To All You Women Who Inspire Me…

by Erin Honor

So has you may know, today is International Woman’s Day – now, in full honestly, this is a day that I have never given as much thought as it deserves. As an emotionally-stunted twenty-two year old girl with an immeasurable laundry list of confidence issues – I have never once felt that such a day applied to me. And honestly, I still don’t know that it does.

All that being said, these past few years have really opened my eyes to what incredible woman I am surrounded by in life and there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of them.

I lost my father when I was in high school, and while I would give anything in the world to have him back – there is something that I am grateful for. There is a silver-lining. I have always felt this – that out of the people I know, I am, and was, incredibly lucky and blessed even when the my entire world was crumbling beneath me.

Why is this? It is because I truly have a family that is not only beautifully close, but that is full of people show such incredible strength and kindness in everything they do. I am surrounded by beautiful humans that I can look up to…. beautiful and amazing woman who do deserve to be recognized.

Now, I’ve never been good at talking to people face to face — my brain moves to fast and my mouth can’t keep up. I am a coward, but there are so many things that I want to say – that I need to say, and I think the only way that I can do so is in my (albeit sloppy) writing.

So, here we go – a little list of some of (but not all) of the woman that I keep in my thoughts every day. Woman whom I want to be aware everyday that someone thinks that they are incredible… and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Okay.. enough stalling.

To my Aunt LuAnne,

I can’t even begin to tell you how many conversations my mom and I have had about how wonderful and amazing you are. You are such a caring individual and you do so much for all of us. I am so grateful. I am so grateful for how much you care about my mom and how I know that you see how amazing she is. I am so grateful for those times that you picked me up from high school when I was having a bad day and needed to leave early. I am grateful for how much you care about our family, our whole family – and how my dad no longer being with us hasn’t caused any distance. If anything, I believe that it’s brought us all so much closer.

I am grateful for how loved you have always made me feel –  I am grateful for the conversations that we have had about my dad on those drives home from school.

Finally, I am grateful for all that you did for Grandpa – bringing him meals or having him over for meals. Every time I would go over there he would mention how you or Aunt Joan had just seen him (often the day prior) and how happy he was because he knew “all of you were so busy.” I am grateful for all of the things you did for him in helping him and giving the push that he needed to take initiative in his own life and health. He always told me how happy he was to have you and Aunt Joan and Aunt Patty as his daugthers. “They’re good ones, those girls.”

 

To My Aunt Joan,

You are honestly someone that I think about every single day without fail. I truly find you amazing in so many ways and I really do look up to you. You have been handed so much in life and yet you remain the most positive and vibrant person that I know.

I spend a lot of time thinking about that interview I did with you for my documentary project last year – some of the things with said have stuck with me in such a way that I know that they will be there forever.

One of the things that you said when you were talking about how incredible Grace was  (and forever will be) was the fact that she literally never lived in anywhere but the present. She wasn’t plagued with the anxieties and doubt and self-depreciative thoughts that almost all of us humans are weighed down with. We all walk around with invisible ankle weights adhered to us – we must remain grounded. We must follow the system. Security over passion. Well, Gracey was able to feel that passion every moment of her life. When she was sitting in her chair watching PowerPuff Girls, all that was there was he and her favorite show. The only things in her world were things that brought her joy – her shows, her food, and, of course you and Julia. You always went above and beyond to be with her as much as possible and gave her a beautiful life full of nothing but joy. I think a lot about how much I want to be like her. One of my goals in life is to never lose that childlike wonder that kids experience when the world is new and exciting and beautiful. Clouds become bunnies and dinosaurs cars – a thunder storm where you can see the bolts of lightning is exhilarating. We live in such a beautiful world, such an incredibly beautiful world – but at some point, as we grow, we are expected to forget that. Welcome to the “real world,” “grow up.” Gracey never lost that joy in everything around her, and the way that you expressed that in my documentary is something that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

I also so admire your unwavering confidence in yourself. To me, you are someone who is so unapologetically who they are and it is incredible. You are able to bring so much joy into your life because you don’t let the voices of self-doubt control your life. You believe in doing something great with your life – no matter how long it takes. I appreciate my conversations with you so much because I so desperately want to get to that point. I have things that I want to, no, that I need to do, and the are not in any ways the “safe” route to go.. And for so long I have allowed that negative voice control my life. I have allowed it to tell me that there is nothing remarkable about me and that I need to grow up and stop thinking I can make my life beautiful and extraordinary. Truly, you are the only person who, when I voiced these thoughts to, responded with enthusiasm.. Belief. I will forever be grateful for that.

I think you are remarkable and I hope that you accomplish each and every one of your dreams. You radiate positivity, and that is something that we all need to be around.

To My Cousin Kelly,

I don’t even know where to begin with this one honestly. I could write a whole novel on just how much I love you and your family and how unbelievably lucky I feel to have you in my life.

You’re someone who has always been a big sister figure to me, but that role expanded ten-fold after my dad died. You and Bob took me out and created our designated Tuesday “Biggest Loser” and fro-yo nights. I don’t remember a lot from that year, but I can honestly say that those nights meant the world to me and are some of my precious memories.

You also visited me in the hospital (and even had to pretend to be my sister to get in). I know that it couldn’t have been easy for you, no one wants to be in a hospital especially with someone who was the way I was at the time. Even so, you came and watched movies with me and french braided my hair just like you always had. Having you there made that terrifying time so much more bearable. I felt guilty that you came so often, and still do – I know it probably wasn’t number one on your list of things that you wanted to do… But I just hope you know how much it meant to me.

There was also something that you said to me one of those nights:

“You know, you’re starting to get your sense of humor back. You’re starting to seem more life you again.”

Just writing that our made me tear up, and I know that such a comment probably shouldn’t be as impactful as it was – but it was something that I so desperately needed at the time. Thank you so much. Thank you for always being there for me, even when I definitely didn’t deserve it. Thank you for making me feel loved and like being me is okay.

You are such a strong person, one of the strongest I have ever met (Aunt Evie is #1 on my list haha) and I really do aspire to be life you. You have created such a beautiful life for yourself and I am so happy for you – I am also so grateful for bringing Bob, Jack, Connor, and Jamie in my life. I love all of you with absolutely everything I have.

Thank you.

And finally,

My amazing mother,

My mom is someone who will never accept how wonderful that not only I think she is, but how wonderful everyone things she is. Seriously, I have had so many conversations with my grandma and my aunts about how wonderful she is, but she’ll never believe that. My mom is someone who would do absolutely anything for everyone – she is always there to answer my anxiety-driven texts when I decide that I must be dying at least once a week – she is always there for the people around her. She thinks she doesn’t do enough for me and my brother and for everyone – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

My mom is such a beautiful person, inside and out. I mean, this woman, who already works long shifts in the hospital, spend her off-days driving between Sloan-Kettering in New York City to be with my dying father and LIJ to be with her dying daughter. I have caused her so much pain and she still loves me and, somehow believes in me. She loves me and my brother so much and we are so blessed to have her.

My mom lost her husband, the person she was supposed to be with forever — meanwhile, she had(and has) a mentally ill child on her hands. The fact that I am in a headspace where I can sit and write this right now is a testament to just how amazing of a mother that she is. Over the years, she has helped me go through over five different therapists before finding one that actually helps me. She has gone above and beyond for me in every way.

She wants to be the perfect mother, I think. But, that’s not something that’s possible. However, she is so close. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I was to be born as her daughter. She is a strong, caring, beautiful, funny, smart, interesting, and creative individual who deserves to take care of herself and her own happiness. She deserves the most beautiful life that the universe can offer, and I hope that someday I can become someone that can help make that happen for her.

Oh, she also has really good taste in music – always a plus. She also has a beautiful voice.

But seriously, none of these words can even begin to describe my mom – but I know that those of you who have met her can agree just what an incredible person she is. She will go to the ends of the earth for not only her immediate family, but also for the friends and family of those she cares about.

I want to see my mom in a state of joy, no matter how fleeting. Every time she laughs, really laughs, or makes a bad joke (definitely got my lame sense of humor from her) I can feel my heart lift ever-so-slightly. She always says that the happiness of her kids is her happiness, but I think that I can speak for my little brother in saying that our happiness also comes from hers.

Some other people worth mentioning:

My 8th grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Clarey: She is someone who, for some reason, seemed to see something in me, and I will never forget that. I wish that my brother had had the opportunity to be in her class.

My 10th grade health teacher: another person who seemed to care about me without any reason to. Granted, she had to view my food logs when I was at the height of my anorexia – but even so, she made me feel seen and like I mattered in some way. Thank you so much, for everything.

My dance teacher from when I was in elementary school-highschool: yet another person who, for some reason, cared about me and made me feel seen and who was a beautiful human being who cared deeply for her students and their well-beings.

My cousin, Jill: I’ve always looked up to you (lame confession: I actually wrote you on the dedication page of a book I was writing when I was like 7). I think you’re such a cool and vibrant person and I have always and will always admire and look up to you.

My best friend, Shannon: even though I barely see you, I seriously love you with everything I have and have no clue how I would have gotten through Tampa without you. Some of the happiest memories of my life have you in them and I am so happy that I got to meet you. You are beautiful and smart and worthy and deserving of all the love and happiness in the world. I know for a fact that your life will be beautiful. You have such a good head on your shoulders and I admire you in so many ways. Thank you for being my friend.

I hope I didn’t overstep in any of these and will definitely delete it if any of you want me to…. I just wanted you all to know how I feel. I love you all. Thank you for everything.

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