It’s easy to pay attention to the elders surrounding us while we are growing up, and it’s even easier to pick a certain one to be our role model. In my case, it was always my dad. But, what about female role models? I’ve been lucky to have 3 wonderful women in my life that, at one or another point of my life, I’ve paid attention to. These are my grandma, my mom and, lately, my aunt.
1. Grandma — as you’d probably expect, I met her when she was an old lady and had lived through loads of good and bad stuff (i.e. the illness of her mother, the sudden death of her beloved father, losing her properties, an unhappy marriage, being unable to have more children after the birth of my father, and, at the end of her life, having to stay inside the house for more than 2 years, being unable to leave because of her own illness). She always appeared to me as a classy lady. Always insisted that I had to dress properly, work hard and be polite. Old-fashioned as she was, she taught me to be nice, tolerant and humble. She also taught me that no matter what challenges life throws at your face: you must keep going and you must survive. My amazing grandma survived the Spanish Civil War, was always too skinny to be healthy, and knew how to be quiet. Now that I have more common sense than when she lived (she passed away when I was 14) I understand the terrible things she had to go through. The only thing I don’t think I would be able to do is being quiet and submissive -but let’s not forget, those were different times.
2. Mom — from my mom I’ve learned that I could be strong, in spite of losing by most prized people. In her case, before I was born she lost her husband and her eldest daughter in a car accident. She was also in the car, as well as her other daughter (my old sister), but they both survived. My mother was left alone, with a child to protect -and she was deaf. I know she was lucky to have the help of her sister, my aunt, but still -it takes courage to keep going and go through a depression like she did. Now, she is a cheerful woman, a bit careless of the world, but a good person afterall. What inspires me is that in spite of her disability, she has survived. And she is happy.
3. Aunt — last but not least, is my aunt. The sister of my mother, she has basically been the protector of the family. I haven’t met a person more independent, brave and self-sufficient as her. A single woman, she’s always lived alone, worked for herself and enjoyed her time by herself. From her, I’ve learned to enjoy my time alone, to be my best friend and to be realistic. I’ve also learned that the specified canon of happiness is not the only one -a woman can actually be happy alone. We don’t need a man to survive. From her I’ve also learned to be compassive, and to be a bit of a bitch. Because, really, being a bitch sometimes can be helpful for us women. (Note: when I say “being a bitch” I mean being aggressive, don’t get me wrong, people. Being a bitch is a good thing in my opinion). My aunt and I have become friends relatively late. First, I was too attached to my grandma. When she died, I tended to be closest to my dad… but during the past 5 years, with “the flowering of my femininity” (hahahaha let me be a bit cheesy here, ok?), she has become my definite role model, mentor and great friend. I want to be as independent as she is, I want to work for myself and I want to be able to go on trips whenever I want to.
This post was triggered after she, my aunt, gave me some books to encourage me as a woman. Those are: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir, The Cinderella Complex: Women’s Hidden Fear of Independence by Colette Dowling and Tu Sexo es aún más tuyo (Your Sex is Yours) by Sylvia de Béjar.
I’ll be reading, thinking, and telling you all about it.