Category: Guest Writers

#UDtravelingscarf2017

Editor’s note: This March, scarves are connecting about 100 University of Dayton women across campus. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience with with the scarf. This post is the eleventh of the series.

scarves

I donned the scarf on the very last day of its travels. It was a Thursday, one of two days per week that I accompany students to Nova Behavioral Health for music therapy sessions with women who are addicted to heroin. When the women entered the treatment room, a few of them complimented me on the scarf. I was tempted to reveal its significance, but I did not want to pull the focus away from the two students who were leading the session.

After a musical check-in, the students introduced song discussion. We listened together to a recording of “Follow Me” by Uncle Kracker, and the Nova residents talked about how the lyrics and musical accompaniment conjured their own life stories. We have engaged in song discussion many times at Nova. Yet, on this Thursday, there was something qualitatively distinctive about the women’s involvement. They were more forthcoming, more genuine, and more supportive of one another. They dove without hesitation into a sea of difficult emotions—feelings of shame, guilt, and anger related to their addictions. The anger was directed inwardly (as it often is), but on this particular day, it was also directed outwardly in a healthy way. For the first time in my recollection, these addicts spoke about being victims of a broken system—a system in which pharmaceutical companies, doctors, nurses, and even family members and friends endorse the use of prescription opiates to combat physical and psychological pain. Four of the eight women in the session stated their belief that their legal use of opiates had led directly to their intravenous use of heroin. Sadly, recent research supports their claims.

I am not one to give in to superstition— in fact, I embrace Humanism and rally vehemently against super naturalism— but I will admit to having had a fleeting thought that perhaps the scarf had accumulated a certain kind of energy from “the sisterhood,” which lent strength, courage, and wisdom to the air.

– Susan Gardstrom

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#UDtravelingscarf2017

Editor’s note: This March, scarves are connecting about 100 University of Dayton women across campus. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience with with the scarf. This post is the tenth of the series.

scarves

My time with the scarf made me aware of my relationships with other women. The lovely young girl who had the scarf before me made a quick exchange and we parted ways. I found myself wanting to know more about her. Wishing we had taken more time to talk about why we had chosen to participate, what we expected, and whether or not her experience had been what she had hoped.  I thought too late about how great it would be to invite all of the incredible women in my life to get together to see the scarf and share the experience with me.

Lamenting the lack of connection, I began to notice the women around me.  Watched them hustling to work and class and home; some carrying bags and packages, others with children in tow.  I thought of the feelings they carried with them: power, enthusiasm, fortitude, passion, willpower, pain, suffering, loneliness, responsibility. Many of them tucking those feelings neatly into their bags to keep them out of the way. Some more visible – as if the feelings were flung over their shoulders like a scarf, visible, perhaps begging notice or perhaps so normal that they simply hang there like part of the daily outfit.  After all, it is nothing new to a woman to carry so much and think so little of it.  Now, I am thinking of it…and of them.

-Meredith L.T. Montgomery

#UDtravelingscarf2017

Editor’s note: This March, scarves are connecting about 100 University of Dayton women across campus. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience with with the scarf. This post is the ninth of the series.

The day I wore the scarf was March 8, which also happened to be International Women’s Day and Day Without Women strike.

KWarrenOn this day, I had two great opportunities. As part of Leadership UD I was afforded the opportunity to listen to Deans Kevin Kelly (School of Education and Health Sciences) and Andy Strauss (School of Law) as they shared thoughts about the role of the Dean and future developments. Being staff, rather than faculty, this experience allowed me to better understand operations of academia and the pressures that are present for the deans.

Later in the evening, I met with the students I will be travelling with to Zambia this summer as part of UD’s Center for Social Concern. We had the chance to talk with participants who went on the trip last year. It was great to share that fellowship and know that we will have a further connection with them once we complete our trip to Zambia.

In the course we are taking to ready the students for such an immersion, we have talked about cultural difference, white privilege and white savior complex. It is powerful information and so very humbling.

While wearing the scarf, I could not help but wonder what the scarf had seen with the other women who wore it prior to me. I smelled the scarf and took in all the fragrances. I felt the texture of the scarf and wondered if the people before me had done the same. I took in the beautiful pattern and colors. The scarf is so beautiful in fact, five people complimented me.

While wearing the scarf, I was very cognizant of what being a woman means. Women bring so much to the workplace, to our families and to the community. Women have a huge impact– how we support each other and build each other up in my department of athletics. It is important for us to have representation at all levels of our life, whether it be in our work, government or home.

When I made my first exchange, I got to meet with Yvonne Sun, a professor in Biology. It was so refreshing to have a conversation with her and learn about an area in which I was not that familiar.

-Krystal Warren

#UDtravelingscarf2017

Editor’s note: This March, scarves are connecting about 100 University of Dayton women across campus. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience with with the scarf. This post is the eighth of the series.

scarvesAs a nurse I have the privilege of being inspired every day, every single day, as I watch the healing unfold within the four walls of my exercise room. As nurses, we celebrate the triumphs and victories, like the last day of chemo or the return to exercise after surgery. We fiercely rally during the really tough moments, all while moving our bodies and connecting mind, body and soul. I am beyond grateful. My patients have allowed me into their lives and have forever changed mine.

On the day I wore my scarf, I saw a visibly shaken man in the hallway of our hospital. He was wet and lost because he had just dropped off his wife at the door for a breast biopsy after a long drive. I introduced myself and asked if it would be alright for me to walk him to the right location. He agreed.

As we walked, he shared her name and that they have been happily married for 32 years. I could see his tension and fear melting a bit as we reached our location and I assured him that his ‘newlywed’ was in good hands. I never had a chance to meet her and I have no idea the outcome of her biopsy, but my thoughts and heart went to them often throughout that 12 hour shift. I thought of the beautiful scarf I was wearing – the women who have come before and the women to come after – transferring all positivity, peace, and strength to that couple as they travel on their journey. It is amazing to me what the power of unity, grace, and love can accomplish. As a daughter, wife, mother, teacher and nurse I celebrate and rejoice in one of my favorite quotes: Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we raise them, may we be them.

-Christine Broomhall

#UDtravelingscarf2017

Editor’s note: This March, scarves are connecting about 100 University of Dayton women across campus. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience with with the scarf. This post is the fourth of the series. 

scarvesThe traveling scarf came to me a day late since the woman ahead of me was out of the office on the exchange day, and was passed on to the next woman a day late because she was out sick on the exchange day. It seemed providential because my scarf day was the day of the memorial service for my director and friend, Fr. Fancois Rossier. The scarf I got this time was black and silver, which was appropriate for such a somber event.

The next day it was a blessing to exchange the scarf with Lisa Krug, who works in a different building. We had never met but she was kind enough to come over to my building to see the art exhibit of the Marian Library on its last day here, and to have lunch with me at the Jury Box. I enjoyed meeting her and gaining a new friend, all because of a scarf. Thank you and God bless you!

-Gloria Dodd

 

#UDtravelingscarf2017

Editor’s note: This March, scarves are connecting about 100 University of Dayton women across campus. Each woman will spend a day with the scarf before meeting  another woman and sharing the scarf with her. After this exchange, each woman will reflect on her experience with with the scarf. This post is the third of the series. 

scarvesBecause I was the first in my “chain” of scarf-wearers, I had the honor of choosing from among all the various scarves available this year.  Oh the pressure! Which one should I choose?  I ended up selecting the most colorful one in the bunch. Then I noticed a few snags in the one I had selected. That, instead of making me change my choice, cemented my decision.

Other women had worn this scarf before me, I now knew, and I would ensure their spirits carried on into the future.

I wore the scarf the following Monday, then met on Tuesday with the student who would carry the scarf forward from me.  We had a delightful conversation that began with who we were, why we chose to participate in the Traveling Scarf, etc., and evolved into a much richer conversation about her future.

You see, my newfound ‘sister’ is approaching her May graduation with the usual mixture of excitement and trepidation, an awareness of the expansive possibilities that lay ahead and sadness over the possibility of losing touch with dear roommates and friends. She thinks she knows her future vocation, but is open to other possibilities, too. I told her that her openness to other possibilities was both wise and practical, and shared with her a bit of my own circuitous professional journey. I have often said that if someone would have described my career to me back when I was a 22-year-old facing graduation, I would have told that person that they were crazy.  I had a plan, and because I was a planner, that would be my life.  But I was wrong, so wrong, but so fortunate.

I wish the same for my new ‘sister’ and will keep her in my thoughts and prayers in the years ahead.  She is going to lead a great life.

-Lisa Rismiller