March is a busy month for health awareness topics. When I Googled “Health in March,” this is what came up:
- National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
- Brain Injury Awareness Month
- National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month
- Save Your Vision Month
- National Nutrition Month
- Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month
- National Kidney Month
- National Endometriosis Awareness Month
There’s so much to say about all of these very important topics, and I encourage you to research and learn more about them. But March is also National Women’s History Month, and I feel led to reflect on that for this month’s Wellness Wednesday.
I am fortunate to have had many wonderful women role models and mentors in my life, and I would like to mention just two of them.
My mother, Dr. Eleonora Faber, was born in 1929 in Copenhagen, Denmark. She went to medical school at a time when few women did and married an African man when interracial relationships were unheard of. She had courage and led a fearless life, not worrying about what other people would think of her. That led to great inner peace. She took the exam to become a pilot and could fly a small plane, learned sign language so she could communicate with her patients at the school for deaf children, and often traveled to work where she was needed most, in places like Kathmandu, Nepal and Greenland.
My mother always followed her heart unapologetically and has been my role model in life for just about everything. Watching her practice medicine made me the doctor I am today. Her love of Jesus Christ and her fellow human beings meant she was always helping someone, regardless of their nationality, race, sexual orientation, or economic station in life.
The second phenomenal woman who comes to mind is Maya Angelou.
Among the first books I read when I immigrated to the U.S. in 1985 as a newlywed was the autobiography of Maya Angelou. I admit I bought the book because I liked the colorful cover; I had no idea who she was! But I fell in love with Maya Angelou after that first reading and have loved her ever since. To celebrate her legacy, I would like to share her poem, “Still I Rise,” written in 1978.
Still I Rise
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
In closing, dear women of Coastal Carolina OBGYN, this month and every month, I invite you to reflect on your own she-roes and role models. If you have one that is alive today, send her a card or flowers or simply give her a call and let her know what she means to you. Likewise, I encourage you to take hold of a young girl’s hand, help her along the way, and be a mentor or role model for her. Pay it forward!