It’s International Women’s Day and women across the world are being celebrated for …just being women. The mere fact that you’re female and have to navigate this very complex world we live in- mostly staggering on 👠 is a great achievement. Well done!
Still there are those of us who have gone the extra mile to make something of ourselves and change the world, while inspiring others. I’m sure you have a mental list of people who inspire you.
Top on my list is my mother, gone many years now but every now and then I stumble into something of hers that inspires me: Her old tapes, a movie about the Roman Empire, her cookbooks( she was a caterer) an old sweater she either knit or crocheted , her diary of shopping lists, accounts of her journeys or this old dress of hers I was finally able to try on properly last week.👇🏾
1. Michelle Obama
Aside from the obvious reasons-poise, dress sense, charm, fitness buff- she seems to have a word for every occasion. I realise that many public officers have speech writers who do the dirty work but how many public faces are able to deliver with such expression and meaning?
2. Eugenia Abu
I first met Mrs Abu at Wuse Market. We were there shopping with my friend when she( said friend) tripped and almost fell. Eugenia who herself was with someone stopped instantly and asked with such concern, ‘ Are you okay?’ She waited till my friend had regained composure before she went her way. I met her a year or so later while in the line of duty- as journalist attending a Chevening Alumni networking do at the British High Commission. I reminded her of the Wuse Market incident. By the end of that evening I’d left with her card and an invitation to her book reading-a great experience. I have since met with her in various scenarios – for career advice at some point- and each time I come away marveling at her humility, kindness and her ability to juggle so many things at the same time. As of then, she was a Boss at NTA, a columnist and editorial board member at Thisday Newspapers, still writing , mentoring a tribe of youths on a one on one basis all the while keeping a home.
3. Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita inspires me because she was given pineapples ( as opposed to lemons) and she didn’t stick to just making pineapple juice. She made pineapple turnover cake, Zobo juice and fruit salad from it- basically the works! When she won an Oscar for her almost non speaking role in 12 Years a Slave many said that would be the end of her career because she’d been thrown up to the highest point and would have to keep proving that she deserved it. How wrong they were. Miss Nyong’o is probably one of the most multifaceted actors in Hollywood with hands dipped into many genres of the creative industry : acting, producing, modeling- she’s been featured on the cover of several reputable magazines -and trying her hand at rapping. Yes, you read me right. In an upcoming blog, I write about how she branded herself for opportunities in Hollywood. Watch out for it!
4. Marian Keyes
One of my most prized possessions is a collection of three books by one of my favourite authors, Marian Keyes.
There was a time in Nigeria when you couldn’t order stuff from Amazon. We knew this – my friend and I -and we were excited to find this quaint video and book club along Murtala Square in Kaduna that had alot of books, including a few written by Marian. Still we were limited and couldn’t get new books by the author.
So back to Amazon. In the course of things, I fell in ‘like’ with Marian’s hilarious books and emailed to tell her so, adding that it was unfortunate I couldn’t see her new stuff in Nigeria. They mentioned Amazon then and I told them it didn’t work in Nigeria-this was around 2007. They asked for my mailing address and I gave it to them.Imagine my surprise a few weeks later, when a huge package with three autographed books from Marian arrived. Wow. Why does she inspire me? Reading her books introduced me to characters who got me thinking, ‘wow, Me too!’ even with the disparities in culture and geographical location amongst others. Now, with each piece, I try to create that feeling of deja vu. When we read a good book it’s one of the feelings that make us turn the page…
So that’s my list. What about you-Who is that one woman that inspires you? Today is a great day to appreciate her.
Happy International Women’s day, ladies!