My Mother and my daughter empower me. Growing up in America, as the daughter of first generation immigrants from India, I witnessed the struggle of living in an unfamiliar culture but also the ability to persevere and rise above. As a little Indian looking girl in an all-white American community in the south, I was often left feeling confused and lost. My Mother, from my earliest memories, never tried to have me conform but rather encouraged me to embrace my uniqueness, and aim for my dreams. Being different never meant feeling less than others, but rather as having an advantage.
Also my Mother, contrary to stereotypes about women from India, wasn’t submissive, servile and passive and did not expect or want her daughters to be either. She was a feminist when the word wasn’t popular. Her belief in both my sister and me was that we could be anything we wanted and we could go to the top. I remember as a child I wanted to be the next big newscaster like Barbara Walters. My Mother said, “Ok if that is what you want to do, you can do it, now how are you going to get it?” She didn’t discourage the idea but instead gave me the motivation and power to strive for that goal.
In that same vein, I’m empowered by my daughter to model the behavior I want for her. Like my Mother, I want my daughter to know that there is no limit to what she wants to do and be in the world. I strive to take initiatives, hold myself responsible and accountable to contribute to a better universe. So as my little 7-year old daughter watches me, it empowers me to do these things, to dive for the challenges, exude self-confidence and assurance – to be the best example I can be for her.