When my mum finished secondary school, she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. The school’s careers adviser apparently passed her an A-Z book of careers and told her to pick. She got as far as Ac – Accounting – and decided, I could do that.
In the UK in the 70s, not a lot of women were training to be accountants. Lectures were routinely 90% male so to say my mum was outnumbered is something of an understatement. I’ve always been proud that she chose that path, that she had the courage and belief in herself to walk into a hall where she stood out and say, I belong here. And then go on to be a successful business owner. Her drive and her leadership skills inspire me.
But perhaps my favourite story from those college years is one about a quilt.
Mum tells us that some lectures (like the ones on tax law) were information heavy and you spent the hour furiously scribbling notes. Others though, were less about note taking and more sitting and listening. My mum is not one for sitting still without something to do. If you put a blank notepad in front of her it will be full of doodles within ten minutes. She says it helps her to concentrate when her hands are busy.
And so she started bringing her quilting to class. Small bits of material from the dressmaking scraps of clothes my Granny was making at the time or old dresses of her own. One by one they were stitched into neat little hexagons ready to be sewn together once she got home that night…
It’s my mum’s birthday today (Happy Birthday!!) so it seems fitting that my monthly SheLoves post is a story about her, a story of one way she chose to embrace all of who she was, unapologetically. I’m telling it for her (coz even the strongest women need reminding of their worth) and also for you, for any woman who needs the reminder that you don’t have to quieten or hide any part of yourself in order to be acceptable.
We need you with all your beautiful contradictions, all your stereotype-defying qualities and interests, all your this-is-who-I-am boldness. Read the rest of the story over at She Loves Magazine.