I was a shy child who grew up into an empowered woman unabashed by the terrors of the world, and my mom deserves all the credit for that. If I was scared, she held my hand; if I was mad, she validated my anger; and if I was sad, she let me cry into her lap. She never claimed nor wanted to be a perfect mom, but I think that was the best part about the way she raised me. I watched her fearlessly accept herself, and consequently I mastered the art of self-love.
Ironically, my mom and I are complete opposites. She's an innately social and outgoing Capricorn who was a popular cheerleader in high school, and I'm an instinctively introverted Cancer who follows the rules and floated through high school as a nobody. So, we have fights, but we also learn a lot about one another.
She never used fear to raise me, but instead she resolved our problems with understanding, love, and listening.
It was because of her nonconforming personality that she not only taught me how to be myself but also how to protect and cherish my individuality. For the longest time, I thought she wasn't pushing me hard enough and that she couldn't have cared less if I succeeded in the real world. I saw everyone else's parents using harsh discipline with their kids and setting high expectations for their futures, while my parents took a backseat and chose to not add pressure to my life. She never used fear to raise me — my friends always call her the "cool mom," and at times, I've even been jealous of how much of a free spirit she is — but instead she resolved our problems with understanding, love, and listening.
It was not until I had a college degree, a powerful sense of self, and a healthy outlook on life that I realized my mom was just crafting my independence. She didn't starve me of guidance but always gave me choices and forced me to learn how to make decisions for myself. I was naturally independent, and she encouraged that by not being overbearing.
Now, I am always baffled by her ability to be so badass but also so emotional. She refuses to watch the news because it makes her cry, but she tells off a man for 10 minutes because he stole her parking spot. Her heart lives on her sleeve, she can never fool anyone when she tries to hide her emotions, and she insists on living in the moment. I absolutely admire her. She inspires me to not associate emotions with weakness and to truly live my life to its fullest. She instills me with wisdom without even realizing it.
She once told me that she never thought she would have children. As a child, she saw herself riding a motorcycle and living a nontraditional life, not bound by the ties of a family. But, boom, she met my dad and had a son and then me. I think deep down she thinks she doesn't know what she's doing and believes she totally winged it as a parent. Well, it's the complete opposite. I think she strayed away from the norm and became an amazing parent just by following her heart. Although we're so different, I feel her spirit flow through me whenever I demand a refund after being ripped off by a store or when I feel isolated by everyone in a room and find myself completely unbothered by it. If my mom ever finds herself doubting her success as a parent, I hope she remembers that she raised a daughter chock-full of self-love and confidence that derives directly from her own heart.
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