Here’s to strong women

I grew up being raised by a single mom. My mom had been chronically ill for as long as I can remember and she managed to raise my sister and I all alone. My parents divorced when I was about six years old and it’s all I have ever known. My mom never spoke much about it, except that it happened after my father admitted to having a family with another woman. That woman ended up becoming my stepmother and yet another example of a strong woman in my life. My stepmom has two kids with my dad, my half sister and half brother. My half brother has special needs and it has always baffled me how well my stepmom dealt with all of it by herself. My dad wasn’t around much, so it was always the mother figures in my life picking up the pieces when something broke.

With that being said, I also grew up without much of a father figure in my life. My father first became an active part of my life after my mother passed away, but during my childhood it was always my Opa who showed me what a good father is like. For the longest time, and maybe still, I thought that good father figures were a rare thing to have. Many of my childhood friends had divorced parents with the dads often being absent or a passive part of their lives, only coming and going as it fit their schedule.

But thanks to my Opa and my mother figures I did not miss out on anything. When my mother passed away, someone else crossed my path. The woman I now consider to be my bonus mom and probably the strongest woman I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She is a breast cancer survivor and kept her family afloat when everything seemed to be falling apart. Not only that, but I believe she saved my family from falling apart too. She has had her heart broken many times, but like a phoenix, she rose up from the ashes, stronger than before. A woman I look up to, that’s for sure.

But as time went on, this little girl I’ve known since the moment she grew in my mother’s womb, my best little friend, my partner in crime, my younger sister now too grew into a woman with the heart of a warrior. Despite all the odds stacked up against her, she fought, pulled through and survived. I couldn’t be prouder to be her sister. I love her so much. But it’s not just her, but obviously also my half-sister. She also has had her fair share of hardships to deal with at a very young age and it has made her into a fierce, strong and amazing young woman. I love seeing how well she does, and it saddens me that I don’t get to see her as often as we used to.

I could never forget to write about my grandmother, my Oma here, even though I had not mentioned her earlier. While growing up I saw my mother and Oma fight a lot and I was never really able to understand why. But now that I am older, I do. Oma has a heart of gold and wears it on her sleeve. She is one of the most honest people I have ever known and I try to adopt her honesty, albeit it maybe with a little bit more filter.. 😉

Last year two special women in particular came into my life. My mother and sister in law, both extraordinary women. They’ve both fought their battles and stayed SO kind and strong despite all of it. And I admire and adore them for it. In a world so cruel kinder people are needed. I truly believe that it’s people like them, that make this world a better place to live in. I’d like to be kinder, just like they are.

It’s the influence of these lovely ladies (and those are just a few, I have so many amazing girlfriends as well but it would make this post even loooonger!), that I’m still here today. I couldn’t have gotten this far without their love and support.

Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!

Do you have strong women in your life?
I’d love to hear more about them!

-Naiyee

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”How we need another soul to cling to”

Hello all of you lovely people! Happy 2019! Hope your holidays have been great, with lots of laughter, love and of course ALL THE FOOD!

Main reason I’ve been away for a couple of weeks was because of my exams, all of which I’ve passed! BUT I have also moved! FINALLY!! After I was done with my exams, I decided I wanted me some Finland and took the plane there. Being with my love and his family was lovely and Finnish winter is amazing! It was good. All of it. The Christmas celebrations were lovely, but so was the time we spent just hanging out and playing Cards Against Humanity for hours. The 1,5 week I spent up there went by way too fast and before I knew it, my love and I were back at Helsinki Airport saying our goodbyes, or ”see you soons” as we prefer to call them. ”Goodbye” is permanent. ”See you soon” isn’t. On the plane I had been spending all my time just listening to music and reliving all the lovely memories made.

Lately I have been noticing that leaving my significant other or my family is starting to take a toll on me. I cry myself to sleep for days after I’ve gotten back here in Denmark and I spend days just daydreaming about how lovely it would be if I could just be with them and not here. My days just consist of school, eating, yoga, homework, doggo, repeat.  As if I’m running on autopilot, time flies by, without me really being aware of what time or day it is. And then it hit me.. Am I lonely? I mean, I have all these great people here in Denmark, my school is going fine and well, my job is alright too.. So why is it then that I feel alone all the time, despite having a good life here?

I’ve always said that my home is with the people that I love and that still rings true. When I moved to Denmark because of love, my home was here. I had him and his family here and a family back in the Netherlands to which I could ALWAYS return to. But now I have a home in the Netherlands AND a home in Finland, neither of which are close by.

Today, while I was on the bus on my way home, an elderly woman decided to sit next to me, despite there still being seats available for the elderly (they are a lot lower and less risky to fall out of). My initial response was annoyance. She could have chosen ANY seat available there, and she decides to sit next to me. Oh well, just be on your phone Naiyee, headphones loud and ignore the lady. Then I noticed over the tunes of Paramore playing, that she started talking to me. I took my headphones off and asked if she could repeat what she said, and she said something along the lines of how impressive it was that I could type so fast on my phone, that her hands don’t work so well anymore and how her hands don’t like the cold very much. I said that I didn’t even notice how fast I was typing and that the cold really isn’t that nice for anyone, and then the woman got off the bus. Then I realised that she might be feeling the same way I do. Lonely, just wanting meaningful contact with another soul. Immediately after that interaction I felt a sense of guilt. Guilt about getting annoyed at an old lady, just wanting to have some contact, because I can relate to it. A lot.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with my mother years ago. I have always been a socially awkward kid. I prefer to keep to myself in situations with strangers and always looked down when walking. My mom never liked that much. She then said to me:

”Why don’t you look up and see the world and the people around you? Everybody is always so preoccupied with their own stuff, but there are many lonely people out there. Look around you, greet someone or smile at them. It might be meaningless to you, you may have forgotten about it five minutes later, but to them it could make their whole day. Just because you acknowledged their presence.”

That was a life lesson I have never forgotten and honestly, I’ve been terrible at applying it to my own life.

So, I don’t really do new years resolutions, but I figured that I, from today on, am going to be kinder to strangers. The world is already cruel enough as it is and smiling at or greeting another person won’t hurt anyone. In my opinion everyone should try it.

Do you greet or talk to strangers? Why or why not?

– Naiyee