I've met my fair share of pretty special people, but my mother outdoes them all. She is, by far, the craziest person I've ever met. On a good day I can say it in an endearing way, but obviously, not all days are good. Because of some of the batshit crazy decisions she's made in her life, I didn't get to spend my childhood with her. In fact, I saw her very rarely, but that doesn't mean she hasn't had much of an impact - she certainly has. Good and bad, of course, as is always the case, though I'm working hard on letting go of the bad and embracing the good. Here's my top three list of good stuff she's taught me.
Don't fear the road less travelled
I grew up with very little sense of stability or direction of, well, anything. The same thing can be said for my mother, only for her, it lasted a lot, lot longer. Attending university had a disproportionate impact on my life in that I met people who offered guidance and advice, and I finally found some sort of path. My mum didn't. Instead, she very much created her own path, seemingly blindfolded, with most of the establishment rallying against her. I think it's her determination to try things out and create things for herself (even though they sometimes have been truly mental) that's allowed me to not bat an eyelid at the prospect of moving into a second-hand shop at the tender age of 18, or take a year out of uni to try the diplomatic life in Uganda, or do any of the things I've done that have first seemed a bit... odd.
If one door closes... obviously, just take the window
My mum's made some interesting career choices and regardless of what one wants to say about them, she's always stuck to her guns and found ways around pretty much everything. She is an entrepreneur at heart - perhaps albeit without realising it herself - and whenever she's encountered a problem (there were plenty, and often) she's simply found a way to make it work. Regardless of whether it's involved moving countries, striking up new, albeit somewhat suspicious, biz ventures, or, well, anything really, she's just managed to plough through the most bizarre scenarios, including having to build up her life from scratch, again and again. Her resilience is second to none and it's taught me that there's a zillion solutions to every problem, and if you can't find it, it's because you're not looking properly.
Work hard and be nice to people
She has a heart of gold and always aims to be nice to people. Her kindness extends to the point where she drove back the first car she ever stole to the parking space she first stole it from once it'd emptied on petrol. Haha. I know that's not funny, but it sort of is... I also remember vividly when a beggar came up to us when I was about 10, asking for money, and mum first said "no one gave me any money when I was homeless" (lol such a pragmatic), then immediately being hit with a wave of regret and ran after him with a tenner - even though she, at that point, had little money herself. I try to be kind, and I try to remember that everyone is fighting their own struggle, but I'm not doing half as well as my mother is. Although no one would blame her for being full of rage for all the shit life's thrown at her, she's really just incredibly generous with her kindness. I try to imitate that best I can.
As you can see below, she's also taught me that it's ok to wear sports bras as tops... Which might just be the biggest learning of them all.