When I was younger, it took me a while before answering the question “who is your role model?”
I’ve never thought about the answer.
I would have probably said: Emma Watson for her intelligence, Michelle Obama for her kindness or Malala Yousafzai for her courage.
Don’t get me wrong, I still deeply admire those women for what they represent and have achieved . But now that I am older, I am surer about the answer to that question. All this time, my role models were right under my nose.
They were the women who took care of me when I was sick; who cheered me up when I was feeling low; who always gave without expecting anything in return.
They were the brave, attentive, confident, devoted, funny, gentle, natural, outgoing, restless, passionate, sensible women of my life.
They are sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts or friends who punctuated my life with the deepest lessons I couldn’t have learnt at school.
They are women I’ve known all my life, women I’ve met for the first time at university or at my workplace.
They taught me so much. Little treasures that I keep in a locked secret box. The box is full of untold lessons that nourish my soul and have built the individual I am today.
I open it for special situations, when I need guidance or comfort.
My mum taught me that crying is not a weakness. My grandmothers showed me the beauty of growing old and that listening is an important quality. My sister gave me an everyday sense of positivity and that after we fall, we always rise again. My friends taught me that having the right people by your side can only make your life better.
I’ve learnt from the challenges and difficult situations they have overcome.
My mum had cancer and she never tried to hide it. She’s always talked about it; it was her way to heal. My friend, who has lived a difficult breakup; her patience and benevolence helped her to surmount this painful moment. My grandmother who raised four children on her own. My other grandmother who had to conciliate family and a full-time job.
This is for them.
I want to tell them how heroic they are and how grateful I am to have them by my side. I want to explain to them that they are admired for their qualities and the ways they tackle life. That, as a mother, a sister or a friend, they should be the role model of every little girl.
Do I believe that my sister is the kindest person I know even when she shouts at me?
Do I think that my mum’s tears make her stronger?
I am sure of that.
No heroes are perfect. Kryptonite makes Superman vulnerable. Batman is only human. Wolverine is not a good swimmer. Iron man only relies on his armour.
But like Hulk who made his anger a superpower; their faults do not make them less strong.
On the contrary. From their pride, anger, stubbornness and insolence is born a sense of courage. They are not afraid to express who they are, the beautiful and the ugly.
Like the yin and yang, the good and the bad are complementary forces that form a whole greater than the assembled parts.
They are real, everyday women. Wonder women that I share my path with and I know there will be many more to come.