Today’s International Women’s Day got me thinking about the women who inspire me.
The earliest Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909 by the American Socialist Party in order to unite workers of the world. Originally a celebration of working women, International Women’s Day is now a celebration of all that women have done and how they’ve changed the world we live in.
When we think about inspirational women, we often think about the women who have changed the world before us. The likes of Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Emmeline Pankhurst, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, and more spring to mind when I think about inspirational women, but the women who truly inspire me are the ones I come across in everyday life. My family, my friends, my teachers and more.
This will be long, and possibly boring unless you’re included! Skim read? 😉
The Women Who Inspire Me
The first woman I think of is my Mum. I don’t think she realises how much she has shaped me (and now probably regrets that!). Growing up with my Mum I was encouraged to say what I was thinking (and later told to maybe cut back just a bit!), and told that I can do anything. I never believed there was any other way. I didn’t know that other girls could feel stunted or oppressed. We were tough and strong, and in charge of our own lives. Education was encouraged, but not forcefully, and our Mum taught us from a very early age so we were quite advanced as children. To me, women worked as hard as men, whether that be in employment or in the home. Women were as intelligent as men. And women could make choices just like men. This is a sign of the times too of course, but the effect it had on me is amazing, even if it means I’m a little too headstrong sometimes.
My Mum taught me self-worth by going through things that could have broken anyone else and still coming up the strongest woman I know, unconditional love by being there for us no matter what, compassion by treating even people who didn’t deserve it with kindness, and how to have fun and dance to 90s dance music!
My Mum has given her whole life so far to others, but when I see her with her grandchildren, I realise that she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Growing up and still today, one of my Aunts is like my second Mum. She was the Aunt you run away to when your Mum is driving you mad. Living two minutes away, she had no choice really. She taught me that I can get what I want if I try hard enough and to speak out about things. She was always brutally honest and I’ve definitely inherited that from spending time with her. She tries to see other people’s perspectives and is an amazing Mum too.
My other Aunts I didn’t see as much, but still saw a lot, and they are all such incredibly strong women. To see how they have overcome some things makes me realise I’m capable of more. They’re so supportive of my cousins, and have been through so much, but they persevere and love unconditionally.
I am so lucky to have grown up amongst incredible cousins who have now become amazing women. My cousins have always been my best friends and while relationships have changed over time, I will always have so much time for them. I appreciate and respect them so much. From the ones that are now Mums bringing up amazing children, to the ones who are doing things to achieve their best life, to the ones who are constantly educating others and fighting for rights, they inspire me every day.
Every single female cousin I have has achieved amazing things already, got through so much already, and they just keep at it. From losing best friends, to ending big relationships, to speaking out for causes, it actually overwhelms me how lucky I am to have this many inspiring people in my life who just happened to be born into my family.
Without my sisters, I wouldn’t have done a lot of things that I have done. It was always my intention growing up to hopefully inspire them or at least set a good example for them. We’re from a small town, and sometimes that creates small minds. I wanted to always show them that there’s more, and while they may not care about that now, I at least know that I had a positive effect at some time or another on each one.
While I was in uni, I wanted to quit, but one of my little sisters was so proud and excited that I couldn’t bear telling her things were too hard, or that I was tired of being there. She used to talk about me being in ‘Azerwiswif’ (Aberystwyth) so often and how one day she was going to go there too. There was no way I would quit! I also wanted my other sisters to think about it as an option when old enough, because it didn’t seem too common in my family.
One sister is a Mum to the most amazing niece and nephew ever, and I’m so proud of her for embracing what could have been a scary situation and for just managing to be a great young mother against the world. My niece and nephew, while sometimes too much like her, also have the parts of her that I love. It’s crazy that she now has an almost teenager being a pain in the way she once was, and sometimes still is!
I could go on, because I have 6 sisters – I know! – but I think it’s for a separate post, because there’s too much to say, but it’s safe to say having sisters with a ten year age gap taught me compassion and love like I never would have known. I’m proud of every single one and I know there’s so much more to come from them!
My niece is already an incredible person. To think that she was once a tiny, cute baby that I couldn’t get enough of, to now being a bright, intelligent, inspiring 12 year old little lady! She has never failed to amaze me with her intelligence, wit and humour. She has similar traits and habits to me and I find it hilarious to see a little me whenever I get to see her.
She’s amazing and I can’t wait to see what she does and hear more from her as she grows older, although I’d really like if she’d just stay 12 forever!
Due to my parents separation, I gained two whole new families when they both moved on. This means I was lucky enough to have four Nans in my life. Each of them are completely different and have inspired me in their own way. Whether its how to enjoy life until the very last moment, how sacrificing yourself for others can be the best thing you’ll ever do, practical jokes and how to make any situation more fun, or how to move forward from tragedy and look back on life with joy.
I’m not, or wasn’t, as close to my Nan’s as some people are, but they have made a difference and I appreciate the time I get or had with each one.
I have the most incredible friends! Each of them inspires me in a way they’ll never know. They have the best advice, even though it’s all completely different advice from each one! They have all achieved the most incredible things, whether it be the most fantastic parent I know, embracing the shit bits of life and making it better, working hard to achieve their goals. Each friend I have had in my life has shaped me, and even the ones that I no longer know, I still think about all the time.
As we get older, I appreciate even more the people I surround myself with. We’ve chosen to stay in touch and to care for each other no matter what and I just think its amazing that people can do that. I find it so sweet that I have people who make time for me in their busy lives and ask me how I am, let alone visit me, think of me, and just generally be awesome to hang around with.
Some teachers inspire us to do great things. I can think of five teachers in particular, all women, that pushed me and made me who I am today. I was a quiet, painfully shy child, but with big dreams and they believed in me and instilled in me that I would go on to do great things. I’ll get there 😉 I honestly think without one teacher in particular, I wouldn’t be doing what I do now, and wouldn’t be where I am. When I used to think I couldn’t do something, I’d think of her and how she’d tell me I could do anything and I was wasting my time if I didn’t. That stuck with me and I still speak to her when possible even 24 years after first meeting her. I worked with her in a school when older, and it was conversations with her that made me quit life and go to uni. She changed my life. The others did too, in more subtle ways, and when I think of great teachers, I think of them.
My fellow bloggers
Despite people not understanding why we do what we do, there are so many badass blogging ladies out there killing it! Taking on the world a step at a time and in the most supportive community online that I can think, bloggers are out there standing up for others, taking on the big issues, running businesses, and usually with all the things that come with ‘normal life’ alongside it all! Just generally putting themselves out there for the world to judge takes guts and I am proud of anyone who can press the publish button not knowing how something they say will be received.
Who inspires you?
While I have come across other inspirational women in my life, these are the ones that spring to mind. The women that inspire me are the ones that lift me up and are always on my side. They’re the ones that go against all odds and come back better. The ones that make me want to cheer for them on the sidelines because they deserve so much.
For some reason, I can write this to strangers on the internet yet find it hard to put into words when I’m around these people. They’d probably say aww and laugh at me! I think it’s weird how we can express thoughts on a public forum, but not manage to tell the people that truly matter how much they mean to us. Of all the days to do it, maybe International Women’s Day is the one to do so. So being the wuss that I truly am, I’m going to share this post with them instead of saying it!
Who inspires you? Do they know it?