Who qualifies to be celebrated as an International Victorious Woman during the month of May? Do I qualify? Do you?

To be considered victorious, a woman would have to overcome or achieve something. The international part typically means she is known internationally. While we will certainly give a nod to the internationally recognized women who have accomplished great things, this year, let’s also recognize those women in our lives who have had challenges that they overcame and goals they’ve accomplished, including yourself.

I watch incredible women do phenomenal things, overcoming some of the worst odds, every day.

I have watched two close friends lose large amounts of weight by watching what they eat and moving their body. One lost 70 pounds, and I’m not sure how much the other person lost, but she looks as good as she did in high school. These two women are certainly victorious.

I know a young woman in her mid-20s who has been working three jobs to pay her student loans and save up for an apartment, finally able to make her move in September. That is a victory.

I’ve seen mothers working from home, doing their best to work while simultaneously teaching their children through the pandemic. I’ve also seen teachers operating remotely, knowing what they are doing isn’t as good and worrying about how much learning is lost to students.

I know a couple where one woman is facing an aggressive form of cancer, expected to prematurely end her life. She is just 50 years old. It’s unlikely she’ll be victorious over her illness, but she is remaining victorious over her medical treatment and how she chooses to live her life. Her partner is struggling with being supportive while watching the woman she has loved for the past 20 years slowly slip away. While the pain is excruciating, she will victoriously survive it.

I learned of a woman today whose daughter died recently. She is being victorious over her grief by volunteering for a local cause.

I have another friend who is bravely managing her husband’s aphasia. One of the best things about their relationship was their funny banter and now he is barely able to communicate. She is victorious while soldiering on.

A friend of mine was fired. She lives in one state and had to go to another to find a job. She lives apart from her husband Sunday to Friday and drives both ways almost every weekend to be with him. She is a creative problem-solver and a victorious woman.

I watched a lesbian couple have their dreams come true over distant odds as they welcomed their baby into the world.

Any female doctor, nurse or essential worker deserves to be celebrated as an International Victorious Woman for overcoming the horrific working conditions COVID-19 brought to their everyday lives.

I know women who serve in our military and overcome the challenges of leaving their children and husbands behind to be deployed, often to combat zones. And too frequently get assaulted by their male peers and are unable to do much about it, as they are not taken seriously or, worse, they are punished and ostracized. Every one of them is an international victorious woman.

A woman I know almost died from COVID-19 early in the pandemic. She was on a ventilator and things were scary for a while, but she prevailed and became victorious over the virus.

I just learned today that a grandmother became a parent again to three children because her daughter, who was in recovery from heroin addiction, relapsed and died. She wants to be a grandmother, not a mother, especially under these circumstances, but you know what? She is going to be victorious as well.

I know a woman with four children who had a tumor removed from her body. It was a tricky surgery, and she was scared, but she made it and has accomplished some major physical feats since then. Rock on victorious woman!

I know of a woman whose husband asked for a divorce after 26 years. She didn’t see it coming. She cried and struggled to understand, but she is being brave and victorious, doing what needs to be done when the father of her children she thought she would grow old with made other plans without her knowledge.

Women everywhere know how to adapt, be flexible and make things work. They endure so much. They love passionately and feel loss intensely. Women have been called the “weaker sex,” but I see them as resilient and tough. They have been doing this for millennium. I am proud to be a member of the woman club and salute all women who have accomplished goals and overcome adversity as an International Victorious Woman. I know men do some amazing things as well, but May is International Victorious Woman Month and I’m celebrating the ladies!

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