I had an email from Heather who wrote the following based on an earlier post:
“I’d love to hear more specifically how different women influenced your life and what you learned from the encounters…perhaps no names, or even as a “fictional” story. I always love hearing how events/people can intertwine and can take a whole new direction. Great story.”
Thank you for asking.
I had a unique circumstance growing up, three generations of women together. My older sister who was many years my senior gave me the ’60’s/’70 “feminist” perspective. I learned early on the names of women present and past who paved the way for some of what I would enjoy in life. Also, an appreciation for animals/nature and took on the role of explaining the physical side of being a woman….a topic my mother was too embarrassed to discuss. ( with the exception of what her mother provided her which was “all men are tarred with the same feather”…not too encouraging)
My mother, British through and through influenced the feminine side. How to dress, how to sit, how to speak, how to conduct yourself in public, how to order good food/wine and how to always feel comfortable no matter where I may be in this world.
My professional mentor was a woman named Pat, I believe I have mentioned her before as we worked with the RCMP’s Victim Services Unit. Never was I more able to tap into my true self as she trained and utilize my skills to their utmost ability. I realized my innate gifts including “to walk in other peoples moccasins” and used my intuition. Through that woman I learned a work ethic and the power I had when I walked in a room. I never forget her mentioning that to me…”when you walk in a room people notice, use that.” I gave back to my community with my heart and soul in every hour of work and it was due to her generous, purely crazy and fun spirit. To this day she is inspiring to speak to especially when we revisit or debate crime, victimization and justice. She is a “s___ disturber”, professional and refuses to grow old… hence the little jig I caught her doing one day while visiting our home. Cool woman!
I have a great group of women friends who remind me constantly how lucky I am. They make me think twice when I should, keep me grounded when I’m flying off the handle, inspire me to be more creative and stroke my ego way too much! Our paths usually crossed via someone else or through work, each of them shaped my past and continue to plot along with me into the future. I’d share all the stories but it would become a book, where the names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.
There have been many women (and male) clients who I look back on fondly. These women reminded me how courageous we all are in the face of danger. I have had clients who literally had weapons pointed at their heads on numerous occasions, their lives mapped out for them by a violent and jealous partner. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes I would watch as they valiantly worked with me on a plan to change their life and then executed it.
Women who have come from other countries amidst things you and I could not imagine. Diligently learning the language in the hopes Canada was going to be a good place for them and their children. I recall sitting on the floor with my Conversational English class. In a discussion, one young Vietnamese women brought up about death and what do we each think will happen when we die? Profound thoughts flowed from each student and I was humbled and honored to participate.
Women who had worked in the sex trade and were finally free from abuse, bondage and addiction; sharing their stories and hopes for their future. A little rough around the edges from their experiences but none the less excited to know they were more than the parts that had been exploited for so long.
Those examples of clients took me further into the area of working with women, somehow I always felt a woman’s life is so deep and rich. So much happens to and through women that my life/career path was made in their image. Most of the incredible and profound moments in my life came as I sat with these women.
Many people who have influenced the way I think, what I value, my belief system, my humor, my work, my friendships and partnerships. So many women who I will never be able to properly thank, but I know my heart is full and my soul will live on with their gifts.