Jan Phillips
Cathy Conheim, L.C.W.S.
Christine Forester

• Christine Forester •

I am a lover
— a lover who learned how to fight.

I never had to fight my parents, wondering at times if I missed something—or passed on some wonderful neuroses, having to acknowledge mine with no one to blame. Thank you Charles and Renée Meynet.

I never had to fight my siblings — although at times, as a kid, I sure tried. Thank you Claude and Roland, and thank you, Alain —sitting on your cloud, I presume, looking at us, still cracking a joke with your inimitable wit.

I fought as a student, deciding to become an architect in spite of countless road blocks. I crossed the finish-line. I won.

I fought as an architect, establishing myself in a profession dominated by men. I won.

I fought as a person, electing to move away from the cocoon of a loving family to embrace another country, another culture, another language. I made them mine. I won.

I fought as a mother, relinquishing my rights when giving my son up for adoption. I lost twenty-eight precious years of nurturing and love—as well as anguish and aggravations. I won when Bill returned, twenty-eight years later, bright, loving, caring, giving, a testimonial to his parents who gave him what I didn’t have to give. Thank you Bill. Thank you Ron and Bev Attinger.

I never had to fight as a wife, sharing a thirty-two year partnership based on love, trust, respect, shared goals and laughter. Thank you Russell.

I fought as a stepmother, striving to embrace, to understand, to accept. I won in so many ways—each one precious to me—I can’t count. I am a winner. Thank you Lynn.

A clique of longtime loyal friends form the backbone of my support system. All these years, never a fight. I cherish your loyal friendship more than words can express.

When I made the decision to expand my horizons beyond architecture, I fought business conventions and ready-made labels. Applying analytical skills in uncharted venues, selling my way of addressing challenges, resolving problems and finding effective business and marketing solutions, I became a "Catalyst." Giving my all, never feeling that it is enough, and always striving for "more better," I gained an enviable, loyal clientele. Thank you, each one of you, for your trust. You make me a winner.

Lastly, I fought my two project partners about the book structure and its symbolic cover. We all won. We won through the understanding and respect we developed for our differences and our similarities:

Jan, loving and caring, felt the public joys and the private pains of each individual in the circle of women. The sensitive photojournalist she is saw the book as a documentary on a common cry for help.

Cathy, dedicated mental health care practitioner—a practical practitioner—approached the circle of women clinically, caringly. Addressing the issue logically, she was a crucial pivot between the unit and the whole.

I am a fighter
— a fighter who knows how to love.

I wanted to use the women’s pain to shout the urgency of the issue. I didn’t want to soothe; I wanted to lay the wound wide open for everyone to see and, through its disquieting, haunting message, question our passive submission to indoctrinations that preclude us from retaining and celebrating our individuality, in all forms and shapes.

We fought until we recognized that we were a microcosm of the women we honor in these pages. We became a tripod, our bearings in different backgrounds and cultures, reaching for a common goal.

I won.
I won two friends.
Thank you Cathy and Jan.

 

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