How often do we ask ourselves who inspires us? Not often enough! So who inspires me and who do I look up to for inspiration and guidance.

My mum is the one of my biggest inspiration in my life. Her strength through the hard times and becoming a survivor of a sexual domesticated relationship bringing up 5 children by herself and with no work and living of benefits, she tried her hardest. Mum has let me down so many times and she isn’t perfect, but who is? She’s my mum and she’s good enough.

I have four sisters who inspire me each and everyday, so much so they fill me up every time with pride and I have nothing but aberration for the love, care and support they show. Their dedication to helping others and looking out for one another through the hard, difficult and the loveliest of times shows how beautifully gifted they are as human beings and my baby sisters. They inspire me every single day and despite our struggles growing up, we are just as close now if not closer than ever before.

I have a very handsome man in my life, Scotsman I’m proud to call my best friend, my soul mate, my boyfriend and my future and above all, my biggest inspiration. Andrew has taught me a lot and has shown me the world in many different ways, shapes and forms in ways not possible for others. Andrew helped me identify who I really was and most of all, who I wanted to be. The love and care he has shown me, is beyond anything else I have ever been shown romantically, family oriented or a level of friendship. What I found was happiness. My self esteem and my body confidence was boosting after compliments of pure honesty. To say Andrew is loyal, honest and trustworthy would be understatements. He’s better than that, he’s my man. A man a yearn to be, dedicated, open minded, unrestricted, loving, supporting and strong. A guy so intelligent and dreams to live for and work towards. He’s my my life. He’s my all!

I have three friends across the water in Australia. Alana and I met during a volunteering trip with an organisation called Volunteer Building Cambodia (VBC)). She was a girl who at first I thought was too glamourise to be building and first impressions was that she spoke too much, but I judged too soon. Alana was passionate about everything she did, her questions where in depth and her hard work was clearly noticed by the entire team at VBC. We struck up a special friendship, something that lasted longer than a holiday and 3 years later, we still write to each other, share stories and books, send gifts and she has also flew over to Belfast at Christmas 2016, which was special for many reasons. Her sheer beauty, thoughts and opinions, her laugh and smile, her upbeat personality and her energy alone was powerful. We have so many great and fabulous memories and our love for one another continues to grow. I think I found myself a best friend.

There is Jason too, also from Australia but lives in Cambodia. Jason and I met some years back on a pen-pal site and we spoke over email and swapped numbers and wrote to each other a few times, but emailing became more frequent with his jokes and touching stories. We grew a great friendship and a couple of years later, I flew out to Cambodia to volunteer with VBC, the same organisation where I met Alana, however Jason ran the charity with the director, a Cambodian man. Jason and I built our relationship to a strong enough level where we could talk and be honest. Jason taught me loads, not to take life for granted and to simply be yourself. He still lives in Cambodia however no longer works with VBC, but continues to help the Khmer Community setting up his very own NGO, “A Place To Be Yourself”. APTBY is a safe space for Khmer LGBTIQ+ individuals to come and meet others from their community and to learn through peer support about their sexuality and gender, sexual and mental health that is available to them and their rights in Cambodia. Jase doesn’t just make me laugh and smile, but he inspires me with his dedicated soul.

Then there was Marj, Jason’s Mum. I can’t say much more than what I have written about Jason. They’re identical when it comes to personality and their love for each other is beyond beautiful and when together the energy is explosive. Marj has such a beautiful personality, upbeat yet naughty. She was like a mum to me during our stay in Cambodia and her words of advice still stays with me.

Having friends across the world, makes friendship all that more special, for the love and excitement of seeing one another when the timing is right, is beautiful.

When you hear of people’s inspirations and who they look up to, they’re usually those who are rich and famous, yet my inspirations are family and friendship, but I’m also one of those people. I have three big inspirations, famously known for different reasons.

1) Saint Mother Teresa, a lady gifted with a great love for dedication , a lady who gave hope to those suffering in poverty. She prayed with the lonely and held the sick as she whispered prayers into their ears. She was l generous and would take on any problem and hold onto it, she would listen to people’s problems those unhealthy and negative and yet was always able to turn them into positives. She’s a lady I wish was alive today. She in an inspiration and is a saint I pray to daily. She’s a powerful energy I wish was able to hold my hand and listen to my prayers and guide me through life. She’s now more well known since being canonized as a saint in 2016 and her famous quotes are echoed across the world. Mother Teresa a woman who I’d chose first to be a friend. The joy she brings me, is huge.

2) A well known lady known as the people’s princess. Lady Diana, once a member of the Royal Family being the first wife to Charles,the Prince of Wales. The beautiful Diana is the Mother to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry and was a lady who wore her heart on her sleeve. She was truly someone beautiful and her generosity, her positivity and kindness was never overlooked. The princess was well known for her charity work in the UK and abroad covering Mental Health, Cancer and those who battled with HIV/AIDS. She helped raise funds, spread awareness and reached out to those who admired her, needed her prayers and more importantly she stop and listened, spoke the truth and was admired for her honesty and dedication to our society.

Sir Richard Branson, a man I’ll forever look up-to for inspiration, advice and guidance. He is a man with a heart, someone who respects his employees and his attitude towards life is simply magical. His businesses and enterprises, his private life and working life, his long heard stories and his quotes simply make me smile. I hope to open my own chain of coffee shops with Andrew and travel the world one day and I know it won’t happen overnight, but in time and how I look towards my future, I simply think… If Sir Richard Brandon can do it, then so can I. Keep inspiring me!!

Let’s talk of Nursing and who inspires me in this field. I worked in a private nursing home that was run my a brother and sister, those where my employers, James my manager and Frances being my deputy manager. Through their skills and knowledge, their career paths and their qualifications, them both inspired me to go further and pushed me to undergo courses that allowed me to gain the skills and knowledge that allowed my career opportunities to broaden. They promoted me to work alongside management and had faith in my role and believed in my dedication and professionalism. They still continue to inspire me despite their retirement and being my past employers, however so my dreams of expanding my career in nursing still sits fresh in both my head and heart. My current manager is the lead nurse in the Ulster Hospital within the A&E Department, a lady glamorous enough to feature on the cover of Vogue and the sounds of her heels that gave me great anxiety still echo as I recover at home from poor health. Roisin, a nurse with years of experiences and dedication that would make every nurse in the country think twice, with her professionalism along with her managerial duties, ensure the department runs smoothly, that her staff are in good hands and our patients are our number one priority, Roisin juggles the lot and she’s a lady I yearn to be, working within a managerial role within the A&E Department.

Last but not least, who inspires me the most? It’s got to be myself. I”ve gone through so many rough moments in my life and have some memories that will stay cherished and many hidden. I’m my own inspiration for different reasons and as silly as it sounds, a quote I use to use a lot ‘ If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys, if you can’t look after yourself, you’ll not be able to look after others, and if others can be inspired by you, that’s because you’ve been inspired yourself.’

-James Keenan


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