Women, part 5
*This is part 5 in the series about women. This part is to let the reader know who are inspiring women to me. This is to show the reader how women can have a positive influence on the life of men, of which I am one.
For this piece I was thinking about listing a number of women and tell you why they are an inspiration. But all these women were famous in some way or another. The problem with this is that I would neglect all other women who are also inspiring, especially the women in my personal life. Are they not inspiring to me? Of course they are, maybe even more. They definitely have a stronger influence on my life as an individual, so it’s unfair to leave them out. I thought this piece should be primarily about them.
Some famous inspiring women
Also, that list of inspiring women I talked about… You could say that ‘the list of inspiring women to me’ was ‘saved’ by Instagram, since, when adding another woman to the list, meant I added her to an Instagram ‘story’ I had on there, called ‘Inspiring Women’. Now, the thing is… I deleted my Instagram, so those inspiring women are gone. I mean, they are not gone, but I don’t have ‘the list’ anymore. And to be honest, I don’t know all of the names who were on there anymore… For which my apologies. For sure, on there were: Marie Curie, Neri Oxman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sifan Hassan. And I would definitely like to add Janis Ian to that list, Bibian Mentel (R.I.P ✝️), Dame Sarah Gilbert, Katalin Karikó, the band “Le Rivoltelle”, Maria Callas, Katie Melua and a Dutch singer, who you will read about later in this piece. I, on purpose, don’t give you additional information about these people, because I hope that you will look them up for yourself and come to know more about them (if you do not know them already).
Definition of inspiring
So if we are going to talk about ‘inspiring women’, then it is necessary to know what the definition of inspiring is. Maybe the same goes for the definition of women, but because that is very complex in today’s society (which I’m completely fine with, by the way) and not very important for the inspiration of women in my life, we are not going to go into that. So, some definition of inspiring:
- ‘Having the effect of inspiring someone.’ (Oxford dictionary, n.d.)
- ‘Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.’ (Oxford dictionary, n.d.)
- ‘Encouraging, or making you feel you want to do something’ (Cambridge Dictionary, 2021)
- ‘Causing you to feel confident about yourself or eager to learn or do something’ (Cambridge Dictionary, 2021)
Let’s go by these definitions.
Inspiring women in my personal life
So now, who are inspiring women to me? Short answer: a lot of people. But to go a bit more into detail, I will give examples of some (groups of) people and situations that have inspired me.
Let’s start with the woman with whom my life started: the midwife. No, just kidding… 😆 Of course, my mother. I think a lot of us are inspired by our mothers. By her way of upbringing she inspired me to be kind to people, to always do my best and to live my life how I want to live it. She didn’t teach me what to think, but how to think and she inspired me that feeling and giving love to people is worth it. The best thing is, because she is my mother, she will keep inspiring me!
Then of course, I have my friends. Okay, let me say that differently: Then, I am lucky to have friends. In the summer and autumn of 2017 I met some girls who inspired me to open up and not be afraid of social contact. To be more outgoing and to not be afraid of how people see me and to above all: be myself. Unfortunately, I don’t have (much) contact with them anymore. But that proves one thing I believe in: all people have an influence on your life. If you have contact with them for one day, one year or your whole life. So if you loved people and cared about people, even if you lose them in your life it is comforting to know that their presence in your life has left a mark. At least: as long as that mark is positive. I want to thank these girls. I have improved my life because of them and will always describe them with only positive words.
In my time in Salamanca I met women who inspired me to be more outgoing as well, be more romantically open, to not be afraid to take risks and to not be afraid to do things I am not so good at.
Then there have been women (under which friends as well) who inspired me creatively. With that I mean: inspired me to write poems, paint, and make songs. Trying to be creative is something that makes me very happy and so you can imagine I am very grateful for these ladies. I also would like to say it brought the world beautiful art. But I have to say that, apart from a handful of people, not many people know about my ‘Trias Ars’. Anyway, maybe one day…
My sister inspired me to work hard for my school. I studied Aeronautical Engineering and she the even more challenging Aerospace Engineering. Although she is the smarter one, she had to work much harder. So seeing her studying hard and succeeding, she inspired me to do my best for my study. At least as much as needed to get my diploma. I will never be the ‘hard worker’ for something my heart isn’t 100% into (I will be for what my heart is 100% into, by the way), but she inspired me to work hard enough. Next to that my sister is very entrepreneurial in life. I wasn’t at all at first! But seeing her take big steps inspires me to make those steps as well, although I still have to take many of those steps. Finally, she inspires me to follow my passion, also because I can be successful in my passions (such as writing and music) in her opinion.
I am (becoming) a teacher. To do this in the way I am doing this is for a big part inspired by my own teachers, many of them females. They inspire me to care for my students and to be in ‘their team’, as I feel like my teachers are in my team. But also to just battle through obstacles, not take criticism too personal and always try to develop myself, in the professional field as well.
There are ladies who support me immensely and make me feel incredible and who inspire me to give forth that love for others as well. Talking about making me feel great…. There is a lady who inspires me to give my all for another person, to listen even better than I am already doing to people and to think about my words even more carefully. Because my words have an influence on people, so they better have a positive influence. And listening shows that you take someone seriously, something everyone wants to feel. She inspires me to read interesting stuff and also inspired me to write this piece that I was thinking about for such a long time. An incredible lady that shows new forms of beauty to me.
So there we have it. I will list all forms of inspiration I got from women underneath. I am inspired:
- To be kind;
- To always do my best;
- To live my life how I want;
- To decide what I want to think, but how I should think;
- To understand that feeling and giving love is worth it;
- To (romantically) open up;
- To not be afraid of social contact;
- To not be afraid of how people see me;
- To be myself;
- To be more outgoing;
- To do things I’m not good at;
- To be creative;
- To work hard enough for school;
- To become more entrepreneurial;
- To follow my passion;
- To care about the students that I teach and to be in their team;
- To battle through obstacles;
- To not take criticism too personal;
- To always try to develop myself (professionally as well);
- To give forth the support and love people give me to others;
- To give my all for someone;
- To think about my words even more carefully;
- To listen even better;
- To read interesting stuff;
- To write this piece.
I would say, looking at that list, that we can conclude once again the positive influence of women in my life and the positive influence women in your life can have. Whoever you are… So many of these inspirations have become priorities in my life. And did men not have an inspiring influence on my life? Certainly they have! Very much so as well! However, I am writing a series about women, so yeah, I write about inspiring women.
Dutch singer Anouk made a very nice song to celebrate some very (world famous) inspiring women (such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). I would advise you to check it out (with video clip):
Anouk in general is a woman that I see as an inspiration for women (and men!) who are searching for a way to live as they want and don’t care too much about what others think of them. Her whole personality breathes these values. And you can also hear this in her songs, such as songs as ‘Nobody’s wife’ and ‘Modern World’. As a mother of six children from different fathers and as a woman who doesn’t mince words, is honest to the bone and says she only performs live for the money, she has to deal with a lot of criticism and unrespectful behaviour to her address. How to keep standing bold when life hits you from all sides…? Anouk teaches you that…
Anouk is also the proof that someone who is very much the opposite of who you are, can still be very inspiring for you.
Don’t forget: every year the 8th of March is International Women’s Day, a beautiful day to celebrate women. A beautiful day to celebrate women… Just as all the other 364 (or 365)… Just realise there are 365 (or 366) days a year you can be inspired by women. Ahhhh, what a lovely feeling. 😊
Hoping that you by now have looked up the names of women I talked about in the beginning of my piece, I would like to share some additional writing, documentation and links about one of them: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
I would like to start with a letter.
Last year, when I still had social media, I wrote a letter for her. I only sent it over Instagram and Facebook, because I couldn’t find how to reach her otherwise. She has many followers, so I am of the belief she never read it. Anyway, I would like to place it here, for you to read it, to show my respect for what she is doing and how she is an inspiration to me.
The letter for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Dear miss Ocasio-Cortez,
My name is Vincent Donders. I am a 25 year old world citizen, born in the Netherlands.
I am writing this to you over Instagram and Facebook, because I had no other idea how to reach you. With millions of ‘followers’, you receive probably thousands of messages everyday. So, hope is low that you will ever read this, but still I had to try it.
A few weeks ago I learned about your existence. I have never really spent my free time on learning more about politics. However, for the last couple of weeks I spent multiple hours watching videos of you on YouTube, watching the documentary Knock Down the House and listening to what you have to say on social media.
I must say, I am very privileged in my life. I am rich, mostly white, male and healthy. I receive a lot of love and live in a country where I can be myself in all fields. I have never been bullied or mistreated. I am someone who loves music, sports, physics, writing, other people, love and many other things.
The other day I found myself really happy, but I didn’t quite know why. I started to think about it and it became clear the reason was you. You, trying to change the world for the better. I was happy because this wasn’t a dream, this is reality. I know I’m not in the position to have a positive impact on your life, but I want to tell you that you have a positive influence on my life already! On my Instagram I have a page called Inspiring Women. You are in it. Not only because where you came from to eventually become (the youngest woman ever) in Congress. Not only because you did it in the United States of America, where it is much more difficult for someone with your political view to become popular than in Europe. Not even for the fact that you are a woman (although it makes it even more difficult). No, the reason you are inspiring (to me) is not because of who you are, it is because of what you do. It is because you always stay respectful and talk in a dynamic way. Sometimes with elegance, sometimes with urgency. You are inspiring, because of your ideas to make this world more beautiful. You are not inspiring because you are ‘special’, you are inspiring because you are ‘normal’. The happiness I experienced thinking about your political ideas is the same happiness I experience when listening to beautiful music or taking in other beautiful art, because they are all things I believe in. I don’t have to tell you, miss Ocasio-Cortez, that you can be really proud of yourself. But I love saying it, so I am going to do it anyway: you can be really proud of yourself! And I am also really proud of you!
I am not someone who will go into politics. I am not a fighter, like you. But, I will spread your ideas in my environment. Also, because I have the same view. And I have noticed you get a lot of support here, at the other side of the Atlantic.
And for me, I decided to become a physics teacher. I love having a positive influence on the lives of children. Educating and interesting them in things I am passionate about will become my life goal.
For now, miss Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, keep believing in yourself. There will be a lot of criticism, there will be a lot of hard work, stressful moments and other hard times. But always remember: stairs and mountains are not hard to climb because you stay in the same place, they are hard to climb because you reach greater heights.
Con mucho respeto y gratitud,
Documentary and links
The documentary Knock Down the House, which I talk about in the letter, is on Netflix. Check it out if you want to learn more about her way to the Congress and be inspired by her personality.
Next to that I would like to share some links with you in which she rocks!
These are just some of the videos you can find of her on the internet. There are more videos in which she rocks The House of Representatives. She is now 32 years old. In the United States you can become president from the age of 35. I don´t want to say much more… and the The House of Representatives is great. But I think she would also be good in another house… A white one with an oval office.
*It could be that this article is updated from time to time.
Cambridge Dictionary. (2021, 15 december). Inspiring definition: 1. encouraging, or making you feel you want to do something: 2. encouraging, or making you feel. . .. Learn more. Seen on 19 december 2021, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/inspiring
Oxford dictionary. (n.d.). inspiring definition – חיפוש ב-Google. Retrieved 19 December 2021, from https://www.google.com/search?q=inspiring+definition&rlz=1CAVHDQ_enNL953&ei=7Wq_YaarMaWG9u8P_emBqAI&ved=0ahUKEwjm1ezqsPD0AhUlg_0HHf10ACUQ4dUDCA4&uact=5&oq=inspiring+definition&gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EANKBAhBGABKBAhGGABQAFiCBWCPB2gBcAJ4AIABAIgBAJIBAJgBAKABAaABArABAMABAQ&sclient=gws-wiz