Mother Figures and Seemingly Simple Advice that Changes Everything About You

by Leila on May 8, 2012

Thank you to Tout for sponsoring this post and encouraging me to share mom’s best advice! Visit the SELF + The Honest Co. + Tout contest to share the best advice you received from your mom and enter to win $500 worth of The Honest Company product and a Maya Brenner Designs necklace valued at $200, in addition to having their Tout featured on Additionally, for every response a donation will be made to Baby2Baby.


My Grandma and I (Making loved ones lose sleep from the beginning!)

Mother Figures and Coming Full Circle

I was pretty much raised by a single Dad so Mother’s Day has always been about my both of my grandmas. Even as I became a Mom I think about the other women who molded me to become the woman I am today instead of celebrating myself. I am in many ways very different than the women who influenced me but there are so many strong aspects of my personality that come from them… and I am thankful for that.

When I was a kid my brother and I used to spend a lot of time in Japan visiting family over the summers. I wish I had the perspective that I have now to appreciate it fully. I thought I knew everything back then but I realize now… that I actually DO know everything… or very close to it. Okay, not really but I am on a mission to know everything.

Anyway… I could be an absolute stubborn, defiant, angry, make everyone pull their hair out child.

Shocking, right??

I remember being very young and in Japan without my Dad with our relatives. We spent a long time there… almost the whole summer. It started to feel less like vacation and more like our everyday life… so I started to appreciate it less. I was angry at my brother for something that I can’t even recall now so that shows how insignificant it was. I was seething. I still remember that anger and I held it for days. It wasn’t the kind of anger that got me attention because I remember just being on my own, not talking to anyone and being generally pissed off.

My grandma sat next to me and in her very poised, confident and graceful way simply explained, “Being angry is a choice. So is being happy. You can choose to be angry every single day and become anger. Or you can choose to be happy and become happiness.”

I immediately made excuses to justify my anger. Everything was obviously not my fault. It was his, them, her, that thing or other stuff and whatever else sounded logical.

Even at that age I knew they were just excuses. I was choosing to spend days angry and yeah, I was a very angry kid. I had a lot more reasons to be angry than most and I hated that. I was sick of being angry. Until that moment no one ever told me it was in my control.

It’s always been in my control.

I get asked often how I do what I do, on my own and with the perspective that I have. I’m praised for my love of life. I’m complimented on taking on what I can without complaints. I’ve been asked so many times… Why aren’t you angry? How can you really be that happy?

And I know these things are asked because some may be questioning if I am truly happy or putting on a front. Some also find it inspiring and want to know how when it may appear to be impossible.

I think back to that moment seeing my beautiful grandma who never had a bad day and the seemingly simple advice she gave me. Someone who went through more sacrifice and hard decisions than most women ever have to face. I think about her and how she just had this way about being absolutely positive, cheery and making you feel like life was glorious… because she chose that perspective.

I am angry and I have a lot to be angry about. I have a kid that gets sick a lot. I’ve dealt with more crappy people and life altering situations than most. I’ve lost everything I’ve worked for multiple times. I’ve been surrounded by non-supportive and negative people my whole life. I’m constantly judged, assumed of and looked down upon.

But, I choose not to become anger. I choose for it to not define me.

I choose to ninja kick life’s obstacles and make the most of it and find happiness.

I could be miserable, bitter and really freaking angry at the world and make all the excuses I can to justify becoming a smoldering anger ball.

That kind of life seems to be an absolute waste when there are so many glorious moments to be had.

So, I’m choosing happiness. It is my choice to be happy despite how many opportunities I may have to become anger.

And I will always have my grandma, Alishia, to thank for that.


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About Leila DontSpeakWhinese

Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of five awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Maribel Reyes May 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Very inspiring! my parents always tell me the same: It is up to you how you feel. It is true, though I always forget and let myself get angry. I am glad I decided to read your blog today, I needed to read about how in control we are of our feelings. Thank you! 😉


Leila May 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Thank you so much!! Sometimes it’s okay to let yourself be angry… but just to get it out and move forward. It has taken me years to learn to not dwell or fester. Life is so short and choosing happiness is the most important thing we can do… you know, besides eating bacon or donuts… or both 😉 I’m so glad you stopped by and that you gained something from my insanity lol


Siobhan Wolf May 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

So true, but I forget. Thank you for the reminder just when I really needed it.


Leila May 9, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I think these messages usually sink in most when we need it 🙂 I’m glad it helped and thanks for stopping by. Totally made my day!


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