8 Mar 2018

The Tulip Fever

When all of a sudden you start seeing tiny pop-up stalls with tulips on each corner of the city, it can mean only one thing - International Women's Day is coming. Although on this day we are supposed to commemorate the movement for women's rights, it basically turned out to be the day when you just get a flower (preferably, a tulip) for being a woman. Even though the gesture itself is nice and flattering (I do love getting flowers as a gift!), but I think that we miss the whole point of this particular occasion. That's why today I want to talk about my personal role models, women, who inspire me to be myself and to pursue my goals.



These are the books that I've read (and/or studied from) many times in my life, and they're all written by women. Some of these authors I have met in person, others I hope to meet in the future. Some of them had already left us but their masterpieces remain. 


I've spent my childhood reading books by Maria Gripe, Lucy Maud Montgomery, J.K. Rowling, Šatrijos Ragana (Marija Pečkauskaitė). When I came to study Lithuanian philology in Vilnius University, I rediscovered them once again, this time from a perspective of a grown woman. I was amazed that they still talked to me, I still found so many things in their books that I hadn't recognized as a child. 
   When talking about academia, I can not skip my mentor, my "academical mom", dr. Daiva Vaitkevičienė. She is an example of a scholar who is passionate about her work, her research, who is sharing her knowledge with her students not because she has to, but because she wants to. She introduced me to the world of folk medicine and I am more than thankful for her constant support! 
   Another scholar whom I admire is Finnish professor Laura Stark. I cannot say how happy I was that I got a chance to meet her here in Vilnius two years ago. I've gathered my courage and told her that her works inspire me and that I wish I could write my articles in such a wonderful style as she does. Her book "The Magical Self" is one of my favorite academical readings and one of the cornerstones of my own PhD thesis.
   Last but far from the least is my Japanese language teacher Violeta Devėnaitė, who is not only a brilliant pedagogue, but also witty and always ready to tell something that makes the whole class burst with laughter.




Books by Giedra Radvilavičiūtė and Undinė Radzevičiūtė were the ones that I looked (and am still looking) foreword to the most of all Lithuanian writers. They thought me that woman can be ironic, sarcastic, can be critical towards everybody, including herself. 
   Few years ago I rediscovered English literature and basically fell in love with works by Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen. "Jane Eyre" is a book that will accompany me in my life's journey, I am sure of it. Both Brontë and Austen have constructed timeless characters and showed that even in the hardest of times, women managed to stay faithful to themselves, their principles, and consciousness. 
   I am attracted by strong characters, that's why I am a fan of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. Books by Banana Yoshimoto are also among my favorites, because she manages to create a feeling of anticipation, to cast a light on lives of simple people. 
   As a fan of comic books I am happy that they are getting more and more popular in Lithuania. Miglė Anušauskaitė is one of those young artists who can draw and write comic book about anything, actually, and do it in a intelligent yet funny manner. I've interviewed Miglė few years ago and I am incredibly happy seeing her doing what she likes the most! 
   Sarah Andersen is another comic book artist and I've met her last year during Comic Con Baltics in Vilnius. I relate with her short stories on such a level that it frightens me a bit, but at this same time it helps to understand that I am not alone feeling like this and that it is normal. So thanks for that, really. 




So, these are the women that inspire me and make me want to be a better person, to try harder, and not to give up. I do want to congratulate my female readers with this special occasion and only hope that when you'll get flowers, it'll be not because you are a woman, a fragile creature that should be pleased from time to time, but because you are YOU, a person who is respected and admired for being awesome!



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