Spread Your Wings Women

Happy International Women’s Day to all you Beautiful, Courageous, Free Spirited, Determined Women our there! Today is a day to Celebrate ALL that we women encompass.

Reflect this morning on what makes You You? What achievements have you been Proud of, what traits do you Love about yourself? What challenges have you Overcame in the past? You’re stronger, more beautiful and more capable than you believe to be true.

I feel honoured to know and have such wonderful women in my life – women who have suffered with mental health and depression, with breakups, with miscarriage, with loss, with financial difficulties, with domestic violence, with adoption, with addictions, with abuse, with low self image and self esteem. Life can be pretty cruel when it wants to be.

However when I think of these beautiful women (you all know who you are!) and also of the woman that I’m becoming (I’m continually evolving, just like that butterfly!!) my heart can’t help but feel warmth, pride, strength and admiration. From working in therapy my eyes have been opened even more with how wonderful mothers are (men also but that’s another day of celebration!). A mothers love knows no limit, even when a mother hasn’t prioritised a child there is always a reason, an internal struggle, a piece that needs healing within. It restores my faith in humanity when I hear of the lengths and measures some mothers go to for their children, their partners and their families. Sometimes that woman is holding everything and everyone together – the glue of the family. Wow!

Each day I am acknowledging more and more the struggles I have been through, learning those important lessons, reflecting on my thoughts/emotions and behaviours in order to become an even more wonderful woman! Learning for me is continuous as long as I am living. I will never admit to knowing it all, I love to learn from those I meet, I love to hear their story, connect on their level and appreciate them for who they are.

At times I feel us Women can be envious and jealous of each other. I put my hand up and admit it. I can feel threatened by another’s beauty, another’s body type and size, another’s wealth, relationships. I’m only human, jealousy is a natural emotion and it can’t help but arise. What I CAN help is HOW I use it. I can acknowledge the other persons characteristics I admire, I love and those that I’m envious of. In acknowledging them I’m creating them too for myself, my life and become determined to achieve it.

Build each other up rather than tear each other down. Allow Your Wings to lift you up rather than weigh you down. Fly High! 🦋

The Miracle of a Child 👶🏻

A honest, emotional and loving story of one Tough Cookie who became a young mother, suffered with post natal depression but overcame these challenges with support of family and friends and most importantly truly believing in herself. A wonderful mother no doubt 🌸🌟

I like to think we all are on a journey, full of ups and downs and obstacles which are put in place to test us or see how we cope with situations. Some unfair and hard but somehow can result in making us wiser, stronger, not afraid to face the unknown and not afraid to ask others for help. I think we’re on a path with side trails, but its how we/if we want to get back on that path that’s the main thing.

When I was younger fresh out of school I was a messer of the highest degree! I just started college in the course I wanted, loved living away and going out. Making new friends, getting the bus or train to my school friends who were in different colleges. Life was great. After my first year in my course I applied to a private course in London which I knew would really add to my training. The first year of college flew by and I was on my summer holidays, with a place in the course in London.

One night on the way home I was in the car with my boyfriend at the time and we had a car crash. It was all such a blank I just remember looking to my left and seeing a telegram post 2 foot away from us and a lot of branches against my window. He got out and helped me get my belt off and pulled me through his door. We were so lucky not a scratch on either of us. Days went on and I had a pain in my back, would dream about it and wake up in a panic and feel sick. Mam said to me that there would be no harm going to the GP to see what they’d have to say. I went into my GP and she examined me from head to toe, I got the all clear! But as I was going out the door I turned and told her about my dreams and waking up feeling sick, she stopped me leaving and asked me would I mind giving a sample… In my head I though ‘course no bother’ as I knew/thought we’d been safe…. I took the test… I was then about to have my life change in a matter of seconds “Your PREGNANT”… with a state of shock I laughed (I do this when I get a shock)…

I went home and went upstairs, I didn’t know what to say only I knew I had to tell someone. So my sister was in her room on her bed and I told her and rang my boyfriend. He came over that night and we talked about it. I couldn’t tell my mam as she was going on holidays and felt if I told her before hand she wouldn’t enjoy herself so I waited until she got back. My best friend was also one of the first to know and was/is amazing support!

I was very lucky in the fact I had such a strong support network of friends and family, we talked about all options and we made the decision to go ahead with the pregnancy. I had to turn down London but continued into second year where I was. The months flew by and I was given the choice to take the year out but I was determined to be qualified before this baby arrived.

At 36 weeks (a month early) the most amazing little man came into our lives. I fell in love instantly with this squishy, tiny little bundle. He was perfect!

Although he was early it worked out great! My mam had took holidays for the week after I was due so she could help us out but because he was early and Easter fell early I missed hardly any college and I was able to go back after 3 weeks to finish it out.

That May I graduated with my friends. As time went on I worked weekends and the odd day during the week as we didn’t have a minder, I started to feel not like myself at all. I’d clean the house so much as I was afraid he’d pick up a bug and get sick, didn’t want others feeding him or changing him as I felt if I wasn’t doing it I wasn’t being a good mam, I didn’t want to leave the house with him full stop.

The high light of my week would be borrowing my mams car and doing the weekly shop in Aldi (sad I know) but I couldn’t help it! I’d look forward to my mam coming at lunch time for the hour and after that it was back to just myself and the baby and the hoover! Eventually one day my mam asked me was I ok, I looked at her and started to well up. The girl who at one time would barely be in the house was now never leaving it! I was so afraid to get help as I was convinced he’d be taken away from “an unfit young mam” (this was all in my head)…

I was completely wrong I went to my GP and yes months after having the baby I’d post-natal depression. The support and advice I got from my GP was amazing. I started to see a light at what had been a very lonely dark place for quite a while. I went and bought my first car I was pure delighted with it and I could go anywhere I wanted with my little man and visit my friends. I felt my independence coming back, my confidence and back to being ‘me’ again.

Unfortunately my relationship with the baby’s Daddy didn’t work out and did knock me – particularly my confidence but we weren’t working and it wasn’t fair on our child being brought up in that environment.

One day in work I was asked to take part in a well known festival by a client who had previously been part of it, it was something I would have loved years ago but I had a child and didn’t think I could have taken part in it. I also didn’t think I had the confidence to either… but my boss really got behind the idea and sponsored me. I decided to give it a go… not knowing what was ahead!

I had a lovely day meeting girls from around the county and getting treated like a princess for the day and meeting an idol of mine (Jennifer Wrynn) she was one of my judges!…. That evening results were in and my name was announced!! All I can really remember is seeing my supporters standing on their chairs and cheering I couldn’t believe it was my name that had been called!

I progressed onto the next level of the festival where I met some of the most amazing ladies I have ever met in my life and shared a room with a girl I now call a sister. From the other Roses life stories to their personalities to their amazing friendships, I felt the best I had felt in a long time (just with sore feet from the heels!!!).

That weekend the group was cut down with only some making it through to the festival in Tralee. I didn’t make it through but for me that wasn’t a major upset, I was happy with what I had achieved, the ladies I had meant and the friendships and memories I will always have. We the ladies who didn’t get through went down to support our new friends knowing one of them would be chosen. Down there we also met the escorts taking part in the festival who have also gone on to become amazing friends to me.

After taking part and hearing such amazing stories from other people it got me thinking “whats stopping you only yourself” “only you can make things happen for yourself”.   I decided I wanted “my son to think anything is possible with belief and hard work”

I have since gone to Belarus on charity work (Adi Roache’s Chernobyl), taken part in the NYC parade, gone back to college and completed the 1st two years of my new course and I am going into my degree year. My little man isn’t so little and has now completed junior infants, I have upgraded my car and also got a new job!

Its not been what I thought the last 6 years would be and yes the side trails have been hard and bendy and tough to keep going on but if you really do want to get to where you want to go or the person you want to be, you’ll find a way forward or ask for help.

I have changed a lot, grown up a lot, and I do believe its all down to my little man making me a better person. He’s loved by so many people.

I wouldn’t be in the place I am now without the support and love of my friends and family no matter how much I say it they will never know how grateful I am to have them all in mine and my sons lives – whether we talk every day, week month or year it doesn’t matter just THANK YOU for being there when we needed you X

The Wounded Healer 🙌🏻

Thank you to this Tough Cookie for sharing an incredibly difficult piece of their story. You’re SO SO brave. Thank You 🌟

Bowlby believed that our ‘internal working model’ is based on our early childhood experiences (McLeod, 2015). He believed that early childhood experiences could affect mental health and behaviour and that a secure attachment with the primary caregiver or mother, particularly in the first five years of life, would lead to the healthy development of the child, the child’s personality and future interactions with others (Bowlby, 1969).

Looking back on my own early childhood and first five years of life, this seemed to be true. I have fond memories of my childhood, a secure attachment with my mother and explored my world and environment through sensory based and natural objects. I spent my days exploring in the flower bed, making ‘flower perfume’, playing outdoors and had a very wide imagination. So how is it that a child (me), could have a positive start to life, later suffer from depression, anxiety, bulimia, self-harm, substance abuse and have a long-lasting sense of guilt and shame?

I was bullied at the age of twelve. I was bullied for being ‘different’ in terms of my physical appearance. The bullying lead to self-harm and missing school, and I fully believed, until a few weeks ago, it was the cause of my depression and the reoccurring theme of shame and guilt throughout my life. For the past two years I have grown and learnt to accept my wound, believing that my lack of self-esteem, lack of confidence and feelings of shame, particularly in terms of my body, was impacted by the bullying. However, recently, I have built myself back up again, creating an empowering, emotionally intelligent and strong young woman. Over the last two years, I had built myself to be a woman who truly knew herself, was aware of herself and felt strongly towards her beliefs and values, a woman who stood up for what she believed in, a woman who travelled to the continent of Africa and could singlehandedly banish corporal punishment in schools, a woman who was determined and powerful, a woman who knew the many different characters and archetypes of herself, calling upon them when they were needed.

That was until last year, when my identity, personality and psyche was stripped away or split off. Everything that I had ‘known’ or was aware of, about myself, became unfamiliar.

A year ago, I was sat with my personal therapist. We were discussing meditation. I told her about how I enjoyed the body-scans but did not enjoy the visualisation and imaginative meditations that take you on a journey through destinations e.g. beaches, forests etc. She encouraged me to change my mind, encouraged me to try it again, one last time. I agreed. During the meditation, she brought me on a journey through a forest, to a cottage and to a book written about my life, which I was to read. I began reading, only to awake from the sensation of spiders crawling up the back of my neck. Of course, there were no spiders, just the unwelcome and alarming sensation. I was awoken and back in the room. We spoke briefly about whether my body, my unconscious mind, did not want to read the story. I couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t, after all, I was aware of my wounds, my story, and accepted them.

A few days had passed, and I was sitting in the last module of my college year. I had forgotten all about the meditation. We (myself and my college group) were discussing the games, activities and ways we played in our early childhood. We were remembering all the different toys we played with etc. It was at that moment I felt a sense of panic, an overwhelming feeling right in the pit of my stomach, an overwhelming feeling of shame and of guilt. A memory came flooding back to me, a memory which threw me off guard, caught me by surprise and made me feel vulnerable and afraid. A memory of my sexuality, an event. A memory of childhood sexual abuse, which occurred when I was eight years old.

A memory that my mind had forgotten, one that I had ‘repressed’ (Freud, 1915), A memory that was stored in the body, not accessible by the conscious mind. The memory was an emotional shock that split off part of my psyche and therapy succeeded in bringing these split off parts into conscious awareness.

My unconscious was conscious. I was experiencing an expansion of consciousness. Freud states that some events are too painful for individuals to acknowledge and are therefore ‘locked away in the unconscious mind’. This helped me to understand why I had ’forgotten’ an event that obviously had caused so much pain inside of me. To ‘forget’ the event was my defence mechanism to avoid the feelings associated with it. However, now that the memory is conscious I have realised and become aware of the unconscious ways in which the event influenced my judgements, feelings and behaviours. My mind had forgotten but my body stored these ‘implicit’ memories (Van Der Kolk, 2014) and these memories came to me through my felt sense and in lifelong symptoms.

What the mind has forgotten, the body remembers….’ (Sigmund Freud)

The unconscious mind is the primary source of human behaviour (Freud, 1915). My feelings of shame and guilt, my depression, the disconnection from my body and the lack of self-esteem and self-care has begun to make sense. These were my lifelong symptoms which occurred through my bodies remembrance of the traumatic experience. My body’s memories of the experience and the memory stored in my unconscious mind influenced my attitudes and behaviours. I have now become aware and have reached a level of understanding. I understand now that my feelings, decisions and behaviour had been strongly influenced by my past experience, and stored in my unconscious. My experience of sexual abuse has unconsciously lead to negative feelings about myself and the world, leading to depression, anxiety, self-harm, ‘acting out’ behaviours, bulimia and substance abuse. It had also influenced my decisions in engaging with and exposing myself to unsafe and dangerous situations. Perhaps it is also why I found it extremely difficult to cope with the negative behaviour from others, towards myself, in the form of bullying. I was bullied for my physical experience, my body, that I was already ashamed of, the body I had already felt disconnected to and guilty because of. My experience had brought about ‘emotional angst’, disembodiment and confusion. Disembodiment, overwhelming feelings of shame and guilt, and the setting and maintenance of boundaries were and are the result of my emotional shock and experience, and are probably the most lasting and negative responses. It explains why I feel inferior to others, why I feel constantly judged and afraid when speaking aloud in a group or crowd and why I feel triggered or become over responsive to touch or things I cannot control.

I live a life full of familiarities. I do not like the unknown or things that are not familiar. I try my hardest to dodge objects, people or places that may bring me harm or fear. I like to be in control, controlling every aspect of my life, my relationships, keeping myself and those close to me ‘safe’, to avoid pain and suffering, to avoid negative feelings and emotions, to avoid feeling vulnerable and afraid. I have developed anxiety, as a result from my past experiences. However, I am more aware now than ever before. I had found the missing piece of my jigsaw, the missing piece I needed to understand, to come to terms with, to accept and to feel closer to my ‘self’. The missing piece that would bring me closer to ‘wholeness’ (Jung, 1963).

Why is it then, that since my memory reached my consciousness, I feel wounded, vulnerable and exposed? I feel as though the powerful woman I have built over the past number of years, the identity I have created for myself, is being ripped apart and being laid out on the floor, like my psyche has been split all over again, needing to be rebuilt once more.

The only explanation I can think of, which I have been analysing and researching, is that the archetype I have associated myself with for so long has shifted and changed. Deep inside of me, there are aspects of my personality which have formed a self-image (Jung, 1944). What I am experiencing now, because of the shift in my memory, is a dissociation from the archetype I had created for myself and an association with another, a victim or a wounded child, one associated with pain and suffering. Perhaps the archetype I am currently experiencing is the same one I experienced during my younger years and early life, one full of shame and guilt. Carl Jung called this archetype ‘The Shadow’ (Jung, 1944). According to Jung, the powerful feelings of shame and guilt, as well as depression, are all ‘qualities’ of the shadow, which I have experienced and feel I am reexperiencing, to a certain extent.

According to Carl Jung, the experience was internalised to form an archetype, the shadow, and has therefore, built patterns at an unconscious level, forming my ‘internal working model’ (Bowlby, 1969). It has also influenced my patterns and behaviour, leading to an ‘avoidant’ attachment style in terms of my relationships with others.

Jung also believes that archetypes depend on the information supplied by the unconscious (Jung, 1967), that archetypes are resulted from information supplied from the environment. I believe this to be true, that how I internalised my experience, and my feelings of shame and guilt, was due to my own cultural context and society. Depending on the culture, the abuse that I experienced could be labelled as ‘normal, everyday occurrences’ or ‘wrong’ and ‘shameful’. Western culture, the culture I was brought up in, declares my sexual experience as wrong, as sexual abuse, as dangerous and immoral, and declares me as a victim. Therefore, I associate myself as a victim and I’ve bared the shame and guilt of my experience for years, because that is what my society, my culture, has taught me. I have grown up to believe that what I experienced was wrong and shameful, that I was no longer innocent, that I was harmed. The reaction from my father when I told him the part truth of what had happened that day proved to me that what had happened was wrong and immoral. It brought shame and it brought guilt. It brought lifelong symptoms of pain and suffering. My personality had been split off because my experience was unacceptable to society. I was ashamed of my body because society told me to be. I was ashamed and guilty of how I looked, physically, because my culture told me I needed to be.

When I visited Africa, I was exposed to a different culture to the one I had lived in. I was exposed to a culture that accepted my body, that accepted me, for who I was. I was not labelled. I was not bullied. I was not chanted at for looking different. There were no expectations I had to meet. I was me, I was free, I was content, and I was confident. I was powerful and I was whole. That is how I need to feel here, in my own culture, in my own society. I need to accept my wounds and allow them to heal, allow them to heal my soul and not be labelled as a victim. I need to not label myself as a victim. I need to stop this memory from leading me down a path of self-destruction and self-loathing. I need to become ‘the wounded healer’ (Dunne, 2015), to understand my brain and body, past and present, to adjust to a more relaxed and balanced sense of being. The sense of being I felt while in Africa.

I, myself, have an effect on how my wound manifests. I, myself, can choose whether my experience or my memory will be destructive or be empowering. I choose to let it be empowering. I am willing to face, consciously experience and go through my wound, to find its true blessing. It is only then, that I will allow my ‘self’ to be re-created (Jung, 1967). It is only then, that my old self will ‘die’, never to be the same, and the empowered part of self will be born (Jung, 1967). It is then that I will experience a deeper level of being, that I will open up a door to the archetypal realm and experience real ‘freedom of my being’, and a step towards ‘wholeness’ (Jung, 1944).

If I look at my wound as a global field of experience and an archetypal moment rather than feeling resentful and victimised, I can truly heal from it. It is then, that I’ll reach the archetypal form of ‘self’ and be able to heal others. It is then, that I can become ‘The Wounded Healer’ (Jung, 1944).

I See… ME! 🙋🏻🎀

Happy International Women’s Day!! 👭💪🏻🙋🏻

I hadn’t written a poem in a while so I put pen to paper of what I see when I think of myself and so many other strong, determined, inspiring and beautiful women that I know and have met along the way.

Lately I have been struggling with trying to not be ‘so strong’, trying to not live up so much to my Tough Cookie persona. Why? Because I feel I have toughened myself too much in ways, hardened my heart from allowing myself to occasionally break down and cry, feel my emotions fully and let ‘loose’. Don’t get me wrong I love how strong and determined I am, I take pride in it and have always been that way but it does take its toll on the body and unconsciously my mind and body don’t know any different! But it’s not healthy to be tough and tense all the time. It’s like I’m in constant fight/flight mode at times. 👊🏼✈️

So for me, this morning pondering Women’s Day, it’s those women who are emotional, who wear their hearts upon their sleeve, who feel every feeling that comes their way and that aren’t afraid to express it or show it that are truly inspiring and strong. At times women are ridiculed for being so emotional and ‘sensitive’ but what a beautiful trait that is, that’s a sign of somebody who is fully connected to themselves, to others and to life. Everybody has a heart, it’s there to feel. We ALL have feelings and it’s my opinion that if we all showed and bore our feelings that little bit more the world would be a healthier and more beautiful place with less arguments and misunderstandings.

With Mother’s Day approaching on Sunday I can’t help but think of my Mam, one of the strongest and most influential women in my life. Her strength and beauty shone in the way she lived her life: her values, her love, her interactions and her heart. Pain she had and carried like a soldier, love she felt and expressed it deeply, fears she fought and courage she kept. Recently I’ve thought about how just like my Mam, my birth mother must be a strong woman, strength to part with me knowing I’d have a better life, pain felt in making a life changing decision, love shown for me and my family and heartache no doubt every single day. It’s women like these that shine 🌟 Mothering isn’t an easy task, my eyes were opened when my nephew came along. I’ve yet to become one but some day please God I will be blessed with children. But right now I’m enjoying my independence and finding my feet!!

Yes we have our famous female icons, those women that have achieved the unachievable, that have made history and that have proven we are every bit as equal as men. You don’t need to be written about in books, interviewed on the media, achieve the unachievable to be a woman who shines bright and makes a difference. You’ve got the Power, the Poise and the Passion within! 💪🏻❤️

To ALL the beautiful Women today – SHINE! 🌟

SEX 😮

Did I get your attention? Do you think I’m going to open up and share my intimate experiences and thoughts on sex? I guess you’ll just have to read on to find out!!!!

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Is this true? Are there such huge differences in the way males and females think, behave, respond etc? Are our needs very different or have we been shaped by our ancestors and society to believe that we must try to fit in to a certain ‘group?’ Yes I do acknowledge that our brains are wired in differing ways, yes we produce varying amounts of hormones and yes there are significant differences between the sexes. However I also believe that how we behave and how we view things is to do with our experiences in life, our upbringing and how we perceive the world/ourselves and society’s beliefs. 

For me Education was always valued and I was brought up to try to do my best and achieve good results academically. Was this down to being a female from Venus? In my opinion it was due to my parents, their professions as teachers and their values relayed onto me. Yes it takes brains and intelligence but it also takes hard work, determination and an inner motivation to strive to succeed. 

Women are so emotional, us women are so in touch perhaps too in touch with our feelings and we cry a lot. Have you ever heard something along those lines? Okay yes a lot of us women do cry at a sad story, we get emotional when we are upset/tired etc but is this true for ALL women and can it not also be true for Men? It’s my belief again that it is mainly down to society and how you perceive what is deemed acceptable/unacceptable by family/friends/community. One of my frustrations living in Ireland is that there’s a notion that ‘oh men can’t cry, that’s not a reflection of a strong man etc’ For me it is one of the biggest reflections of a strong man, a man that is able to be strong enough to let go, to break down when life is challenging and to show that he has feelings and isn’t made of stone. Everyone should be able to be in touch with emotions and express freely how they feel. Young children are usually very effective at showing us when they’re upset/excited/happy/scared both boys and girls so surely we ALL begin with this ability? So where does it get lost? Why does it stop? 

Men should be the bread winners, women should rear the children and look after the house. Sound familiar? Again this for me is completely outdated and nowadays (thankfully) there isn’t one set image of how a family unit should look. Because of the recession changes happened where more women had to go out to work and seek employment to help with financial strains, males have a bigger involvement in the upbringing of their children and the family unit is very much a dual partnership where both sexes are involved with household, childcare and other duties related to family life. 

There’s no point in me continuing to state the obvious re the times we are in and how men/women are viewed. It cannot be a set book of rules, a rule book for being on Mars and one for living on Venus. 

It’s up to YOU. How do YOU choose to be as a person? How do YOU choose to support your other half? How do YOU choose to treat others? How much support do YOU choose to give to your family, to friends, to people/strangers in life? Whether you’re from Venus or Mars the decision and power lies within! 💥

“Men are from Mars

Women from Venus

How you choose to Live 

Doesn’t Depend on having a……” 

Respect 

I read a speech this morning from Michelle Obama outlining her views about the upcoming Presidential election. To be honest I haven’t been following it much but I can understand how it will hugely affect America and the rest of the world depending on the decision made. Michelle always represents a woman who is powerful, strong, loving, opinionated and confident. She stands up for what she believes in and most of all she has belief in herself. She referred to the “Because I Am A Girl” campaign in her speech and made references to statements that Donald Trump has made in relation to women in the past. I feel extremely lucky to have grown up without any significant experiences where males have talked towards me in derogatory terms or have had any bad experiences from the other sex. In my opinion Ireland is predominately a nation that respects its female citizens and thankfully we have a say when it comes to voting, education and being powerful. It saddens me to think that in so many countries this is not the case and I couldn’t imagine having to conform to such rules and norms. 

Am I saying that no Irish man has made references to women that are crude, undermining and sexist? Certainly not. Am I saying that women haven’t referred to men in equally low terms? Certainly not. However I am saying that across the world there is a certain belief that it is ok to “joke” about women, about their sexuality and how they ‘should’ provide for the needs of a male. There is the impression that as long as it’s communicated in a ‘joking’, light hearted manner that it is ok and acceptable. Why is it ok and acceptable to use these terms in reference to women? These words and comments can undermine a girl’s self esteem, her ability to complete school and can damage her belief in herself and the future she holds. Likewise the same can be said for when a male hears such crude comments and when feels ridiculed. I am not for a second saying that it doesn’t happen to both sex. My point being why is it acceptable? 

We cannot allow these negative comments to be culturally acceptable, we cannot have women or men feeling that they deserved abuse, we cannot have men or women feeling trapped in a relationship where verbal or physical abuse is happening. We need to educate our youth about respect. Respecting both males and females, not seeing a distinction but seeing a human as a human who deserves respect and love. Too many men and women believe they deserved to be treated a certain way, they ‘asked’ for it or like I’ve mentioned that they can’t escape it. You ALWAYS have choices and there is ALWAYS someone to help you. 

Each and every one of us deserves dignity and respect. We deserve the freedom to let our voice be heard regardless of one’s sex. Michelle Obama raised the issue that Donald Trump who is campaigning for presidency, over the course of his life has repeatedly used these very deroragtory terms in relation to women that devalues and disrespects them. What message would it be to the youth of America and the rest of the world if he were to become President? He has bragged about sexually assaulting women. We would be telling the youth of today that bigotry and bullying is acceptable. 


Respect yourself enough to respect others” (Deirdre Ward) 

Be the Phenomenal YOU Today!

phenomenal woman.jpg

Happy International Women’s Day! There are so many iconic and influential women out there, I feel so lucky and proud to be a woman in today’s society. I cannot imagine growing up in an era where women feel suppressed, are not entitled to voice their opinion, not given the right to vote or to attain a career. In some ways I find it utterly unbelievable and quite difficult to imagine that this happened however in other ways I can still see today how women are viewed as less significant and of unequal importance in certain situations/societies.

When you think of the word ‘Woman’ what honestly comes to mind? Is it someone who is maternal? Someone who is in the home? Someone who is beautiful? Someone who is strong/weak? Someone who should listen? Of course I will be biased (being a woman) but when I think of the word I think of love, strength & weaknesses, honesty, beauty, independence, passion, endurance and determination.

In my eyes women were and continue to be ‘phenomenal’ beings! Back in the 20th century when they were regarded as second class citizens and had no rights I’m sure they still shone in their role as mother, carer, wife and provider. I have no doubt that so many women still made their voice heard within the home and were determined to change society. This is evident from the formation of the Suffragettes, who were led by Emmeline Pankhurst. A lady who displayed determination, endurance and most definitely independence. She was undoubtedly an inspiration and a ‘Phenomenal Woman’ who started the women’s revolution.

Across the globe women showcased their qualities, character, uniqueness and this has certainly not changed.

From Rosa Parks an African American civil rights activist who is termed ‘the mother of the freedom movement’ refused to obey the bus driver’s order to give up her seat in the coloured section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. She was ‘tired of giving in’. From this simple refusal she showed determination, courage and strength for women globally.

Onto Macedonia the homeland of Mother Theresa. This lady who was full of faith, empathy and love gave selflessly to so many and helped to eradicate poverty and distress in Calcutta. Controversial at times but an icon of pure love and again one Phenomenal Woman in my eyes!

Next to Pakistan to a school girl called Malala Yousafzai. One morning while boarding her school bus a gunman asked for her by name, then pointed a pistol at her and fired three shots. One bullet hit the left side of Yousafzai’s forehead, travelled under her skin through the length of her face, and then went into her shoulder. This was all sparked by Malala’s determination for justice in relation to girl’s education in Pakistan which was banned by the Taliban. She became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. Again a display of courage, passion and love for what she believed in and for the rights of women.

America, a continent full of iconic, beautiful, alternative and feisty women. This time I am identifying with a woman who had some ‘weaknesses’ and a difficult upbringing but with again strength, courage, passion and a ‘thick skin’ became a huge success and is an icon of beauty and class. Born and raised in Los Angeles Marilyn Monroe spent most of her childhood in foster homes and an orphanage and married for the first time at the age of sixteen. She struggled with addiction, depression and anxiety for most of her life. Did this stop her to make her ‘mark’ on society? Definitely not! She became a household name and was an inspiration to females hoping to better themselves, achieve their ambitions despite a difficult start. I love the quote by her:

“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition” (Deirdre Ward)

Finally back to home – Ireland. Who are the iconic women that I have grown up with in my homeland? Who has made impressions on my life? Who do I look up to? Who encompasses all that I stand for? To be honest I could name many inspirational, determined, passionate, loving women but I am choosing not to. For me all women in the world ARE already phenomenal. I have not met every woman, nor will I ever meet every woman in the world but I firmly believe that each female out there has the ability to influence others and to be phenomenal. From the women that I have met, from those that I have had in my life and the ones I continue to have in my life I can safely say that the world and the future for females is in VERY safe hands.

“Women don’t need to feel equal to men. We need to feel equal and accepted by ourselves. Then it will be irrelevant whether we feel or are viewed as equal to anyone else” (Deirdre Ward)

Lastly BE PHENOMENAL