International Women’s Day: I Come As One, But Stand for Ten Thousand

“I come as one, but I stand for 10,000” – Maya Angelo

This quote is from a poem called “Grandmother” written by Dr. Maya Angelo

What does it mean? I interpret the quote as:

As an individual you are influenced by those who came generations before you, and that you embody more than just yourself when given the chance to inspire others.

Our encounters with other people throughout our lifetime have framed us into the individual being whom we are today.  These influential people can be personal or public figures in our lives. They can be someone who we have met, or will never meet at all. People of the past, and people of the future. We may be inspired by their actions, or their words, or by their overall unique persona. Those people who we ‘stand for’ have impacted our lives, and those whose lives we are ‘standing up for’ will have their lives impacted by us.

Certain encounters in life remind me that I am not only standing for myself, but I am also standing for women. I stand for female students in science. I stand for women of colour. When I present myself I am sure to represent a variety of people who came before me, and will come after me.

I am Olivia, but I stand as all those strong, smart, and inspirational women who have influenced my values, thoughts, and emotions. These women have taught me how to live based on sharing their own personal experiences. These women include my mother, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends, teammates, family friends, professors, mentors, teachers, and many more.

In honour of International Women’s Day I want to share some quotes from heartening conversations with loved ones who have shared their own pieces of wisdom with me:

“Respect me or bounce?” – Mom — (I know what you’re thinking, how can I have such a short and not too inspirationally deep quote from my mother? Well this quote was said recently, and it came at a time when I was down on myself. A time when I was tired of being played by boys. She was giving me a pep talk and that sentence just flew out of her mouth with a gangster vibe. I instantly loved it!)

“Happiness and sorrow are like two book ends. You can’t have one without the other. Sorrow makes you understand happiness.” – Meme, my grandmother — She is 100% right! Without the lows you couldn’t have felt the highs.

“Every chance you take, every decision that’s made, they all make you who you are and lead you to where you’re meant to be.” – Liz, cousin — AMEN Sista!

“There is a reason why it happened, and you can’t spend all your time blaming or shaming yourself.” – Karen, close family friend – Move on, get over it, learn from it, and grow.

And finally,

“It’s all about the self love and doing it on my own until a damn man can catch up to me (good luck to him right!?) – Jessie, cousin – Preach! Work it! Be you!

I stand for a lot of things, but I always have believed in the importance of women empowering other women.


Who do you stand for? Who has helped your personal growth to become the person that you are on this day?

I’ve gone through a journey, but I have never walked it alone.

Happy International Women’s Day 🙂



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