What My Mother Taught Me About Strength


When I was younger, I would firmly protest to never become like my mother. She was always yelling. Always dictating what I can and can’t do. She feared nothing and no one. In fact, our friends and family feared her.

She was at best, a 5’4″ spunky and still ever-serious general.

I always claimed she never could fully understand me because of our contrasting traits. She was always ready for battle, while I felt myself being devoured as soon as things would get tough. She was always firm in her decisions, while I’d take the time to analyze the circumstances of each possible outcome. She never resorted to shedding tears, while I was an emotional wreck.

Anytime I’d weep, she would encourage me to stop by saying, “This is reality. Reality requires strength over tears. As bad as it may hurt, tears won’t do you or the situation any good. You have that inner-strength because you are my daughter. You are my sun. You are the light of my burning strength.”

When my mother was a child, she wasn’t presented with a close bond to her birth-mother which we all desperately yearn for almost as soon as we withdraw from the womb. She was instead, raised in the home of her aunt and uncle. Whom in turn, became her safe haven. Her guardians. Her everything.

Living in a crowded home of cousins whom soon became brothers and sisters, I’d imagine it was difficult to have attention be evenly distributed – And yet knowing this reality, my mother still deems her upbringing was a blessing and rightfully so. She has never allowed the conventional sense of family to divert her from constantly aspiring to live a virtuous life.

As she got older, however, her understanding of love became harder and harder to fathom. Though her parents gave her all that she could ever want and more, she still felt a relentless and underlying urgency to feel a part of someone. To feel a closeness of love and an unequivocal connection that could never adequately amount to any set of words or phrases.

So, she bared two children and decided to immigrate into the States seeking prosperous opportunities.

Through the eminent strive of a single mother, she taught them how to highly respect regulations, even when they may not always feel fair. She’d show them how to be courageous by letting them fend for themselves amongst a pool of doubt (Often times, literally). She nurtured and protected them without completely shielding them from both the wondrous and harsh realities of life – This was important to her.

She wanted them to obtain a tough exterior and to take on the world right alongside her. To be her tribe and to always be united as such.

One of the countless things that I failed to recognize as a child is though my mother is exceptionally flawed, she is as close to perfection as a human can possibly be. She is perfect because she never hinders herself from her imperfections. She is neither shallow or pretentious, yet she emanates an undeniable elegance. She isn’t always exuding happiness, but she’ll show it tenfold when she feels it. She is true. She is pure and fearless of this daunting world that can sometimes make us feel otherwise.

I could fight myself everyday to not become like her. Yet if I tried, I would undoubtedly fail miserably. I’d fail because everything I claim to know about life or myself- the burdens, struggles, triumphs, losses, love – I completely and wholly owe to her.

I sometimes unknowingly emulate my mothers tendencies. I find myself mirroring the way she vigorously cleans and tends to her home. I find her “can do” and “all-knowing” attitude reflected among the edge of my grin.

I naturally aspire to be like my mother because I am so damn proud of her.

She is perfect because she holds the prime balance of both light and darkness. Good and bad. She is human. She is my perfect, perfect human.

The light of my burning strength.