Today I ran into an old friend. We briefly smooshed our faces together and she asked me to write more on this blog. She said the last piece resonated with her and I secretly took it as the greatest compliment in the world. It’s like getting a nod and a wink from one of your heroes. What I didn’t tell her was that she is the reason I started in this direction in the first place. In fact, my sweet friend was instrumental in several of the twists my path has taken me on in my adult life. And it got me thinking about some of the extraordinary women who have also made such a big impact on my life. This is a shout out to some of them.
Robyn, who first encouraged me to follow my wanderlust twenty odd years ago, which inadvertently led to my long term stint as an expat in Cambodia. She taught me that my gut instinct is almost always right and she showed me how to be brave, even when I wasn’t strong. More recently, she inspired me to be physically strong too. Through social media, I watched her from the other side of the equator as she transformed into an amazonian, smashing spartan races and half marathons with a smile on her face, a glint in her eye and dirt in her hair.
Ky. The woman who gave me a home when I needed one. She reminded me to be brave. She taught me that chasing my own happiness was not an unforgivable act. She makes me laugh til I cry and when I cry she makes me laugh. She is the kind of mother I aspire to be. She has raised the most wonderful boy into a man and now is doing it all over again. And she is hot. Smokin’ hot. If she was a man, we would have married long ago. She introduced me to my husband I introduced her to hers. She is the salt to my vinegar, the nut to my bolt, the spring in my step, the chip for my dip.
Anna, who on a balmy Bangkok afternoon, surrounded by condom art, convinced me that I could have it all – a baby, an apartment in Phnom Penh with a yard and a barbecue, and that I could make a difference. And whenever I tell her that I have achieved something that I worked hard to get, her response is always the same: “Of course you did.” She makes the world a better place for so many and does it with style.
Kristy, who believed in my soup kitchen idea so much she funded it. And she continues to fight the good fight for the people who need an amplifier for their voices, a roof over their heads, and a future for their kids.
Bon, who took me in when I was broken and gave me Beast Mode. Who inspires me by her example and work ethic. Who is boarding a plane to Barcelona tomorrow to kick some ass on the international weightlifting stage, representing the Land of Oz.
My sister, the smartest human I know.
There are others, so many others. And there will be more, and I am looking forward to meeting you, too.
The common thread is that they have believed in me. They have empowered me and made me strong. They gave me the courage I needed to take risks and strive for more. To take the leap.
They have all played a part in the evolution of me.