Who Inspires You? 12+ “Real” Women Who Inspire Me (Half Marathon Training, Week 17)
Warning: you will find no celebrities, movie stars or Kardashians of any kind here.
-April Daniels Hussar
It’s no secret that we’re a celebrity-obsessed society. Even those words are so true they’re a cliche. I love to read about the Kardashians and ogle red carpets as much as the next girl, but as I’ve been going through my training for this half marathon, sweating and gasping and feeling achey and tired and discouraged, time and time again it has been a “regular” women who has, in some way, helped keep me going.
So I thought I’d make a list of some of real women I know, who, in one way or another, inspire and motivate me — not just by their support of me, but by the way they live their own lives. They may not be famous, they’re not rich. They don’t star in a reality show, and I’m pretty sure none of them has a sex tape (at least one not that Vivid Entertainment owns). But if every one had women like these in their lives, the world would be another one of those cliches … a different, and better, place.
And more marathons would be run.
Here, in no particular order, are just some of those women…
My dear friend, Amy
Amy’s the reason I signed up for this nutty undertaking — she ran the Nike Women’s Half four years ago and I was so proud of her (we used to consider walking five blocks in high heels a workout). We’ve been friends since our early-20s. We’ve shared jobs, houses, closets, shoes and boys. We’ve stayed up all night together more times than I can count; we’ve smoked cigarettes in London, bathed naked in mud in Calistoga, and bought overpriced makeup in Manhattan. We’ve fought and made up, we’ve sent letters, presents, and emergency outfits in the mail. I’ve seen her grow up into an incredible mother, a devoted elementary school teacher — and through it all Amy has been the truest, most dedicated friend to me. Though we live on opposite coasts now, we’re still going though life together. Thank God.?
My “half” sister, Prudence
Before the rest of my sisters kill me (I have four all together), let me say that they each, in their own, beautiful ways, inspire me. Prue, like her mama, my stepmother (another insiration), is a runner — when I saw her this summer she was training for a REAL marathon (like, the whole one! 26.2 miles! In a row!). But it’s more than just her athleticism and motivation — there’s something about Prudence, some inner strength and uniqueness of spirit — that I find myself thinking of as I do my own runs.
My Auntie Betty
Yes, I really have an Auntie Betty. We’re not technically related, but she’s been in my life since I was 8 years old. I grew up with her children, and they are all more like family to me than much of my real family. Auntie Betty is one of those people everyone loves, who always seems to have boundless energy, is physically beautiful and fit, and who embraces life and seems to be able appreciate and maximize every drop of potential joy and light in it. Auntie Betty has always been a role model to me — as a young woman, as a mother, as an adult. She just suffered a terrible loss, and the world doesn’t seem to make sense when someone like her endures such heartbreak, but I hope that she knows that the mere fact of her existence on this earth inspires me to live my own life to its fullest, to run.
Julie Ryan Evans
I’m using her full name because she’s a writer — she currently blogs at Cafe Mom’s The Stir. We used to work together, and I learned so much from her …. she has the strongest work ethic of almost anyone I’ve ever met. She’s a runner (with those gorgeous runner’s legs!) and a mom to two beautiful children. She also introduced me to my favorite beverage combination: Diet Coke and Chardonnay. What can I say? She inspires.
My fellow “stranger in a strange land,” Debora is another transplant to the mysterious state of New Jersey. She’s one of those annoyingly naturally thin people, but I love her anyway. Our daughters are the same exact age, and I can always count on her to have a shoulder for me to cry (or bitch) on, and to see eye-to-eye with me on so many things, even though we come from such different places. Debora is a fighter with a strong sense of self, raising her daughter to be the same. I hope I am too.
Deborah Perry Piscione
Yep — she’s the CEO and co-founder of the company I work for. But she doesn’t know I’m writing this and even if I didn’t work for Betty, I’d include her. Deborah is a marathon runner, a mother of three, a best-selling author and an incredibly accomplished woman in so many areas of life. It may not be possible to have it all, but I’m inspired by Deborah to work darn hard at having most of it.
Alexis and Alethea
Two of my best friends from my homeland of California. Where would I be without my friends who remember me when I was a high-school freshman in matte red lipstick and “China flats”, or a 19-year-old cafe girl with dreams of being a famous actress and a penchant for boys in vintage cars? Though these two woman are very different people, they both share a quality that I admire so much: they live their lives on their own terms. They are brave, independent, and true. And whenever I see either of them, no matter how long it has been, it’s as if no time has passed at all.
I first met Courtney on a press trip to France. She was the only one with more luggage than me; I immediately loved her. She’s a designer and TV personality, so she’s not exactly “un”-famous, but I’m putting her on this list because I’ve gotten to know her in the last year, and I’m continually struck by how hard she works at making it happen. She really, truly walks the walk of creating your own reality, of putting out positive energy into the world and getting it back. I really admire and am inspired by that.
Marta gave me my first post-baby job. She taught me about marketing, entrepreneurship, and that it’s not only possible but NECESSARY to maintain your own identity after giving birth. We became friends, I changed careers, she moved to Boston, and now we mostly keep in touch on Facebook, where I love seeing the photos she posts of her full-to-the brim life. She has two incredible sons, a husband, and a demanding full-time job, yet she still finds time for herself — to run, to play with friends, and to explore the world.
Heidi and Dorene
One of these women is a single mom who takes her kid on adventures to South America and Iceland. The other is a married mom of one who recently found her true calling to bring yoga to the inner city schools of Newark. These are the women producers should be making shows about.
The FN Jersey Moms
And speaking of the real real “housewives” of New Jersey — these ladies know who they are. They are the moms whose kids go to my daughter’s school, the ones I can count on for anything. The ones who juggle everything, every day: their jobs, their lack of jobs, their husbands, their lack of husbands, their health scares, their houses, their fears, their dreams, and, of course, their children. They have newborns and teenagers; they have twins and only children; they have charming, football playing sons with autism and sweet, bright adopted daughters; they have cancer-survivors, cheerleaders, ballerinas, and wild-child pre-schoolers. They are the backbone of our elementary school, and the craziest bunch of broads you ever met. I love and admire them.
My own mama
One of the things that helps get me through my training runs (and often makes me want to cry as I’m running along) is imagining my mom at the finish line, cheering me on, just as she has done every single day of my entire life.
Tell me … who inspires you?
April Daniels Hussar is BettyConfidential’s executive editor. She signed up with Team in Training to train for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco on October 16, 2011. That means she needs to be able to both run 13.1 miles in a row (ack!!) AND raise at least $3,200 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Read her last training update here. If you’d like to see her gasping and wheezing some more, visit her at aprilhussar.tumblr.com — and, of course you can make a tax deductible donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society via her Team in Training runner’s page here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nj/nikesf11/ahussar.