's expectation of womanhood.  She takes pleasure in being an aunt - a cool and indulgent aunt, helping influence the children she is around to grow up to be funny, capable, confident adults.

She excels at what she does in her career, being sought for promotions rather than seeking them.  She isn't afraid of early mornings or long hours, and I somehow always find myself quick to connect to people who can function well early in the morning.  She is intelligent, real-world savvy, informed and responsible - all while maintaining a wild sense of humor and cheerful attitude.

I remember my first ever encounter with her when we were sixteen years old.  She exudes this sense of intrigue, fun and good humor, and I was captivated by her from the first meeting.  She has an aggression in her passion that is moderated by her tenderness for children, the elderly and animals.  She can be hard on others, but she also never hesitates to take responsibility for her own flaws and failings.

I love how she manages her time.  She knows when something isn't a priority to her and she doesn't mince words about it.  I am not sure I have ever heard her use "busy" as an excuse.  She either makes time for what is important or admits something is not important. To me, that is strength.  Being honest, no excuses.

Even when she is facing a hectic schedule, she copes cheerfully.  In twenty years, I have hardly known her to take the frustrations of her day out on others.  She internalizes her stress, accepts it and moves on without letting it become something with which to damage others.

In our many years as friends, I have seen her cope with loss, fears, uncertainty and frustration with composure.  My family praise her for her enthusiasm.  I love how she loves people as they are, not blind to their flaws, but not attempting to change them either.  She truly treats others as one would want to be treated, with accountability, respect and unconditional love.