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I Am Mary Jo Depena

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there! I hope everyone is having a great day! Since it is Mother's day, this post is about my grandmother. I interviewed both my grandmother and my mom in honor of their hard work and endless love for me, so what better day to feature them than Mothers Day? You can find my mom, Elaine Thompson, under I Am More (or click her name)!

My grandma, Mary Jo Depena was born and raised in New York. She's the oldest girl but, the fourth child out of eleven! She has lived in New York, California, Germany, Virginia, and New Jersey. When asked about her greatest achievement she attributes it to getting married and having a family. She also classified her husband and family as her biggest supporters! So, shout out to them!! Since she's lived in so many places, she's worked in a lot of different places as well, but as of now she works in the accounting department of Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union. But, hopefully in 10 years she sees herself retired, traveling and doing some volunteer work.

Throughout her life, Mary Jo has always been more reserved and quiet. She told me how this was probably her hardest challenge to over come because it can sometimes make it harder for her to stick up for herself if she ever needed to. However, she also made it a point to say that she only felt the need to stick up for herself if it was important to her, because if not she'd just let it go. I found this to be particularly interesting for my grandmother to say because so often we are told to always stick up for ourselves no matter what, but here my grandmother is saying she only speaks up when she feels it is compromising her beliefs or values.

Now thinking about it, if we always say something every time something doesn't go our way, or someone doesn't give us what we deserve, aren't we constantly focusing on what we don't have? I'm not saying to never to stick up for yourself, but does every little mishap deserve your attention? I'm sure that one coworker can really push your buttons every other day, but aren't they just looking for a reaction? I know that so many of us are taught that speaking up is a way to gain back respect from whom ever caused the wrong doing, but in reality, you can't make someone give you anything. So how do we know we're not wasting our breathe?

Like I said before, I'm not saying to let people walk all over you, but don't let every little thing get you worked up. If we get upset about everything that doesn't go right, we're causing ourselves more stress. We're not getting back at the other person, we are hurting ourselves. I think as a society we all could do better in letting things go if they aren't compromising the bigger picture; our happiness.

I know this might be a bizarre concept for some and if you have other opinions, I'd love hear them down below in the comments. However, in light of this blog post I challenge all of the readers out there to try demanding respect in quieter ways. Be the change you want to have your daughter, nieces, and little cousins to see. Yelling, name calling, and not holding yourself to a higher standard in the world will get you no where. With so much negativity surging through our communities, it should always be a priority to put positivity out in the air. Let's be the silent change together!

Thank you for reading! I wish you all a happy, healthy Mother's Day!

If you have a special lady in mind that you'd like to see featured on I Am Woman feel free to send me a message on Instagram, Twitter, or email (

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