Which game to you play to earn your love?

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,

jennytang

tumblr_mfpvhfBrFw1reu53co1_500

PCorps. Why in the world jenny, why?

So, the P-word caused quite a bit of ruckus among my family when I mentioned it to them, and clearly there is much thinking to be done before making a concrete decision. But regardless, as a combination of my stuttering of trying to explain why would I want to “throw away 2 years of my life” and as a product of, well, the essay question to explain why I actually want to do this, welp, here we go: please, let me know what you think!

——————————————————————————————————————————

“A little girl might be my death tomorrow,” the poet’s flow reveals a darker twist to the Newton’s acknowledgement of standing on the shoulders of giants. In the United States I am living in institutions stacked on top of each other so high on shoulder-blades that the “idyllic primitive life” is now hailed. In hopes of reconciling clash between the happiness and guilt that I feel from being born in such privilege of a middle-class American, I am applying to the Peace Corps with two goals: first is to repay the indirect debt I own the world by supporting dominant institutions, and second, to attempt to view the world with my foot on the ground, not at the top tier of development.

The concept of indirect harm slowly grew from my annual trips to China. Currently, the nation is known as the factory of the world, disregarding the health consequences of workers making goods that will ultimately be shipped to the United States, Europe—and within China. This brings me to my second observation: while China has had a history of being exploited for the growth of other nations, now it is suffering a growing rich-poor gap as a byproduct of its recent growth and rising standard of living. Soon the question came to me: does development always come with a trail of exploitation? What are the ways a community can grow without damaging others?  Most importantly, what are the true costs of my current lifestyle? Attempts to answer these questions have led me to form my second goal of seeing the world at a more grounded level. To practice sustainable living without unjustly damaging the lives of others or the environment, I need to remove myself from the comfort and perspective that I have grown-up with, and acquire a different perspective to view the world.

To me, gaining a different perspective means analyzing problems without a concrete solution that is set up by the 16 years formal schooling. Pushing further, gaining a different perspective would be to live with the physical consequences of environmental destruction, rather than to read about it in the newspapers. Finally, I feel that at my age I can change my worldview in without the need to reconcile with a life already established back in the United States.

It can be safely presumed that sometimes guilt drowns gratitude when I look at my life, and perhaps my biggest struggle will be “recognize that I will be perceived as a representative of the United States of America.” I often forget that I am educated and raised in the United States and that despite my love for China and feeling culturally disconnected from the US, all my opinions are still formed from my American context. When abroad, I am sure the reasons to be grateful for my American life will be more blatant than ever. Afterwards, when I kneel down to thank the shoulders I stand on, I hope to be able to perceive every pair of shoulders stacked below—all the way to the humble ground.

 

The final kneeling scene! One of the only moments I actually remembered from Da Vinci Code. It popped into my head as I was writing and I feel like both the reaching the bottom truth, and the seemingly innocent kneel both synced with my thoughts.