When 1st For Women asked me who inspired me the most – the name that popped in my mind was my Mother. I know it’s cliché to say your mother, but it’s true. Every hardship and trial she went through, whether it was a messy divorce, raising three kids on a single income or dealing with multiple challenges as single parents do, she kept her head up and carried on, determined to make a life for us and deprive us of as little as possible.
In hindsight, I see exactly how the little things my mother did moulded and shaped the person I am today. Whether it was tough learning love, insisting I “look it up” when I asked what a word meant so I wouldn’t forget and would know how to spell it, or when she’d selflessly help others (even when I resented it just a little bit), her random acts of kindness taught me to care about others and be truly interested in people’s stories, in their lives.
Even reading was a skill she both taught me and profoundly influenced the shape of my life. I was three years old when she taught me to read, only because she had to work and the lady who looked after me couldn’t read. My mom wanted to ensure if there was an emergency at home, that I’d be able to read telephone numbers and dial them. That led to a hunger to know more, learn more and so she took me on multiple visits to actual libraries (do they still exist?) – and I loved it. Still do. Our library visits became little rituals for us, shared between mother and daughter without annoying little bros, and it still remains some of my most cherished memories. Little did I realize just how much that one act of necessity, teaching me how to read, would inspire a life long love of reading and learning which would take me down paths and on journeys I would otherwise not have had.
Through it all, my mother’s perseverance taught me we can rise above our circumstances and become successful not because of those hardships, but despite it.
There were times when it was hard, really hard and like any normal teen girl I’d question my choices, my confidence, myself. No matter what was going on in our lives, my mother always taught me to never take things for granted, to never feel “less than”. As a grown woman, I’ve learnt so much from her, but I’ve also realized that the same power she had within herself, that I have in within myself. I am enough.
A quote by Albert Camus that speaks perfectly to not just my Mother’s inspiration, but my own inner power as a woman, reads:
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
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