Leading up to Mother’s Day I wanted to write a short tribute to two incredible women whom I love. But then I realized that this wouldn’t do justice to all of the women who have inevitably made such a mark on my life.
But first, I need to speak of my mother. Ever since I was a young girl I thought that my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world. Obviously aesthetically she is beautiful and has such a great sense of style, but what makes her gorgeous in my eyes is the way that she lives her life with such grace. Her calm and gentle approach to life can make it easy to sometimes underestimate her, but she is the strongest woman I know. She is also the funniest and let me give you some example of my mother’s wit. One weekend we were over at my parents’ house and I was in the dining room reading. She was playing with my son and I overhear her saying, “Ask your mommy to brush you hair everyday C. I know that she never brushes her hair.” Yes my friends, because I wear my naturally wavy hair in a pony tail and have long given up the fight with the flat iron, I never brush my hair. It made me laugh. The other day C. had a cough and throughout the whole day, she kept asking me to give him cough syrup. He is two years old and the paediatrician has already said that cough suppressants don’t work and that it’s something that his system has to work through. This is not just for kids, we all have to let our immune system deal with it. So I finally said, “can you stop telling me to give my child alcohol (which is what cough syrup mainly is).” To which she replied: “you are like one of those people who don’t use electricity.”
I’ve always wanted to be exactly like her and I still do.
In turn my late grandmother can be described as the polar opposite to my mother. She had a big and outspoken personality that everyone was drawn to. Professionally she never allowed anything, from her gender, ethnicity or nationality stop her from achieving her goals. Her fearlessness is something I continually try to emulate. This is a woman who completed her PhD in Canada and traveled to Moscow and Mongolia with the UN. She had a light that people just wanted to be within. And I’m lucky to have known her and be loved by her because like with everything, she loved well. She’s taught me everything I know but the two lessons that I remember most is when she told me not to marry an extreme (religious, political) or controlling man and to always have enough money in the bank account to leave. She told me this when I was eleven. She spent some time with my husband before he proposed and the fact that she genuinely adored him was probably one of the main reasons I said yes. That’s how much I trusted her judgement. I was with my husband in Paris recently and we were sitting in this beautiful, modern restaurant in the Opera house. I started speaking of her and he said that I was crying in restaurants again (the other moment was when we had a tiff in a famous tearoom earlier in the week). But I couldn’t help it, it was suffocating how much I missed her. I miss her every single day.
Lastly, I feel so lucky to know so many strong, incredible women. My best friend K, has literally seen me at my worst when I was making questionable life choices and when I wasn’t very happy either. But she is my truest friend, someone who will love me unconditionally. She is also one of the first people I want to see when I am oh so happy, like I am now. To the women, K, P and T, who are technically my cousins but actually my sisters, my beautiful aunts, my best girlfriends and all of the ladies who were my family in Chiang Mai and Mae Sot, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your friendship, your light and the strengths of your character.
To say that I love women would be an understatement. I majored in Women’s Studies during my undergrad, I define myself as a feminist political geographer for my doctoral studies and I want to devote my career, whatever form it takes, working towards equal opportunity for genders and those of different ethnicities, abilities and sexualities. But I couldn’t feel this much passion if I didn’t have such great role models and for that I am eternally indebted to all of you. Much love.