The beginning of the year has always been a time of realisations for me, as it is for many people. I tend to sit down and think about some of the things that I’ve been disappointed in, thinking that there have been so many of them over the course of my less than twenty years of life. Around these weeks, I spend so much time in my head that I regularly forget to live in the moment.

But I’ve been getting better at it lately. I buy myself movie tickets. I refrain from saying ‘no’ to dinner invites from friends. I allow myself that extra glass of wine that makes me giggly and offensive. And I think about my family – their hardships. In particularly, those of the women in my life.

Nose powdering

My mother is the brain of the family. She’s everything I aspire to be when I grow up (which is saying a lot because I dread the moment when I can no longer say that I’m not grown up). She’s quietly fierce and tough and even when I don’t agree with her, it’s only because I want her to be better. My grandmother is much the same. She built everything she has from the bottom up and it’s bittersweet that now, at 76, her beautiful mind is slowly decaying. In turn, her body is becoming more fragile, but we hold her up. We hold each other up.

My grandmother’s sister became ill when she was 17 and never got better. What started out as a simple case of pneumonia, spread through her body and ate away at her until her joints wouldn’t hold her up. She passed away several years ago, but I still remember her. In our family, we say she could never sin because God never gave her the chance. To top all that off, my great-grandmother raised her seven siblings because her own mother was too busy powdering her nose, and she kept a small farm in the far east of Russia going with her loud fierceness.

Just by thinking of them, I force my mind to come out of its selfish loop. I get up with an effort every morning but it’s getting easier. The sun breaks through. When I think I’m not good enough, I remember that the best man for the job is a woman. It’s my quiet ode to unapologetic feminism.