Friday 16 August 2013

Feature Friday: The quiet, everyday successes

Hi everyone! This is the last in my Feature Friday series of guestposts and whilst on one hand I feel quite sad that I won't have anymore to share with you, on the other, I really couldn't ask for a better post with which to bring this series to close. 

Tonight's post is courtesy of Avon, who blogs at Spider's Filthy Assistant. Out of all the guestposts, it's the one that's resonated with me the most; probably because if, when the idea for this series first came to me, you had asked me about the women that personally inspire me, I would have named Sarah Michelle Gellar and Milla Jovovich. However, as the series has progressed, what I've realised, and feel very strongly about, is that inspirational women are all around us. And that includes me and you. 

You probably have no idea of the impact you have on the lives of those around you but you do, so don't be afraid to embrace who you are. Be true to yourself and live your life with integrity.

Now over to Avon ...

When I first offered/asked to write this guest post I thought it would be so easy to think of some strong, fabulous, notable women who like totally inspire me, but that wasn't actually the case.

If you'd asked me about ten years ago I'd probably have said Frida Kahlo and Vivienne Westwood. Kahlo spent her life in considerable physical and emotional pain (thanks to a serious bus accident and a seriously messy love life) but produced such beautiful, powerful work and was so sure in her self. So confident. One of my mum's friends gave me her biography when I was about 16 and I devoured it. Vivienne Westwood was just so damn cool, you know. So creative and, again, so self-assured.

But I'm aware now that I wanted to be these women, not be like them. It was aspirational not inspirational. And it generally still is when I admire or envy someone in the public eye.

One of my favourite Grand Designs episodes is the one where the young interior designer builds a gorgeous Scandi style house in Cornwall. But it actually makes me feel worse about my life because what have I done? She's got a boyfriend who loves her and she's super talented and successful and then she builds this house that I would love to live in and does it under budget. No one is ever under budget on Grand Designs! In comparison, what have I done? Nothing much.

The women who truly inspire me are the women I know. My Mum who brought up two kids on her own. My aunt who has travelled extensively and who still works all over the world. My Grandma who was a city councillor in her retirement and only stopped last year, at the age of 85, because her body rebelled. My friend who is completely winning in her fight against agoraphobia and for whom every trip out of the house is a victory. Every single one of my peers who works a couple of shitty jobs to simply survive in this cruel economic climate.

It's so easy to get caught in hero worship and a little bit of lifestyle envy. Sure, Caitlin Moran is great and Lauren Laverne seems to have a perfect life and Angelina Jolie is powerfully self-assured. But the women you should truly be inspired by are the ones with the quiet, everyday successes. The woman who lives on your street in a shitty bedsit because she's finally had the courage to leave her abusive husband. The girl you see at the gym who works two jobs to pay for her degree. Your best friend who has sat through every single breakup you've had without complaint but always with wine. These are the women who should be inspiring you. Because, to me, the quiet, everyday successes are the truly inspirational ones.

"I'm Avon, I'm 27 and I live in glorious Edinburgh. I have a cat called Selina, too many books, black & white hair and a (probably unhealthy) obsession with post-it notes and the colour grey. I can normally be found tweeting a lot of nonsense at @avonwy".


Anonymous said...

I have only just read this post and I think it's wonderful and so, so true. Beautifully done, Avon.

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