Friday, November 21, 2008

The Calm Before The Storm

Mommy and daddy have been strangely nice to me recently. It is a shock, really. They've been asking me things like, "Do you want to get brunch?" "Do you need some new clothes?" "Have you lost weight?" I have no idea how to respond to these random acts of kindness, which are not to be confused with the random acts of violence I am used to. Perhaps they realize the stress I am under at school. I doubt they are aware of the self-destructing gay relationship I am in. Either way, we haven't fought in a long time. But just wait until they find out I can't get married in California or Arizona or the Moon (The first two for legal reasons. The last one for logistical reasons).

But before that, I have to break it to them that I don't plan on going to med school. I want to major in architecture and make less than $50,000 a year out of college. And this will be something that they will take very badly. Because, like most Asian parents, they play the masquerade where they, "Just want me to be happy." But I know that's not true. They want to satisfy themselves. And it doesn't matter if my happiness is what's sacrificed.

If there is one thing I hate, (though clearly, I hate many things), it’s when people expect me to do things that I know are impossible. Unfortunately, my parents have mastered the art of expecting the impossible. Armed with manic-ambition and a loose grip on reality, they’ve always wanted more than I had in me. And in that sense, they’ve always set themselves up for disappointment. It’s one thing to encourage your children to do their best. But their “encouragement” has become a perverse fantasy world where I win a Nobel Prize, upend Ben Carson, claim the U.S. Open, and manage hedge funds all at once. And it’s not like any of this is in jest because my parents don’t really understand the meaning of humor. They just know that like every other dutiful Asian child, I should do everything they tell me to so that I can bring honor to the family. In retrospect, I’ve come to the realization that I have given up on a lot of things because of the pressure that came with my parents’ expectations. Rather than crashing and burning, I chose to concede defeat. Thus, I find that I have abandoned all of the things I love out of fear of disappointing my parents. And now I am completely unable to decide what I want to do with my life.

Of course this could all be misplacement of blame on my part; I could just be a lazy bastard by nature who can't succeed at anything. Even if it is their fault, I suppose I can’t blame them for acting this way. After all, many of their dreams for life were never realized. Their list of failures keeps growing, and though they hide it, I can tell that it makes them very unhappy. I’ve always felt bad that I became another one of their disappointments. But they never seem to care that they are one of mine.

9 comments:

dickophile said...

i find blaming your parents for everything to be very accurate and very healthy. so i say you keep doing that.

inebriated said...

i dont think anyone can truly satisfy their parents

Aek said...

I feel like Asian parents are particularly difficult to satisfy. It's always about "Face," increasing Face, maintaining Face, and especially not losing Face.

Even so, you've just gotta break free from their grasp in some way. While they may moan and cry, in a few years, they might be proud that you did.

I wish you luck in whatever happens.

Hish said...

Yup, "do whatever makes you happy" actually means "do what we want you to do and succeed amazingly at it so that we can brag about it to our fellow Asian parents... subtly, of course (but not really)," when it comes to Asian parents.

Luckily, my parents only made token attempts at being like that... must've been their UK education, hm.

mike said...

If you want to disappoint your parents and don't have the guts to tell them you're gay, tell them you want to be an artist.

Connecticut Yankee said...

I know how you feel. Even though my parents are not Asian, it is not much better. They know I'm gay and as you accurately described it in one post, it was all a bit teary at first but now it is fine. Aside from that deep down lingering sadness that yes, there son is a fag. No, there will not be a cute little wife. And even if they deny it day in and day out, I will never believe them and will always feel like a failure no matter how successful I am. So, god knows what it must be like for you! Anyway, I love this blog. You've become one of my new daily reads, filling the void left by LP. But I think this is my first post here. So nice work.

Connecticut Yankee said...

their, their son. I need to re-read before posting...

Anna said...

im Asian I can relate. just show them you love them

David said...

ouch.. the last two sentences really struck me.

hey cheer up. things will get better. xoxo :)