Today is International Women’s Day and I wanted to take this opportunity to gush over some incredible women who have shaped my life in one way or another. Some of these are fairly obvious choices, while others might seem off-kilter to you, but they make sense to me!
I was raised in a house full of women, my favourite ever teacher at school was a woman (hold tight Mrs Bano!) and the driving instructor who managed to help me pass my test after 6 spectacular fails was a woman. There are definitely tons more examples of where women have impacted my life and moulded me into the raging homosexual I am today.
Today I wanted to shout out just some of the leading ladies in my life and express my love and appreciation for them because thanks to them I’m a significantly less terrible human being.
You da best x.
I really wish I had an up-to-date photo of us together, but the last time I saw you was when you were getting married and I didn’t much like my chances of stealing you away just for a selfie, so you shall remain picture-less! However, you looked incredible on your wedding day and I reckon a snap of us could have got me Instagram likes in the triple digit region. Just sayin’.
We’ve known each other since secondary school (!) and we may not be in regular contact as much anymore, but I’ve always valued our friendship. You we’re my buddy in Food Technology class during GCSEs then you ended up being in my English and Sociology class for A-Levels, it was as if you were following me?!
You got me my first ever job at Baker’s Oven and I lasted less than month because wearing a hair net and serving old white people has never been my strong point. I was so touched you invited me to your wedding back in 2015, especially as I was the only person you invited from school. And I love how without fail we message each other at the stroke of midnight on our respective birthdays. I don’t even do that with my own sisters!
Speaking of sisters, Dania absolutely adores you and I always wonder if you both meet up for coffee from time to time to talk about me while I’m out here living in London. I wouldn’t be mad if you did tbh!
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to rid my mind of the venomous look you gave me when we first met at university in 2009 and I assumed you were an N-Dubz fan. I swear when I said ‘Na-Na-Natalie!’ to you and saw how you reacted, my life flashed before my very eyes. But out of pure terror a beautiful friendship was born and you’ve been stuck with me ever since.
Oh where do I begin? Because Natalie, girl, you’ve put up with a lot from me over the years. From calling you drunk and yelling down the phone my reasons why Britney Spears is a legend on more than one occasion to being so annoying at that you’ve had to put me on a time out on multiple occasions. And who can forget that time I realised I’d bought a seated ticket and you had a standing ticket for the Watch The Throne concert 10 minutes before we were about to go in. But I somehow managed to scam us both somewhere near the front. ICONIC!
I tell you this all the time, but you inspire me so fucking much. To see you go from studying radio production at university to now being this incredible beauty blogger who’s worked with Elle Magazine and Yahoo is LEGENDARY!!!
I remember when I came out to you via text message I was so scared of what you’d say. But of course you were incredibly supportive and patient, like I knew you would be. I’m so thankful that you waited for me until I was ready to come out instead of badgering me into it.
Forever a fave.
Dania, Zeena & Gul
First of all, sorry Zeena you’re missing in this photo but this is the best one I could find! Anyway, Hieeeeeeeee Sisters! It’s fair to say we’ve all had our ups and downs trying to get along when we were growing up. We’ve given each other excruciatingly long silent treatments lasting months on end while Mum tried to mediate and keep the peace and snuck into each other’s rooms and ripped posters down in fits of rage. Honestly, why were we like this?!
But thankfully we’re all older, wiser and a lot less angry these days. It was going to university that made me really appreciate what great sisters I have. Does that sound shady? It’s not intended to. It made me realise you all practically raised me alongside Mum in some way or another and I don’t tell you nearly enough how much I love you.
I’m not sure I told you guys this but when I told Mum what you all said when I came out to you she burst into tears. It was over the phone, so I was just there on the other line trying to console Mum as much as anyone can over the phone. Turns out it’s really fucking hard! The gist of her tears was that she was so happy we all respect and love each other regardless of whether were gay, straight, lesbian or still look 13 years old (Hi Gul!). And considering I have friends who have absolutely no relationship with any of their siblings for one reason or another, I’m so grateful that we do.
This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody who really knows me because when you get me, you also get a highly passionate and devoted Britney Spears fan. For years I’ve had friends and family ask me why I love Britney so much and I always struggle to explain myself because how do you put into words the love you have for someone you’ve never met?!
I love pop music with every fibre of my being and Britney was the first popstar that I was obsessed with. She’s what Madonna was for my mum when she was growing up. She embodies everything I love about pop and one of my earliest memories was coming across a poster of Britney in my local Poundland and having a meltdown pleading my mum to buy the poster for me.
As I got older and being enthusiastic about pop music became less of ‘something boys do,’ I stifled my interest in popstars like Kelly Clarkson and Hilary Duff, but I wore my love for Britney like a badge of honour. Hell, I still fucking do.
Britney is what made me want to get into music journalism and write reams and reams of text about how pop music is the greatest thing this world has created. Her music has been the soundtrack to some major moments in my life and truthfully, listening to Britney is my happy place.
I feel a bit of a fraud because I’ve never been to a Britney concert but that changes this summer as I’m going to both her Brighton Pride show and one of her sell-out shows at the 02 in August. I’m probably going to hyperventilate and end up having a panic attack, but I’m fine with that. I mean, wouldn’t you react the same if you saw God up close?
This one is pretty fucking obvious, right? I go on and on about how much I love you during our weekly phone calls and I worry you might be getting big headed, so I’ll keep this brief.
(I am of course only joking about you getting big headed. Please don’t hit me when I next visit.)
Thanks for feeding me an endless supply of pasta and pizza that helped me grow into the strong boy I pretend to be today. I hope I’m making you proud as I flounder at this whole Being A Responsible Adult malarkey.
I know this is all about thanking you and all that jazz, but please, I want you to worry less. The sisters and I are fine and that’s thanks to you and how you raised us. You’ve instilled in us your incredible work ethic, your ability to see the good in literally anything and your drive to use everyday to FIGHT THE PATRIARCHY! You’ve more than earned the right to relax and enjoy yourself, even if that means binge watching all of Jane the Virgin on Netflix, which I really think you should do!
You’re my best friend. My hero. The greatest woman I have the honour of knowing.
I love you.