Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Despite the fact that she lived 71 years ago, she is an inspiration us all – male or female. Eleanor Roosevelt grew up during the 1920’s in a completely different time period, but her words still speak to me, a 15 year old girl living in the 21st century.
I believe in the power of strong independent women who make me proud to be female. These are the women who don’t let themselves be degraded and do not degrade themselves, they stand up for what they believe in, they have their own strong opinions, they don’t change for anyone beside themselves. They don’t let themselves be pushed around; they respect others as well as themselves. I’m lucky enough to have my own personal Eleanor Roosevelt, my mother.
For as long as I can remember my mother has always been involved in my life in some way or another. When I was younger, I remember her teaching me how to read, taking care of my sister and I when my dad was at work, and always having a smile on her face. She always exuded the faint smell of fabric softener that was a surefire way to put me at ease. As I got older and started going to school she was always there to help me with my problems, to take me to school and pick me up everyday, and to always make sure I had a snack and looked my best. Around when I started kindergarten was when my parents’ started having trouble. At first they tried to hide it when my sister and I were around, but then it started getting to the point where they couldn’t hide it anymore. They would have huge fights in the kitchen. While my parents fought in the kitchen, screaming and throwing food at each other, my sister and I would sit in our room and cover our ears. We just hoped it would all go away.
That fragment of hope quickly faded. My parents’ got a divorce and my dad left what use to be our home. My mother during this was the only thing I could always depend on, she never lied to us and acted like it hadn’t happened, which made me admire her even more. She just continued on with what she had always done. Always taking care of us, even through the absence of our father. We would occasionally see my father on the weekends when he wasn’t busy, and my mom never tried to make us dislike him in anyway, she just let us do and feel what we wanted. She would talk to us when we wanted to and try to comfort us when we needed. She tried greatly to explain to us what had happened. I wasn’t like one of those children who felt responsible and didn’t understand why my parents’ were divorced, my sister and I quickly warmed to the idea actually. They weren’t fighting anymore, they both seemed so much happier, and they didn’t seem to be suffering.
I wouldn’t know until I was older that through my mother’s smile was a woman suffering. Although my sister and I always saw a happy woman who we could always depend on, my mother was having problems of her own. What she had hid from us was the horrible custody battles that had lasted for months, the child support wars, and the nights she would spend staying up worrying about what to do. She was a single mother who didn’t have a job and hadn’t for a while. She was never worried about herself but always worried about what would happen to us. There were nights where I would walk by her open door and always see her lying in bed staring at the ceiling. I never thought nothing of it though. One day when my mom and I were sitting, having lunch, and she spilled her guts, telling me the whole story. It made me somewhat sad but it also made me see my mother in a different light. Before, she was just my mother, always smiling, always happy, she seemed perfect, as if she didn’t have a single problem in the world. Now, I saw her as my mother, the strong woman, who through the pain, put on a smile for us, despite her suffering, always pushed through it in style, and no matter what was going on, never hesitated to put us first. My mother is the most fabulous woman I know. She is hard working, inspirational, and never seems to give up no matter what the obstacle(s).
I believe in the power of great women, I believe in the empowerment of my gender, I believe in females who set great examples, who have been through it all and still manage to smile, who’s hardships I would never have imagined but, most of all, I believe in my mother, the best most inspirational woman I know.
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