This Women’s Day, let’s celebrate our everyday local women, our mothers, sisters, maids, colleagues or common everyday women who can be our heroes and inspire us
Who comes to your mind when you think of influential, inspirational people? How many actually think of women trailblazers? And are those inspiring women internationally or nationally known? Celebrities? Writers? Pop stars? Political leaders? Media personalities ? I know, majority will answer that with an affirmative nod.
March 8 is International Women’s Day and for that day, just like any other day, I wanted to pay tribute to some contemporary and inspirational women I know who deserve recognition and respect for their contributions in our current society by creating substantial difference in our local communities and bringing happiness to thousands of people.
This day, I want to tell my kids, everyone’s kids and especially parents and adults to reconsider who we introduce as our role models, our superheroes, our inspiration and who we look up to because celebrities and international/national personas are very far-fetched. We need to start acknowledging our local women who are creating huge impact right at home, near us, within our reach and who can aspire our kids to strive for attainable tenacity and humanity.
Whether we realize or not, we are surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring women who live amongst us and have created a niche in our society. Local women who might not be a celebrity yet but who have touched and changed lives and created happiness for others more than a celebrity possibly could.
When I was struggling with post natal depression, I copped a lot of low-key backhanded diss from a lot of people around me. But a chance meeting with my son’s high school career advisor changed my life forever. She sensed I needed a receptacle for all my unaddressed emotions and past trauma and made my life so much less stressful in small meaningful ways by organizing parents-teachers meeting on my schedule, waiving school premise carpark rules so I didn’t have to panic about getting my car towed away, checking in on me regularly, organizing family case worker so my son’s grades didn’t suffer and even offering to baby-sit so I could go for a little “me time” coffee or movie or something. She bent backwards for my family so my son’s transition into high school ran smoothly despite what impacted us whole as a family. This experience made me realize, I didn’t need Mother Teresa or Michelle Obama, for an instance, as my idol, my hero was right there few kilometers away from me. This local superwoman is my hero as she keeps making lots of other mothers’ lives miraculously easier on an everyday basis.
This also makes me wonder, how many of us have honestly stopped and appreciated our everyday heroes in our community or even within our households? It’s perhaps the housemaid most people often forget about. What’s inspiring about a housemaid you say? Well, if you can retain your humility, genuflect and loyalty despite the everyday unpleasant work or even some insults here and there, I’d say nothing. But I simply pay my huge respect and draw my inspirations from housemaids because I’ve learnt that life will kick you and thrash you million times and it’s our humility and perseverance that gets us up. We don’t always need a pop star celebrity, housemaid could be our superwoman hero too.
Or maybe it’s your fitness instructor who cops a lot of flak generally, but have you ever wondered the endurance, perseverance and determination she brings to the class just so you all can get your health and body into better shapes? Yes she mints money out of it but really, not all doctors, engineers, lawyers have to be our role models again. People with vocational skills, business acumen, craftsmanship can definitely inspire a thing or two in us with skills that sustain communities in real time rather than political leaders who only disappoint us on a larger scale.
How about our mother who daily sacrifices her sleep just to cook food so we could eat before we leave for college or work? No, it’s not her paid job to do so. She is mirroring some great lessons by her every day home-making, we only need to pay attention and draw inspiration from her. I cannot fathom the patience, logistics and intelligence each mother can teach us to maintain balance and harmony in the household each day. My superheroes are all mothers who go about their daily chores like little troopers on a mission. My salute to these influential women who have so much in them to change the narrative of upbringing of generations that can strive to make gender inequality a history.
Reverse role model
I am also aware of “reverse role modeling” that most of us are often guilty of. When we compare our kids with the neighbor’s or a relative’s children, we are being a reverse role model. Our children will never get inspired from us for having put them through such detrimental juxtaposition. And I am pretty certain inspiration and role modeling start from our own home during the formative years of our children. We need to reconsider what kind of influence are we being for our kids to emulate? If we begin to acknowledge and appreciate uniqueness in people around us, including ourselves, if we start to truly admire the differences and cherish the diversity, if we concede that every work is respectable no matter how menial they seem, if we relinquish our disapproval of unsubdued voices of women in our community, then maybe, maybe we can take pride in being a bonafide role model to our kids and to people around us. Everyone can inspire us, especially women with their immense fortitude in every task they undertake, every inequality they voice and their impactful stance against any kind of violence.
So, this Women’s Day, let us celebrate our everyday local women. Let our kids learn from these women and discover. It’s about time parents and kids recognize that it’s not just people of fame but also our mothers, sisters, maids, colleagues or common everyday women who can be our heroes and inspire us. Someone once said, “A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected”. Let’s appreciate, honor, respect and acknowledge our local inspirational women this International Women’s Day.