Yesterday was International Women’s Day and social media was filled with women (and men!) recognizing the women they look up to admire. It’s a beautiful and empowering thing to see all these amazing women being recognized for the work they do and put out into the world. When I took time to reflect on the women who inspire me the most, the first ones to come to mind are the ones closest to home. This illustrated something really important to me, but first I want to highlight five of the inspirational women my life.
My Mom // The one who raised me, one of the people in this world who loves me most, the one who exasperates me (sometimes, just like I exasperate her, I’m sure), and the one who has always been by my side. She has always supported my dreams and encouraged me to pursue them. She has shown me what it means to be a woman of faith, to be a support to your family, and to love unconditionally. She’s taught me how to find strength, hope, and courage during tough times in life, and that it’s okay to be vulnerable even as you do.
My Oldest Sister // There’s a big age difference between us, so she was always my cool big sister whose house I’d hang out at, and whose dogs I played with. As I’ve watched her navigate some hard times in life she has taught me to have strength and courage through it all. She always inspires me to be kind and to reach out to those around me. To value family and the memories we make. When she takes something on, she gives it her all. I’m grateful that she lets her weird little sister hang out with her children, because they’re two of the coolest kids I know.
My Middle Sister // Is she my middle sister? I don’t have another one, but she’s the middle sister. Anyway. She’s the one I always wanted to be and I always fell short of living up to the things she accomplished. Older, somewhat wiser Crystal has learned that’s okay. We’re totally different people, so now instead of wanting to BE her I’m inspired by her. She has shown me how to work hard, and how to step out of my comfort zones. She’s taught me how to take on the world and I’ve noticed that the way that I try to take on a new place or situation when I’m unsure and out of my element comes from her. The way I try to take on life in general. She has always, always, always encouraged me to pursue my dreams, even when I least expected it.
My Friend/”Sister” // We’re not biologically related, but how else can I describe the woman who has been a big part of my life since I was a teenager, who lived with my family for two years while I was in high school, who taught me how to drive, whose door is always open to me, and whose house has become a home away from home for me. When my niece asked who I’d take with me if I had to face the Titans, there was no question about it, it was Becky. She’s shown me how to work hard and to follow my dreams. I know I can count on her whenever I need a friend. She’s taught me that you take care of those you love and I feel so fortunate that I fall into that category with her.
My Niece // The youngest on this list, but no less inspiring than the others. I’ve loved watching her grow up over the years, even if it means she’s getting older and has other friends to occupy her time that she didn’t have when she was two. (😭😭) And even though she does, she still appears to enjoy hanging out with her aunt. I’m so grateful for that! She’s a young woman who goes after what she wants. She continuously works to improve her skills in her piano, writing, and art. And her work ethic is so inspiring–it’s something I’ll be talking about soon! She’s ready to take on the world, and I’m so excited to continue to follow her through it.
As I go through this list of women who inspire and think of even more, they’re all women in my life. They’ve shown strength and courage, they’ve shown love and loyalty, they’re the women I can laugh with and cry with, they’re the women who inspire me in their pursuit of their dreams–whether those dreams are being a wife and mother, or running a company.
It can be easy to look at the women who have made an impact on a grand scale–entertainers who have inspired, brave women who have stood up for themselves and others on a public platform–and think about what it would be like to be as motivational and inspiring them. Yes, those women are important and we’d live in a much different world if we didn’t have those women. But the women who inspire in our everyday lives? They’re just as important.
I have a lot of dreams. I want to share words that make an impact for others, just as the words of others have made an impact on my life. But through it all I want to remember the importance of being even just a little bit of what the women above have been to me, to those in my everyday life in my roles as sister, aunt, and friend.
I’d love to hear about the women who have inspired you!