Once upon a time on a sunny summer morning, I stood out front of the humble Wood Drive house I grew up in, and my mom took a photo of us kids.
We all looked the same and were the perfect stepping height from youngest to oldest.
Which one do you think is me?
Hint: I am the youngest of three.
This photo looks nice and pleasant, right? My childhood was so far from that! If I could describe it in one word, it would be “orphan.” So what was my childhood like? Where do I begin… My childhood years, I mostly stayed at the neighbors’ houses. When I was 3, Courtney moved in next door to me, and she was in the same grade as me. Next to Courtney lived Lindsay, who was two years younger. Both households had activities the parents did for the kids. They went to movies and had fun plans. My household was practical or less than that and had basically zero fun activities. My sister tortured me in the meanest ways possible. Complete hatred. I was fed at home, and even wondered at times, why do my parents want to feed me? I guess that’s strange. I guess I felt like I was ignored at home compared to my friends’ houses. There was a loving warmth there, and that’s where I spent my days and holidays- To this day, I have no idea what my brother and sister did during the holidays. I went straight to Courtney’s house after school, and having dinner with them was the norm. Then on the weekends I went around with them to the malls, dinner, and on road trips. Courtney’s family had lots of animals, 2 turtles, cats, dogs, and a parrot, Rocco. I used to feed Rocco chicken nuggets and thought it was so funny- I would tell him he’s a bird eating another bird, and he didn’t seem to mind. At Lindsay’s, her family took great care of me too and this family went out of their way to love me like their own child. They took me on vacations with them, flew me around with them, and treated me like their own. I have really funny memories with L. I remember one day when Lindsay got up and her toe went in her dog’s butthole and she screamed! I also remember her cousin Julio. He randomly came to visit AZ from California, and at night L and I had a slumber party and set up blankets on the living room floor, and I woke up in the middle of the night to Julio sitting on the couch staring at Lindsay! He said he did it because she is beautiful lol. I also remember he had a big mole on his back that we called his third eye when we went swimming. To my knowledge, he never came back to visit lol. Anyway, to this day, Lindsay’s mom Linda is like my mom, and her family is my family. Her nurturing spirit and beauty is what has kept me alive today, I feel.
Fast forward to adulthood:
On the outside, my family looks “perfect” because the children went to college, the parents are still together, and the parents get to go to Japan to visit at least once per year. As an adult, I have learned about the parenting I had and why things played out the way they did. The truth is, my self esteem was destroyed by my moms words. The little she spoke to me, it was like she didn’t know what she was doing, even when I confronted her. I have heard things like, “If I were a man, I wouldn’t pick you” and “You’re cute if you don’t talk.” I’m sure you’re thinking that’s not a big deal. Now, I can say, yeah, whatever, but it really affected me- I became that girl that would get used and abused but didn’t know it, because suffering, wanting, trying, and searching for love was “normal” to me. Luckily, I found someone that likes me, and loves me, has grounded me, and has had the patience and compassion to handle me.
I have learned so much about you girls, that you have gone through the typical Asian parenting too which is study, go to school, criticism, and how that has affected us as adults. I know my childhood wasn’t so bad, but I do look around and I feel totally out of place as a non-traditional adult. I don’t fit in at any mass event, I don’t fit in at a typical office environment, and I haven’t desired to have children like most of my friends.
My hope is that regardless of what anyone says about you or has done to you, that you can come out of that and in to a place of forgiveness. That you have a heart bright enough to have compassion for them as they possibly couldn’t handle your light and that made them uncomfortable, and that was the best they knew how to be with you. After all, we are in America and we learn different ways to be from our American friends and traditional American families.
I wasted many years trying to pull my family together, and I don’t know why I even took that “job” on. My sister is estranged, and the last memory I have with her was a few years ago when my parents were in Japan. We were driving back home after visiting my brother- 3 hours away, trying to reconcile, and instead it turned really bad, with her driving and me wanting to jump out of the vehicle. I finally decided to move on and create my own life instead of trying to pull the dysfunctional family together, trying to please everyone around me and be there for everyone while having no personal life. I just let that go. I decided to be selfish for once, and now, I can say that I’m glad I did. I left everything and had a clean slate- It was hard, but some choices are hard to make, but needed if you have goals. There is only so much mental energy a person has, and I’d like to put it to investing in my future. I left all of the negativity behind. I went full force and finally stuck up for myself in a way to nurture myself and go for my own relationship and move on to create a home of love, enlightenment, and intimacy <333
Like they say, sometimes, it’s easier to give birth than to raise the dead. Do you agree with this statement, even if it’s your own family?
What are some of the things you’ve been through where you had to make that tough decision to leave and start new?
Looking forward to your story in the comments. You can keep it anonymous if you like.