A person who has made a most profound difference in my life.

When I was very young, I met a woman named Joyce. At that age I could not really appreciate her, nor could I know the profound way that she would shape my life, but I knew that there was something powerful about her.

Joyce was a feminist. I was a girl. Together we made plans about how my gender would in no way impede me. We laughed at those who didn't understand what we knew all along: Just because you're different doesn't mean you're wrong. Hahahaha! We laughed in the ugly face of intolerance.

Joyce was strong. She once threw a coffee mug against the wall so hard that it broke. She threw memories, too--threw them so hard out the window that they never came back. Memories of John ("the fat man who abused her") and cancer (that stole her left breast). She taught me how to throw away my bitterness.

And just last week I was with my grandfather and hanging on his wall was a photograph of Joyce that looked so much like my mother, only young and full of dreams and fears and humanity. I wondered if it could be her.