We live in a world of trends. A world where 'on trend' and 'on brand' aren't just marketing slogans, but a way of life for the majority. We live in a world of quick fixes, easy solutions and 'followers' -- literally. From social media to offline publications, we are a culture of creative edit; adopting someone else's style, idea or personality and claiming it as our own.
Since the latest crash incident (calling it an accident feels like a cop-out) and the brain scans and the doctors' recommendations, I've done a lot of pondering, asking myself what's most important to me. I've looked around wondering which direction I'll go, and trying to plan a future that honors more than just my stubbornness and sheer will. As I inspect the areas of my life I'm constantly drawn towards heroes and personalities as sources of inspiration and hope -- the strong, creative women of the world.
As someone who's a little 'crazy' and somewhat out of place in most social circles and cliques, I usually have no problem with going my own way, building an individual path and taking my lumps (and rewards) as they come at me. I do what I feel is right and best, but I've discovered that it may not always be because I have a personality that can ignore majority vote. As I've taken a look around me, I'm surrounded by women who have carved their own paths into the universe, defying expectation and building a world where they have a place -- because they wanted one. These women and their choices have helped inspire how I create my career, my relationships and my unwavering dedication to simply 'do me'. Their strength and willingness to walk their own path, to hell with the consequences and popular opinion, is something that has subconsciously influenced the very core of my personality. Two of the very first women that come to mind are my mother and grandmother -- so very different from each other, yet so incredibly similar. So patient and so kind, yet made of electrified steel when pushed too far. Dedicated and passionate, but with flaws: beautiful, loveable, amazing flaws. So are they flaws? Or are they individual personality, woven into the fiber of a soul that makes them both so special?
I've been blessed enough to be exposed to women like this my entire life -- creative, sensitive, stubborn women with vision and heart. I still am. From my friends and coworkers to fellow athletes and idols, there are so many beautiful, bold, dedicated women who run their own race, who shed light on the term 'making it up as you go' and who embolden the world to stop following trends and just search for that part, that fiber, that cloth of ourselves that makes us special.
Anyone can follow someone else's path. It's easy to copy someone's ideas and actions and claim them as our own, never giving ourselves a chance to really shine in our own special universe. But taking inspiration and throwing it into the bright void of what's possible, of what we can achieve? That's what creates and changes history. That's what leaves a mark. My mother, my grandmothers, my blood sisters, my 'adopted' siblings and the women who i'm indelibly linked to through passion are all leaving their marks and paving the way to a brighter future; being surrounded by wonderful women is one of the greatest gifts I've ever received.
We tend to point at other people and look at 'flaws' and failings rather than accepting them as they are, and women are notorious for being 'catty'. But what we don't often focus on is the kindness and generosity and strength we have, or how welcoming and caring so many of us are. We embody a unique kind of caring that's both gentle and fierce; we may be self-critical, but won't hesitate to defend one of our own against outside criticism. Ours is a bond that transcends cultural differences and societal trends; it leaps separatist chasms and breaks down long-defended walls and only takes a smile and a nod to establish. This bond, this common thread, is woven through our subconscious.
I think of my own sisters, by birth and by marriage, and I can only smile. I look at my girls that I've met through sport, through passion, through awkward encounters and terrible, life-shaking experiences and I grin because these women, these inspiring, complicated, brilliant, tough, multi-faceted women are my muses. The women I haven't met. The girls I haven't spoken with. The babies who have yet to walk, let alone understand the full scope of their worth... That is what gives me hope. That is what keeps me grateful and positive and motivated.
So today, on this Tuesday, I'm grateful for the true gifts in our world: the women who surround me.