I remember the moment like it was just yesterday. My mom and I were driving down the freeway as the beautiful sun shined through the car windows. I was driving and she was in the front seat. We were on our way to the beach and we just finished discussing the sermon at her church, a message about faith and how to trust God in all circumstances. The conversation then led my mom to reveal a story about herself that I never knew, a story that really gave me a glimpse of her life journey.
When mom was on the brink from graduating high school, she lived in the Philippines with her parents. When they asked her what she wanted to do after graduation, she said that she wanted to become a nurse. My grandparents were completely against the idea and didn’t understand why she wanted to pursue such a career. For one, the family was already having trouble with money as it was and adding college tuition on top of the finances would surely set them into bankruptcy. However, another family member believed in my mom’s dreams and supported her by helping fund the expense. Disobeying her parents’ wishes, my mom went off to college to follow her passion. During her time in school, mom mentioned that nursing courses were tough and she struggled a bit. She thought her parents would be supportive that she wanted to make something of herself, but they weren’t. They didn’t like the idea of her becoming a nurse and often discouraged her, trying to put fear in her by saying that she might not make it. But even through all the negativity, mom still pushed herself to make her dream come true. She prayed, stayed faithful and true while working hard to pass her classes. After graduation, she was able to get a job and she moved out of the islands. She worked in the Middle East as a nurse and slowly made her way to the States. Today, she is still a registered nurse and she’s been in this career for 30+ years.
At the end of the story, my mom mentioned that she knew what it felt like to not have the support of her parents when it came to her career choice. She told herself that when she had kids, she would never be that type of parent, commanding her kids to settle for a career they weren’t passionate about. She wanted just the opposite. She realized that if you only have one life, you should spend it doing something you’re going to be happy with. She values education because it didn’t come easy for her, but she also values chasing after your dreams, working hard, and living successfully. That’s why she pushed me into fashion. She told me that if you really want something, you can do anything you set your mind to. And she’s right.
I hold this story so close to my heart. Whenever I’ve had a rough day or just feel unconfident from all the jibber jabber of the world, I find myself thinking of this moment with my mom and remembering the story she told. It always brings me joy because she shared a part of herself with me, a time where she too struggled with the negativity of the world around her. Hearing her inspiring story of overcoming this time in her life and walking out successful makes me have so much hope for my future. If my hard working, determined and amazing mother could come out of her circumstance, I can definitely get through all of mine. I’m so grateful for her and the support she gives me. It’s highly unusual for an Asian parent to guide their children into any other major other than the medical field. I got blessed in having a mom who simple wants me to be happy with my life and what I do, someone who reminds me not to settle, to never give up, and to keep pushing through.
Today, I want to remind you the same thing. Whether if you have someone saying you can’t reach your goals, that you won’t ever live up to your fullest potential, or you just simply feel defeated for whatever reason, listen to me: YOU CAN DO IT. Don’t back down. Chase those goals, follow your dreams and never give up! Don’t ever let what anyone says or your present circumstances make you feel like you can’t go forth and accomplish your goal. Stay strong, work steadily and diligently and keep the faith. Whoever you are, I believe in you, just like you should believe in yourself.