Today, dear readers, is International Women's Day.
Celebrated throughout the world on March 8th, it is:
'an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women' (source)
First in line is my Mum. My first and strongest example of what it means, and what it takes, to be a woman today. This lovely lady is a tour de force of familial responsibility, friendship, personal and professional advice, and warm fuzziness. Of course, as with most mother-daughter relationships we have had our differences, but I can honestly say that this beautiful woman who carried me, and cared for me is a filament of gold woven through the fabric of my life. Mama Chickpea taught me that you should always see both sides, choose a positive outlook on your day with every sunrise, always look to turn a stranger into a friend, and that a cup of tea will solve most problems. Love you Mama.
The next two amazing women who stand as pillars in my mind are my sisters. One of blood, one of coincidence, my darling Jess (little Chickpea) and the beautiful Casey. These ladies are a complex synergy of hard work, dedication, young wisdom, and (it must be said) downright silly dancing and singing combinations. There is no problem that I cannot present to them and receive advice or comfort, or a taste tester. When I am down, they are the ones with the ladder and the light to help me out of despair and illuminate the way forward.
Both of my grandmothers also stand as legendary female characters and influences in my life.
My paternal grandmother (sadly passed) raised five children, built a house and home, married her teenage sweetheart and helped out those in her community. Nanny Dawn, you left an incredible legend behind to live up to.
My maternal grandmother, Mormor (Danish for mother's mother), survived German-occupied Denmark during World War two, left Denmark and all her family to move to Australia with two young girls (Mama and my aunty) and build a life in a new country where she didn't even speak the language. Mormor has always encouraged me to march to the beat of my own drum, and I owe much of my gypsy spirit to this lady.
My closest high school friends whose friendship has followed me into adulthood: Caroline, Josie and Laura. You ladies let me slip back into that easy lunch time feeling and the conversations that we had all those years ago beneath the shade of our favourite Jacaranda tree. The passing years have taken all of us on different adventures but our bond is as strong as those school girl days.
Samantha, my co-chief bridesmaid and one of the most beautiful souls who blesses my life with her presence in it. You are just at the start of an amazing journey little sister, take every day as your own.
I would also like to take this opportunity on International Women's Day to point out that not only is it amazing women who support the achievements and advancement of females in our society. There are so many men who play a role in actively promoting female interests and encouraging the women in their lives. I must thank my Dad who always wanted only daughters (be careful what you wish for) and then along with Mama set about showing us that there are no limits to what a girl can do. My Dad taught me to cook, hammer a nail, how to watch motor sports, the best way to eat ice cream and jelly, and has supported his daughters in their every endeavour.
Dear readers, happy International Women's Day. Take today to celebrate the accomplishments of the amazing women in your life. Look back on how far we have all come and the path of those that have marched before us.
Be proud to be a woman. To be in an age where there is nothing to stop any of us from achieving our dreams and ambitions. Look at all the women who are powerful figures in our own lives and those who are making decisions and blazing new trails around the world, then set yourself the challenge of being your own woman of distinction.
You don't have to be the first woman on an all male basketball team, there are so many ways that we can set an example of what it means to be a woman today.
Take ownership of your physical self. Love your body, whatever shape it comes in, show it care and attention and take health as your goal rather than deprivation and loathing.
Love your mind, learn from every day and every person you meet. Read, write, create, experiment, share stories and memories. Find mentors and companions who challenge you and support you to grow.
Nourish your spirit. Look for meaning in every day moments. Count your blessings every day.
Love wildly and without reserve.
Make the most of your every precious heart beat.
Be empowered in your life by the lives of those around you.
We are women, watch us soar.