I thought long and hard about inspirational women when Atterley Road asked me to take part in their campaign to celebrate inspiring women. I thought about famous women who have impacted my life in some way (Kate Moss, say, or Carol Ann Duffy). I thought about women I work with, or have encountered in my professional life (such as the First 100 Years project that I worked on last year, without whom I wouldn’t be a lawyer today) but in the end, I decided to talk about someone nearer home.
Well, nearer to my heart anyway. Nearer home when one lives 5 hours drive away isn’t exactly accurate. I also cheated a little, as it’s technically two women: my sisters. Photographed above by my Dad at E’s christening last year, two beautiful, accomplished and amazing women that I am lucky enough to call my younger sisters.
A, a scientist who completed her PhD shortly before she became a mother last year, who despite living in a small town in West Wales where taking her married name would cause her much less hassle, defiantly stuck to her principles, and who has survived motherhood with far most grace than I have so far, is younger than me by 3 years. She is the one I turn to when Pip is challenging me and we keep each other sane through long phone conversations. Last summer, she diverted to Yorkshire to take care of my Grandfather and Dad during the last week of our Grandmother’s life, without even a travel cot. She took E and the clothes they had with them and cooked and cared for Grandpa and Dad, so they could be with Granny 24 hours a day. Even when E had to sleep in a drawer and wet every pair of trousers she had packed, Annie calmly and serenely took care of them.
The other A is younger than me by 5 years, although according to all bouncers everywhere, she is the older and never gets ID’d. If Annie is the calming influence, Alex is the person who challenges me, never says no, is brave and walks closer to the line than most people. She sailed the Atlantic last summer, in a 3 man boat with people she’d never met. Backpacked round South East Asia at 18. Did a year in an American university. Gave up a career in advertising to do a masters last year and has taken up yacht racing. A inspires me to be brave; to speak my mind; to follow the party to the end, because thats when the interesting conversations are. It was Alex that I was with when Annie called to say Granny had died, just an hour after our other Granddad had died. It was Alex I drank margaritas with that night, on the phone to Annie.
That week last summer was when I lost my blogging way, but it’s no exaggeration to say it’s the unfailing support of these two who helped me find it again. It was Alex who took me to Morocco, when post-natal depression and breastfeeding had dragged me to my lowest, eight months after Pip was born. It was Alex that sat there with a notebook, painfully writing down my every anxiety, eventually striking through the ones that I couldn’t control and amalgamating all the others, until the list was manageable and the pounding in my heart and pain in my neck had subsided. It is Alex that still provides the linchpin in our complicated diary management and it is Annie to whom I whisper that I think I could have done it better, and she says what Granny used to say. “If you did your best, angels couldn’t do better”.
Who inspires you? Join in the campaign by posting a picture of a woman who inspires you on Instagram, tag it @AtterleyRoad #ARWOMAN and nominate some friends to do the same.