I’m very aware of how lucky I am to have celebrated mother’s day with my mom. She is most definitely my BFF and the one person I don’t mind showing up to the same event in the exact same outfit with. (I kid you not, it happens A LOT. We will be in different cities and meet for dinner sporting the same thing. Once it went down the jewelry.)
I recently read an article in Glamour magazine about the 10 Women Who Changed Julianna Margulies’ life… so… I thought I’d deliver my Top 10. But before I start, I have to preface this by saying there are A LOT of amazing women in my life, for which I eternally grateful. I know many many good ones. So! On that note… ahem… (drum roll please)
10 Women Who Changed My Life
1. My grandmother, Lilian
Simply put… had my “Nanny” not met Arthur (“Papa”), lord knows where I would be. But happily she did, and she raised her daughters during WWII with her husband, leaving behind the home they knew in the Jersey Channel Islands to go to England and eventually, Canada. From what my memory allows, I recall her to be a very strong woman. She was one of eight children. I guess you had to find your voice quickly with seven siblings. She was loving, strong, no-nonsense and when I see a Lily of the Valley flower she comes to mind instantly… I remember how many were in their Montreal garden.
2. My friend, Wendy R.
Wendy and I became friends after our mother’s met at a card shop in Montreal. Rita, Wendy’s mom, became my babysitter. Wendy always had her guitar in tow, I recall her introducing me to the songs of John Denver and opening up my ears to other musicians. She took me to my first Black Crows concert at Varsity Stadium, and I remember my nose bleeding when the smell of “a certain herb” got too much for my teenage nose. In short, Wendy was awesome. I hate that Cancer took her life and wish desperately that we could go for a coffee and gab. She’d have loved where my life continues to take me. At her memorial we listened to a playlist she made before her passing… every time I hear “Landslide” I know she’s around.
3. Lucy DeCoutere, actress
I don’t know Lucy, we have never met though we have a handful of mutual friends. But had she not spoken about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Jian Ghomeshi and put her name into the conversation… well, I don’t even want to think about that. I applaud her saying what she said. I THANK her. As someone who still struggles with their self-confidence as a result of bullying as a pre-teen, I’m still not at the place she is at to say all I’d like to say but… baby steps, right? I hope our paths will cross one day.
4. My friend, Elan
The one word to describe Elan was “Cool”. This woman was SO cool. We met at ad agency I briefly worked at, and became fast friends even though I had no idea how to pronounce her name for the longest time. She was so clever and funny and loved Johnny Depp. LOVED Johnny Depp. She encouraged my comedic voice to come out. She had the best laugh and an amazing smile. Elan passed away a few years ago, suddenly. I remain friends with those she introduced me to, and I try to make them laugh as often as I can. I’m so grateful she brought us all together.
5. Erma Bombeck, author
I was in maybe Grade 5 or 6 when I brought a collection of Erma’s into school. Her writing made me laugh until I cried, even if I was too young to understand everything she referred to. Though I worship Nora Ephron dearly, it was Erma who opened my eyes to women and humor and comedy.
5. My friend, Jenny S. (comic, humorist, traveler, etc etc)
Jenny and I met through improv comedy here in Toronto… the specifics are fuzzy but we’re friends and that’s all I care about really. I admire Jenny’s bravery, her strength and am so freaking jealous of her wit. This gal is funny, so funny. Through her I am encouraged to just put it out there, go do it. Or not. Whatever. I hope I am lucky enough to have her chutzpah when I grow up.
6. My friend Benita (writer, producer, mom)
Had it not been for a Raising the Roof benefit I attend a long, long time ago… Benita and I would not have crossed paths. I perish the thought. She had heard I was in the Toronto comedy scene, and she was starting a women’s writing group that would meet and write and drink and chat. I became a regular. Sometimes we just drank and ate yummy foods. Mostly we wrote. That writing group helped me to think less, meaning, just write. Don’t self edit just write and figure it out after, get that first draft DONE. That writing group also introduced me to some amazing women (Julie, Inge, Debbie etc etc), some in relationships and some not. But all fabulous. I still send Benita flowers on her birthday.
7. My hairstylist & friend, Jolie
When Jolie and I met… she was Joey. Not yet transitioned from male to female. But from the moment I met Joey, I did not see a guy. It was pretty evident who was inside and needed to get out. And it took time, but she became Jolie and she has grown to be a BEAUTIFUL woman. I’ve never told her this, but when she was beginning to go through the transition… my haircuts were kinda wonky. I blame the hormones!! But my pride for my friend staying true to herself over-ruled all of that. She’s incredible and she owns who she is 100%.
8. My sister, Debbie (teacher, activist, mom)
My sister and I didn’t get off on the best footing… for starters, my dad was married prior to meeting my mom and had a family which included my sister Debbie & brother Robert. But over time, we have found our footing. My sister is a mom, a wife, a teacher, and watches over family and her mother, Rose who is firmly in the clutches of Alzheimer’s. I do not know how she does it. I look at her in awe, and with gratitude that she’s my sister.
9. Julianne Moore, actress
Back in the mid-90s I saw a movie called ‘Safe’ starring Julianne Moore. It’s the first film I remember having a massive impact on me, just kind of stamped in this idea of what storytelling could do. What acting could do. Though my creative path didn’t include acting, I continue to admire all she does. Complete respect… I bow to you!!
10. My Mom!!
Elizabeth to some, Liz to a few, mom to myself and my brother Kevin. This is a woman who has taught me that you’ve just got to get back up when you fall. You simply have to keep going. My mom is a tough cookie yet… she is kind, she is ridiculous, she is gorgeous inside and out. This is woman who dated two guys at once, and according to her, it was unbeknownst to them they were both dating her. THEY WERE ROOMMATES, Mom!!! Jeeebsus. My mom is most definitely my best friend. She encourages me to find my voice, my confidence even when the chips are down. I kinda lucked out.