© 2017 by KRISTINA SHELDEN

Photography by Maya Pankalla

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International Women's Day

March 9, 2019

I've been trying to think of a good post for International Women's day, and I find myself struggling for the right words, the right way to express my intent.

 

I want to honour my native heritage, of which I am bothered about being too far removed from. Everything I've read and heard about the way Natives honour their women is something that resonates deeply in me. Our grandmothers, our mothers, our sisters - the bringers and protectors of life itself. 

 

"The cycle of life for the woman is the baby, girl, woman, and grandmother. These are the four directions of life. She has been given by natural laws, the ability to reproduce life. The most sacred of all things is life. Therefore, all men should treat her with dignity and respect." - Native Quote

 

I want to honour the women of our past, who've endured oppression and took up the fight so that women of today have what they have: the right to vote, the right to their own bodies, the right to make their own choices because their life truly is theirs, and not owned by a man. That the fact that I am single, and have absolutely no NEED to have a husband, and can live my life happily and ably without forcing myself into a life with a man largely out of necessity and not of love, is because of the strength, resilience and passion of my sisters who have come before me. I don't have to be with a man who beats me, or emotionally abuses me in order to live. And so many women before me did not have this chance. I thank all the women who fought to give me this gift.

 

Today I thank the woman who gave me life. You are my mother and my sister. You are the living embodiment of the fiery lioness, and your strength, despite every challenge, is something I respect deeply. You understand as well as I do that life does not always give you sugar and spice, but we can make our own. Thank you for birthing me, and gifting me with your unconditional love.

 

I honour my second mother, whom, admittedly, I didn't always have the best relationship with. But over the last decade we've developed something I am utterly grateful for. I have an unspoken understanding with you that I didn't think I'd ever have, and now that I do, I don't ever want to lose it. Thank you for accepting me into your heart and life. You are and will always remain important to me.

 

And to my sisters, my friends. Women who have been with me through the roller coaster of life. Who have laughed and cried and screamed and giggled and just plain lived alongside me. You are my heroes. I love you all beyond words - even the ones who sit in my past, I remember you, and I love you still. I see so many of you blossoming into mothers, and even though you may not always feel it, I see you as something incredible. I love knowing that these new creatures are going to grow up in the best of hands, because you women are made of something phenomenal.

 

Happy International Women's Day!

 

 

Your sentimental artist,

 

Kristina

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