a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Archive for University of Minnesota

Never Take ‘No’ for an Answer

< by Mitra >

If there’s one lesson my mom taught me, it’s never take “no” for an answer.

When my mom was born near Busan, Korea, her parents brought her to an orphanage where she waited 14 years to be adopted. She finished adolescence in Owatonna, Minnesota, in a decade where having Asian features was an open invitation to be confronted. Luckily, my mom doesn’t take any crap, and soon she headed for college at the University of Minnesota.

She met my Iranian dad, had me, and I began my lifelong education of how to never back down in America. Despite countless challenges in life, my mom is always smiling, laughing, and inviting people on some big adventure. Combined with her unrelenting toughness, this makes going up against my mom like challenging a confusingly charming dictator. She will either cheerfully incept into your brain the outcome she wants, or just refuse to go away until she gets it.

In a world that does not give freely, especially to women, this has changed my life.

Cashier not complying with marked sales prices? We somehow emerge from TJ Maxx with all our stuff for practically nothing. (I mostly hid in the clothes racks.) 2-hour wait at a restaurant? I know the manager from yoga class, she beams. 15 minutes later, we’re tableside looking at appetizers. Applied for 12 jobs, got no callbacks? Whatevs – ‘coincidentally’ show up at the same event, introduce yourself, and start the unofficial interview.

Epilogue: Sooki’s daughter grew up and married a man whose mom also doesn’t take “No” for an answer. Thank the Lord, because it saved her and Dan some seriously epic battles. Love you too, Gina.

Cause all I ever dreamt about was making it / They ain’t giving it, I’m taking it. – Macklemore & Ray Lewis