the beauty of strength.

This post is part of's support of the Dove® Celebrate Mom Contest. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors. You can nominate inspiring moms here:

Duran Duran brought us together.

Well, okay, Duran Duran and countless cans of Aquanet hairspray.  Yes, you guessed it.  It was the 80s, and for the first time since we both started going to the same high school, Michelle and I were in the same home room.

Oh, we’d met many years before in Grade 7, but we never hit it off.  I was painfully shy towards kids not in my class, and she thought I was a snob -- because I didn’t want any of her proffered sandwich.  Yeah, that was weird.  Which should’ve tipped me off that we were destined to be best friends.
Anyway, it was not the most auspicious start to what would be one of my closest and most treasured friendships.

However, this time, in this Grade 10 classroom, we clicked.

Michelle and I bonded over our shared taste in music, our similar sense of humour, how hot we thought Duran’s keyboardist Nick Rhodes and bassist John Taylor were, and how foolish we thought they would be if they didn’t marry us.

But as much as we had in common, we were, in just as many ways, as different as night and day.  I was raised to be quiet and reserved and almost submissive, to accept everything that I was told by my elders as gospel truth, and to fit in and conform, to be a “typical teenager”.   Michelle, on the other hand, was outgoing, charismatic, and passionate.  She showed me that it was okay to respectfully question and to further my understanding when I was told things that didn’t feel right.  And she embraced her uniqueness, the fact that her tastes were different from our beach-blond, daddy-is-a-doctor, cheerleader counterparts.

Michelle wore her hair short and spikey.  She frequently looked like she’d raided David Byrne’s closet and bought the entire supply of eyeliner at Shopper's Drug Mart.  And while everyone was into Phil Collins, Bryan Adams, and Journey, she got me listening to Jane Siberry, Depeche Mode, and U2, you know, back when they were still considered “alternative”.

Michelle helped me out of my shell.  I helped her with Math.  And together, we became a team, a force to be reckoned with, a dynmic duo.

It came as no surprise to me when my best friend decided to follow the call to defend those who cannot defend themselves.  While I went on to complete my engineering degree, Michelle moved to the west coast with her husband.  There, she worked with families to ensure the safety and welfare of children.

It was after her move that I briefly lost touch with Michelle.  We all did.  She was isolated and  becoming increasingly unhappy.  Away from family and friends, she was forced to become completely dependent on her husband, a controling man with a violently unpredictable temper, a man who slowly became more and more resentful of her career successes and higher income.

A woman not easily broken nor quick to give up, Michelle worked desperately to maintain her marriage, taking the abusive words and mindgames as they came, trying to pacify the beast, and through it all, keeping up a brave face.

All of this changed after the birth of her daughter.  Michelle wanted a better life, a healthy environment free from drama, violence, and chaos, for her precious little girl.  By then, the abuse had escalated to physical violence toward objects in their home, and she wasn’t going to wait around to see if she or her daughter were next in line.

On one fateful day, Michelle kicked out her husband, changed all the locks on the doors, and filed for divorce.  She has not looked back since.

Today, Michelle is a busy single mom, happily raising her now-10 year old daughter with the help of her own mother.  Together, these two amazing women have a built a calm, healthy, nurturing environment for this budding young lady.

Michelle has always been and always will be a shining example of what a strong woman should be:  someone who dares to be different, someone who maintains her identity and sense of self through adversity, someone who stands up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, someone who will never be a victim, and someone who can take her destiny by the horns and make it the best it could ever be.  I am so very proud of her.

And this is why I nominate my best friend Michelle for the Dove® Celebrate Mom Contest.  She's an awesome role model, don't you think?

Know an amazing mom who’s an inspiration to women and girls? Celebrate her!

Visit by September 4th to nominate a mom who’s an inspiring role model to women and girls in the Dove® Celebrate Mom Contest. Four inspiring women will win $2,500 for herself and $2,500 to be donated to the charity of her choice.

And check out more stories on about amazing role model moms:


  1. Those friendships are the very best. She sounds like such a strong, brave woman. She is totally a mom to celebrate. Great post, N. xo

  2. Standing up to an abusive husband takes an amazing amount of courage and I wish more did it. She is a great role model!

  3. What a beautiful friend!

    Thank for sharing her with us!

    Tammy @inRdream