An Open Letter to Gloria Steinem

Dear Gloria,

I just finished reading My Life on the Road. Thank you. Ever since opening it a few days after I bought it at my favorite bookstore in LA (Book Soup on Sunset Blvd.!), I have read and re-read your dedication. I cry every time. You see, my mother was born in 1957. My grandma had been in Los Angeles for a few years after immigrating from France (she and her own mother had hidden in a small village during World War II, while her father was in the Resistance); and after marrying my grandfather, she settled down to a much more stable and peaceful life than she had ever known in order to raise her family.

I look a lot like my grandmother. In fact, a stranger once approached her in a department store to ask if she was my grandma because of our resemblance. I like to think I'm the version of my grandma who grew up with love and stability and opportunity. I believe I'm living her dream by following mine.

My grandma is a very traditional person. In her book, at 28 years old and unmarried I'm approaching old maid status. But when I set out to start my own business (an organic tampon company) last year, I was surprised that she turned out to be my biggest supporter. I've traveled a lot--mostly alone, sometimes with friends and strangers--and my grandma once told me that if she hadn't been married so young she would have liked to travel on her own too. If she hadn't had a family to raise, she would have liked to start her own business. If she had had the power of self-determination and a world that nurtured her vision of an ideal life, it may have looked quite different.

You and my grandmother are the same age. She has given me my mother and an incredible family and love and stability, and you have given me freedom.

You have made it possible for my sister and my friends and me to dream. You have made it possible for us to choose our own paths. You have modeled for us what a life on the road looks like, and you've demonstrated that it can be miraculous.

So thank you for all the work you've done to herald in the world we live in today. There is still so much work to do, and the women and girls who you've raised through your activism and your writing and your speaking and your dreaming and your living are well equipped to take it on.

With all my love and endless gratitude,

Annie