I’m surrounded by many inspirational people, male and female, both in my family and friends, in particular my Babcia (grandma) who grew up in Poland during the War, and is a force to be reckoned with! She may not have the most tact, but she is fiercely independent and never gives up, oh the stories I could tell of her opening the door unintentionally (I think) with a knife in her hand after cutting beetroot and it still dripping down her arm, to nearly getting arrested on a flight back from Poland when she had a cake in her suitcase with poppyseeds on the top! There are many stories like hers that I could share of those close to me but it doesn’t seem right to share their stories publicly, when they choose not to, so instead I will focus on three other influences:
One story that really resonates with me is that of Frida Kahlo, the amazing Mexican painter, who fought through illness and injury and never gave up. My story is a much smaller scale than hers but my creative journey came from shattering my hip with plenty of time bedridden with my sketchbook for company, and much like Frida I found comfort in drawing. A decade on and apart from pain on a cold and damp day or when I’ve walked too far I am fully recovered, and defied the odds when I was told I may never walk again. I had 3 operations to get back on track, Frida had 30, and her health battles continued until the end, but despite this she never stopped painting.
The second figure is one that my son has chosen today, and I have to admit I’m a big fan as well. We love the ‘little people, big dreams’ books and definitely recommend them. We read the women in art set last night before the kids went to bed. My son then chose his favourite to take to school today for International Women’s Day – Audrey Hepburn, because in his words he liked that ‘she didn’t give up, and helped people.’ I’m pretty happy to settle on that as an inspiration for him.
The third and final shout out goes to all the women who are simply doing their best, especially those still being oppressed and poverty stricken, or going through hardship. All the women who support each other, and muster strength despite their daily struggles.
There are so many people to find inspiration from in an often over-publicised world of ‘bad’ that I think it’s good to remind our children, and ourselves, of what can be achieved with a bit of compassion and determination in an often tough world. At the same time, I consider myself incredibly lucky to be living in, and raising children in a society that is reasonably tolerant, compared to society of the past and countries where oppression of men and women still exist in strong form.
I’d love to hear who inspires you, pop a comment below with your fave people, women or otherwise.