On Friday afternoon an email from The Independent on Sunday popped into my inbox and ordinarily I get asked to comment on body image, eating disorders and the general personal development of women. This email was rather different…
Well I don’t know you Meredith but I expect you may know of me through Twitter and the quite marvellous Modern Muse, so thanks for thinking of me, how amazingly thoughtful. So when I sat in the car and considered the questions, it hit me. I grew up doing everything in my power to avoid school and anyone expecting anything of me, I couldn’t wait to be considered an adult, marry, have children and escape everything that felt difficult. I’d been bullied and developed a school phobia so each day was a battle to get through the day and arrive safely at tea time and home. Secretly I wanted to be a Doctor, Vet, an Actress, a Make-up Artist in film OR deep down inside a Teacher. But ‘no one like me gets anywhere’, well that’s what I believed at the time. College was a last chance but school phobia becomes college phobia, so what of my future?
I played out my youth as I sat loooking at the questions and remembered the moment that I realised there was a lot more to my life and it was time to act. I’d been anorexic and my whole perspective changed. I felt successful in recovery, never doubted I could do it and I used Founder of The Body Shopy Shop, Dame Anita Roddick as a shining example of someone who was a positive role model for me. She was driven, took risks, created an ethical business, stuck to her values and truly wanted to make a difference. That drove me through recovery and backed and supported by wonderful parents and a fiancé who believed in me, I decided nothing would stop me!
So here I am a very happy wife, loving the business I created and child-free. The children never happened for many reasons and if they had I wonder if I’d have reached for the stars or been a good role model myself? When I think of wonderful role models in my life now and a woman who’s given me an I CAN Attitude I immediately think of Dinah Liversidge, this video explains. She’s not only inspired me, co-founded the WOW Woman Programme and #WOWWoman on Twitter. Dinah has changed peoples lives beyond belief. A magnificent and inspiring mentor and motivational speaker, she missed out on her mention today so I wanted to name her here.
If you were still with us Anita I’d have loved to have met you with Dinah and had a chance to say thank you over a glass of Champagne. So I’m raising a glass to Anita, Dinah and the many women who’ve entered my life and inspired me to now, there’s more than I can mention in one blog. Let’s join together and appreciate those who inspire us, let’s tell them too. When we live to inspire, teach, share and support we just might be helping a future Anita Roddick to find her feet, taking her very own steps towards creating an amazing business and making a real difference to her world. I have to say I much prefer this ideal than a future where succes is measured by thinness, impossible beauty and celebrity.
Love to know who your role models are and who inspires you today?