I think most of us find it hard to take compliments naturally. Even when family members are complimentary I get a bit embarrassed and shrug it off, or find something about me that is wrong. For example If I am told I look amazing, I will find fault with my eyeliner, or my hair, or my shoes don’t quite match. And I don’t know why I do this.
It would be so much easier to simply say “Thank you, it is really lovely of you to say” But I don’t. I mumble or get a bit flustered.
This leads on to my blog, my readers and followers. Very often I get lovely compliments on my posts from people stating they love my dress, or my style, and how I am an inspiration for being so confident and not giving a damn what people think to my style of dressing.
Recently I have been nominated for Most Inspiring Blogger in the up and coming StyleXL Awards. This is just mindblowing to me! I don’t actually feel that inspiring…
I have mentioned before that whenever I am in London, you can guarantee people will come up directly to me and say such wonderful things, ask to have a picture, or even inquire as to where I get my dresses from. It has been a really positive, if not a little strange time.
On one occasion I was walking out of Kings Cross Railway Station with Boo and Kerry when a voice called out ” Excuse me are you Tanya?”
I turned and saw this lovely lady with a huge smile on her face. Sarah was a follower on pretty much all my social media and threw herself at me asking if she could give me a hug. She told me how she loved my blog and how inspirational I was. Well, you could have knocked my socks off!
We had a photo together and she pretty much made my day, and said I made hers too. It was a lovely little meeting.
So, what exactly is the point of this post? To tell you all how wonderful I am?
Hell no! Whilst it is lovely talking about all of these lovely experiences, it is a little cringey to think you are all that and a bag of chips!
The point is to discuss the topic of Inspirations. My inspirations in fact. And what better day to do it than on International Women’s Day?
There are so many people I could include in this post, both historical and people from present day. So how do you go about choosing them all?
I started with a big long list, and then looked at narrowing it down. I could look at iconic people such as Madonna and Lady Gaga who have pushed boundaries, however what have they actually really done?
I delved a bit further into the people that actually “Changed” the World in which they lived.
The more I looked at those women who I admired, the more I realised what being Inspirational was all about.
My first choice was a very easy one. My Favourite book of all time is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read this book for my GCSE’s exams back in 1988/1989. And I was hooked. I still have the exact copy of that book, with passages underlined and circled around. Notes in the margins and arrows pointing to words of interest.
I was transfixed by a book that was nearly 30 years old at that point. From the point of publishing it had been an instant success and it is estimated that 50 million copies have been sold Worldwide!
It was the first (and until recently, last) book by Harper and by 1964 she had withdrawn from the public eye and refused virtually all interviews and public appearances.
She is quoted as having said “I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.”
She lived her life in a time of turmoil and trouble, when there was segregation between black and white people. Her home town in the deep South was used as the location for her book, and a true life murder, is believed to be the basis for her book. Her father unsuccessfully defended two black men accused of killing a white shopkeeper when she was growing up.
The reason I admired both the book and Harper was she lived in a time where black sympathies were not condoned. The white believed themselves to be superior and the black were treated abominably. She wrote about a topic that whilst was an instant hit, caused a lot of split opinions. She wrote what she wanted and didn’t let public opinion alter her morals or beliefs.
She also stuck to those beliefs and didn’t release another book until 2015. This prequel, “Go Set A Watchman” has divided opinions, and was released when Harper Lee was virtually deaf and blind and suffering from dementia. Some believed that when in sound mind, she would never have let it be released.
For me, I can’t read the new book. I know that it portrays the iconic Atticus Finch (the hero of Mockingbird) in a different light. And I don’t want the book that has followed me all through my life, to be tainted by something that possibly shouldn’t have been released.
For me, Harper Lee had morals and wasn’t afraid to put them down on paper, in an era when that kind of behaviour could get you lynched.
Hatshepsut has been a long time idol of mine. I first learnt about her when I went on a school trip to Egypt around 1986. Of course by this point I knew who Nefertiti and Cleopatra was, but I had never heard of Hatshepsut.
But why not?
In my opinion she did far more for the Egyptian civilisation than the other two put together. She was technically the second ever female Pharoah, but the first only ruled for 6 years. Hatshepsut ruled for over 21 years, longer than any other female Pharoah.
She made Egypt a Country of Peace and prosperity again, re-establishing trade routes into other parts of the World, even bringing back trees from other parts of Africa and establishing them in her Palace.
She was a prolific builder and her mortuary temple is one of the finest examples of a Colonnade design. It was so grand that all the other Pharoah’s after wanted to build their tombs near hers, and this eventually became known as the World famous Valley of the Kings! All because her temple was so beautiful.
Whilst she wore the regalia of a male Pharoah, including the false beard, crook and flail and Uraeus crown, she was a true female. One of the trees she had bought back from Punt was the Frankincense tree, and she used ground down charred frankincense as Kohl eyeliner, the very first recorded usage for the resin!
Sadly it is believed that her death was caused by a skin lotion that had Carcinogenic properties. She literally died trying to stay beautiful.
Talking about Beauty, there is a very famous old saying ” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and this is so very true. Whether this is someone looking at you, or you viewing yourself, it is not all about the prettiness of your face, but also your soul.
My next choice is a more modern one. Alicia Keys.
Now you may wonder exactly why a much younger than I am, beautiful, celebrity is on my list. I mean, she has umpteen grammy’s, sold over 30 million albums and 35 million singles. But that is not why she is on my list.
In May 2016 she announced that she was no longer going to wear make-up. She started a makeup free campaign stating
“I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
This for me is a bold statement to make. She spends a lot of her time in the public eye, giving concerts and appearing on television. To do this bare faced sends out a great message. It tells young girls (and boys) that you don’t have to conform to societal pressure, plastering on makeup if you don’t want to.
You can be as natural as you want, and in a day and age where magazine covers are photoshopped and airbrushed to the max, this really is a powerful message.
Of course, at 35 she has pretty good skin (by the looks of it) and may not have to contend with teenage acne, however this extends to more than just cosmetics. Fake tan, extensions, fake nails and lashes all cover up the body in one way or another, and this campaign can show that you don’t need to do all that if YOU DON’T WANT TO!
Of course, if you love your make-up and your tan, that is cool too. You just don’t have to bow down to society and it’s demands.
My final choice is my favourite inspiration.
Joy Lofthouse is possibly not a name you are familiar with. She is not famous or a celebrity. But she is amazing.
Joy joined the Air Transport Auxillary during World War II. This was a rare thing to do, as only 164 women were accepted into the corp. She was taught to fly THIRTY-EIGHT different types of plane and her role was to deliver them to the airfields for the men to fly them off into combat. Women were not allowed to fly into combat, but she was involved in some hair raising flights.
Some 70 years later, at the age of 92 she flew in a Spitfire again.
Now, as I said, she isn’t well known, has Oscars or Grammys to her name. But what she does have is something that I would love every young girl and lady to have. Guts and determination!
She learnt to fly in a male dominated society. She handled over 38 different planes in treacherous weather, at a time when bombs where flying. She got the planes to their destinations so the men could fly them off on sorties and raids.
And at the age of 92 she is still showing the same bravery and determination. She is what my Auntie would have termed as a “game old bird”
She goes to show that no matter the circumstances, you can achieve anything, and that the sky literally is the limit.
So what do you think to my inspirations? Who do you look up to, or aspire to be like?
Tell next time