I’ve felt really uninspired over the past few weeks to post anything. I’ve sat down to write numerous times and just haven’t been satisfied with anything I’ve come up with. Today, however, gives me every reason to feel inspired. Why? Because 8th March is International Women’s Day.
And, if ever there’s a group of people who have inspired me from day one and continue to do so today, it’s the amazing women I get to call my family.They say (for girls) that as you grow older, you turn into your mother. If that’s true, I have absolutely nothing to worry about. My mum is the strongest person I know. An Army wife for the entirety of our (mine and my older brother’s) childhood, Ma worked hard to create a warm, loving, settled home no matter where we lived. My brother and I always had familiar homes to come back to from boarding school and the effort that went into that will never be under appreciated. For me, it’s meant that being at boarding school from the age of 8 and then moving out fully from the age of 18, it’s never mattered where in the world they may be or how long they’re there for, the place Mum and Dad live will always feel like home. Ma is one of the most intelligent people I know, patient beyond belief, and with the biggest heart I’ve ever known. There’s always space to be made at the dinner table or in the spare room for extra guests and I know our friends have always been so grateful for the embracing family welcome. I have always felt hugely supported and encouraged by my mum and I know that whatever I’m struggling with and whenever I need guidance and advice, Ma has endless time to give and that cushion gives me huge amounts of strength and confidence. I had the absolute joy of growing up with two fascinating and wonderful grandmothers. Grammie was born in Guyana and only came to Europe after she’d married my grandfather (and my mum had been born in Jamaica). What a strange and far away place it must have been moving from the beautiful West Indian climes to the wet, cold, and snow of Germany and then the UK. I love hearing stories of what life was like growing up in Guyana and I love that even after all these years, Grammie still has a hint of a West Indian accent. My grandparents divorced when I was young and I don’t have any memories of them together. My early memories of Grammie though are that she always seemed so fiercely independent; moving to different parts of the country, trying her hand at different jobs, doing whatever she wanted, always having so much time for us all and always having a fully stocked snack cupboard. This year, Grammie and her husband will be moving in with my parents so we’ll be living closer than we have in years and I absolutely can’t wait! Grandma was also born abroad and, despite having lived in so many different places over the years, still had such a thick French accent until she died in 2010. We used to love the way Grandma said certain words, especially as young kids when the pronunciation of some words were just so funny to us. Again, I don’t have any memories of Grandma with Grandpa as he died when I was a toddler but I spent lots of school holidays visiting my Grandma over the years as she lived in Malta and then Cyprus and I loved hearing stories of her parents and siblings and of my Dad, aunties and uncle from when they were children. Grandma always had her bag of crochet at her feet and made such beautiful pieces of work – whenever I crochet, I know she’s close at hand. Grandma always had a tissue up her sleeve; she loved a bright lipstick and a perfect salon blow-dry; she was tiny (barely 5ft) but fierce and I miss her dearly every single day. I have 6 aunties; all unique and inspiring in their own ways. I’m inspired by their ambition, their confidence, their struggles, their creativity and their love. Some of them live far away (Cyprus and Canada) and some I haven’t seen much in recent years but I have amazing memories throughout my childhood with them all. I love that, even as an adult, I have aunties that I’m so close with; that I can talk to about anything, that I can go and stay with, that I know are there for me no matter what. They all have such different personalities and I believe I’ve been influenced by each of them in some way during my life.
I grew up with an older brother and I never, ever wanted a sister. A lot of my friends had sisters and I saw them squabble and steal each others’ clothes and was glad I didn’t have to put up with the same crap! I do have a sister now though, my brother’s wife, and I wouldn’t have wished for anyone different. My sister-in-law easily became part of our family and, through her friendship, love and support, I now know exactly why my friends don’t even recall the petty teenage bickering and just truly value the sisterly connections they have. So, as I started with, it’s been a challenging few weeks. I feel very unmotivated and uninspired at the moment but today, especially, I’ll take some time to reflect on the strong, amazing women I’m so privileged to have in my life and I will take my inspiration from them.
Who inspires you? Who do you draw strength and encouragement from? Which women, family or otherwise, have you been inspired by, and why?