If I asked you to define what makes a strong woman, what would you say? What image pops into your mind?
Given that the dictionary definition of the adjective is “having the power to move heavy weights or perform other physically demanding tasks” for most us I guess an athlete or a sportswoman is the obvious choice but not for me.
Perhaps it is Ms Pankhurst, with her drive to ensure that women were treated equally
Or maybe it is an image of a women carrying water for miles on her head? The strength of her back ensuring that her children drink clean water.
Or perhaps it is an entrepreneur, a woman who followed her passion and made a success despite setbacks.
Whatever it is, one thing is for sure strong woman come in all shapes and sizes, they may not all lift weights but most have carried huge burdens or felt the heaviness of life on their shoulders.
For me the definition of a strong woman is one with great character, not always” a loud out there kind of girl” but more often than not someone who gets on with their day-to-day life but is true to who she is and where she comes from.
One great character was my Aunty Betty who sadly passed away recently.
A very strong woman, she lived in New York for most of her life but there was still a huge piece of her heart in Scotland. She was one of those remarkable women who survived wherever she was, survived whatever life threw at her good or bad, and always looked incredibly glam on the way. I, like many of my cousins, will remember Aunty Betty’s trips home. It always meant a visit to Croy to see her and more than likely a treat from the ice cream van when it came around. However my favourite memory of her was on my very first trip to New York, I went for a walk with her into Flushing to get some shopping. It started to rain so we headed into the first place we could find, not the venue of choice I might add. Aunty Betty told me to just order coffee because we were not staying, when I asked her why she said “not all places sell as good as they look”. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around the shops, trying on the biggest bling rings we could find, drinking coffee and setting the world to rights. I got to know my Aunty Betty that afternoon and to realise what a remarkable, strong and stubborn woman she was. I remember picking up this ring and trying to pay for it. Aunty Betty wanted to buy it for me but I said no. So she said in a very loud voice to the sales guy “don’t take her money; her money is no good here”. With half the shoppers around staring at me, I had to give in. I think my face went so red they could see it on Manhattan. Never afraid to voice her opinion this was the woman who sent back many a superbly cooked steak with the loud order “I asked you to burn it”. The one other thing about Aunty Betty that I will always remember was that she, like me, hated goodbyes. She very rarely came to the airport to wave you off preferring instead to stay at home. Often you got a huge hug then she would turn away and not watch you leave.
Just like my much missed Aunty Pat, Aunty Alice, Uncle John and Granny and Grandas, I learned a valuable lesson from Aunty Betty.
Be proud of where you came from
Adapt to where you are going to but keep your roots in your heart
Aunty Betty, you will be sadly missed but I have the ring I was not allowed to buy, the earrings you said brought out the colour of my eyes, the scarf I hated but you insisted “looked good on me” (you were right) and the few other pieces you kindly sent home or gave to me.
We are the strong true characters we are and everything else is just damn good in your face accessories.