Every woman’s story is different. In a world caught up in the ideas of feminism and empowerment, it can be easy to forget about the real stories behind the movements, so we share our perspectives of being raised by strong women and how this has deeply shaped our lives.
Madeline: Strength is really about grace. We tend to have a misconception of strength in American society, and think of strong people as the ones who have the big muscles or loud voices. I’m a firm believer that strength can be both imparted and learned at the same time.
Real strength is knowing how to treat other people with love, grace, and kindness, no matter how different or similar they are to you. My mother is the strongest, most courageous, yet gentle and kind woman that I know. True strength is being able to balance the contrast of kindness and courage all at once.
My mom never asked for her life to be easy- instead, she sought to make it full. She raised my sister and I while working multiple jobs, showing us the many things that a strong woman can do all with a smile on her face. Abraham Lincoln once said: “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother.”
My mother was able to raise me as a strong woman since she was one herself. I’m forever grateful to my mom and all of the other strong women in my life who have led me physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
Allayna: Growing up, I did not have much of a male presence in my life. My father left when I was two, leaving my mother to raise me all by herself. While she was raising me, she juggled being a professor of pharmacology and working toward three PhD’s in neurology, pharmacology and pathophysiology.
I had a front seat to her busy days, yet I never heard her complain or ever see her struggle. Working, being in school and having a young child are all difficult enough tasks, but also being an African-American female forced my mother to work three times as hard as her white male counterparts.
In school, she would be the first student in the classroom, shooting her hand up to answer every questions she could in order to prove that she was competent and hardworking enough to receive an “A”. In the world of academia, she was the only female professor, which was an uphill battle–trying to gain respect. My whole life I have seen her as the epitome of strength and resilience, which pushes me to work hard everyday.
Madeline: Strength comes from our different experiences. While Allayna and I were raised completely differently, strong women made significant impacts in our lives by teaching both of us to live with grace. We are strong women because strong women raised us.