“There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself.”
– Hannah Gadsby
These words have stayed with me long after Hannah’s comedy special Nanette stopped playing in my living room. After the credits rolled, and I wiped away the many tears streaming down my face, my husband and I spent the next hour and a half passionately discussing gender equality, discrimination, hate, shame, grace, truth, and love. Whether or not you agree with all Hannah said, or how she said it, you can’t deny the power in her words. Her comedy show has become one of the most talked about Netflix specials in recent history. Why? She chose vulnerability over silence. She courageously revealed her story (one that included abuse and shame), and with equal parts grace and strength, forced her audience to dig deeper in pursuit of healing.
We need more women like Hannah to share their stories. We need less filtered Instagram-ready highlights and more honest and relevant conversations. We need to risk being misunderstood, while always seeking to understand. We need to tear down our walls of defense and lay down quick criticisms and attacking comments in pursuit of precious (at times, messy) connection. We don’t need “perfect” women with an image tailored for social media fame and perspectives that are cookie-cutter to society’s expectations but void of authenticity.
We need more women like Malala Yousafzai, Meghan Markle, Madeline Stuart, Kainat Soomro, Mo’ne Davis, and Andrea Pino. We need more women like my mother who fought to break cycles of addiction in our home when I was a child. We need more women like my sister, who openly shares her journey with infertility, foster care, adoption, and miscarriage to bring hope to other women. We need women like my friend Dawn who mentors others on how to navigate their careers successfully. We need women like my coworker Erin who as a creative director and videographer has committed her life to capture and share beauty. We need women like my friend Theresa whose passion is to help others take control of their health.
We need women with passion and strength, who know that our voices handled with care, can bring light and love to very real darkness and hate. That’s why IRIDESCENT, the community I recently started, is committed to using our experiences and insights to encourage and inspire brilliance within each other.
Every woman not only has a story to share, but she is a story of brilliance. I hope the pieces below of breakthrough moments and powerful journeys inspire you. Remember, connection is catalytic, and conversations can provoke change. Forward this to a friend and remind them that they too are a story of brilliance!