So now I’m thinking heavily about those ladies who live and breathe and inspire me (as opposed to the fictional women who are my role models). I don’t know any of them personally. One of them at least has passed away now. So if I don’t know these extraordinary women, how can I claim that they inspire me in my own life? There isn’t an easy answer to be honest. I gather what I do know about them from the media in some cases, so what if I have them all wrong? What if they’re not the person I think they are? Does it make me a fool for choosing to follow my perceived idea of their example? Hopefully my own judgment will rule in any case. I’m going to sit on my little cloud though, for the most part, and choose to believe that these women are who I think they are. I think we all need that “bigger person” in our life who makes us want to be just like them.
Dame Julie Andrews is at the top of the list here because of how long I’ve admired her. I grew up watching her movie musicals. I no longer remember the first time my ears ever heard her beautiful voice but because I too grew up singing, I’ve held her in highest esteem for what feels like forever. I decorated my college dorm room with her vinyl records in frames. I have a life motto: if Julie could sing it, so can I. It breaks my heart to think that she can no longer sing. If that happened to me, I’m sure I’d be equally as devastated as Julie. Singing is integral to who I am. I look up to her though, for more than her beautiful singing talents. She is a truly gifted actress. She is eloquent and graceful in manner. She is also a very strong woman in character, which I did not fully grasp until I read the autobiography of her early years. It is an insight into the world that shaped who she is today, one I’m grateful to have. She came from a bit of a dysfunctional home life if I’ve ever heard one and overcame it to pursue a life on stage and then in Hollywood. She doesn’t place blame on her troubles though. It is easy to make excuses when life is unfair but it would be better to deal with the lot you’ve been given and make the most and overcome it. I have looked up to her for her singing since I was a small child, but after reading her autobiography, I looked up to her even more. She makes me want to hug her, for both of us.
Another strong woman I look up to is Katharine Jefferts Schori. She is the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (TEC), the denomination to which I belong. She is the first female leader of my church and I love to read her sermons online. I think I completely ignored my husband for an entire evening about two weeks ago as I read them walking around the house and doing dishes and such. If you read my posts often, you probably already know that I love my church. One of the things I love the most is that every Episcopalian has their own faith and beliefs–we all bring them to the table and we’re all different but we’re all welcome. Katharine has had to respond to insane amounts of criticism as the head of TEC. She comes under flack just because she’s a woman but there are also people and groups who dislike what she says who would probably dislike her message no matter who she was. She was a scientist first, an oceanographer and she’s a pilot. (SO COOL!) Her tenure as primate has caused a great deal of controversy–whole dioceses have left the church entirely. It saddens me but in my opinion, Bishop Katharine has borne all of this criticism with a great deal of composure. The strength of her character has really shone through the ordeals she’s been given to deal with. Now, I don’t know her in any kind of personal way, so I base my opinions on interviews I’ve heard and seen, her sermons, YouTube videos like this one, or this one, and news articles and such. I think she is a very practical theologian and her words often inspire and move me. I find myself saying “I agree!” or “I was just saying that!” It is nice to hear her speak with such eloquence and poise and it inspires me a great deal. It makes me want to be a better person.
I end with a woman I love to see in the news because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything negative released about her. Kate Middleton. I admire her purely for her grace and smile. I love her style and elegance of stature. I just think she has a smile that lights up half the world and it is nice to have some sunshine in your newscast when the rest of the report is about terrible atrocities and such. I’m sure she has bad habits just like the rest of us–what if she picks her nose?–but we can leave those aside.
Just as with my other blog post on this matter (here), this is a small sampling of the women who inspire me to improve myself. There are many others: Carol Burnett, Audrey Hepburn, JK Rowling, Abigail Adams, etc. In general, I tend to favour people who speak and write well. (Good grammar matters!) It really is very important to me to communicate clearly and as such, my list of women here are people often in the public arena. I
What can I do? Well my husband is a military officer and as his career advances, perhaps one day people will look to me for leadership and support during a deployment. I want to be a strong inspirational woman too. Right now, I’m still learning all I can about the life I’m to lead, and some of it will need to be experienced before it is learnt, but I hope to one day be a mentor to others. With these women guiding me, I can’t fail!