“When life is hard that is when you are revealing yourself” These revelations bubbled up involuntarily by my courageous mother, Virginie, during my 18 years of existence. I often wonder where does she get her courage from?

My mother, Virginie is from Lille, France and lost her father at a very young age. She moved out of the house at 18 years of age and studied to be a nurse and travelled and explored the world. With a demanding nursing job, she also raised 3 young children on her own.

If I had to remember a moment from my early years which represents courage of my mother for me was a raining day in Lille. The roof of our home had collapsed and flooded our home. After picking all kids from school she took out water from our home all night. The next morning at 4:00am she received a dreading call from a hospital 80km away from our home, that my grandmother is in a serious complication. This moment is stuck with me because her true courage revealed itself in the time of such difficulty.

Now I am trying to find my own place in the world with my French-Indian identity. Having always lived in France, it was very difficult for me to relate to or accept my Indian identity. I was the only brown kid in my school, always trying to hide myself, always different and I did not want to be different. I was lonely for the people who loved me, but I was also lonely for a version of me - a potential version of myself that could move gracefully through situations and be free.

I remember going to India during the time of Diwali, which sparked my own quest for community, culture and traditions. For the first time I felt happy to have two identities . I am now taking a gap year which was a very difficult step for me. I was afraid of being judged, being behind my classmates. But perhaps I took a courageous step, like my mother, to explore more

My mother always told me that our discomfort and our grappling is not a sign of failure, but a sign of courage. With a fearless mother and an extremely hardworking father I am beginning to understand that process by which my old self is being molded, More courageous, more accepting.