I will be honest. Last week was the pits. After all the excitement of buying and selling houses gave way to the drudge of the legal process everything felt a little flat. We were both tired and a little snippy. Then on Wednesday The Cold returned. Yes, I know, you are all suffering too, seems there is no one that has not been afflicted with it to some degree over the last couple of months.
Anyway, to cut a long story short the week ended with a flat battery in Birmingham due to me forgetting to turn my lights off and me missing a new product launch and training for one of my product ranges as I had to drive for at least 40 minutes to recharge…well you get the picture. The pits.
Suffice it to say that I woke up on Sunday with the grumps.
But in 127 minutes of glorious cinema that all changed. We snuck off to see Hidden Figures at 11:30 in the morning.
“The incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.”
A small paragraph for a big film.
I had heard of Dorothy Vaughan, somewhere in my IT knowledge I knew of this smart, bright lady who mastered the IBM at NASA. But I had no real idea of what these women endured to believe in themselves and realise their dreams.
The film covers their struggles not just as women, but as black women at a time, in my lifetime, where there was still segregation, alongside rampant sexism. Of course, these ladies triumphed and went on to lead successful, happy lives, involved in some of the most incredible scientific advances. It is a clever, beautiful and gentle film, but it lifted me up, inspired me, filled me with joy.
I have never seen myself as a “feminist”. And let’s be frank, if I was to burn my bra the fall out could kill someone! But I do believe passionately in equality. And I hate bigotry of any kind. This film shows triumph arising out of adversity, of how essential it is to believe in yourself and to persevere and endure. Not to be afraid of the challenges and changes that life throws in our direction.
I left the cinema feeling inspired and uplifted. Joyful and happy. Grateful to live in a world where such women existed. Where they paved the way generations of other women, of all colours, to be able to make choices, pursue their dreams. My plan for this blog was to cheer for this film, to encourage women to go and see it. Celebrate their achievements.
But I also watched Testament of Youth. Vera Brittain’s heart rending memoir of living through the first world war. She was another inspirational woman who fought society and tradition to follow her dreams and found a way to believe in herself through the horror and the misery of the loss and destruction that the war brought.
Then last night I watched the latest edition of Call The Midwife. This week’s edition dealt with the thorny subject of Female Genital Mutilation, a practice that still goes on in our supposedly enlightened world.
The direction of my blog has slightly changed. And I am feeling slightly ashamed of myself. Im my working life, and my personal life I have experienced sexism, and other “isms”. I have been judged in many ways. People have made assumptions about me because of who I was married to, how I look, how much I weigh, because I cry easily, for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with who I am, or what I am capable of. I spent many years without one iota of self-belief. Without feeling that I could achieve anything much, feeling as though I didn’t deserve anything. It doesn’t matter what was behind my lack of belief. What matters is that we ALL matter! And we need to remember that.
I see so many young women now settling for what they think they are capable of. I want to say to them, get your heads up, decide what you want and go out and get it. Take advantage of everything that is out there. Because all those women before us worked really, really, hard so that we could be just about anything we want to be, with knobs on!
And irrespective of whether you want a family, a career or both don’t be afraid to go for it. Just believe in yourself and reach for those dreams. Sure, it will be a struggle at some point, but persevere. You will win.
It is never too late. I am on the verge of reinventing myself, at the ripe old age of 58! I am lucky enough to be grabbing a blank canvas and creating a new future for myself. Being grumpy isn’t an option!
We are so lucky. There are still awful horrific situations for women in this “enlightened” world of ours. Current political changes in the world are bringing fear and doubt into our everyday lives. Many women face physical mutilation and mental suffering all over the world. Those of us that can, should. Be brave, be confident, believe.
Don’t wait…just do it!