There are so many mod girls that I'd like to highlight in this space over time because each and every one brings something unique to the table. To begin, I am tapping my own immediate circles of inspiring women (like my mother, my aunts, my grandmothers and my friends), but I'd also like to write about women that I admire, like my mentors, acquaintances, and women I do not know personally, but admire their work and life mantra from afar.
This month marks my late Aunt Tracey's (AT) 63 birthday so it is only fitting to remember her here. I lived with my aunt from age 11-years-old to 17-years-old and those are extremely impressionable years in a young woman's life. There are many things I could write about her but I am going to write about the very simple day-to-day comments and things she said and did that really resonated with me and gave me confidence as a young girl and teen. She has been gone 13 years now but the recollection of these memories are always at the forefront of my mind, even as a 31-year-old (yowza!). Here are just a few helpful fashion advice tips and just really random things that boosted my confidence as a young girl...
"Either wear mascara or don't, but pick one and stick with it. People get used to seeing you with it or without it"
"I don't know much, but what I do know is how to take care of your skin."
Me to AT as she helped me get ready for a high school dance and filled in my eyebrows: "...but, it looks like I am wearing make-up and like you've filled in my eyebrows!" AT: "Doesn't matter."
"Don't let your bra straps show, it sends the wrong message."
"Wear clothes that fit your body type. You, for example, look better in tailored clothes."
"You need to get over spiders. You don't want to be that girl that runs away from bugs."
To me, when seeing a boy I had a crush on in 8th grade, "Quick! Put on your Chapstick!"
When she was very sick:
As she walked out of the kitchen with some tea wearing slippers: "I love the sound of slippers scuffling on the floor. It's just the best."
To me, very cheerily, when I was worried about the SAT's or exams (small problems) while she was getting an experimental treatment at the National Cancer institute that no one has undergone before: " You need to appreciate everyday and have fun, Lindsay. Try not to worry so much."
If I am going through a tough time I always think about her and wonder, "What would Aunt Tracey do?" (lovingly termed "WWATD?") She was a very confident, determined (stubborn, even) and thoughtful woman who had a very "let's get it done" type of an attitude. She always followed her heart, even if it was against the status quo. A few examples of this are her marriage to a guy at age 17 (it ended in divorce 2 years later), her ousting of a lousy teacher in my cousin Matt's elementary school by writing many strongly-worded letters and emails and going to countless meetings, and her endless determination to counsel and help other women fighting breast cancer, like her.
Women help shape other women, like Aunt Tracey helped shape me. Her presence was short-lived, but her influence on me profound. We need more role models for young girls and more women as friends and counterparts. I try to be the brave, strong, determined woman who beats to her own drummer and is true to herself like Aunt Tracey. WWATD? What will you do?