‘Why Do I Always Strive for Perfection?’ by Elizabeth Jimenez

This piece was part of the Ánimo Voices Writing & Art Competition, which invited students to write about innovators, upstanders, visionaries, or rebels that have made a difference in their local or broader communities. The competition was an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing and art.

Why Do I Always Strive for Perfection?

by Elizabeth Jimenez, 10th grade, Oscar De La Hoya Ánimo Charter High School


She grew up in Michoacan, Mexico. She came from a big family - the fifth of eleven children. She grew up fast and became responsible at a young age. She was a second mom to her younger siblings. She was always caring for them, feeding them, and looking out for them, which gave her the experience she needed to become a wonderful mother today. My inspiration, my role model, my number one motivation in life is my mother. My mom has told me many of her life stories that have inspired me. I will share two.

The first story begins when she decided to drop out of middle school to start working at any job that would hire her to help her family. This was a big decision for her because she loved school, but she always put her family before her own needs. She moved to a town nearby, Morelia, Michoacan and she started working to help my Tio with money so he can continue his studies in business. Now, he runs his own business back in Mexico and always thanks my mother for helping him. Ever since I was a little girl, my mom always told me, “Tienes que ir bien en la escuela para que tengas una mejor vida que está.” Although she was not able to continue her studies, she would like for me to excel in mine. I have a school close to my home that provides me with a good education, so I should take advantage of that because I have the resources, “enfrente de tu nariz”, as my mom always says.

The second story that works to inspire me everyday is about the sacrifice my mom made leaving her family behind and moving to a new country. Hidden in a car at the age of 22, my mother crossed the border with the help of a “coyote.” It was not planned or anything. Her and her older sister just came to the U.S temporarily to visit. Even though they wanted to, they did not call to say goodbye to their mother because they knew she would not approve. They ended up calling their mom after they crossed the border. Mi abuelita was devastated - she simply could not understand why her two daughters would want to leave the place they call home. After a couple of months, my Tia could not take the pain of being separated from my abuelita, so she ended up going back to Mexico. My mom never returned. Even though it almost killed her emotionally, she realized she had nothing for herself back home and that she wanted to raise a family in the United States to give them a better opportunity in life.

Once my mom started experiencing life in the United States, she realized it would not be as easy as she thought. She didn’t know anyone and she needed a job right away. It took almost a month to find a job, but she finally found a job as a nanny. It was still difficult because of the language barrier, but that did not stop her. She never gave up. Instead, she used that to help herself learn English. Meanwhile, my mom would send money to Mexico to help her siblings become businessmen and medical professionals. But soon, she had a family of her own to focus on. After all, her main goal was to provide as much as she can to the children she loves and cares for.

My mom has struggled a lot in her life. So much so, that my problems seem like paper cuts while hers are more like broken legs. My mom inspires me because she always overcomes obstacles. She is not afraid to make mistakes because she will learn from them. She is not afraid to show her scars because that is what makes her stronger. In the end, she has changed the way I view the world. Her stories motivate me to work hard and never give up my hopes and dreams. Now, I take advantage of my resources, and I truly feel lucky to have a mom who sacrificed so much for me. I want to make my mom proud.