Teri Vance: Telling our own stories to influence history

Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.

Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.

In my column last week, I wrote about my sisters — the women who have supported and inspired me throughout my life.

As it is Women’s History Month, I’ve continued to ponder on the influence of women on me and on our society as a whole.

It’s not hard to look around in our community and see women who are doing good things and making a difference.

Then I came across this quote by author Glennon Doyle on her social media page.

She wrote, “… we tend to celebrate women OUT THERE. Women who lead countries and companies and movements. Other women. Famous women. Public women. Revolutionary women.

“But revolutions don’t start OUT THERE. Revolutions begin privately, inside singular hearts and minds. Revolutions begin every time a woman stops asking the world what it wants from her long enough to ask herself: What do I want for my worlds?

“… the revolution I’m celebrating today is the one that is born when one woman stands in front of a mirror and asks herself: WHAT DO I WANT?

“What happens next is that her imagination swells up inside of her, presses out through her skin and propels her to take the first step toward creating the life, the family, the world she imagines.”

She’s right.

As we look at the kind of women who’ve changed the world and made a difference in our lives, we should also be looking at the women we are and the kind of influence we’d like to have.

I asked the question on my own social media page: “Women, what is the story you hope is told about you?”

My dear friend Jo Durham Slater and I met as young missionaries in Ecuador 20 years ago. She got married about a year ago, in her 40s.

“I want to be remembered as someone who loved my friends and family with all my heart,” she said. “Frankly, I consider them all family. I’ve always tried to let them know how important they are to me. I also want to be remembered as the wife of Mike, the greatest miracle and love of my life.”

She described her legacy the same way I would describe her.

Betty Davis-Kennedy of Dayton said, “I want to be remembered as a survivor. A strong woman with all the odds against her who did not cave, but did what was right.”

Doing right in the face of great adversity — I love that mantra.

Hilary Stokes — formerly of Carson City, now living in Lovelock — consulted her family and they gave an honest response.

“My family all said that they would remember their late mother/wife as always being.... well, late!”

I know the feeling ….

When we talk about telling women’s stories (and, really, it goes for men as well), it comes down to being willing to tell our own.

The more we tell our stories, the more we shape the kinds of people we want to become. And when we are authentic about who we are, we allow others to be their true selves as well.

It’s a ripple effect that changes communities.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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