Whenever I get asked, “Jasmine, who is your biggest inspiration?”, my answer, for all that I’ve ever known, has always been “my mum.”
It’s a very common answer for sure, and I can completely understand why. For many of us, our mothers have nurtured, loved and sacrificed so much for us since day one, teaching us life lessons along the way and working hard to provide everything she can for her family. I simply cannot put into words my heartfelt gratitude I have towards my mum, and the fact that this life was given to me is no more than an amazing miracle of the universe. You may believe that your mum is the most incredible woman too, and I sure think so as well. You have every right to your belief, so don’t be afraid to express that. I actually think that all mothers of the world are unique wonder-women, and in no way comparable to each other at all.
Of course, this is not to say at all that my dad isn’t my inspiration too. My dad is my hero, my number one rock, my ‘first love’, and I could make a whole other blog post on how incredible of a father he is- but today, in late celebration of #InternationWomensDay, I want to focus on why my mum is my ultimate inspiration, and how she has made a difference to those around her and the community. This is not a ‘show-off’ post, simply something to share and inspire others with, because I believe that there is something to be learned from every single person’s story.♡
My mum inspires me in many, many ways. I think that the list would be on ‘infinite’ scrolling mode forever, and in respect of her full story, today I will just be sharing the main events that have truly stuck with me and inspire me deeply from my core.
At the brimming young age of 20, my mum left her hometown in China and came to Australia for true love, leaving everything she knew behind. Her parents, her friends, her community, the life she lived for 20 years…and travelled on a plane for the first time, to a country she barely knew anything about. It was truly her bravery, courage, and trust in my dad that vibrated within and out of her which allowed my mum to make such a life-changing decision, and I also learned from hearing this story, just how important the word ‘trust’ is in any relationship. Upon arriving in Australia, my mum had to adapt to a whole new way of living, speaking not a word of English, unable to drive, unsure of which career path to follow, and knowing only my dad’s family (who lovingly looked after her wholeheartedly). From this part of the story alone, I was purely touched by how brave my mum was (and still is), and developed an idea for the notion of the power of love.
My mum then became a first-time mother to me, baby Jasmine. As she took care of, nurtured and raised me along with dad, she began to study English every single day through reading any book that she could find on the shelf at home while simultaneously working at a low-paid part-time job, determined to make her life in Australia better for our family. Within the next few years, my mum’s level of English improved at a speed almost incomprehensible, so much so that she was on her way to becoming a professional interpreter for Chinese and English. She obtained her full driver’s license in one go, and became the mother to my little sister as well. Although she had to extend her studies in order to take care of both my sister and I and to work at other part-time jobs, all whilst she was still at a ‘young’ age, my mum never gave up on her degree and the importance of education, and eventually graduated to become the respected Interpreter in the work force that she is today. My mum, without a doubt, is the epitome of the quote “you reap what you sow” in my eyes, and I have never known someone who has worked as hard as my mum to create a life she knew she wanted.
I actually remember going to university lectures with my mum when I was 6 years old. It was my first time inside a university, let alone a lecture, and from that day on I was so excited for the day where I would also be going to my own lecture. That’s beside the point though 🙂 I remember sitting next to my mum in the lecture room, watching her carefully take notes inside her little purple notepad as she listened to the lecturer, while I also quietly drew pictures on the pull-out desk so as to not disturb her. My mum also told me that at the time she was studying, she had a part-time job inside a jewellery shop nearby, but wasn’t being treated very kindly by her manager. She “needed to provide for our family” though. When she first began working as an Interpreter, she took any job and opportunity that came before her, even if that meant travelling for a few hours by public transport and climbing up a steep hill to get to her destination where she would work for just half an hour at most (yes, true story). She “needed to provide for her family”, and that was her simple motivation. Despite this, my mum has always obtained a positive outlook on life. She had my dad, my family, a home, food to eat, and she was grateful. One time when I was 14 years old, I came back home from school in a ‘not-so-good’ mood and started to complain about what was ‘going wrong’, and I will have what my mum said to me that afternoon ingrained in my mind forever. Because it changed my perspective on life for good. She told me, “A bad day is when you have no home to go back to, no food to eat, and no one who loves you”. It truly made me wonder, and from then on I learned to complain less and less, until one day I stopped complaining altogether. My mum’s positivity and ability to see the silver lining in the clouds really influenced me as I grew up, and I have been so inspired by her story to work hard, stay humble, stay true to myself, and perhaps one day become an incredibly loving mother just like her.
I have never seen or heard my mum and dad argue in my life, ever, and I am just. beyond. grateful. to have been born to the two angel beings that they are. My parents are both my inspiration in this regard, but again, sticking with my mum in this post, she has shown me the importance of compromise, love and understanding in a relationship. When exciting things happen, my mum always expresses her emotions and jumps for joy, and when unfortunate things happen, sometimes she will cry it out. I thought that it was important for me to highlight this, because she has not only taught me to just be myself, but also that it is okay to be vulnerable. She may be a mum, a wife, a daughter, an Interpreter, a best friend…but she is also a three-dimensional human being, and she has always told me not to suppress my feelings. My mum is also, even more incredibly, amazingly confident in herself. As my mum was still finding her identity and place in society when she first arrived in Australia, she didn’t have much confidence at all. Flash back to now, my mum is the most confident person I know. She simply does not let other people’s opinions define or bother her. She wholeheartedly accepts compliments with gratitude and lets judgements flow from one ear out the other, and no matter what, she stands firm on her beliefs and doesn’t rely on validation for happiness. Although as I grew up I didn’t have as much confidence as my mum, I now certainly do, because all of her encouragement finally clicked inside of me one day, and I realised that happiness truly comes from our soul internally.
My mum is also my inspiration when it comes to parenting. Of course, it’s probably going to be a while until I become a parent myself, but I’ve always kept her lessons in mind, so that I can pass them on to my children one day. There are so many instances that I remember, such as that time after school when I was 14 years old, but another one that stands out to me is a time when I was 10 years old. One quiet afternoon, my mum came into my bedroom and handed me a piece of paper. On that piece of paper, she had written down three words- Humility, Compassion and Modesty- and told me to write each word on one piece of paper each and decorate it how I like. Before I did so, I hadn’t come across those words before, so she explained their meaning to me and why I should value these qualities, and it was only many years later until I realised just how important those words were in shaping the person I grew to become. I decorated those ‘posters’ all evening, and stuck them onto my wall, and every time I looked onto that wall, I was reminded of those words and their meanings.
Giving is also a trait that my mum had instilled into me from a young age. Not only that, but to give without expecting anything in return. My mum loves giving, and has constantly inspired me to do so as well. She would always place gifts under our Parish Christmas Tree during Christmas time, donate to charity, give to family and friends even if it wasn’t a special occasion, drop a few coins in the busker’s hat, go out of her way to give, and even sponsor a child- which inspired me to do so when I was 17. And not just gifts, my mum is also incredibly considerate and generous with her time too. She is quite literally the person people go to for help and support, and is always there for her family and friends. Something just popped into my mind as I type this too, and that was when she suggested that my sister and I write and send a card to the (at the time) well-known conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna in hospital. They had made headlines in Australia for having gone through a miraculous surgery to separate their bodies, and my mum wanted us to develop an even greater sense of compassion within us.
My heart is so full of love right now upon having written everything in one go, that I don’t even know how I can further express how much of an inspiration my mum is to me, but I have one last story to add which I saved for the very end, and you will see why.
As if my mum wasn’t incredible enough already, more recently she committed one of the bravest, most selfless acts I had ever seen her do, in which she was rightfully rewarded and recognised with by the Victorian community. A few years ago, while my mum was working at an average evening interpreting job during Winter at a police station, she unexpectedly encountered a truly confronting and immoral scene that left her quite shaken for the few following weeks. But it was what she did that night, and the actions she took afterwards, that inspired me to always follow my heart and do what I know is right and just. To briefly summarise what happened, my mum saw injustice, and she did something about it. A drunken man was being left to ‘grow angel wings’ in a cold, dark room inside the police station, and nobody cared except for my mum. Nobody. He may have broken the law, but he was a human with a family who simply made a mistake, and my mum saw that. She saw that he was hungry, so she brought him food and water through the rain. She saw that he was suffering, so she suggested that the ambulance be called. She knew that as an interpreter, she couldn’t be personally involved into the situation, but it was all too much for her not to care. Unfortunately, the man passed away in hospital later, and my mum felt for his family and knew in her heart that she had to do something about his mistreatment and last moments on Earth. Even if it meant that she could lose her job, she summoned up her bravery and courage, where one day not long after that event, as she was listening to a radio talk show she always listens to, she called up and vulnerably shared her story to the world. All my mum wanted was some justice for the man and his family, and thankfully it had paid off. Eventually this case was settled and the man’s family were given justice to a certain extent, and not only did my mum become a better recognised Interpreter, she was even awarded by the oldest Victorian Civil Liberty organisation for free speech, an award given to only one recipient a year by the State. I couldn’t have felt prouder and happier for my mum, who deserved every single clap as she stood on stage and accepted her award- though what was still most important to her, was not the statue, but the fact that she could make a difference. I am sure that she didn’t just inspire me to become a better person, but the community as well, to always stand up for what isn’t moral and to always be courageous.
These are just some of the reasons why my mum inspires me. I am grateful, I am thankful, and I appreciate so much that I was born to be her daughter. Thank you so much for reading through this post (if you got through it all), and I hope that something from her story inspires you too. I would also love to know, who inspires you, and why? Feel free to let me know in the comments 🙂
As always, sending you all of my love,
(I showed this post to my mum before posting it for her permission♡)