Flipping through a couple glossy magazine this week I was struck by how inadequate I felt upon reading the profiles of a couple of women. The magazine was asking these women about their beauty, fashion, decorating and entertaining tips for the holidays.
The first thing that struck me was "Crap, is it the holidays already again?" The second thing that went pinging around the cavernous space inside my head was, "I should have a special beauty regime for the holidays?"
Clearly, I am not the target audience for this glossy magazine.
Whilst I have no doubt that these women in the profiles are incredible women, I didn't get a sense of who they were, where they came from, what they know. OK, so "that wasn't the point of the article", I hear you say. Fair point. Well presented.
This got me to thinking. I am surrounded by incredible women. No, seriously. Absolutely, literally surrounded by incredible women. Not just where they are today but where they came from, what they've done, where they are going, what they dream about, what they fear. There's more to these women than their shoes (although some do have shoe collections to kill for), handbags, and thick, glossy hair. I am particularly envious of the thick, glossy hair but let's not go there. They aren't just wives, mothers, daughters, sisters. They are individuals, incredible in their own right.
We pass these women on the streets and in the supermarket. We sit next to them on the tube. We greet them at the school gates. We used to work with them. We went to school with them. They were our very best friend when we were 9. They might still be our best friend or we might have lost touch with them. These women can pour a mean glass of wine and take biscuits out of a package at the speed of light.
My point is that incredible women are all around us. Sometimes we just forget how incredible they are. We forget that the road that each and everyone of us has travelled to get to where we are has been one amazing adventure after another. Sometimes we soared. Sometimes we stumbled.
When I was in the throes of my depression, I found that the circle of incredible women around me was vast. They took care of my children. They helped my husband. They brought decent coffee to replace the lousy excuse for caffeine I was being served in the psychiatric clinic. They bought me clothes. They propped me and my family up and held us aloft until we could stand upright again and enjoy their company.
Sometimes I find women can be so competitive, so catty, so critical, so unkind to each other. When this happens I find it is easier to imagine the bad day they must be having, the disappointment they must feel, the loveless marriage they must have, or ultimately the vast unhappiness they feel. Fortunately, most of the women in my life, and certainly the women who matter to me, aren't like this. And if they do have an odd moment where life gets us down, we can dish out a hug with a large gin and tonic on the side while we bring ourselves back to our imperfect lives in this imperfect world.
These women make me laugh until I pee my pants. They make me cry like a baby. They make me feel good about myself. They make me feel incredible. I want you all to meet a few of them.
Over the next year (maybe more) I am going to introduce you to my circle of incredible women. They are real. They are flawed. I couldn't be who I am today without each one of them making a sometimes big, sometimes small loving contribution to my wild and wickedly amazing life.
I am going to call them Real Profiles of Incredible Women. A new profile will be published every week. They might not be pretty. They certainly won't be perfect. But they will be real. And trust me, they are incredible. I hope you enjoy them!