I stepped back to see
the woman I am today
and how she came to be.
It seems I have absorbed,
the qualities of all the women I’ve adored.
With International Women’s Day rapidly approaching, I have been thinking about the woman that I am today and the things that have shaped me.
I was raised in the presence of extraordinary Bulgarian women.
Growing up, I heard stories of the sacrifices they made. I listened to the way they fought through life, without ever giving themselves the option to fail. I heard how they loved fearlessly and unconditionally – believing that love always wins and good eventually prevails.
I watched as they taught themselves skills and pushed through obstacles, while being mothers and wives. Not once did I see them throw up their hands and give up – not on love, not on themselves, and not on their dreams.
No matter how far back I look, I cannot see a woman who has had it easy. And yet, I have not heard of a single one who has surrendered because they were dealt a bad hand.
From the Bulgarian women in my life, I have learned how to be strong when I do not want to be. From them too, I have learned how to love courageously and wholeheartedly.
But they are not the only ones who have shaped me.
Stories of strength and sacrifice are told by women all over the world. I have seen Arab women fight battles in silence and I have seen them overcome challenges with the support of other women.
While living in the UAE, I learned what it means to feel the support of a true friend and to know that there is always a woman you can count on.
To me, Arab women are synonymous with loyalty, generosity and grace. From them, I have learned the importance of kindness and how to give 100% of yourself, even when you don’t know if you’ll get the same in return.
I feel lucky to have met so many strong and inspiring women. Despite living in different countries and fighting different battles, all the women I have met have had one thing in common: strength.