I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

Look forward, Not Back

By Leslie  |   From : El Salvador  |   School : Los Angeles School of Global Studies

I am an English Language Development  (ELD) student going through the difficult process of learning how to write in English. If I am not confident in my writing skills and it is not as polished, I don’t have the courage to voice out my concerns. Many see me as an outstanding girl when in reality, getting to where I am has taken me falls, scars, tears, and sad feelings. I have been bullied because of my writing skills. Even though I am a straight-A student, I still experience these type of challenges. I am no longer in ELD classes yet, I know that my writing still needs to improve. What makes me keep going? I ask myself and wonder in my room alone when I can only hear my breath and those tiny sounds that surround me.


I don’t have the strength to let my lips tell my story. I have been called different nicknames, and I have been teased because of my “broken English” and accent. I have even been asked, “why are you here, you’re an immigrant”.  I now realize that I didn’t have a growth mindset at the time. Today, I want to change the way I see my challenges. My challenge to let people criticize me and not do anything about it. Letting every comment affect me and now I realize that I am an English Language Development student and that making mistakes is part of learning any new language. Now, I made the decision to change my thought and see my obstacles as the key to triumph. I will push myself beyond that pain and acknowledge that every day is a new start and I could build a change that someone won’t do.


To be brief, I smile every day and work my best, not giving up because of my mother. For my mother, I work hard and I give everything of myself to my academic education. My mother is also a person that is learning how to speak English. My mother has the same struggles as I have and she shows me that there is no obstacle that stops her. I admire my mother for how hard she is trying to overcome that challenge of speaking English.

My mother suffers from migraines that can last more than 48 hours non-stop. Getting home from school and seeing my mother laying down in bed, crying in pain, screaming the name of Jesus, I can’t even pretend it doesn’t hurt me. Every morning I wake up and walk towards my mother waiting for the words, “I have no pain”. I wake up with the faith that a miracle will happen at any second. With that hope, I arrive at school, with that peace in my heart that my mother is at her work doing the job she enjoys every day. Working at, “ Sweet Lady Jane”, where she loves decorating every cake and know that when someone sees it, they will say, “I love that cake”. People recognize my mother as a hard worker because she lets no obstacle stop her. Likewise, many people also recognize me as a hard worker that doesn’t let anything stop me. I admire my mother for showing me the importance of improvement and overcoming all obstacles.  When my mother is sleeping after she gets home from work at 6:00 p.m, I pray to God and ask him for strength to move forward. I know that God doesn’t forget every night when my tears were more than my words. When my sister in El Salvador calls to see how my mother is doing, I try not to worry her by saying, “she’s doing ok”. I don’t want to hurt my sister with the words, “she isn’t doing well”. My sister and I are similar, like two different sea shells from the same sea.


My mother is my inspiration to move forward every day. I love seeing her smile. When she pokes my cheeks with one finger, making her voice sound like to a 5-year-old girl, bothers me like screaming “flaka”, intentionally to make me laugh. There are days where she wants to have clean-up time and there are days where she wants to walk out and have adventures going to the park. When I see her smile is like nothing matters than that moment. When her health is marvelous, I take advantage of every moment because when hard times come; that’s when the only feeling I have is sadness and tears fill my eyes.


Now, I won’t be scared anymore because I am an immigrant. and my writing might not be perfect but at least I try to improve it. I won’t ever be perfect, however, everything I do is for a reason and I won’t sit on a chair waiting for success to come to me. I will fight and push myself forward because I will be the first generation college student and I will make my mother proud. I don’t want to be a headache for my mother. I don’t want my mother to worry about my being a troublemaker. I want to be that daughter that she has no need to worry about because I know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. I won’t say I know everything, yet every day I learn something new. Above all, only those who know my story know that if I fight for what I want and keep in mind that I will succeed in that goal, it is because I want to make my mother smile. Even if my life is similar to a dark tunnel, at the end there is still that little light shining and I will meet that light. Complaining is not an answer and I won’t use it because I will use the key to hard work to obtain what I want. I thank the Lord for who I am. Every day I will bend knees to the presence of God.


Overall,  this is the reality of a simple teenager that fights for the best at every moment. I know there are amazing writers out there nevertheless, I won’t give up! I won’t tolerate more sarcasm for my English. I won’t let anyone humiliate me, nor stop me.  I know I don’t have the best writing. My writing is like putting salt into coffee. Like my mother that every day she tries to speak English and brings a lot of effort into her work; I as well will do the same because my mother is not only my inspiration, she is also my example of not giving up and always trying. I won’t let anyone put me down, neither let any obstacle stop me from my goal and success towards life.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.