Power within


June 21, 2017

About two years ago I met this amazing, vibrant, caring, genuine woman, who at the time I had no idea would become one of my good friends. A mentor even because she has taught me many valuable lessons. Months before we met, her employer had gone bankrupt and were forced to close their doors. Jacqueline was laid off from one day to the next and her six figure income was gone. From that moment she vowed to herself and her family that she would never put her future and security in anyone else's hand. Today she is the successful owner of Liberated Latina, a legal document preparation company, in which she singlehandedly built from the ground up. Learning her story about starting her own company inspired me in many ways.

That is just one example of Jacqueline's tenacity and it is a characteristic in her that I admired. When we met, I knew we had some things in common and we did not initially connect because there was a lot of shit that I was dealing with. I tried to play the part like I was happy-go-lucky but she wasn't buying into it and called me out on it. Part of me was a little thrown off because we had just met and she was already calling me out on my bullshit. That was when I knew she was definitely someone I wanted in my life.

The more we got to know each other, I realized that we had more in common than I originally thought. We were both single mothers at a very young age who relied on the government assistance. According to society, we were going to raise our children in poverty and our children would repeat the cycle. Within the past year, both of our children graduated high school and have a bright future ahead of them. We both choose to beat the odds and went on to prove that just because society put a label on us did not mean that had to become our reality. I am not ashamed to say that I was also on government assistance, even recently when I first got back to California and neither is Jaqueline. We both took the assistance that was offered and we made it work for us and changed our circumstances.

Both Jaqueline and I agree that certain stereotypes regarding single mothers made it difficult for us in the beginning. In our culture, a young single mother does not amount to anything. Despite all odds, both of us have made it to where we are today. Jaqueline admits what helped her was maintaining a positive mindset, we all have insecurities that we battle with but we must find the strength within us to fight off the negative thoughts.

As women stepping into our power, we must unite and change these negative stereotypes toward single mothers. Let us learn to be more empathic and attempt to understand the struggles that single mothers go through to provide for their families. From the outside looking in, it is easy to judge a situation. For instance, I have a million things on my plate and there are times when I am away from my children. In the end, it is all done with a higher purpose, my children's future. Jaqueline could also relate to early mornings and late nights and have come to realize that we both go hard because we do not want our children to struggle as we did.

Jaqueline admits there was a point in which she had a low-self esteem, she did not voice her thoughts or opinions because she felt they were of no value. She states now "I had to learn and understand that I am as valuable as they come. That my struggles are my value and that other women who are in the same struggle need to know that we too can make it out of the system and change our lives. "

As Socrates says, "the secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but in building the new". We must surround ourselves with people who pull the magic out of us and believe in us especially during the times we don't believe in ourselves. One thing I learned from Jaqueline is to stop doubting yourself; work hard and go make it happen. Through her struggles, Jaqueline learned she is capable of much more than what others think, she is stronger than what she believed and lastly she is the only human being that has power over her. Jacqueline is bold and rises.

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