For me, International Women’s Day (falling on the 8th of March each year) is a time to reflect on all of the amazing women in my life. Yes, the day is obviously to highlight and reflect on the grave injustices that women face in almost every aspect of life daily, but I think it is equally important to focus on the positives, too. We may have to deal with sexism, harassment, unequal pay, unwarranted attention and a plethora of other issues, but the unique relationships shared between us gals is a force to be reckoned with, and something that I feel privileged to share with so many amazing women.
I want to introduce you to three very important ladies in my life. They have all helped shape who I am today immeasurably, and they serve as my inspiration to continue striving to do better, be better and create better.
Firstly, is my Nana Val. I have spoken about her a few times before on my blog, but she is literally the best and I could talk about her all day. My Nan is now at the ripe age of 82, she still works (volunteering a few days a week at at a local charity shop), goes galavanting about the city with her pals and makes a mean corn beef pie.
My beautiful nanny, doesn’t she look like a 60s goddess? My nan is certainly one of the happiest, most generous and strongest ladies I have ever met and . The love of her life, my Granddad Ken, passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly when my mum and two uncles were still relatively young. Her next partner then moved the whole family across the world from the UK to Australia, and she essentially had to start her life again. Although the second marriage did not last, my Nan’s spirit certainly did and she has stayed in Aus ever since.
She has been a constant support in my life and continues to encourage me to work hard, because she is definitely someone I want to make proud. I have a whole 21 years of shared fun locked in the memory bank, from our rituals of Maccas and movies when I was little, instilling in me a love for the Caringbah markets and still spoiling me to this day, even though I am now technically a grown adult. I will never forget when she taught me not to hate, because “hate is what starts wars”; I was probably only 7 when she told me this (and I’m not even sure she would remember), but how funny that I now study war/hate/media – perhaps she was having a premonition? I love her with my whole heart, and I feel truly blessed to know and love such a fabulous person.
Next up is my mumma bear, Lisa. My mum is a straight up superhero, although she does not wear a cape and you would never hear if from her. She is the best cook and baker on planet earth, and she even knows how to Snapchat.
My mum has done a lot of tough things in her life. Moving countries when she was 16, lighting her hair on fire while piercing her own ear via candle light (because she was a bad ass punk rocker), literally rebuilding our house with my Dad and facing daily life with a bird phobia. She is a superhero, though, because she has a chronic condition (psoriatic arthritis) which she has been battling for a long time, and it causes her a lot of pain and exhaustion every single day. Despite this, she is hilarious, fun, loving and never, ever complains. I literally whinge for 40 hours if I’ve done one squat too many, so I should really try to emulate her behaviour more.
I have the mum who tops all mums, I hit the mum jackpot, I drew the long straw – however you want to put it, she is the best mum on the planet. She has cuddled me through heartbreak, helped me study for things she has no idea about, sewn a billion sequins onto dance costumes, lets me borrow her car when it’s raining, held my hand through cortisone injections, lets me do her make up and paid for countless specialist appointments/eczema creams/gluten free groceries/shoes. If there was such a thing as picking mums, I think I would have to barge everyone out of the way with my elbows in a stealthy manner, because she would be in high demand.
Last, but certainly not least, is my crazy sister Sarah. She is my best friend in the whole world, and although we may not look related, if you spend 5 seconds with us you can tell we are sisters through and through. She’s 5 years older than me, so she got to deal with all the hard stuff first and warn me about it – you know, things like boys, the HSC, kitten heels, institutionalised sexism, the importance of powdering after foundation and the fact I’m probs gonna be paid less than my male counterparts.
My sister is the one who introduced me to the world of feminism, and helped me a lot when I was figuring out what I wanted to study and do with my life. She’s as smart as Einstein, and as lazy a pug – and I would not have her any other way. Had I not had the privilege of growing up with this amazing person as my sister, I may well have turned out very differently. God, I could have even worn kitten heels.
She is the person I go to for just about everything. Advice about my degree, my job prospects, financial decisions, fashion choices, baking recipes, vinnies runs, sushi dates, and most importantly, 4 hour conversations about social issues that aggravate us in equal measure. Our sister traditions have changed, from littering each others rooms with undies, to learning to drive simultaneously (she was a tad late on that band wagon) and now to boxing day sales shopping escapades annually. She may eat cake for breakfast, but I think she’s pretty great.
So, there you have it folks. These are three ladies in my life who I love immesaruably and would not change for the world. They have shaped me into the feminist gal that I am today, and always encourage me to keep striving to leave a positive mark on this world for my fellow gals. Happy International Women’s day to all of the ladies out there – may your lives be filled with as much love, inspiration and support as I receive from my family, and may you soon be paid correctly and never harassed on the street.