The Women Who Made Me

 

Ladies, in case you didn’t know – Wednesday is OUR day.

International Women’s Day. A whole day to celebrate us because, being honest, we’re pretty bloody great aren’t we? I find so much to admire about my gender and the people who fall into it. I’ve been lucky to have been around some pretty fabulous women my whole life. I am a combination of these women; their lives, experiences and influence have helped shape me in to the woman I am today.

The women who made me come from everywhere. All over. Some real, some make-believe. Some I know personally. Some I don’t. Their influence on my life has been no less because I don’t know them on a personal level, or because they are the figment of someone’s imagination.

I am surrounded daily by women whom I admire, women who have traits and qualities I covet, women that teach me things about myself and the world, that influence me in all areas of my life. The women I surround myself with are my biggest cheerleaders, my biggest challengers. Badasses, the lot of ’em!

The women I am about to write about are the women that I feel had the biggest influence on turning the painfully shy, socially awkward Michaela into the less shy and slightly less socially awkward Michaela I am today in the years when I was still trying to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be.

 

My Mum – the ever delightful Mazza.

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Those of you that know me well would know to expect to find my mum on this list. What can I say about the woman who raised me? She’s fuckin’ nuts. She really is. Aside from the standard ‘mum’ lessons that most mums instill in their children, the biggest thing she has taught me is to laugh. Life is there to be enjoyed; laughter is the best medicine. She taught me humility and gave me the gift of being able to laugh at myself. She gave me my love for music – without which I would be completely lost. Music is my best therapy, aside from writing, and there are many times in my life – without sounding too dramatic – that music has saved me from feeling too lonely and lost.

 

My siblings.

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My sisters also deserve their own shout out because they too have had a hand in making me who I am. I am really mix of both of them. They have both always been very protective of me as the youngest child. Melanie is loud and strong, stubborn as a mule – traits that have definitely rubbed off on me. Melissa is quiet, shy and can be quite conservative, I have those sides of me too. One thing that I have gained from these betches is balance. As I said I am a mix of the two of them – so whilst I can be stubborn I am often the one that helps Melanie see the other side of the story and that goes for situations I find myself in too. Being able to see both sides is a trait I’m proud I possess. Melissa has helped me developed my “fake it till you make it façade” – when I push the status quo too far Melissa is there as my moral compass, keeping me on the straight and narrow.

 

Cinderella

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 Cinderella was my favourite Disney princess growing up. She was kind, gentle and she persevered through a mass amount of abuse from her stepmother and step sisters, and she still managed to come through the entire ordeal without wishing them any harm or wrongdoing. The animals were her friends. She lived in harmony with them – she even treated Lucifer (I hated that cat) with respect. She was soft but strong. Something that I aspire to be, even now. She was the lesson that whilst you cannot always change your circumstances or how people treat you, you can make the best of the situation – you can control your reaction to it.

Miss Glover/ Miss Meredith/ Miss Rao / Miss Brown.

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I have no pictures of my old teachers so here is one of Miss Honey from Matilda.

Miss Glover – Year 2 and 3 teacher

Miss Meredith – Year 6 teacher

Miss Brown – Biology teacher in Year 8 and 9

Miss Rao – Psychology teacher in years 12 and 13

These women are the female teachers that made me love school and learning. At 27, I still love to learn. Without sounding arrogant I was a bright student; academically I was above average in everything, except perhaps I. T (I still hate technology). I was however a lazy student – if the subject matter did not interest me, or the teacher was not engaging I would switch off and there was no going back. I fluked my way through all my GCSE and A-Level exams; rarely looking at revision books or notes.

Miss Glover was the first teacher that made me enjoy learning – she coaxed answers out of me in front of the whole class, something which no other teacher had been able to do. I was so shy in my first years at school that I would tell my friend what I thought and she would tell the teacher and rest of the class, until Miss Glover came along. To this day I still have no idea how she did it.

Miss Meredith was the first teacher I really looked up to. I remember just really liking her and would have happily stayed at school long after the bell rang when I was in her class.

As those of you that have met me know I am shorter than average. 5’1 to be exact. Of course growing up I was aware that I was much smaller than most of my class mates and it was never something that gave me much trauma but I was always very aware of it. Miss Brown was also a petite lady but she more than made up for it in attitude and she helped me see that being short didn’t mean you had to be ignored – you could still be short and sassy. She helped me learn how to own my height and be comfortable with it.

Miss Rao gave me my love for all things psychology related. Even now the human brain and psyche fascinate me. I love to observe people and find out why they do what they do, mental health issues and diseases fascinate me. I also just remember her being so cool for a teacher. She was young when she taught me, maybe mid twenties. She loved to travel in the holidays and would come back and tell us all these stories of what she’d done and where she’d been. I was just in awe of her and her confidence and how she carried herself – she really made being intelligent (and passionate about things) cool.

 

Keltie Knight nee Colleen.

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Keltie is an entertainment journalist based out of LA. She used to be a dancer and has danced with everyone from Beyoncé to Kanye, Panic at the Disco to Christina Perri.

I was going through a really tough time when I found Keltie online, it was around 2010 that I began to follow her. She used to send out emails to her blog followers called ‘Moonbeams’ – a weekly lesson or thought. She has provided me with food for thought for the last 8 years and continues to do so now. She has reminded me time and again that people need other people and spreading happiness can be effortless.

Her book “Rockette, Rockstars and Rockbottom” taught me to own my vulnerabilities, to not be ashamed of the bad times and the sadness that surrounds them. That it’s ok to be sad and have a pity party every now and again but you can’t stay there – you have to get up and fight again.

Diane Alice Lorraine.

Dalbs and I

Funny story: when I met Diane I didn’t like her. She hired me when I was 17, buggered off to run another store for a couple of months, came back and I hated her. I still remember the first thing she ever said to me and where it was. Fast forward 10 years and I’d be completely bloody lost without her. She’s put up with the majority of my crap over the years, calling me out on my shit when it’s needed and providing me with some much-needed pep talks. The one thing Diane has taught me, I think more than anything, is that it is ok to want more. Some people are happy to settle but it’s ok not to. As a girl from a working class background that grew up on a council estate people would expect me to settle – so many do, Diane made me see it’s ok not to. In fact she actively encouraged me not to. Thanks, C**t.

Marina Diamandis of Marina and the Diamonds

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“Are you satisfied with an average life?”

“Look like a girl but I think like a guy”

“Can’t let your cold heart be free,
When you act like you’ve got an OCD”

“It’s okay to say you’ve got a weak spot
You don’t always have to be on top
Better to be hated
Than loved loved loved for what you’re not”

Marina was the first female singer / songwriter that I related to – her lyrics where about everything from not feeling good enough, mental health issues, being bored with what society demanded of females and the standard idea of beauty we see in gossip magazines. Of course she wasn’t the first EVER female to sing about these things but she was the first I related to from my age bracket that I listened to. Her lyrics could have come out of my journal, even my friends have remarked over the years that her songs ‘could be about you’. Especially her song ‘Girls” of which Marina herself has said: Of her song

“It’s a call for women to stop being their own enemies. These days you’re either a nun or a whore, to be both and neither, all in one. I want to help redefine women’s place in society.” I love her.

 

These are, of course, a handful of the women that helped make me who I am. I have 4 Aunts who each have played their part in who I am. Up to the age of 20 they and those name above were without a doubt the biggest players in making me, well, me. There are friends that I have made over the years too that have played a part. Becky was my first best friend, Rebecca in middle school – I remember many a sleepover at her house, Neysa in secondary school – she helped me find my singing voice, encouraged me to join the choir which led to many more memories… I could sit here all day and list the women that made me, everyone that has influenced me. The list would be never-ending because I guess in a way, everyone we come into contact with impacts us. We are the people we surround ourselves with.

 

To the women that have made me, thank you!

To the women I know and surround myself with – thank you!

To women all over the world – you matter, your stories matter and you fucking ROCK.

 

Here’s to having a vagina!

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xoxo Micks

International Women’s Day

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

 

 

Yes, that is a thing. Didn’t you know? (I didn’t either I found out last week; I’m not sure if that makes me less of a woman but hey ho) What is it all about I hear you ask?

 

It is a “global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity”

 

There have been events all over our little globe celebrating Women and what they have achieved – there was a Gala lunch in Hong Kong with an “inspirational keynote address” by Jackson Katz, a conference in Aberdeen looking at social media, digital comms and education and how these are central to career development for ladies. In Ontario there was a day celebrating Women in Aviation and encouraging a new generation of girls to become pilots. Today there is an art exhibition in Gibraltar showcasing some of the best art by local female artists whilst also raising money for the local charity “women in need”. Of course London too has got in on the act: the WOW –Women of the World festival is one of the various things happening in the capital and the one that I am totes gutted I missed out on; it looks super rad. Check it

 

 

Now dudes, don’t hate – this isn’t about ignoring the contribution you’ve made to the world; it’s about noticing what women have done to make the world a better place in all areas for everyone. It is about promoting equal rights, for ALL. And you only have to look at the news to see that there is not equal rights for all; and obviously this isn’t restricted to different genders let’s be honest. It’s best that I don’t get started on that though because otherwise this post will never end.

 

So, on this International Women’s day I am celebrating some of the fabulous women in the world and in my life that deserve all the praises, all of the days.

 

  1. My mum

 

She’s an absolute bloody legend. One of my favourite people in the world, who has, as most people have, had a lot of shit to handle throughout her life and is still smiling; I laugh with her more than anyone else. Like most girls, when I was younger I hated her getting all up in my business but now, I go to her with my business. My mum taught me to laugh at myself, knocks me down a peg or two when I get too big for my size 4 boots, and she comes out with some of the best one liners you’ll ever hear. She’s just super fucking rad, Mazza, I love you.

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Mazza and I doing what we do best. Laughing

 

  1. Annie Clark and Andrea Pino

 

These are two ladies you may not have heard of but they should be. These two girls have taken on the biggest colleges across America to ensure they handle the reporting of sexual assaults on campus in the correct way, the right way. They filed a Title IX complaint against their college UNC (University of North Carolina) after they were both raped during their first weeks at the university and the university administrators failed to acknowledge the assaults and were, to put it lightly, unsympathetic to the girls after their attacks. They have started a group called “End Rape on Campus” to bring together survivors of assault from colleges all over the USA to support each other and challenge schools and challenge the law to recognise the severity of this problem. Visit http://endrapeoncampus.org/ for more info. You can also learn more about their stories by watching the documentary ‘The Hunting Ground’.

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Andrea and Annie

 

  1. Rachel McCarthy

 

This girl. My skin and blister, sister from another mister; I’m sad I went 20 years without knowing her. I just simply love her; I’m struggling to put into words how much she makes me love life. I admire Rach for so many things; her attitude, her manners, her sense of humour – but nothing more than for being the amazing mum she is to my favourite guy, Oscar. He is turning into the funniest, kindest most heartbreakingly handsome boy in the world (I may be slightly biased but I’m sure you’d all agree if you spent 5 minutes with him). She is doing motherhood right, if I ever have children I will be happy to be half the mother to my kids that she is to Oscar.

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Rach and I at the funfair in Valencia

 

  1. My favourite LadyGang aka Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin and Jac Vanek

 

Every Tuesday a new podcast is automatically downloaded onto my phone. On my way home I laugh so hard I get odd looks on the train – these ladies are making it cool to be real. They jibber jabber for 45 minutes a week over mimosas and sweet treats and make you wish you were at brunch with your best gal pals. They talk about anything and everything. Life in Hollywood (Keltie works in TV, Becca is an actress), business (Jac has a self made business selling super cool things – check it here) and the struggles of womanhood in general. Most weeks includes a celebrity guest but my favourite parts of the podcast are ‘Good week, Bad week’ – where they say the best and worst thing that has happened to them the past week – I’m still laughing at Becca talking about her sharting in her yoga pants – and #AsktheLadyGang which is where listeners send in their questions for the girls to answer; this is the part where I sit there and think about the advice I would give too. It’s just a super cool podcast, where 3 women are celebrating other women and life and friendship. The best part is you can get it on iTunes for free! Go subscribe; you won’t regret it!

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L to R: Becca Tobin, Keltie Knight and Jac Vanek

 

  1. Diane Alice Lorraine Dalby

 

The woman that gave me my first job and the MC bug; even though she jumped ship 7 years ago to run her own business with her hubby. She turned the quiet, naïve 17 year old Michaela into the loudmouth Micks that you’ve all come to know and tolerate. This year will be 10 years since we first met and I would not be without her, ever. Which is kind of funny because I actually didn’t like her when I first met her; something we laugh at now. I thought she was a bit of an ass back then, she thinks I’m a bit of an ass now; the tables have turned. My life coach. My confidante. My cheerleader. My friend. Di seems to see something in me that I don’t see in myself, something half decent. One of my favourite people in the world.

P.S if any of you ever find yourself in Weymouth go and stay at their guest house; it’s bloomin’ lovely. To check it out, click here.

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We have so much fun together. Clearly.

 

  1. Emma Watson

 

You just need to watch this video to know why she is on my list.

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  1. Audy

 

Aud and I have had a rough ride this last year, things have been strained – something which we both admit. I am pleased to say we seem to be back on track now. If you know Audrey you know why she is on this list. This woman is the true definition of STRENGTH. In the decade I have know her she has been through more shit than most people go through in a lifetime –it isn’t my business to tell everyone – but I’m just going on public record to say that, Aud, I’m in awe of your strength. Knocked down 7 times, you stand up 8, still kicking and screaming. After everything you still have a heart of gold, you feel so much, so deeply (even though you pretend you don’t) and it is incredible to see. I will never forget that you came around the day my Grandad passed away just to drop off flowers, offer condolences and bring me a little penguin gift to ‘make me laugh’. You really are one in a million please don’t ever change.

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Micks and Maud at Becky’s wedding 

 

 

  1. Every woman in my life

 

I am quite choosy about who I give my time to now, if you’re one of my best friends or closest pals you are there because I love you. You all show me unconditional support and love, and are doing life right mixed with the right amount of passion and crazy and you all inspire me everyday. So thank you for choosing me as a friend, for making me feel loved, understood and enjoying – and sometimes encouraging – the crazy. You all rock. I feel I will have forgotten people in the list below but please, charge it to my head and not my heart.

 

Melanie (free hair cuts are the best hair cuts) Melissa (DANGER) Sophie (the little sister I never had) Jade (sloppy) Leanna (let’s get the chicken nugget tattoo) Denise (Denise, Denise, I talk about her all the time!) Huma (Miele) Amy (my favourite punch bag) Byng (there would be so much less laughter in my life without you) Steph (superhero in nurse form, I’m so proud of you), Charlie (my sunshine and showers, thank you for the T-Swift sing-alongs), Auntie Pol (Ignore Adam, you have a great singing voice), Becki (Norman Price, miss ya), Carol Lorraine (HI CAROL), Nicolias (My favourite friends quoting dino) RJ (my best posh bird, how’s Giles?), Agy (I still have bottom envy), Kelv (no way, no way, manamanaaa) The cousins that I haven’t seen in sooooo long Katie, Lorna & Amy (Kate, we really were Grandad’s faves)… Lisa (Linda, my Bostonian mother), Momma Sophs (I really like it), Philomena (I LOVE YOU)…this list is endless.

 

Today, and everyday, I celebrate you and am grateful for you and to have you by my side as I try to make my way in this big old world.

 

Here’s to the ladies.

 

Xoxo

 

Micks

 

 

 

 

Useful links

 

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/

 

http://endrapeoncampus.org/

 

http://www.heforshe.org/en

 

https://www.jacvanek.com/

 

http://theladygang.com/

 

http://croftonguesthouse.co.uk/