Warrior Women; how I survived my life

I fully intended to write up some entertaining pieces about our recent travels, and I still hope to do so. I need to retreat alone somewhere and simply write.

At the moment I’m visiting my parents and certain events have reinforced my feeling that strong, warrior women have had my back for years. I didn’t always realize it or appreciate it.  I feel compelled to address this issue.

At the film festival we watched a short film with a female protagonist who went out on her own to start a new life. What we found sad, initially, was that she was so alone. Did she not have parents? Friends? Siblings? I realized then, as I often have, how much of a safety net I’ve carried around with me my whole life. She found her makeshift family, just as I now have a birth family and a makeshift family.

I’ve always felt fortunate to have a loving family. Yes, we’ve had our issues, but we love each other and we want to see each other. We’re interested in each others’ lives. My mom and sisters were there in the early years. I have an older sister who was like a second mom to me and another older sister who has been kind of an ally my whole life. I have a younger sister who looked up to me at one time, and now is always on my mind, even though I don’t see her much.

When I left home for university, my sisters were there again. I also made friends and continued some high school friendships.  I have different sets of friends, some with overlap, that I have taken for granted too long. It’s only in recent years that we’ve started having reunions and that I’ve really appreciated what these friends have done for me.  Through different dates and boyfriends they have been on my side, looking out for my best interests.

In my internship, I would not have survived, never have gone back or moved on to finish elsewhere, without their faith in me. It took losing one of these lovely ladies to bring us all together again.

The pattern continued when I started working. It continued when I had children, in my baby group and in the women I met through our children’s school friends and in Brownies. Some of my best warriors I met in Speed Skating.  It goes on even now that we’ve started this life so far from our friends and families.

By the way, when did I forget how to make friends on my own, without the connection of children? I’m trying to learn that skill all over again.

I’m afraid I didn’t always appreciate this warrior force. Sometimes I wasn’t the best of friends myself. Sometimes I forgot that it wasn’t all about me. I love these ladies so much for standing by me and being there, no matter how oblivious I might have been to their needs.  I can  pinpoint the moment when I started to be someone else’s warrior. It was when our first child was born, but like the people who have had my back all those years, I don’t restrict my support to family members. I can almost pinpoint when I became a warrior for someone not related.

We recently saw the movie Wonder Woman, and I loved it for so many reasons. I know I’m not Wonder Woman, but I love what she stands for. We have one thing in common and that’s being surrounded by an amazing support group of warriors. I want to be an Amazon warrior and help to shape the Wonder Women as well as the men of the future.

 

Expectations vs Reality and self fulfilling prophecies.

I have an artistic friend who sees art everywhere. She can look at the close up of boxes stacked together and see a pattern that, to her eye, creates a work of art.

I often look up from what I’m doing and marvel a little at the beauty that surrounds us. Little things capture my attention, like the way the sun or moonlight is glimmering off the rib of a palm frond. I take photos of the sunset almost every night, because there is always something different in it that appeals to me. The setting sun might be casting perfect palm tree shadows on the pool. A cloud will be glowing pink and gold. Even the storms here are beautiful, with the contrast of dark clouds against the varying blues of the sea.

It occurred to me recently that I’ve started looking at people in the same way. I expect the best of everyone. I expect honesty and kindness. I used to be more wary of people, and I still find it difficult to get to know someone. I have found, from talking to neighbours and friends, that if you look for the worst in people, you’ll probably find it.

Consider some of our prejudices, and I’m sure I have my own. People of my generation speak dismissively of “millennials”, yet I wonder, what age is a millennial? The young people I know are not glued to their phones. They are not selfish and self-absorbed. They don’t have any sense of entitlement. They are hard-working, social, intelligent and thoughtful.

Yes, we hear about certain behaviours that make us say, “Entitlement!” I don’t think that word is exclusive to any age group. There are people in their 30’s, 40’s 50’s, 60’s and older with a sense of entitlement.

My point here is that when we have these prejudices, we treat people a certain way. Are you giving everyone a fair chance to demonstrate what is great about them? Are you open enough to accept people with their differences and still see their inner beauty. Have you had a real conversation with that young, single guy, or that beautiful young woman? You’ve made your assumptions, but do you really know them? Do you know how much loss they’ve had in their lives? Do you know if they are happy where they are in life?

Look for the best in a situation, the “silver lining” to use a cliché. Look for the beauty in your surroundings. (I know, easy for me to say that here in Paradise, but I find beauty wherever I am.) Finally, expect the best from people. Sometimes you’ll be disappointed, but I think, more often, you will learn how complex each individual is and that almost everyone has something wonderful to offer.

There is a lovely quote from Mother Teresa. I am not a religious person, but I did like this. “People are often unreasonable and self centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best, anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

Whether you believe in God or the power of the universe or nothing, what can it hurt to be kind and generous and honest? It can only help make the world better.