A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The women who inspire me every day

When I was 14, I shared my opinion in a classroom full of people (which was a big deal for me at the time, I was a very shy teenager - hard to believe now) and I felt empowered and on top of the world, until a boy in my class rolled his eyes at me and told me to 'get back in the kitchen' because he didn't agree with me. A year later, a boy grabbed my wrists in an argument at a house party and pushed me up against a wall so hard I burst into tears. Just a few years later at university, I was made to feel not good enough for a boy time and time again. It is these moments that have stayed with me for years.

When I was 18, I saw the boys that I liked going for girls that didn't really seem to have much of an opinion, they cared more about their hair and outfit, but I have never been that kind of girl. Yes, I love being a girl but I am just not the type who won't speak up if I don't agree with something. I remember wishing that I could be more like those girls, but I soon realised, where would the fun be in that? You see, there are reasons as to why I have turned out the way I have, and its because of the women that have inspired me to this point in life. They are the women I have turned to in times of need, when I need reassurance and confidence and by far the ones who inspire me on a daily basis.

It is hard to always stay motivated and driven, but on International Women's Day, I wanted to share the women who really keep me going...

Louise Rennison
As an early teen, I was a huge fan of the Georgia Nicholson book series. I would spend each evening and weekend working my way through them, laughing until I cried and my tummy hurt. They were the books, which as a 11-14 year old girl, made me feel normal. The books made it OK to be concerned about my AAA bra size and in love with boys I had never even spoken to. Sadly, Louise passed away almost a year ago now, but I will always love the books she created as they were the books that got me writing a diary, made me fall in love with being creative and were the reason that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Whenever I think about what made me choose this career choice, I will always think back to time I made my own 'snogging scale' with my mates.

My Nanny Baker and my Nan Tolley
My Nanny Baker passed away recently and she was my Nan Tolley's mum. I am so, so grateful that I even had a Nan in my life, let alone a Great Nan. The pair of them are the women I probably look up to the most, as I am weirdly similar to them, it really is all in the genes! Both of them are incredibly honest, brave, not afraid to stand up for themselves and are hysterically funny. I have seen them both have successful careers, care for everyone around them, raise a wonderful family and go above and beyond for me. What isn't there to adore about them?! My life just won't be the same without my Nanny Baker, but I know that she will always be with me.

Laura Jane Williams
I came across Laura's blog in late 2015, and immediately purchased her book 'Becoming' early last year. I cannot even explain how much this girl inspires me. When reading Becoming, I laughed, cried (a lot) and came away feeling like I could deal with anything, as Laura got through it. I found myself reading the book, thinking that she was writing about my own life. Laura regularly posts things across her social media that inspire me and keep me going through the day. The thing is, I don't think she even knows how much she inspires so many women, but she is a real woman; she's gone through hell and back, thrown herself into life and embraces her curves - a woman you can really look up to and I love that.  

Kim Cattrall
Since I was 13 and read the book 'Being a Girl' by Kim Cattrall - which I wrote more about here - I have looked up to Kim. I absolutely loved her as Samantha Jones in Sex and the City (who didn't?!) and the character she played; independent, strong and a real woman. Although I was probably far too young to watch Sex and the City back when I was 13, I am so glad that I did, because I grew up asking myself 'What would Samantha do?'. Back when I lived in Liverpool, it was amazing to see Kim show her support for Sefton Park Meadows. It just goes to show that although she's a big deal, she's still so down to earth and stands up for what she believes in.

Obviously, I was going to include my Mom in this wasn't I! My mom has always been my absolute rock. I opened up about her being a lesbian last year - which you can read here - and following the incredible feedback from my blog post, I found myself becoming even more proud of her. My mom has always believed in me, pushed me to reach for the stars and tells me time and time again how proud she is of me. Knowing that we make each other proud encourages us both to do well. She is genuinely the best mom!

THE girls!
I am so fortunate to have had the same friendship group for many years, so my best girl friends feel more like sisters. Some I have known since I was just two years old, others from around seven years old and some I only met when I was 18 and 21. However long I have known them makes no difference though. I have always found that I tend to surround myself with very strong women, who go through daily struggles and who support each other. Thankfully, I have never felt a competition with any of my friends and rather, we offer love and advice. It is my best girl friends who get me through every day, from laughs in the office and WhatsApp messages to drinks and just chilling out. If I didn't have such incredible girl friends in my life, I would be lost. Their strength inspires me endlessly.

Winnie Harlow

I have an under active thyroid, which has an affect on lots of things, but it does mean that I have Vitiligo Skin Disorder - which I wrote about here - which means that I lose pigments in my skin. So, I basically have white patches all over me! It doesn't particularly bother me anymore, but I have moments where I feel like a complete freak. So when I came across Winnie Harlow, a Canadian model who also has vitiligo, I was like 'Yaaaas!!' because by her completely smashing it, it is making people more aware of the skin condition. Winnie has become an incredible model, even with the skin condition - I just love her!

My sister Hannah has no idea how much she inspires me. Hannah, who will be 27 later this year, didn't exactly have an easy time as a teenager. But seeing her now, settled down with a lovely fiance and my beautiful niece, fills me with joy. She now has her own photography business, which is what she always wanted to do, and has embraced the 'mum life', and does such a good job! Hannah used to have very low confidence, so seeing her push herself and believing in her abilities is incredible and inspires me to do well too.

Michelle Obama
Seriously, who isn't inspired by Michelle Obama?! I truly believe she is the most sassiest woman our generation will ever know. Instead of just being Barack Obama's wife, she threw herself into the First Lady role and has inspired so many women over the years, including myself. Not only has she campaigned for LGBT rights, she also pushes the importance of education and I love that.

So I know that this is a fictional character, but Matilda has inspired me since I was really young. When I was young, I was so quiet, shy and just thought it was easier to stay quiet. I also spent my younger years being more concerned with books, writing and reading than dance classes and cute outfits. But I am so glad that I was, because those books that I read back then completely opened up my imagination and inspired me to become a writer. I also think Matilda is one of the strongest female roles in film and not only did she inspire when I was young, the character still inspires me now.

The women who I see smashing the glass ceiling every single day, the women I see not taking no for an answer, the women I see standing up for themselves, the women I see running successful businesses and the women I see helping each other rather than seeing each other as a competition - it is you girls that inspire me every single day - THANK YOU!



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