International Women’s Day
“Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them and may we raise them”
I have always been told to go for whatever I want in life. To give it my all and to believe in myself and to never let anything stop me. I have my parents, family and friends to thank for helping me become the women I am today and I will always be grateful.
I have never felt the need to not do something because I’m a girl…in fact, if those words are ever spoken…it drives to do the exact opposite.
I believe that we are equal. That men and women can and should be treated the same. That we are as clever, strong, fast, powerful and as important as each other.
And if anyone tells you different, smile, breathe and use this as fuel to shine ever brighter.
I was a ‘tomboy’ growing up. I always looked up to my brothers and joined in with the sports they played at home. They, along with my father, played rugby (League…obviously) so I was always joining in with touch and pass games and can remember sitting at the park watching my brothers kick the ball over the swings time and time again for practice!
We used to set hurdles up in the back lane and have races, ride our bikes and play ‘chicken’, and I also used to join in with their boxing training in the garden too.
Sport was and still is a huge passion of mine and I love the feeling of achieving things I think are impossible at first. I especially love beating the boys! I can’t explain it…it just feels great!
Don’t get me wrong I’m no professional athlete, but I am as fit and strong as I am because of my childhood and my father inspiring me to join in and beat the boys!
I run marathons, complete Ironman triathlons, swim open water races, cycle long distances, lift weights and do yoga. I read books, write blogs, run my own business, deliver talks, love a bit of DIY and painting and try to be the best person that I can be.
I am a strong woman and I have other strong women to thank for that too.
My mum showed me how to love unconditionally and how to raise a beautiful family whilst working too. My aunties inspired me to be fit, run marathons and to travel. My school friend and her family inspired me to go to university and I was the first member of my family to do so.
My friends who have children and their own businesses have shown me that when I have a family of my own, that this is possible. And my friends that have suffered the loss of family members so soon in their lives have shown me the meaning of the word strength.
I have met many women through my work that have inspired me too. Women who are professional, passionate and intelligent. Especially the staff I had the pleasure of working with at Headley Court and Help for Heroes.
To me, a strong woman is one that lives a life that is true to her. A strong woman, to me, is someone that has a voice and uses it. That says YES and tries her best at whatever is thrown at her. A strong woman, is one that loves, feels the fear and does it anyway, one that fails at something but keeps moving forwards, that supports and inspires others, raises women up instead of putting them down and most of all…is one that is true to herself and unconditionally loves herself.
Life is not easy and being a woman, is not easy either. But no one ever said it would be.
I love the line from the rocky film: “it ain’t about how hard you hit…its about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”. And to me, this is true to life. Anyone who can keep moving forward no matter what life throws at them is strong in my eyes.
I have met some truly incredible women throughout my time at Help for Heroes, Headley Court and private work. Women whose lives had been turned upside down and inside out. Whose bodies and minds were no longer ones that they felt at home in. But every day they showed up and kept showing to rebuilt their lives and learnt to love themselves again…exactly as they are. I hope to have their courage when/if life challenges me like this.
I also am inspired by my 90-year-old neighbour Freda who grew up on a farm down the road and now lives alone. She is fierce and determined to 'keep moving and not giving in to life' to use her words. She feeds the birds every day and walks around the coffee table for exercise. She reads during the day and only watches tv at night to 'keep her brain going' as she says and she has a fab sense of humour. I love popping in to say hello.
Another film I love is The Holiday (I love a feel-good film!). I especially love the comment about playing the leading lady in your own life…and not the best friend. Going for what you want and living the life you dream of. So, true don’t you think?!
So, on International Women’s Day 2018, ask yourself this question: Am I being the leading lady in my life? And if you are not, can you be 10% braver and make the changes you need to start to live the life you want and be the women you want to be?
Do the things you think you can’t, blow your own mind. Speak your truth, love others and be the strong lady you are meant to be. Be a great role model and most of all the girl of your dreams.
You can, you should, and you will be if you just believe.
To all of the strong women out there fighting their own battles and navigating life…I salute you.
Lots of love and Yorkshire puddings