Throughout my entire life, I’ve always been surrounded by strong women. Women in my family, friends, all in my life. I like to think that they’re the reason why I’m so strong, passionate, and dedicated to being the best that I can be. But most importantly, they’re all the reason why I was allowed to follow my dreams, whatever my dreams were.
I’m not saying there weren’t strong men in my life either, but really the women in my life have struck a cord with me. As a feminist and just a person, I believe that instead of women bringing each other down, we should always be helping each other get stronger, do better, achieve whatever we want. The women in my life, that’s all they’ve ever done for me.
From when I was a little girl, to being a young adult making important life decisions, I’ve always relied on the women around me. My Aunt Mabel was there when I needed advice before accepting my first internship. My Grandmother was the one who introduced me to my love of shopping (this was an important part of my life). My Aunt Sharon showed me you can be a strong woman in your career field and want to go shopping and the spa at the same time. My Aunt Shellmay taught me how to appreciate my parents no matter how frustrating times would be. My friend’s mother Mija taught me to stand my ground. My Yearbook Advisor taught me that being myself was always ok. And the reason why I’m writing this today, my high school counselor and family friend Ms. Lee helped me make one of my most important decisions to date, whether or not to transfer colleges.
Tonight after battling cancer for a year, Ms. Lee passed away. She was the beacon of positivity, always with a soft, warm voice but demanded hard work. Like many of the women in my life, she knew all I wanted was success and encouraged me to find my own way to it. I hate saying this, but I used to dread calling her or going to her office for a long chat because she had a habit of breaking me down into tears. She demanded the whole story from me. Always. She demanded to know how I was feeling, something I have always struggled with sharing. At those moments of pure honesty, she was able to help me think clearly. Even after graduating high school, she was there cheering me on. She popped on my Facebook page once in a while, reminding me of her constant support. When I sit down and think about it, my decision to transfer colleges was going to end up the same it has even without her advice. But with her advice, I was able to make this huge change work for me. I was able to find my success.
This amazing strong woman was more than a high school counselor. I loved hearing stories about her and my Uncle William growing up. Hearing how he has always been the same genuine nice man that he is today. How after all these years and after some rough times, Ms. Lee has always been rolling with the punches, never afraid to crack a joke. Because all she wanted in life was to help others succeed. And like all the other strong women and men in my life that I have lost to cancer, I will honor her in everything I do and my success to come.
It’s so hard to lose someone in your life, anyone. But the thing to do is find a way to honor them and remember them. Thank you Ms. Lee for always believing in me and my success.