True Heroes

Monday, February 29, 2016

It's only human; when we are feeling down or a bit confused, when we're unsure what step to take, or we're making a tremendous life-impacting decision, we look to others for guidance and inspiration.

There are a lot of people in my life who I look up too, but of all the people who inspire me to carry on everyday, my family are most precious of all.

My Grandmother

My grandmother is basically the sole reason why I am the way I am.

In the 1950s, grandma Julie married my grandfather and lived in a small farming town. She had four children, my uncles Peter and Gavin, my aunt Sally and my mum, Megan. For a long time she attempted to do the "right thing", which for a woman living in small town rural New Zealand during the mid 20th century, was caring for children, cooking and cleaning, while the hubby was out "bringing home the bacon". All my grandmother had wanted to do all her life was travel, but my grandfather wasn't having any of that. So she took off, which is something women during this time did not do. She went to university, became a Feminist, had countless love affairs, travelled to the far reaches of the earth and lived life to her own terms, her own way. No one was gonna tell Julie what to do.

Anyway carrying on, by exposing my Mum and Aunty to her preferred way of life, which at the time was considered selfish and incredibly scandalous, they suddenly became aware that their was a lot more to living than the numerous small towns they grew up. They didn't have to get married or have children. They had a choice. Coincidentally at the same time my grandmother left, the sexual revolution was occurring. The contraceptive pill was being made available all the over the world, and women everywhere were campaigning for access to safe legal abortion. If there was any more evidence that women suddenly had a lot more choice, my grandmother could not have picked a better time.

If my grandmother hadn't been brave enough to divorce my grandfather, neither my Mum nor my Aunty would have known there was anything more than the domestic life of a common housewife. Not that there's anything wrong with being a housewife anyway, I'm merely pointing out that they knew they had a choice. I suppose that's my point really, is that these days we have a choice because of the women that came before us, who fought for equality and our freedom. They are a true inspiration.

So my Mum became a hippie, travelled the world and eventually had me, before becoming a professional firefighter and studying Landscape Design. As a single parent my Mum often had to leave me with different caregivers. A while ago she asked whether or not I missed her when she was working. I told her that I did miss her, but as I got older I realised that she was doing her best, and working hard, to make a better life for the two of us so I didn't mind. Anyway I was often left with my mad Aunty, who becomes more like crazy grandma Julie everyday. She's been to university, worked in a post office sorting mail, become a cop, become a teacher, ate a lot of ice cream straight from the tub, and like my grandma, she eventually caught the travel bug and has also been all over the world.

It was my Mum who taught me how to poach an egg, who gave me her Olympus OM-10 and got me into photography. One of my earliest memories of her is finding an old Joan Armatrading cd in the Warehouse and watching her just about having a heart attack in the store she was so excited. I remember sitting in the car with her listening to that album, and even now when I hear the opening piano chords of My Family I get waves of nostalgia. It was my Aunty who taught me about politics and let me read all of her intense criminology books and foreign magazines. She got me into punk music and showed me the beauty and grace of listening to records. I owe my decade long Sid Vicious obsession to my Aunty, whose resounding facial expressions when I told her I'd never heard of The Sex Pistols still make me recoil in fear. The two of them may be mad, but they taught me about music, politics and Feminism, independence, self-assurance, the best swear words and the importance of standing up for yourself. I love them both very much.

My Mum
My Aunty

It's because of the three great women who raised me that I became a fiercely independent Feminist hell bent on living life to the fullest and raising hell. I had a great childhood, and I have a great life. A little emotionally unhinged but then again, who isn't. I have great friends and a family that loves and supports me. I live in a great city, I'm in my final year of my degree. I have no idea what the hell I'll do next year, but then again I kind of love that sense of uncertainty. The potential adventure that awaits. Maybe I'll go work on a fishing boat for a year, maybe I'll go to South America. Maybe I'll write a novel, or fall madly in love. Who knows?

For that, I am forever thankful to my family for raising me the way they did. Otherwise I may have never reached this point, where literally anything is possible.

Until next babes xx

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  1. Fabulous you have strong women in your life to support you. My mum was a very strong woman and I sometimes felt she was a very hard act to follow. I have downloaded 'My Family' into my music collection!


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