Mothers: the first inspiration.
WOMEN WHO INSPIRE
(In honor of Women’s History Month, we invited our contributors to write about the women who inspire them.—Ed.)
Woman is such a powerful word. It flows off the tongue and echoes far beyond the letters. When I hear, speak, or read the word woman, I cannot help but think of my mother. Although I have been lucky enough to have teachers and mentors who have been beneficial and inspirational in their own right, my mother is by far the woman I look up to the most and who motivates me to be a better woman and overall person. She is the epitome of the word woman and beyond.
My mother’s generosity has never had any bounds. She learned that being of service to others is doing a service to yourself. She carried what she learned from her mother and passed this on to me—not only in the acts of giving, but in the heart and mind of giving, which is with compassion and joyfulness. My mother has always shown up for family, friends, coworkers, and her community alike. While she remains humble in doing so because she sees it as natural, I wish she knew just how I see hope for humanity modeled through her deeds and heart. Her generosity has inspired me to want to be in a career which puts that value into motion—she is one of the core reasons I am a therapist today.
Other than her generosity, my mother reminds me of water itself. Like water, inspirational women tend to carve a way seemingly out of nothing and become whatever the situation calls for, just as water adapts to whatever vessel its held in. My mother’s “I can” attitude or perseverance is one of the traits that makes her phenomenal. I have not seen a challenge that she has not met head-on and surmounted. She never allows herself to even consider the concept of defeat. She sees each opportunity as either a blessing or a lesson. Her perseverance is evident in her trailblazing accomplishments in a career that did not favor her almond skin or her XX chromosome difference, as a community leader in bridging tradition and modern ways to honor the importance of family, and even as a mother of a child with childhood illnesses that tested both her faith and strength. Through it all, she never let adversity dictate the end of her story. She inspired me to know that I alone am the scribe for my story and that, like water, I can find a way.
Oddly enough, my mother is also the one who reminded me how to be a child. While I would have been just fine lost in my books and imagination, my mother would come up with spontaneous little excursions, odd quirky dishes, or even the occasional games or activities to add spice to any situation. Her playfulness has always been the highlight of countless memories of living in the moment. She has definitely made me appreciate “the now” and the value of exercising your smile and laugh as much as possible. Life is too short, she says, to not live it to the fullest. Because of her, I believe I get a lot more out of my life and find ways to look forward to what I can make of it each day.
Thankfully, I never had to look beyond my home for inspirational words or actions because my mother was all woman and more.
Dr Malone is a Mindpath Health health care provider and counselor.