Tough Love in Translation

“You’re so fat”

“You’re stupid”

“What’s WRONG with YOU!?”

After almost two years living on my own, I finally moved back home with my parents. Those were the words that spat at me the first 7 days of moving back. Did I cry? Of course. I didn’t even know what I did to encourage those words from my parents.

I knew moving back with my parents would not be easy but necessary given the many changes in my life. But I never anticipated it to be as hard as it was.

Since 18, I knew I had to run away. By that, I mean going to a university that required me to live away from home and near campus. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. At that point, I felt more loved by my parents than ever before. My lack of presence gave them excitement whenever I came home. They missed me and cherished the 48 hours of my weekend that I could offer to them.

Before university, it wasn’t pretty. It never was. I was never good enough, smart enough, skinny enough. You could say it was an “Asian” thing but I’m sure there are non-Asians who had parents alike.

But during university, and into my young career as a professional public accountant, I found my confidence to allow myself to acknowledge that I am good enough, smart enough, and healthy enough.

As a child, your natural instincts is to make your parents proud. That’s all I ever wanted. But somehow, they constantly remind me that I haven’t achieved that yet, despite what they may might say to their friends. And it breaks everything inside of me, from my confidence to my soul.

I spent probably 30 minutes on day 7 [of moving in] just crying my eyes out and wondering why this is happening to me. I didn’t want to talk to my friends because I didn’t think they could understand.

Somehow, through the lowest times in my life, Sara texts me at the most ironic yet perfect times to ask me “how I am”. We probably haven’t talked in months before then. From our conversation, I was reminded that “[my] self worth isn’t determined by what they think of [me] but what [I] think of [my]self”. As much as my parents can emotionally beat me down occasionally, I have to remind myself of where I am today, what my accomplishments have been in the recent years, and how I’ve grown to become successful in my life on my own. It was a relief to cry in the moment at that time, but now it’s time to just move on to keep going and doing what I do because I know I’m at a great place in my life right now and it will only get better from here.

My parents may not have the heart to say that they love me and are proud of me in person, but I know deep down they are. I think they probably have some belief that their negative reinforcement has contributed to the achievements and successes in my life and want to continue to be a part of that in their own way. But I can’t take everything they say to heart because I know myself better than anyone else.

Stay Strong

Advertisements

The Truth

I have a confession.  I truly believe my breakdown this year was caused by my unfulfilled life since high school – and not the events in my life that happened just recently. As I was reading Louise L. Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”, she stated in the very beginning that our thoughts in the past has brought us to where we are now. It took me awhile to really define where in my past led me to this path. But I eventually realized that it had really nothing to do with my job, family, or personal issues at this moment.

The Truth. My parents came into Canada as refugees: no money, no stable job, and a lot of hardship. As I was growing up, I played only with dolls and my piano because my parents could not afford to have me partake in any extra-curricular activities. All my other friends had ballet, swimming, soccer, basketball, dance, and so on and so forth. By the time I hit my preteens, I really felt like a Plain Jane: average, untalented, and most of all, boring.

Compensation. Because I didn’t feel like I had anything going for me, I consumed myself in thoughts of another me, who was talented, beautiful, smart, and sophisticated. Some days I pictured myself as a dancer, some days I pictured myself as a hero,  or some days I even pictured myself as an actress. It’s one thing to daydream about a silly crush or who we will be in the next 10 years, but it’s another to completely imagine another self beyond reality and believing I will never be that person because it’s only just a dream.

Reality check. Since reading Hay’s book, that “other self” is ceasing to exist because I am now on that path of living a fulfilled life just by changing my thoughts. I can be who I want to be now, if I wanted too. I may have not had the opportunity to take dance classes or even acting classes as a child, but it’s not too late now. Afterall, I’m only 24!

Action plan. I find myself enjoying new ways of expressing myself and I think taking on acting and dance classes will enhance that skillset. I think it’s time that I break that invisible shell and open up to new experiences and new faces. To my young female professionals, it’s time to break free. Follow with me on this path.