“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.â€ – Exodus 20:12 (New International Version)
I got into a huge fight with my mom this evening, she was just heading to church and thought she’d give me a call and have a chat. It’s one of those normal check-ups that she does and I practically limit her to once every fortnight. I know this makes me sound like a horrible daughter but truthfully, it hurts everytime I talk to her. Compared to lots of friends out there who spend time with their mothers or share the same interests, the only thing I’ve learnt from my mom is the importance of work ethic and diligence. Although she never graduated high school, her resourcefulness and adaptability has earned our family certain comforts in life. She still struggles the same way she did 20 years ago and reminds us how she’s gone through so much in life for us. She says everything to us out of love but the tact is never there.
Out of four kids, I was always the overachiever. I always had high goals for myself. I always wanted to be a doctor and then a lawyer and only within the last year of my high school did I ever consider a career in fashion. As the third child, my parents always placed their hopes and dreams on me because I already wanted things in my life regardless if my parents would be proud or not. Any asian child can relate when they hear their parents want them to go into medicine, law or business. Any consideration of the arts or even athletics is always considered a gamble. Which is probably why most of us rarely see Chinese actors or athletes in North America. (we’re just not supposed to chase a dream that will probably not help our families or help ourselves) So I too fall into that category of “my mother wanted me to take law”.
Back to the convo I had earlier, she basically questioned me when I would be arriving back to Vancouver and sorting out my life. (Which basically translates to: when are you going to get a real job?) She conveyed to me that she doesn’t know where to hide her head when she thinks about what I’m doing with my life and she is not proud of any of my accomplishments and that I’ll get old and have nothing to do when that happens. She doesn’t see that it’s not easy to find work all the time and that it is a TRUE privilege when media runs stories on me and puts me on magazines to sell.
So now you know why it hurts.
I’ve never been so grateful for the bountiful blessings and the support I’ve had from everyone and yet none will ever come from my mother. In fact it goes beyond a lack of support, and to being shameful that her daughter is in the limelight. I have never been so happy and even though my mom wants me to be happy, she can’t even be happy for me. She wants me to hold a meaningless desk job in Vancouver. She wants me to make 60K and start financing a new Honda Accord while dating a guy who is most probably a (boring) doctor/lawyer/accountant who makes twice as much as I do. That’s her dream for me. She wants me to wake up at 7am and sleep by 10pm. Wake up early, sleep early. She wants me to work for a couple years and then not have to work because my boyfriend will propose to me and we’ll have kids in the next year. She wants me to be happy like my sister-who is happily married with a daughter but I’m not my sister! She wants to make sure that all those categories in my life are filled before she can “let me go” as a daughter.
It’s NOT FOR ME.
I struggle. I cry. I fight for what I want. I make goals and I pursue them. I’m in a tough spot with my stuff and trying to get my act together but its a small price to pay. My train is just going over a few rough spots here and there before I’ll see my light. I know its there and the tunnel I’m racing through has already shown me glimpses that I’m getting closer to the brightness. I feel like my mother wants to turn off the engine and derail it back through another tunnel despite how far I’ve gone on my own path. I get angry at her for not being happy for me. I get angry because I take nothing from her and I haven’t in so long because I refuse to. I think about how shameful it is for working kids who live under their parent’s roofs to take money from their parents. And yet my mother makes me feel worse for not doing so.
Where the fuck is the logic?
I feel guilty for feeling angry. I feel upset for screaming back at her when she lectures about how she wants to control me when really she knows she can’t. I feel at a loss for words. I cry each time I talk to her. I swear each time I talk to her. We can’t agree. I can’t win and she can’t lose. I don’t know when was the last time I actually wanted talked to her. I don’t know when was the last time I was happy to talk to her. I hate this. I just can’t fucking do it. I don’t know how to swallow my pride. I don’t know how to see her view because she doesn’t see mine. My sister talks to my mom almost everyday and questions why I can’t do the same. I’ve been living on my own for 5 years – my relationship with my mother is through emails and sporadic phone calls.
She doesn’t understand that I remind myself everyday how much harder I have to work and push myself to do well so I can start taking care of her and my pops slowly. She’s my driving force to work hard. I never want to struggle like my mother has and I don’t want my mom to ever have to keep feeling like she still has to man the fort. I want to help but I’m asking for a little patience. Just a little more time to get my bearings right and be set. There’s only so much I can do in a short period of time and yet it’s not enough. So when she yells at me, I think I’m not enough, I think I’m not good enough for all her dreams to come true.
Ragged to gumpers about it and left hag lost in Brickfields today. my eyes are swollen and I’m glad I don’t have a shoot tomorrow!
You are doing great. Keep working for your dreams. Mom will come around eventually, it sounds really tough, but continue your patient wait...
Peace...u r doing great.
@nightstar -thanks babe, thanks for your verses too. Glad I always have someone reminding me that God can look after things that I can't.
@kimfluttersby - I can only have so much of my mother, I haven't lived with her for ages and when I head back to Vancouver, it'll be an adjustment I'm going to have to deal with! Wish me luck
@ecnerwalgnay - Thanks lawrence. I am so close to closing that door but I know I shouldnt because it comes from a good place. I just have a hard time hacking the things that come out of her mouth!
@lilmui - Hey Sarah, I know you are a woman who appreciates virtue, and the virtues of wisdom and patience pay dividends in peace. Keep up the amazing work of juggling a million things at once and staying gracious throughout. Your goals are lofty and amazing.