This past November, we asked Torontonians who inspires them the most in their lives for Ryerson Folio’s first monthly edition of “Humans of Toronto.”
We moved to Canada when I was eight-years-old, now I’m 19. My biggest inspirations are my parents. I grew up in the Philippines as the youngest child of three. I’ve always been thankful for my parents, but I guess I never really fully understood how much effort it took for them to get us here. We moved here in 2008. After my oldest brother was born, my mom stopped working and became a housewife. Handling three kids? She’s like superwoman to me. I remember one day, we left a bunch of stuff at security at the grocery store. We finished shopping and all of it was gone including my shoes that my mom just bought me. She was frantic talking to my oldest brother on the phone. Afterwards, she looked at me and said something around the lines of “I’m so sorry anak” (my child) and she was referring to my shoes. She suddenly pulled me and we went to the exact same store and I realized she was going to buy me the exact same ones that were just stolen. I remember telling her that she didn’t have to, but she wasn’t listening and she bought them anyways.
My dad worked at a mining corporation which meant he lived there. I remember talking to my dad on the phone every once in a while because he could only come home for a short period of time. Once, I remember being in my parents’ bedroom watching TV with my mom. Suddenly, my dad walked in right through the door. I was so surprised and happy. He even came with a Barbie doll. I remember he said he stopped by the Mall of Asia to get me the doll. Thinking about it now, such a small thing meant so much to me and no, I’m not talking about the doll – I’m talking about how he thought of me and went out of his way to stop by and get me something that I liked. He didn’t have to, but he did it because he loved me.
Again, I’m not thankful for the materialistic things, it’s just these little thoughts about my parents that show how much I meant to them.
I’d say my sisters inspire me. They’re twins and as much as they’re super independent, they both are able to rely on each other and able to realize that it’s ok to rely on other people and not pretend to be an independent person that doesn’t need anyone else. They know they need each other. They’re in the same school together and they’re actually in the same dorm together but they’re still so independent, so they inspire me a lot. And they’re two years younger, so that says a lot.
When I was younger they used to gang up on me and it used to be two against one. One would be on one leg and one would be on the other leg. If I was ever in an argument with one of them, the other would come and defend the other. So, they were always like each other’s people and they knew that they needed each other and they would call each other over to help beat me up basically. But, it was all fun and games.
Oh man, so many people! Robert Hoffman’s one of them, surprisingly, if you know Robert Hoffman the Third from Step Up 2: The Streets. Really incredible dancer. Another guy named David Earl, he used to run the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival and he actually helps runs a lot of dance festivals here in Toronto. But aside from that, I don’t know, the guy Dwight from the Office, he’s really cool. Jim too. Because he’s a hard worker and he’s dedicated and he knows about beets, beets are healthy. And Spider-Man? Well, he’s really heroic! You don’t have to be a millionaire like Batman and he just looks after the little guy which I really like.
My inspiration, especially in this age, where I have a lot of freedom living on my own in terms of what I want to do with life or at least, with what I think about what I want to do with my life – I’m really inspired by people online. Environmentally, there’s Lauren Singer. She has a business that’s for social impact. It’s a zero-waste store and it’s called Package-Free and she inspires me when it comes to business. I want to be able to create a business one day that has social impact and really creates a better lifestyle in the community and our society today. Another person is Alain de Botton. He’s the guy who owns the School of Life YouTube channel and he has a lot of videos that are about being able to understand life and be able to really see life for the way it is. He’s very inspiring in understanding how to be emotionally mature and to see life realistically and understand the different values in life that matters in an open, wide eye perspective. There’s a lot of self-development aspects to his work and I feel like a lot of people definitely learn more about themselves through being emotionally mature and being able to really be honest with themselves. Someone who takes reality as it is and at the same time, really finds meaning in life through who they really are, whatever the good or bad is.
My aunt is really inspiring because she came out of a very bad time in her life and completely turned it around to be more positive and that helps me. It gives me motivation to have a positive mindset and guides me in the right path. Actually, she recently got me a job at a law office. I watched her when she came in to meet the lawyer at the office and it was just so amazing to see her interact with them. She had so much confidence when she came in. When I saw her interacting with her clients and stuff, she was extremely personal with them – I loved it! And she’s taught me that that’s what really matters – about making a connection with the people you meet in your life. I learned that it’s not only about going through the daily routine motions with clients, making connections gets them to trust you and get you ahead in life. That’s how she got me the job.
Keep an eye out for our December feature!
All photos by Kirti Vyas.