I was listening to my sister-in-law give her inaugural lecture and she rounded off the talk by appreciating the people that helped and supported her to get to where she was today. She talked about the people that inspired her but also guided and supported her when life got tough. Earlier in the lecture she mentioned that an intervention that she had identifed when put into practice had helped save over 3 million lives. She is 47 years old and already she has achieved something that is almost impossible to comprehend. It blows me away. “Here is an inspiring women”, I thought, “I am so thankful that some of my children are here to experience this.”

It occurred to me today that I have been inspired by a number of women recently:

  • a friend who works in remote parts of Nepal only accessible by foot (or helicopter if you are rich enough) helping to support, setup and improve the education in villages days apart from each other;
  • a women whose had three friends killed in seperate terrorist attacks but has continued to be a leading light in scientific research, and is a lovely person to spend an evening chatting to;
  • Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings (on show in Tate Modern) sparked in me a real desire to paint again, but also to see how I could transform a particular view into abstract art;
  • my friend who is writing plays and getting them performed is inspiring me to try my hand at dialogue;
  • a fellow blogger called Summer, whose cartoon encapsulations have rekindle memories of my pen drawing and characturtures sketching days and has planted a seed of new ideas and possibilities on how to spend my time;
  • my friend who is seeing someone to sort out some issues partly triggered from her experiences whilst I was going through failing health leading to a liver transplant;
  • the young european woman able to find the strength to explore the issues surrounding the abuse dealt out by a parent in front of fourteen complete strangers.

What is going on here? I am sure there have been inspiring people in my life before now, but somehow I haven’t been able to see them. In some fundamental way I have changed my way of seeing the world, and have opened my eyes to the wonders that others have achieved. There is more though. It isn’t just about seeing, it’s about appreciating and communicating that to these people (well Ms O’Keeffe isn’t around to appreciate anymore). Is it then that I am now willing to take the risk and be nice to others, and is it really a risk? Complementing others does come with a hesitation on my part. I wonder if I am afraid of rejection, perhaps being laughed at; is the change that I am becoming okay in forming and giving opinions to others even if they may disagree. Am I becoming more accepting of and loving to myself?

That’s a pretty big statement on my part; can I really be becoming more comfortable in my own skin?

I am curious that my list consists completely of women. Thinking over it, there are a few men whom I appreciate, but I am not sure that they inspire me. I tend to respect and admire men, but I don’t on the whole find them inspiring. I mentioned Hank in my Unexpected Anger post. He is perhaps an exception to this, his ability to care and inspire others to help out complete strangers is something I have praised and also vowed to try and emulate when the chance arises.

Still the gender inequality is saying something, I am just not sure what at the moment. Does it matter though? I don’t think so. The fact that I am finding inspiration in others is definitely a positive thing and something that I intend to celebrate.