To Every Woman

to every woman who made me who I am today,
your mark on me has not gone unnoticed
and I stand on your shoulders everyday.

to the girls who run in my veins and sit in the tree with me,

to Mom, a real-life wonder woman
you are the reason I can write this in the first place.
I am because of you.
and every day I get to laugh with you, and talk with you and watch silly shows online with you,
is the best day.

to Paige, my November twin
I have known since I could know people
and even thought we’re world’s apart
I am so glad you are a part of mine
because I could never choose a better partner-in-crime

to Gemma, my mini-me
you have defined what it means to be yourself
a genius with heart and soul
and though you are small you are mighty
you’re gonna rock the world

to the girl who was my first friend,

to Derryn, my long-lost childhood
the up-hill neighbour with the curly hair and the swings
that flew us over the empty pool in your garden
you were summer and you were fun and I still remember our games
and the best thing we ever did was remember each other when I came back years later
you were my first platonic soulmate

to the girls who I spent forever with in two and a half years,

to Kristin, a calm blue sea in an ocean of silly primary school days
you were the first girl I met who I knew was smarter than me
because you could measure things in decimals and wore glasses and could tie your hair into a plait
but you were also the kindest
and the last day we sat next to each other, you offered me some sweets
you’re smiling in the magnetic photo frame you gave me when I went
and you are still as sweet as the last day 

to Megan L, the first Megan I met
roaming parks and having adventures in ripped rainbow jeans 
solving detective stories on the top of the jungle gym and crafting pom-pom pets in your room
you wrapped up the Jacqueline Wilson book with all the sticky tape you could find
and whenever I think of best friends I think of you still
with that perfect bracelet tucked away in the corner of a jewellery box

to Lily C
who climbed rocks with me
and baked the world’s chocolatiest cake
you knew all the words to your favourite singer’s song
and I can still hear us singing along in your mom’s car on the way to the garden centre
it comes back to me everytime I hum to raise your glass

to Freya
who took my under her wing the minute I sat down
you inspired my love for the teatime of life
the tuna sandwich Tuesday and tomato soup after school
we played and we fought and we danced and I am so thankful for the time I live in
because I can tell you I miss you from continents away

to Lise, Lily S, Evelyn, Julia K and Amy Green,
you are the characters of a fleeting chapter
but you’re doodled in my journals and my old birthday party photos
and even as I grow up I still find my heart with you

to the girls who helped me flourish five years in the desert,

to Saskia, who I didn’t know until it was too late,
you ate all my tic-tacs on my birthday
and invited me over to play Mario in the summer
you were just like me, and I’m glad we had that one afternoon
If time had let us, we’d be inseparable

to Vipasha, the first friend I had after I lost mine all,
who understood that sometimes you want to do your own thing with somebody else
you took me with on your trips to the library,
and we shared the bill on the smoothies at the juice bar
you introduced me to the show that would later become my favourite
and every sleepover with you was an event and I’m happy we had those times
you are so talented and you will go so far in life
and I’ll be proud to say that once upon a time we were besties

to Hollie, who sat in the audience of my sister’s play
wearing a Peter Pan collar and the prettiest dress I’d seen
when I saw you that day in the library, you reminded me of a girl I once knew
but I’m so glad it was actually you
there are so many memories of good times we spent together
you made me so so happy and I can’t really explain how badly I wanted to be your friend
and just how lucky I am to be the same species as you

to Chloe, who thought I stepped out of a movie
your love for fantasy is a force to be reckoned with
and you inspire me to no end – I’ve written so many things just because you wrote, and it’s contagious
you are the epitome of the magic of libraries and how life-changing books can be

to Kim, who I laughed all day in French with
you are so fiercely protective and supportive of your friends
the most badger-like person I have come across
you say words of encouragement so candidly
you’re a realist but your reality is light
and I have been so in awe of you even before the sleepovers and rare skype calls

to Zoya, who was so quiet at first, but it is so full of life
you are witty and wonderful and I love the way you approached words
and the way you always cheer me on
everyone needs a friend like you
and I’m glad I have you in my pocket, to talk to even when I’m timezones away
because you always make me smile and I hope you’re smiling too

to the girls who gave me wings when I returned to my roots,

to Erika, the first person I met when I returned to the motherland
you were every aesthetic I had ever dreamed of
and we were the perfect match
you have a bright, bright future ahead of you and it’s all because you refuse to stop dreaming
I admire you so much – your drive, your determination
everything was luminescent with you, life was invigorating
and I still look back fondly on all the crazy things we did together
and they were the best because we did them together

to Kaylee, who wore a bow in her hair the day after I got lost,
and was a beacon of light in a hazy week
you were always a far away star in my solar system
and I’m glad for a brief month our orbits crossed
because being your friend is what lemonade tastes like
you’re just lovely

to Caro, who instills a love of art inside me,
I still think about the silly things I said when I met you because I was flustered and you were so incredible
and I just think it’s brilliant how we’re both fans of each other
you urge me to act and to paint and to write and to read
I think of how quiet I was sometimes with you – and how ironically loud I am from the other side of the world
and all I want to do is thank you for inviting me into your world and painting me in gold foil, for choreographing dances to the angstiest songs you could find
for recreating those lit-erature shirts and writing poetry sitting next to me on the bus home from maths
you are a golden brain and I’ll never be able to put into words
how you inspire me to aspire

to Kayla, who introduced herself to me twice because I couldn’t hear her the first time,
you were an anchor in the choppy waves of a new school
and I’m glad we braved the waves together
throughout my three-year metamorphosis, you were a constant
and I can’t ever thank you enough for your compassion and empathy and how aboslutely amazing of a friend you are
everytime I indulge in something super sweet and rich,
I can see us making mug cake in your kitchen again
and Nutella has become synonymous with our friendship – but you’re super sweet so it’s fitting
I know sometimes I dropped the ball, and I wish I could have a take-two on the bad days,
but know I’ll always miss carpooling to a-levels and uncomfortable netball sleepovers, and out-of-tune string ensembles, and silly antics in choir, and good-natured panic in improv, and the times we were too extra with our maths notes and spent the rest of the year giggling

to Danielle, who is a little bit of magic,
who I can’t describe in a way other than fairy-like
I can still hear your unique voice – your particular accent – in my head when I read your poetry aloud,
and I had so many good conversations with you
don’t forget the plans we’ve made – one day we’ll have that movie marathon,
and we’ll interrupt the story with our endless talking that I loved the year we had an hour to spare

to Anika, who introduced me to Dodie
and Katie, who showed me Sabrina
you made my day with your comparisons
the inexplicable connections you drew between those magical people
and me
I still smile when I think about it

to Megan T, Bianke and Carolyn,
the survivors of our four-person French-lessons
you were the best classmates I could ask for
not just because you made me feel confident in my favourite subject
but because every afternoon we were late
and every test we shared anxious faces
was magnifique and I wouldn’t trade it for anything

to Lucia, who carried on the legacy
when I was there and then when I wasn’t
your love for creativity and aesthetics kept me going
and when I was part of your team I could never have asked for a better one
those late night conversations on two days of the week
still pop into my head now and then – especially when I see our Polaroid
I wonder if you’ll ever know just how much you really are
how much I value the times we had together – how much I look up to you

to Mia, who proved that you can touch the stars and still be down to earth,
you make so many of my favourite people happy
you are art

to Tanya, who danced like she was born on stage
you are yet another star in my ever-expanding galaxy
and we will go out for coffee one day
I’ll remember

to Natasha, who embraced a Parisian state-of-mind,
though you be but little, you are fierce

to the girls I have just begun to know,

to Rachel, who jokes with me but is one hundred percent serious when she says I’m her best South African friend
you’re my best Canadian one
and for the record, I think you’ll be a great teacher
maybe one day I’ll drop by your class and share stories with your students on how we aced every project we ever did together
we make a mean team

to Nelani, who laughs with me until our stomachs are sore,
you introduces me to people without making me feel like an outsider,
and you love life so much that you record as much as you can – I’m thrilled that I’ve recently become a part of that
I love the way you’re so honest in every conversation
so full of energy and emotion
and I’ll never be tired of listening to what you have to say,
even if we have to whisper it behind our coats during class presentations

to the women who taught me everything I know,

to Ms Ure, who I always remember crying on the last day of year six,
because we were moving to high school and she was moving back to Scotland,
I hope retirement is treating you well, and I hope you remember the pearls of wisdom you gave me when I had a broken arm and broken friends,
and how you gave me a certificate for being conscientious – I still have it

to Mrs Pretorius, who told me I was going to go far,
and left the nicest comments on my proudest pieces of work
you are by far the greatest teacher I had,
and your sophistication will always stick out in my mind

to Mrs Dednam, who took every artist she came across and helped them out of their shell,
whose grace untangled anxious knots,
you were more than a teacher to me, you were a helping hand

to my dance teachers, Paula and Sumé, Amanda, Danielle and Jessica,
you inspire me to dance – and I so badly want to dance,
you encourage me through my patchy history,
and urge me to keep going and keep practicing,
there are comments I’ll never forget – not critiques but compliments,
that I hold up high
thank you for putting me on stage, it’s where I want to be

to my mentors, Mrs Mackenzie and Mrs Isaacs,
I can still hear you calling my name to give me the crown
and I keep having to remind myself that when I wore it, I earned it
you told me I was going to do great things and it’s my lifeboat on hard days
thank you for seeing the potential in an over-eager go-getter
I promise that wasn’t my peak, and you constantly inspire me to do and be better

To all the women I have not yet addressed,
your mark on me has not gone unnoticed, and I stand on your shoulders everyday. You are the spring in my step, the tilt in my chin, the breath in my voice. You have raised me this far, and you will keep raising me.

To all the women who made me who I am today: thank you.

Endless love,

Chanel.

5 thoughts on “To Every Woman

  1. to chanel,
    whose way with words never fails to stun me,
    whose smile shines brighter than a million stars,
    whose talents continuously mesmerise those who love her,
    your thoughtfulness, your beauty, they leave me astounded,
    thank you for being you.

    Liked by 2 people

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