Once upon a time, my world was a man’s world. Filled with male friends with but a few female faces as far as the eye could see. I wasn’t cool and I was only good at a couple of sports. That was fine with the boys, inadequate with the girls. I learnt that boys were more open, honest and straightforward. And I loved that. I was never a tomboy but I walked fields in the summer as they BMX’d their way round and I hung at the shops talking music instead of hair. The reasons why I lived like that then got even greater. I was labelled a flirt, which meant that teenage girl bitchiness was even easier.
To be honest, the vast majority of my life had panned that way until, probably Enna at my first teaching job. She was the first woman to perhaps immediately talk to the profound rather than the superficial. To get through the guard and be seen as a sister. I have a lot to thank her for because she opened my eyes a little to a world I thought I could do without, a world of feminine strength, of more intuitive and nuanced understandings. And she gave me one of those life-changing, pivotal moments upon which everything else has been built. She was my first ‘sister’.
The second woman to break the cycle was a stunning lady (for she is a true lady) called Sara. The kind of woman who would normally make me run a mile by her beauty alone. We bonded on our first day of studies together: her in her immaculate dress sense, me in boho-chic mode having just come back off expedition. We had the same pen and later found out we have the same kind of soul. To her, I owe more than she will ever know.
Since then I have been blessed with meeting and knowing and loving some of the most beautiful women out there. They are all, by chance, beautiful to the eye but they are now truly part of my heart network, people I know would drop everything in a heartbeat if I needed them to. They softly urge me to be me. What makes them so precious? In my humble experience, it is hard to find women who cheerlead other women without agenda or subtext. We have a radar for it and most conversations smack of either. But I am blessed with true coaches, muses, artists and siblings: in spirit, in voice and in action, they want me to shine and I them.
Ever since I set foot on this antipodean land, I’ve been on a huge learning trajectory. These souls have given me home, help and mental health and hope. So today of all days, in this week of all weeks (and to my ‘Sydney sisters’ in particular) thank you with all that I am and all that I will be.