Your footprints may be followed by others.
Like you, I walk in the footsteps of my female forebears. The fine details of whose lives I know relatively little because they carried their experiences privately. Despite this, I’ve had the privilege of learning from their example, and from the rare private glimpses they gave me of their truth.
My Norwegian maternal grandmother was a key figure in my young life. She knew more than I did of what lay ahead of me in life and did her best to pass me her wisdom. She was a woman of seeming contradictions simultaneously stoic, determined, stern, patient, gentle, loving, and uncompromising in her values.
For a reason unknown to me, she has recently become more present in my consciousness. I feel that as I age I understand more of what she tried to pass on to me via her stories and as a role model. The words below tumbled from my fingertips one morning following a restless night. I thought I’d share them with you.
The reminder she gave me was potent for me, for you, and for every woman who has the power to make choices in their life.
Thoughts of her woke me from my sleep last night.
My mind plucked this photo from the depths of my subconscious and thrust it towards me. I suspect my conscience was pricked by a recent post where I wrote about walking away from a well-paying job.
My maternal grandmother didn’t have the choices I have.
Unable to work once married her fine education was useless to her. It may as well have rested on the bottom of the North Sea along with the flagship of her father’s shipping line, the sinking of which caused the loss of his family fortune. She realised too late that she had married a charming but unreliable husband.
But she could not walk away.
In the 1930s, divorce was particularly difficult for a woman – particularly one with no income or assets of her own.
As I lay awake in bed last night, I wondered what she’d have thought of my 2010 decision to walk away from a well-paying job. I felt guilty. The job I walked away from would have been the stuff of dreams for her. I know because she told me of her dreams and her regrets.
Would she have stayed with my grandfather if she’d had a sufficient income of her own?
At least she would’ve had choices.
Choice is empowering. It’s called economic empowerment for a reason.
It’s what you, I, our sisters, and our daughters deserve; the power to make of our lives the best we can through fair opportunity.
In honour or my beautiful Norwegian grandmother, I urge you to consider this.
Every time you make a choice, you are exercising your power.
Use your power well.
With love as always,
What I write here and my books are inspired by the example of women such as my grandmother. You have the power within you to honour them, yourself, and other women and girls. Not by self-sacrifice, but self-leadership. In freeing yourself from the burdens of unrealistic self-expectations and allowing yourself to be, learn, and grow. Life is not always pretty, it’s certainly not perfect (whatever that is) but it is indeed beautiful, as are you if you’ll allow yourself to be and accept yourself for who you are. It is my most fervent wish for you to truly be you.
Be Successful, Be Yourself
Hi, I’m Jacqui Alder. I’m here because I’m over women being told what and how they should be.
You don’t need to be fixed, there’s nothing wrong with you.
I learned this the hard way and now I know better. I now know that the path to making it easier to stay true to yourself begins and ends with you. This is why I’ve created the beautiful books you’ll find here.
Each book is designed to help you hear yourself so you can put your energy into living a life guided by your values rather than worrying whether you’re doing the right thing by everyone else.
If you want to meet me in person or virtually, feel free to contact me. I also invite you to take a look my latest book, Being You, download the guided values exercise from my self coaching journal, or take a peek at my slightly cheeky about me page.