This is the 17th year from the first time I’ve felt like an older sister
13th from when I first felt like a parent.
8th from when I was publicly praised by parents as “the 3rd parent that makes our lives easier).
4th from when I saw the need to get the hell away from everyone.
3rd from when I consciously decided to switch my role from parent to friend.
2nd from when, for the first time in my life felt free enough to make decisions based on my wants and my wants alone, without taking anyone else into account.
and 3 months since I decided to return to take an active role in family again.
With that adventure, I can say I officially survived hurricaneJulie. And Julie, you can soon officially say you have survived the well-intentioned and beautiful clusterfuck called the Tang’s Family. This family-like all other families- has its habits and DNA that probably made you a person more complex than most others, carving you with a set of unique triggers and phobias that sometimes make you feel painfully alone and helpless. However, also know that dad’s humor, vision, and carefree joys paired with mom’s planning, work ethic, and emotions have also instilled in you a set of life-tools that has its unique advantages. Whether you are feeling lost or empowered, always remember to have faith in yourself in your future, because only believing in your success will you be motivated to work and push yourself (insert cheesy missing 100% of shots you don’t take line here)
More importantly, and this is something I struggle with every.single.day: have faith and hold expectations in your relationships. With your friends, family, mentors, boyfriends. Sure, friends mess up and sometimes do things that will unintentionally hurt you. In those days assume that they have the best intentions (and by now you will know full-well if someone does not), and let them know how you feel. Relationships are connections that are only maintained by communication. Talk. Don’t hole yourself up. Let down your ego and acknowledge that others might understand your struggles as well. The faith part comes in because talking takes effort and vulnerability and trust that the other party won’t abuse the new info or judge you. This is a scary process, but a necessary one to make any lasting or close friendship.
A healthy relationship means that you cannot put another person on lockdown just because you are vulnerable to him/her. To trust someone is to let the other person be a free, independent individual with his/her own life, and still trust that the person wants to be close to you. This is where I come in. I will be busy, I will think about you, but I will ultimately be living my own life while emailing you intermittently. You can either a) react like certain people and freak out from not hearing back after an hour, or b) understand that I am happy and well, but will bulldoze half a city in my true Yeti style the moment you say you need help. Not because its my older-sister obligation (I left all senses of obligation back in Spain) but because I want to. Because I love you. Like anyone else who cares about you. There may have been only one person in your life that made you feel like you were a priority rather than a burden. And I bet that felt amazing. But believe me: you have more people (family, friends, etc) that hold you as a priority happily. A relationship cannot be based on formal obligations, but on genuine want.
I am so, so grateful to have you in my life. And I am so excited that you will soon face the world on your own and be challenged questioned scared while growing building overcoming. And trust me, you will build, grow, and overcome as long as you have the desire and effort to do so. Unlike high school, opportunities will not simply present themselves to you, faculty will not push you- you have only yourself for your successes. But “yourself” means all the skills you have learned, all the human connections you have made, the tools of the wondrous internet and the creativity to use it effectively, and the safety net of Yeti&friends in case you feel like you’re falling. Hell girl, you are equipped.
So go- have fun this summer, stay strong, and know that you will soon enter a whole new world where all the rules of the game will change. In ASU, try all the new things (getting help is a great way to meet nice people!), don’t be afraid to seem like a total idiot (you actually make more friends that way since you don’t try so hard to be cool), be expressive and vulnerable (so you’re actually human instead of object) and during those lonely and sad moments (there will be plenty of those), always remember: