Strong Women In My Life Demi Moore can pull off a shaved head with grace and beauty. I can't do that. If I were to shave my head, I would slightly resemble a cantaloupe. I get that, and the rest of my physical characteristics, from my mother. Short and ample do not make for a graceful bald-headed woman.

Martha Stewart can make a souffl from an egg, some tree bark, and a cup of sugar. I can't do that either. My inability to just "wing" recipes comes directly from my grandmother. If it's written down, I can do it, but from there it can get a little scary. Hillary Clinton is a hard-working, respectable woman with an Ivy League education.

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Now THAT I can handle. My dedication, determination and independence come from the array of women who have guided me through life thus far. Inspiring me to find a career that I thoroughly enjoy, no matter the costs, these women have lit my path. Every piece of me has seemed to come from an inspirational woman who has somehow graced my life. Whether for a second or for a decade, they have made imprints on my soul. To limit myself to describe the one person who has given me the most inspiration would be virtually unfeasible.

I am a collage of influence and choice made by those with whom I have interacted. My strongest qualities, determination and independence, are deeply rooted in my family. Coming from an extremely tight-knit family all living within 30 minutes of each other, we bring new meaning to the clich, "It takes a village." My Aunt Betty is CEO of two corporations and taught me to sacrifice nothing for my dreams. My Grandmother, having borne seven children of her own and cared for twenty-one grandchildren while working with her husband in the family business, taught me that I do not have to sacrifice one for the other- prosperity comes in the balance. My strength comes from my mother. Having overcome obstacles and making immeasurable sacrifices, she lives her dreams through her three daughters.

She never accepts anything from the best from me and I do my best not to disappoint her. She instilled in me the strength to have MY OWN dreams and to never be afraid of them. Individuality emanates from my Aunt Kathy, as she has always encouraged me to break the conventional molds of femininity and go after what I desire. Aunt Barbara told me from the time I was a baby that to depend on someone means you "can't hack it yourself." As a Doctor in NYC, she gave me my urban independence and curiosity to gain as much experience as I can. Finally, my Aunt Tink gives me my soft and gentle side.

As we are closer in age than my other aunts and I, we share a bond immeasurable by any standards. I am never afraid to cry and show my emotions with her. She embraces them, and from her I gain my security. It's hard to imagine coming from a stronger family foundation. With the beliefs, values, and ideas the matriarchs of my family handed down to me, I was left open to new experiences and challenging the world as I crossed it along the way. As I entered the collegiate world a year ahead of my peers, I was forced to make it on my own. Everything I knew was challenged, and some of my most tightly held opinions were drastically altered.

I grew from a frightened, but self-reliant, HS Senior to a goal-oriented, academically focused, young woman. I have to attribute this growth to my professors who never seemed to let me falter, who understood and recognized that failure was never an option. They saw in me that challenge was always welcomed and every conquest was a search for more knowledge. To these brilliant women I accredit my thirst for knowledge and the gratitude for appreciating it within me. Standing tall today as a woman confident in who she is and what she believes in can sometimes carry stigmas.

Thankfully, from the way in which I was raised and the experiences I have encountered, I have never been forced to succumb these harsh stereotypes. Even by working as a teacher in a daycare, I am able to influence the world by being the woman I am. As I look into the faces of the girls I care for, I try to picture them at my age. I wonder if they are going to be the determined, strong and independent women I hope them to be, or if they are going to fall victim to the gender stereotypes that still dominate American society. Will they conform or will they shatter traditional roles? As they look to me with their questions, I hope to pass on even the slightest bit of encouragement I was given.

I am shaping the future as I was molded as a child, and looking back, that's not such a bad thing. Creative Writing.