Growing up I remember being asked the question from a variety of sources, “Who do you look up to?”, and even then I was a little mystified. And yet, although I realized that there was no specific role models that existed in my mind in that sense, I didn’t ever really bother to take the time to dig deeper, or investigate what that could mean to me; to HAVE someone I really looked up to, maybe like a mentor, perhaps as someone I really desired and aspired to be like. There were times through the years when I was faced with this question that my mind would drift towards Oprah, but I would quickly dismiss it as cliché and perhaps just an easy answer.
I just simply don’t recall EVER having anyone, even more specifically, a woman, that I looked up to in this sense. We didn’t ever discuss anything close to celebrating Women’s History Month, and I certainly didn’t realize there were even such occasions back then! In fact, the majority of my life I have either had more friends of the opposite sex, or, as now, simply spent more time in the company of myself; so for really examining the relationships of women in my life, my grandmothers, etc., it has really never been in the forefront of my mind.
Being completely honest, my thoughts on many things have been transformed, or altered over the past year. This would include the relationship with other women; something I have lacked understanding in the value of. I am learning, slowly. I can see it, and am beginning to realize the necessity that actually exists in having a friend or “sister” (of course mother, but I am speaking in the sense of relating to any other woman).
As I look back now, of course I can see that one of the women, one of the most important women, that played a role in my life was my mom. They do say, in the ever popular cliché, that a new bond begins between a mother and daughter, when the daughter becomes a mother herself! But going many years before that, as a young girl I looked up to my mom. I remember being proud, even bragging at times, of having a young mom in comparison to some of my friends; and of course adding that she was pretty! As I grew, amidst the chaos that often exists between moms and their daughters, I still was able to acknowledge the strength that my mom had; dealing with my dad and yet being able to not only go to college, but to excel at the top of her class, only then to move on to working quite successfully for a large company. She had two kids, one of which, ahem, was horrible to deal with, and yet she managed to do not only what was necessary, but she was able to build for herself the life that she truly wanted and deserved. I can certainly say that my mom has taught me many things, whether she is able to see it or not. She has shown me what strength, courage and dedication are all about. Her journey, in so many ways, was/is the lantern that lights my own path.
Laura Ingalls Wilder. How could I have ever forgotten her influence on me from such a young age?! I was captivated by her books, the Little House on the Prairie series and many others. She WAS the “hero” of my childhood in comparison to the other “super heroes” that the kids were into. Laura was the strong, brave and determined girl that grew into an amazingly brilliant woman. I drank in every word of each new dilemma that was faced throughout her life; every new town, the storms, the illnesses. Everything that happened within her family was only a small obstacle in the whole picture of the love and dedication that was shared within that circle.
Oprah. Well, I can now easily admit that I do look up to her. She not only accepted and acknowledged the horrible things in her early life, she absolutely rose above. Above and beyond that personal achievement, she has and continues to do so many wonderful things around the world. The financial and otherwise opportunities that she has provided pale in comparison to the inspiration that she has provided to so many people. She has opened the hearts and minds of an immeasurable amount of people worldwide; she has shown us what it means to give, to receive and to truly live and love in our lives.
There is another woman that I think of now, in this context of great women, empowering women, strong women; I will call her D. She was my boss for a few years, but I also have thought of her as a friend and a teacher. I admire her in so many ways. In the short time that I spent with her, she was the one that seemed to pull the blinders off of my eyes. She brought back to life many things I had touched lightly on throughout my life, but she presented them to me perfectly, exactly as I needed, when I needed. She has shown her own strength in so many ways during her life, and she is truly an example, in my eyes, as to how we could live our lives purely; she makes living our true life, walking our ultimate path look simple!
With this newly opened mind, I could perhaps add a few more women to this little list; my sisters, my grandmothers, my BFF and a couple more well-known names; but I think I have said enough for now!
Women’s History Month…who are some of the women that you look up to and admire for their courage and strengths?