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I am not afraid, I was born to do this.

That’s not me talking, because I am afraid. Always have been.

But I’m less afraid now. Part of the reason is that I’ve done a lot of work on myself and have had experiences which required that I either sink or swim.

And I chose to swim.

But it’s also because I read a lot. And if I stay with a book it’s because I resonate with it. I’ve learned a lot from reading about Joan of Arc.

Those are her words at the top of the page.

I will never achieve the level of bravery that Joan had, not in this lifetime. Even if I keep reaching for it.

In my eyes, Joan was a heroine, but It doesn’t surprise me that she was thought to be psychotic. And the label wasn’t put there by men alone, because if women had stood with her, the torture she endured after having saved a nation might never have gotten so far.

Many people say the Inquisition is a thing of the past. But I believe women remain an oppressed segment of our society. And if that’s true, then women bear some responsibility.

Because how else can you explain a majority being oppressed?

Women don’t support each another. An example from my own life: It was a momentous political occasion when Funk was elected mayor of Kansas City, for two reasons. One, he was not from the establishment, and two, the council elected with him was the FIRST EVER majority-female council.

And yet this headline appeared on the Kansas City Star’s front page shortly after they took office: “The charge to push the mayor’s wife out of his office … is being led largely by one group on the KC council: women.”

Can you imagine that it was the women in office who drafted a law banning me—Me! A fellow woman!—from entering city hall.

The law was overturned eighteen months later for being unconstitutional, but the council’s actions shines a light on how it’s often women who keep other women down.

Here’s to you if you also aspire to be as brave as Joan of Arc. If you stand with others, despite what comes down on your head for being affiliated with them.

The photo: The goddess shining down on two women who stand with each other: me and Wendy Yolum.

Quote: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

Madeleine K. Albright

(I pinned her words to the bulletin board in the tiny little cubicle that I inhabited in the mayor’s office. And sometimes, reading that quote was the only thing that pulled me through the darker days.)

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