Independent Women – History in the Making

History has a strange way of making the world seem simultaneously vast and small; old and new. Perspective always has a way of changing the way you see the world, and, like an optical illusion, you’re never able to grasp the full picture at the same time. Look too closely and you miss the big picture. Grasp the big picture and you miss the interesting details.

I was given a little bit of perspective not that long ago when I volunteered to help with Tribe Table @ Bentonville Film Festival and got to listen in on the stories of women in the film industry while they were interviewed by Tribe of Women founder, Amy Robinson. One guest talked about how women have only been “allowed” to have credit cards within the past 40 years. Another talked about her previous work experience as a sales associate in the late 1990’s and how she was only allowed (that word again) to work on a sale up to a certain dollar amount, at which time a man would have to come and finish the deal.

Shock… Then Awe

I was shocked. Not only because they didn’t think that women didn’t have financial rights, or that someone who had done all of the work to get a sale to where it was, could suddenly not seal the deal, but that this occurred the past few decades, and within my lifetime.

And thus, out of curiosity and a desire to understand and contextualize the progress of women in history, I was inspired to develop my own timeline, “A Brief History of Women’s Independence”. I wanted to remind myself of just how recent the rights I often take for granted were won. In particular, I wanted to give myself a little bit of perspective on women’s rights – how far we have progressed, how much we can accomplish in mere decades, and how far we still have to go.

I cannot stress enough that this is a brief and biased history (as is most history). In honor of the 4th of July, I decided to focus only on women’s independence in the U.S. beginning in the 1770’s. Even with this shortened time frame, I’ve missed a lot. For example, I didn’t include the still current #MeToo movement or that there’s a record number of women running for office – that history is still being written. One of the biggest things missing from this timeline is the social attitudes and prejudices. For example, I would be surprised to find in any of my history books the limits and discrimination of financial rights for women, or the year women they were finally allowed to finish the sales they started. Or maybe it hasn’t happened yet? At least for some.

So, while this exercise has helped put things in perspective for me, I realize it is only my perspective – a young woman in the United States of America perspective – and that there are other perspectives to add and stories to be told. Societal attitudes and prejudices have a much more mercurial nature than laws and history portray. When looking through textbooks it’s easy to find when a law, such as voting rights for women, was enacted. However, when society’s attitude changes to accept the underlying premise of that law, that “Women should be treated as equals to men,” – is not so easy to pinpoint. Maybe because we haven’t arrived at that point in herstory. At least not everyone. At least not yet.

Herstory

History is organized by numbers, but it’s perpetuated by stories. Only through storytelling do we learn about others, ourselves, and our world.

Artist: Shepherd Fairy’s “We the People” Series

Like I said, this timeline is biased. I leafed through history and picked out things that interested me, but the timeline is missing stories that I can’t tell, a depth that I can’t add. Within one of our pillars at Tribe of Women is “Tribe Stories” – the place where we connect. And that’s what we ask from you, our readers. Any stories you have, of how women’s rights or societal attitudes have changed (or have not changed), of yourself or of others, we urge you to share, to write, to tell. Your stories are part of the narrative of herstory lived and that is still being written.

Your Story

What historical events do you think should have been included? What stories or memories do you have of historical changes in laws or in attitudes? What are you celebrating this 4th of July? Please share in the comments below, post on the social media thread where you found this blog, or send it to us directly at info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net with “Independent Women” in the subject line.

Boss Lady: Loria Oliver’s Sanity Saving Invention

We are thrilled to share our interview with Loria Oliver, inventor of the Tot Tote! Loria was excited to share her journey and encourage women to be the boss ladies they aspire to be at the quarterly Boss Lady Mixer in February, hosted by i’Mindful Gives Back. Tribe of Women is proud to be a partner for this event and bring you the stories of these boss ladies.

Momspiration

Loria and her husband had their first son in 2011 and quickly added another bouncy baby boy to the family in 2012. With boys so close in age and active, life was beautiful but the car was chaotic. Animal crackers, juice boxes, books, and toys were everywhere in the back seat and Loria set out to find a solution.

Loria Oliver Family Time Two Boys Mom Ventor Harry TV Tot Tote Invention

Back seat car stress soon took a front seat when she discovered that a kid-friendly, fun and creative solution that was also useful did not exist on the market. She knew she was not the only parent experiencing frustration at the extra time it took to stay organized, so she put her empathy to work and began her entrepreneurial journey to solve a problem for herself, and moms and dads everywhere.

Loria’s Tot Tote invention now exists on the market to support families like hers who are seeking to spend less time cleaning up and more time being together. It’s versatility as a traditional tote bag or backpack surprises and delights anyone with a desire to keep the car tidy when it also opens up to become a back seat organizer! 

A Matter of Perspective

“My perspective as a woman is a huge part of how I think about developing a product, promoting it, creating partnerships and selling. Being a mother inspired me and reminded me that there are still opportunities to create, to take risks, and to continue to believe and encourage myself like I do daily for my children. I don’t put boundaries on what success looks like for them, so why should I do that to myself?”

And if your perspective on the world is calling you to do something about it?

“For other ladies looking to develop ideas, my advice is to not give up, to be flexible in making edits, connect with people who have different skill sets than you, be able to take critical feedback, and have fun with the process.”

Tribe it Forward

Creativity Colorful Designs Women Entrepreneurs Tot Tote Bag

The tribe of women who supports Loria is comprised of the women in her family who still catch her when she falls, her childhood friends who she has had for over 25 years and tell her the truth even when it’s been hard, and women who she has met in adulthood who have cheered her on when she didn’t know how to cheer for herself.  Loria says, “Recently, I’ve collaborated with two women on an exclusive line of Tot Totes for downtown Bentonville boutique Rollie Pollie. It was an awesome process and I look forward to doing it, again!”

Women are so powerful when we come together. Aren’t we? Go Team Tot Tote & Rollie Pollie!

Why do you believe in tribes of women?

“Having women who believe in you is a gift but it doesn’t come without work. Finding those women starts with you. Be a woman who supports, listens and encourages. Be a woman who is honest, transparent and gracious. Build your network of women by being the woman you want to attract.”

Boom! You are so boss, lady. Thank you for sharing your journey and story with us, Loria. We’re looking forward to all that is ahead for you.

Do you know a Boss Lady? Comment and share a little bit about her here!

Tribe Stories: Reflection, A Daughter’s Story

We hear so many wonderful Tribe Stories from women all over the world and do our best to capture and bring them to you. They are a path to connection and feeling seen, heard, and felt by others. While we love the recorded stories we are able to share on the Tribe Talk podcast, the written stories are equally powerful. Especially when the words and story are coming from the heart of the author herself.

I was so fortunate to meet Constance Anne. She is an ageless beauty with an undeniable presence that speaks with an honesty that only a life-well-lived and loved can support.  When she learned that we collect Tribe Stories, she said, “I have one for you.” And now, in her words, we have it to share with you.

Love, Amy

Is that you?

It was such an unexpected surprise seeing mom today. It literally took my breath. Hers too it seemed.  We gazed at each other… taking in the moment, a mixed sense of wonderment and disbelief reflected in our faces.  It has been a little over 12 years since I last saw her, the last time I ever expected to see her, and yet … here she was, looking at me… staring at me.  Her hair, wisps of silver-grey, wildly dancing among the dark waves and soft curls; her eyes, bright… enveloped in gentle folds and creases, reflective of the passing of time; fine laugh lines giving the appearance of a shy smile…  her face, freckled from the sun.    

I guess it was the dress she was wearing that had caught my attention… had me suddenly see her as I turned around.  It was the familiarity of it; a princess cut, collared, turquoise in color… it was not unlike her self-styled work uniform.  Mom was a nurse, a ‘Sister. She worked for years running a small, on-site clinic at one of the big manufacturing companies in South Africa.  I think she liked that particular dress style, not only for its simplicity but because it gave shape to her slightly larger size.  Mom had always been pleasantly plump… ‘more of me to love’ she would say, each time she gathered me in for a hug.  But she was never entirely comfortable with her weight; her love of food, desserts in particular… a constant nemesis.  It would seem the sweetness and lure of sugar has become my nemesis too… gone are the days where my youth and active metabolism wage war on everything and anything I choose to eat.

Mom, is that you?  Where did you come from?  What are you doing here?   I reached out… our fingers touched briefly, and in that moment reality regained order.  The glass was cold, hard, the room small, the lighting soft. I blinked… the mind reconfigured.  I was in the dressing room of a favorite clothing store; the particular dress being tried on, the fall of the fabric, the way it looked, the way it fit my burgeoning, aging body, its color, and its style perhaps the trigger.  It was me… I was looking in a mirror at a reflection of myself… but it was mom who stood before me.  How did this happen?  How could this be. I’m my mother’s daughter… not my mother!  Where did time go … how is this possible?  A collision of emotions welled; disappointment, regret, sadness… not so much in the sense that the likeness I saw was that of mom, but rather that is was only a likeness, and in fact not her… only me growing older.  In that singular moment of realization, incongruent feelings of warmth and joy enveloped too; perhaps the comfort of her seeming presence, a realization that she was not gone from this world entirely; I carried her within me… everyday… and the older I got, the more visible that essence of her materialized.   

A hint of jubilance

My mother passed away May 13, 2005.  She was a beautiful woman, inside and out… her nature, gentle and kind… her presentation of self, shy.  She had wisdom beyond her years, her time even.  I long for her stories, her 20 page letters sharing news of life in Africa; family goings-on, dad’s funny escapades, commentary on the ever-changing political landscape… her perceptive, unfiltered, perspective on life. I miss the unconditional love bestowed, the careful counsel imparted; even in her strictest lessons taught, she was always an inspiration to me.  My mother was not perfect by any means, but she was and remains my most significant touchstone, my ultimate measure of a genuinely good person.  I am today the age mom was the year I left South Africa… she gave shape to my character and flight to my dreams… and for that I will forever be grateful.  I loved her deeply, I miss her terribly, still.

The dress being tried, while pretty, was not well suited for me.  Not yet anyway.  I carefully placed it back on its hanger, gathered my things and left the change room, glancing back at the mirror as I stepped out.  She was gone… her image replaced with a likeness more like my own… hair pulled back, no makeup, a little tired looking perhaps, but eyes still bright… with a hint of jubilance.

The first day of the rest of my life

Jubilance, because today was the last day of my radiation treatment.  Finding a new outfit to wear for a celebratory date with my darling husband is how I found myself to be in that dressing room.  Since my initial diagnosis, and as I have traveled the road to recovery, I have received amazing support; from him, from my family and several close and dear friends… they have been my strength, my stamina. I must admit though, there have been times during the last several weeks that I have withdrawn… shut life out, isolated myself and my mind to a quiet space, a place to reflect and to process the wild assortment of emotions that at times have overwhelmed.  It has been in these quiet moments that I most longed for my mom. 

My mind turned wistful as I left the store; perhaps she knew, perhaps it is why she came to me today… to celebrate with me as I step into the future… to let me see that she too has been by my side on this journey and will, in her way, always be with me… and to remind me, that despite the ups and downs of life, growing older is better than the alternative.   

Today, October 13, 2017, was the last day of my radiation treatment for breast cancer… and the first day of the rest of my life.  It is a day I will long remember.  Not only for the journey just completed, but because today, as it so happens, is also Mom’s birthday.  If still with us, she would be celebrating 91 years of age.  

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Constance Anne

Tribe Stories

Thank you, Constance Anne, for your story of the power our tribe of women has in our lives. If you would like to help support breast cancer research and awareness, Constance Anne shared that her local Susan G. Komen affiliate was incredibly supportive in her journey. You can donate to Komen, or find your local affiliate at https://ww5.komen.org/Affiliates.aspx

Do you have Tribe Stories to share? Email us at info@tribeofwomen.modthink.net and put “Tribe Stories” in the subject line.

Being Boss: i’mindful Bringing Boss Ladies Together

“A great way to bring women together and create a space for empowerment, learning, and support.” ~ Jay Amargos

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with i’mindful Studio and their Boss Lady Mixer quarterly event hosted at their location in Bentonville, AR. We attended in the event August and knew that we wanted to help support this networking mixer for driven boss ladies in Northwest Arkansas.

The next event on November 18th features Boss Lady, Loria Oliver, founder of Tot Tote, speaking about her journey and encouraging women to be the boss lady they aspire to be. We look forward to talking with her and future featured speakers. We’ll be collecting Tribe Stories from presenters and attendees experiencing all stages of life so we can share them with YOU throughout the year!

We had the privilege to sit down with i’mindful’s boss lady herself, Jay Amargos, to do a short interview on the purpose and background of how i’mindful got started and her Boss Lady inspiration.

Passion With a Purpose

Jay’s meditation practice began in 2006 after being diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. Ever since this diagnosis, Jay has valued and developed her relationship with self-care, mental health, and self-acceptance. She formed i’mindful to establish and inspire this lifestyle in others.

i’mindful focuses on the individual human’s well being, meditation, and mental health in order to promote living out a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. Their in-studio and on-site classes offer people in the community the benefits of mindfulness, nutrition, and yoga meditation.

“In 2012 I was diagnosed with Lupus in my nervous system and Fibromyalgia. I did not want to take a passive approach to my illness and did not want to take drugs to ease my pain. I started looking for natural ways to help me cope with my pain and better my quality of life. Throughout my research, I came across Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR was developed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. After endless MBSR courses, training, and research, I had found something amazing that would improve my quality of life forever. As I experienced the many benefits of Mindfulness, I started to become excited about teaching this to others. In 2015 I decided I needed to share my practice and in April 2016, i’mindful was born.”

Health Benefits of Mindfulness

Jay had the opportunity to share with us some of the key struggles people face in life that can be helped by practicing mindfulness.

“Mindfulness has been proven to be effective in helping to treat, along with medical and psychological treatments, people who suffer from many challenges, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Cancer & chronic disease
  • Work, family and emotional stress
  • Eating disturbances
  • Heart disease
  • Sleeplessness

There are over 40 decades of research showing how mindfulness is helping with treatment and showing people how to live a better life.” 

Mindfulness is the basis of i’mindful because Jay saw the value in her life to practice a healthy lifestyle and had a passion and drive to bring the wisdom she has learned from her experiences to the people around her.

Women Supporting Women

Jay’s three biggest passions are:

  1. Teaching mindfulness 
  2. Developing, empowering and mentoring
  3. Cooking

“I have always had mentors, advisors, people empowering me. It’s now my turn to do the same for others.” And this was a way for her to tribe it forward to others.

This exciting event brings women from different sectors together to network and learn and support one another. We believe that there is nothing more empowering than women supporting women. Jay’s philosophy when it comes to women is: “Collaborate don’t compete. Support don’t tear down. Empower don’t restrict.” Why Do You Believe in Tribes of Women?

“Because your tribe will get you through your toughest times in life. Throughout my experience, I have learned that it is so much more difficult to go through it all alone. We all need a tribe!”

Connecting women to empower and support one another, and help evolve each other’s lives for the better. Do you see why we love Jay and are so gung-ho to partner and support the  i’Minful and The Boss Lady Mixer?

We are thrilled to be part of Jay’s journey and support her supporting women. Stay tuned for Boss Lady stories on our blog and Tribe Talk podcast.

In Northwest Arkansas? Tickets are going fast.

Buy them today!

Not in the area or want to know more? Follow i’Mindful or subscribe to Jay’s new podcast “Mental Health & Pie”.

Has mindfulness helped you? Share your mindful journey story with us in the comments!

Tribe Stories – When Less IS The More We Seek

As the first days of the new year have us pushing ourselves to do more, stretch further, and grow bigger, consider that sometimes less IS the more that we seek. Today’s wisdom of women and “Tribe Stories” contribution comes from our friend, Hannah, who wrote these words and told us we could share them with you. Thank you, Hannah, for sharing your story. Thank you, Tribe, for listening.

girls-writingDear 2016

Thanks in advance for indulging my long-winded stream of thought. I’m sure you’re completely overwhelmed by many people who are yelling at you right now. So I’ll try and keep it short and polite.
Here’s what I’ve taken away from you, and resolve to learn from and do better with after you’re gone:
I’ll be focusing on a smaller group of people I love dearly to give to. I’ve learned from you that I don’t have to give to everyone. Only those who appreciate it or can give back.
I won’t be giving myself away for free. My heart, my knowledge, and my experience is valuable. And it’s ok for me to ask other people to value that as well. And I’ll learn to value it, too. There are people out there who want those things at too great a cost for me, and too little a price for them. And those things are just not for the taking anymore.
I won’t be underestimating kindness or compassion. They’ll never be out of style or overrated. And I’ll continue to lead by example when I can afford to give those things.
I’ll be spending more time getting freckles on my nose in the sun, and letting my feet get wet in rain puddles. I’ll quit stressing about our lawn being overgrown, and try to keep my flowers watered. I’ll scratch our dog in all the right places that make his foot tap.
I’m going to try and be present for this beautiful tribe of people we have. And always be on call for them when they’re in need. As they have for me.
And I’m waiting for my cue from the universe to stand on the front lines of a revolution, the revolt against hate and thoughtlessness and quick reaction. I’ll be punching my fist in the air to fight for fairness, democracy, and kindness. Because that’s the life I’ve chosen for my family. And my son has a whole life ahead of him. And that’s the lesson I want him to take away from me.
carousel-hand-holdingI’m going to try and stop balancing my life. I’m going to just ride this carousel of crazy filled with people and things I love, music that makes me dance, and events and volunteer positions that fill my soul. Even if this adventure kills me. Because I built this Merry-go-round. And I like it this way. Even if I can’t find clean socks and the kitchen remodel never gets finished. I’d rather die knowing I did the things that were important to me and fill the chapters of my book with stories that others want to read.
So, it’s been fun, 2016. And it’s time for you to head on out. You can take your meanies, miscommunications, complicated fixes to seemingly easy problems, and I’m going to build on bonfires with new friends, asking for what I need, skipping laundry if I don’t want to do it, diving in head first on gut instincts, and fighting for what I believe in.
Thanks so much,
Hannah

Thank YOU, Hannah.

We love to hear from the tribe. Share your Tribe Stories at http://www.arrobinson.com/tribe-stories/

Tribe on!