15 portraits. 15 women. They’re not celebrities. Theirs are ordinary lives, lived with extraordinary strength. Some I’ve known my whole life. Some I just met. I cherish each of them because they continuously inspire me. Each has stood out, or stood up, for me at pivotal points in my life and my healing journey. When the cascading traumas of sexual abuse, low self-esteem, bad life choices, bad relationships, fertility issues, and marital dilemmas have threatened to cripple me these women have shown me how to overcome. They have each, in their own way, given me unique tools to convert personal sufferings into direct action against social injustice everywhere. Regardless, the very existence of these wise women — veterans of life’s varied horrors — stands as proof of humanity’s great strength. This past year, to honor womanhood, I painted these 15 portraits. I’m not here to tell their stories- that’s up to them. I’m here to revel in their glorious presence. And if you don’t find yourself here, please know I am still inspired by you. This list is completely incomplete, just as we are all imperfectly perfect. I love you and honor you, all.