Some of us are raised in a world where being loved and valued is a right. Where you are loved simply by breathing and being human. You never have to justify your existence in a situation.
Others live in world where unless they contribute or help out, they are a burden, a net negative, and the world is better off without them. To them, being cared for is something to be earned, just like their self-worth is something that they need to prove and prove again.
No matter which world I actually live in, somehow over the years I acquired the habits that make me seem like I perceive the world that fits with the second description. Maybe it was raised with a bit too much Chinese Communist values of hard work to give back to society. Maybe its being the older sister that always held the responsibility to keep Julie in-line while my parents took us out to business talks. Maybe those moments where I watched in disgust as the conspicuously less-favored child at grandpa giving my little sister everything she wanted and showering her with compliments. Maybe its the Christian Kindergarten school of thought that… gosh, who knows?
Anyways, somehow during my childhood I realized the best way affirm my right to be in a situation is to get compliments of being competent, mature, and selfless. Don’t complain, don’t ask for things. Somehow that made my parents happy, which makes me happy because I then will not be a burden.
Now, recently being home I realized the rules have changed. My parents are now often worried of my future well-being. I feel their tension, so naturally I get stressed and then devote more time to job hunts or get into the uber-focused “get shit done” mode. Then they worry that I’m stressed and that I will overwork myself in the future with this attitude at a minimal paying job. The problem, they say, is not my lack of competence, but rather my priorities of taking higher-risk jobs instead of a stable 9-5 position at a big company. Lets not even begin with their reaction for the Peace Corps.
In fact, the rules of the love game has actually taken a 180 turn from all I know. When I talk they say my opinions are too developed, and that my work ethic and ambition too intimidating, which will severely hinder what should be my #1 goal of Getting Boyfriends. I’ve also become “overly idealistic” and they worry that I will be the “strange guy that is happy being dirt-poor”. Comments such as “Looking back, I see the proverb ‘sons should be raised in roughness, daughters should be raised in riches’ is true, I guess we didn’t do too well there” are heard more often each time I come back to AZ .
All my traits and values that have earned me accolade in the past, are now causes of my family’s stress. All these years of striving to affirm my place has actually made me feel more like a burden than ever. So I want to leave, which makes them even more sad that I don’t spend time with them. In reality I just can’t stand the thought that after 21 long years, they still don’t have faith that I can earn my own happiness and well-being.
Welp, ’tis family I guess. Hidden behind these little chastises and gifts of ostensibly ornamented accessories to fit me into another paradigm, are two adults that want nothing less than a perfect life for me. Our own vision of perfection may slice into each other, but somehow, perhaps in the end of the day, a sheer forced faith in an unconditional love will smooth the slits away.
Happy Holidays and with love,