“SELF-Ex: An Interactive Guide to Address Adversity Responsibly” received a top award in a global competition. “In response to the COVID-19 challenges facing students the USC Center EDGE, Andrew [...]
The SELF-EX Guide
Act Responsibly and Speak Up Assertively
MY MOTHER’S MIRROR
My Mother’s Mirror is a collection of tumultuous true stories entangled in identity crisis, relationships, motherhood, parenting, and adolescence. A memoir-style book that shifts from a daughter’s perspective to her mother’s tells an inter-generational story of acquiring principles to cultivate oneself with grit, integrity, and tenacity to find personal power and fulfillment.
The turbulent journey is illustrated through introspection, cultural blending, and transforming conflictive paradigms. It opens with my teenage experiences in highschool and beyond, then ties back to my mother’s roots. Such a story originates in a mountain-top village in the Russian Caucasus, where tribal traditions indiscriminately confine women to patriarchal standards. Upon emigrating to Israel, a cultural melting pot with intense racial divide, is infused with communal values that strive toward the collective good. The journey continues in Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox quarter, allured by social and economic prestige, then transitions to the bustling, male-dominated Wall Street sphere, and finally, to the placid paradise of San Diego, California.
Who am I? What’s my purpose? How much longer can I endure this pain? Everyone encounters these moments– waves of identity crisis crashing that swallow your confidence, dignity, and dreams. If we all endure these earth-shattering moments, how do we emerge from the rubble? How do we rouse ourselves from darkness to illuminate roads ahead?
This generational voyage of transformation demonstrates how to embrace painful moments as opportunities to cultivate inner-strength. I dedicate each story to women around the world who seek meaningful, liberated, and confident lives.
ABOUT THE SELF-EX AWARD
SELF-Ex received a top global award for managing adversity responsibly and confidently
“SELF-Ex: An Interactive Guide to Address Adversity Responsibly” received a top award in a global competition. “In response to the COVID-19 challenges facing students the USC Center EDGE, Andrew Nikou Foundation, and IDEO formed The Education (Re)Open challenge, aimed to develop the Education Solutions Exchange, a public repository of high-quality, accessible solutions to help schools navigate the obstacles they face returning this fall. The Education Solutions Exchange is an exciting outgrowth of what we learned early in the pandemic—that creative, relevant and relatively simple solutions can bring a quantifiable voice to those on the front lines of education, and can have impact in timely, effective and efficient ways,” says Alan Arkatov, director and founder of Center EDGE.
WHAT IS SELF?
COVID 19 forced us all to isolate in our homes. For some, like me, the pandemic prevented us from transitioning to the next chapter of my life: College.
While adamantly opposed to taking a gap year, quarantine blessed me with some relaxation after many months of stress and anxiety. I had deleted Netflix from my devices during school to avoid distractions, but now had all the free time to indulge myself in binge-worthy series and films. My mom and I got hooked on the TV show, ‘Unorthodox.’ We finished it in two nights.
I knew that my mom had been immersed in a similar lifestyle in her past. So, I asked her how accurate the series was. She told me that the show did not reflect her exact experience, but the overall portrayal of the Hasidic community stayed close to the truth.
I began researching the topic avidly and was able to connect my new knowledge to the stories my mother had shared about her early life during our endless quarantine walks. Then something clicked: If Unorthodox was a national hit, my mom’s life story could be one too! I insisted that she write her memoir:
“Mom, you write so many articles, blogs, and even books, but you should write a memoir! You’ve had such a complex life that people can learn from!”
“I’ve tried. I have pieces, but I don’t have the skill to put them together.”
“Well, if you’re not going to do it, I’ll write it for you. Seriously.”
My sacred time with my mom enabled me to understand how she came from such restrictive communities to become the strong-willed, determined, and compassionate woman she is today. Life through cultural and personal extremes precisely drove her transformation, and bestowed a duty upon her to help others do the same. She raised me this way, and her advice has inspired my attitude toward relationships and life in general, through many challenges. I wish to pass on the tools and techniques to help women transform each obstacle into an opportunity through our paired narrative. I’ve been raised with support and to support, so there is no greater gift than using our stories to connect with others and empower them to be their best selves.
THE SELF PROJECT PROCESS
- Formed a group of friends interested in the project
- Developed a plan to collect stories
- Created flyers & distributed them
- Built a website with the ‘Share Your Story’ module
- Sorted & categorized the stories
- Decided on character names & identities
- Rewrote & edited the stories several times
- Interviewed & hired a qualified illustrator
- Created a book layout
- Verbal abuse
- Physical abuse
- Personal belonging violations
- Overpowering adults & authorities
- Social media & cyberbullying
FOSTERING CHANGE THROUGH MY WORDS
Being active in my community with compassion and character development have been instilled in me since I was little. Through these projects, I developed my passion for human rights through my heritage and roots, various missions, and a diverse exposure to cultures.