52 Phenomenal Women- photo essays by Amy Boyle Photography benefitting Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. 2019 - pictured Basia Emano
52PWP Blogging Chicago Dress for success guest blogger

The making of my WONDERful life – Meet Basia – 47 of 52 Phenomenal Women

Meet Basia.

In her own words.

52 Phenomenal Women- photo essays by Amy Boyle Photography benefitting Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. 2019 - pictured Basia Emano
©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

“It’s a WONDERful life!

I am not your typical woman, but I am living a WONDERful life!  How is this possible? 

It all began with a tv show and a movie star but, it was deeper than that for me.

Most girls in my generation grew up playing with Barbie dolls and dressed up as a princess waiting for her prince to come.  Not me. I grew up playing with chickens and horses. I also dressed up as a different kind of princess. Dreaming of a prince was not my thing. Saving one was way cooler.  Or fighting crime with him was just as cool.  I was told back then I was not normal.  

Not normal? I watched every possible episode of Wonder Woman I could get my hands on.  

Little did I know what being obsessed with Wonder Woman would turn into.

My mom wanted a better life for her children. We were immigrants from Poland.  All I was ever told was to “be normal & don’t embarrass me.  We are guests in this country. We only get one chance.”  Isn’t being like Wonder Woman as normal as it gets?

I was bullied for being me so I became what she wanted me to be, someone “normal.”  That eventually destroyed me. Torn between being kind and fitting in was challenging. But I tried to be both, 

Mom’s dream for me was to marry someone and have children.  That was the definition of success back then. If not, I would be a failure.

52 Phenomenal Women- photo essays by Amy Boyle Photography benefitting Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. 2019 - pictured Basia Emano
Basia holding a photo of her and her mother – ©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

Being like Wonder Woman did not sit well with mom.  So I became obedient.  I hid my weirdness. Later I discovered that I WAS normal. I WAS AN ARTIST.  I did everything to hide this from mom.

I was at the peak of my career when I was told that mom was diagnosed with Alzheimers and that we had to put everything on hold to care for her. I was told it would be two years max, I did not hesitate …it was my mom. It is just what you do.  

12+ years later, I was drained. I became a sandwich mom. That meant working, caring for my own family and caring for mom 24/7.  I was willing to help my mom, but I was exhausted. Everyone around me was living their best life. I was functioning on 4 hours of sleep every day. Angry, bitter and crying out “ when will MY happiness finally come? “

She eventually passed away and I was empty and tired inside.  Her last words were, “Do not mourn. Live your life to the fullest, but ALWAYS be kind.“ I did not know what that meant until recently. I was confused. But even in her death she taught me the secret to life.  To be kind, be WONDERful and you will have a WONDERful life.  And so I did.  WONDERful women continue show up in my life and I am one for others. I am finally happy. 

Don’t give up, whatever the challenge!” 

©Amy Boyle Photography 2019

*** Please follow along on instagram as well and learn more about Basia. This year for my birthday, I am embarking on a weekly photo essay project highlighting 52 Phenomenal Women. This is week 47 of 52. Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!**

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