I am so lucky that I am surrounded by a great group of inspiring and encouraging women. The first woman in my life is also the most important person in my life, my mom. We are alike in many ways and yet so different at times. She loves looking at yarn, like I adore browsing bookstores. She would make sure I went to the library weekly even if it meant busing it in winter weather. And, on my days off of school and later work, I would make sure she was able to visit her fabric or yarn stores. We like to see each other happy, even when our definition of “happiness” is so different. Though we may argue and have glacial silent treatments…there is no one I would rather be stuck on an island with than her. (She is definitely smarter than me :))
My maternal grandmother has been another hero of mine. Like my mom she was strong lady that was so generous and kind. It is why I can never regret being generous and kind even if it comes back to haunt me. They’ve shown me what kind of woman I want to be now and in the future. I always wished I had sisters, but I was fortunate enough to have a great group of female cousins. As we grow older, and some of us a bit apart, the one thing I can count on is that I can message them and they would be there regardless.
As you know my book club is important to me…mostly because of the four women who attend it. We are different ages, different interests (other than reading, of course), different backgrounds, etc but yet we connect like a little family. If something good or bad happens in my life, I want to contact them right away with it. When I am feeling like I am not going to go anywhere in life they are there to remind me this is temporary.
I have always had a hard time keeping friends because of my anxiety I find it hard to commit to plans, and can seem at times to be indifferent. Other than my book club, the first person to stay has been my best friend, KM. I met her through work, and became friends when we both realized we loved Canadian fiction. When I became sick mentally, she not only stayed my friend, but she made it easier for me to want to get better. She has compromised so many times in order to make me feel comfortable. After a conversation with her, even if it’s about the latest celebrity gossip, I feel like the world is an okay place. She thinks I can be what I want to be and believes I will get there, when even I can’t see it. And, now seeing her as a mother to a daughter, I am even more in awe of her.
As I said above, I always wanted sisters, and in 2011 I kind of got that wish. I met two incredibly smart, kind, beautiful book soul mates. We live in different parts of North America, living different kind of lives, but no one knows me like these two. It’s not even things I have told them. Through emails or other chats they can tell just by what I write if I am okay or not. When there were days I thought I was nothing and waking up seemed to much, they would know somehow and I would have a message waiting for me. These messages got me through the day…then the next day, etc. When I was trapped in unhealthy relationship it was their acceptance and unconditional love that made me finally put my foot down. They are both inspiring women that I hope some day I can be like. (JA/MB) And, when I thought I could not get luckier I met another inspiring woman who I met through books and a book group. She is always there to listen and make me feel like I make a difference in the world. (JS)
Almost every job I have worked I have met amazing hardworking sweet women. Some are my mentors (in how I want to be in a career and as a leader) and most are my friends. Some I see on a daily basis, and some I keep in touch with but all mean a lot to me. In my current job, I am so fortunate to have a connection with most of them, in different ways. They watch out for me, support me, and encourage me to follow my passion. They want to see me succeed for my own happiness.
I have also had women in my life that are have been important, but have given me such a negative vibe. My own paternal grandmother is unkind to women and tried to teach me it is best to only have sons. It was because of her that I thought I was worth less being a girl, and I was burden to my parents. I was not enough for my family. She taught me that it is okay to be mean to other women because you were once bullied, and to lie when it suits you. How she treated my mom and my aunt (by marriage) really terrified me of mother-in-laws. I almost avoided it till my last relationship. A woman raised by her mother, who has 4 sisters, and many nieces – I was kind of looking forward to meeting my ex’s mother. It was a bit of shock to see that women like my grandmother still existed.
Those experiences, in my opinion, have only strengthened my relationships with positive women. It has made me want to help other women succeed. I can only be the best me, when everyone in my “squad” is doing well. You can always be pushed down…but you always have the choice of either lashing back or getting up and keep doing what you are doing. I hope my actions and words show which way I am going.
Kindness, acceptance and support are what makes the women in my life inspirational and amazing. Thank you!