Spurned on by watching the Beyoncé Documentary “Life is But a Dream” I’m feeling very aware of the fact that most if not all of my role models are women who are independent and strong. So I’m going to talk about that.
From a very young age, my mother always told me to be who I was, even if it meant not being accepted by everyone. I live by these words. I try to live by her example, because she was a much better person than I was. She was so strong, and yet compassionate. She worried constantly about how her actions affected others, which is why she left so many people with great memories of her when she passed away. I strive everyday to remember the lessons she taught me.
I often think at the end of a difficult day what a wonder it was that she smiled so much when it seemed like life had given her too much to be upset about. She juggled raising a daughter, being a wife, having a job, and living with cancer for almost 10 years. And yet there she was, laughing through the pain. She always listened to me, even when my stories and personal tragedies probably didn’t seem as important in the scheme of things as they did to me.
I remember after I won prom queen that I told everyone that I had a headache so that I could go home instead of attending a sleepover. She was waiting up for me even though it was nearly midnight and still in my prom dress, I sat with her and cried for probably an hour. I didn’t think that many people liked me in high school. And yeah, they probably voted for me because I was the girl who’s mother had cancer, but in that moment I was so aware of the fact that people accepted me with all my flaws.
She told me over and over my whole life that being myself would be rewarding at some point. And so I did as she said even when it blew up in my face. But there was the proof that night. It was the greatest lesson I ever learned. I was so happy and so sad that I was leaving high school and going off to start a new life at college. For a short time I even tried to change who I was so that people would be friends with me, but it blew up in my face and I gave up—became myself again.
My mom sat there and held me after prom, on what was probably the best day of my life. I want to go back to that day and just relive it over and over again just for that time I sat with her.
She was always so proud of me, even when I failed classes—because I did work hard all the time. Other parents probably would have yelled at me all the time for not paying attention during math, or all the times that I faked sick so that I could stay home. But she knew that I just wasn’t interested in class and I just needed to be away for a while. I’m so thankful that she was my mother.
I am by no means a perfect person. I’m judgmental. I roll my eyes constantly. I take on too much responsibility. I feel a lot, but I rarely let it out. I’m guarded. On a daily basis I struggle with everything, but I get through it for her.
I would be a very different person if it weren’t for having a mother and father like the ones who raised me. I’m lucky to have as much time with my mom as I did, because things could have easily ended far quicker for my relationship with her. I don’t think I’ll ever love anyone or anything as much as I love her.
I wouldn’t be this sarcastic or outspoken without my dad. I just wouldn’t. He’s incredibly strong and independent, but he’s always there for me when I need him. I work really hard all the time so that he can be proud of me. But I know that he would be proud of me either way in the end.
Ellen is a woman who is very true to herself. She had the strength to come out and has since made a name for herself by speaking openly about the struggles that she faced in life. She brings laughter and positive energy to whatever she does in life. Even just from watching her talk show, I feel empowered.
I’m still a little upset that upon telling someone that I was a strong independent woman like Ellen made some guy ask me if I was a strong independent lesbian. Because that is just one part of who she is to me. I meant that I am an independent woman like Ellen because she just allows the world to accept her as she is, without editing her personality—just like I do. Besides, lets me honest I would be so lucky to land a woman as amazing as Portia DeRossi if I was a lesbian.
Meg’s protagonist taught me at an early age that being unique and a little out there was a positive thing. Her characters never try to suppress who it is that they are in order to land a man. They are so comfortable in their skin, even when other people don’t quite understand them. I’m so grateful that it was her books that got me through high school and not the Twilight series. Granted, I did read those books with a passion for a short time. But looking back with a critical eye, Bella Swan is not the kind of woman that I am or that I aspire to be.
As a person, I have always loved that Meg writes about so many different kinds of women—pretty girls, awkward women, girls who don’t fit the classic sense of beauty. Every one of her characters shines as an example for women every where. And yes, there is always a male protagonist in her books, but the one characteristic that they share is that they appreciate women as they are, and not who they try to be.
So thanks Meg, though she was a Princess, Mia Thermopolis was by no means perfect. But she was the perfect way to illustrate what it is to be a teenage girl.
Also, I can’t lie. I wrote my novel in November to experience just a tiny fraction of what her life must be like. I give her props for turning out as amazing books as she has. She deserves more recognition for her work.
Hardworking, uncompromising, and strong. Those are the words that immediately come to mind when I think of Beyoncé. Though she’s stunning, Beyonce often shows those other sides of her personality that are difficult to illustrate. Anger. Heartbreak. I wish I could be as confident and fierce as she is on a daily basis.
I’m beginning to notice a pattern of aspiring to be like women who are a little quirky. And my girl Tina is just that. For a not quite short period of time I told people that I believed she was my real mom—something that my actual mother went along with, bless her. I strive to be like Tina because of just how much of her life she puts into her work. And yet she’s able to have a husband and children. She’s a real woman.
I read her biography over the summer and I was marveled by just how much she’s gone through. That sarcastic voice of hers just speaks to me on this base level. I’m so pleased that she’s become such a public figure because it means that she’s being exposed to girls like me who felt like they didn’t belong in high school because they were constantly making sarcastic comments and generally not joining in on what everyone else was doing.
There really isn’t a way for me to express just how much I take from her on a daily basis.
Yet another woman who I believe has it all. Kids and a job where she gets to be creative. Amy makes me smile whenever I see her. All that positive energy just fills me up inside and makes me aspire to be like that. I love that she strives to be a role model to young women, and sometimes vlogs from her empty bathtub. Because that’s just where we all want to be sometimes—alone, fully dressed, and in an empty bathtub. As I am also a fan of finding empty spaces to be by myself, I think we’re kindred spirits there.
He’s a man who believes in women. He believes in the power and fragility of women. His characters are flawed and strive to overcome the hands they’ve been dealt. I’m not going to lie, I channel my inner Buffy all the time. But I also channel my inner Joss when it seems as though everything is working against me. Because he taught me that when times get tough, and you’re going through hell, you just have to keep going. You have to keep trying. Get through the pain and it will give you something to look back on.
I’m a very lucky person that my dad chose to name me after such a powerful woman. I’m not very religious, but I still look up to Saint Bridget in times of trouble. If you don’t know anything about Saint Bridget, I suggest googling her. The one thing I probably take away from her the most is her dedication.
When Bridget was a young girl, she was very beautiful and she knew she wanted to dedicate her life to god. But her father wanted her to get married because her beauty was very sought after. And so Bridget prayed to god to make her ugly so that no one would want to marry her. And it worked. She became ugly and became a nun so that she could devote herself to god. After that, she woke up one day and discovered that she was beautiful again, but could save this beauty for god.
This story shows me that sometimes it takes making yourself ugly to get what you want from life. I have to let the claws out sometimes and suffer for what I want, because it will be worth it in the end. This dedication that I have to my life brings me a lot of headaches, but it also brings me so many amazing memories.
So there it is.