Believe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By , westfield, IN
My mom grew up with the words “You'll never make it” and “You can't” constantly thrown in her face. With a strong will and independence, she has spent her life proving those people wrong. “I was often told that I wasn't educated enough to do certain things,” she says. “I had people tell me that I couldn't make it as a single mom. Had I listened to those voices, I never would have done what I love.”

Growing up, I took for granted many of the things my mom provided. She raised three of us on her own for nine years, and rarely have I seen her struggle. She is selfless, caring, independent, gentle, and kind – all qualities that make my mom a true hero.

Growing up, my mother was a victim of sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Being young and naive, she kept those secrets to herself and never asked for help. Finally, with the support of her four siblings, my mom spoke up. She bravely got through her rough childhood, learned from her past, and moved on to make a difference in the world.

My mom now goes to shelters to talk to and help children who have experienced the same powerlessness. Because of her close relationships with her siblings, my mom has always encouraged the same for us. “If you don't have your family, then you literally have nothing,” she reminds us.

Right out of high school, my mom enrolled in the Marine Corps and served the United States for 10 years. With hard work and perseverance, she became a successful broadcast journalist in the Marines. “I learned a lot about myself. The wonderful thing about being in the Marines is that you travel and completely change jobs and locations every two years. You get to experiment with who you are and start entirely fresh with new confidence and new friends and new challenges. You get to perfect yourself
in stages.”

My mom has told us that she hopes we find what we feel most passionate about. She hopes that we have the good fortune to be able to support ourselves and be independent and happy in whatever we do.

My mom has always had her children's best interest in mind. Even when there wasn't much money, she found a way to make sure we didn't miss out on anything. She's always done her best to fill any gaps we might have felt. And she always puts herself last.

Faith has been the one saving grace that has gotten my mom through all the rough times. Some nights she was gone for hours, praying at church. There were weeks when she went every day. She's always given us that same opportunity, teaching us to trust in God. “When I look back, there were times when I felt completely desperate and I had to rely on my faith. And on countless occasions, I've been relieved of some of the heaviest burdens because I didn't try to fix what I could not fix,” she explains.

As I've grown up, my mom has shown me how to be independent and strong-willed, and to persevere through tough times. She has provided me with a positive example and has made me who I am today. I'm proud of my mom, and I strive to have the patient, kind attitude that she has always demonstrated.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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