Today is another day I write a piece of my experience for you all to wisen up. If you are reading this when you have no clue about life or anything.
I grew up in a house for 27 years. I stared at people all day long from school to college, from strangers to relatives, from friends to strangers.
Life suddenly went from 18 to 27 in studying, in struggling and in consistent existential crisis. I had this concrete idea of what I want to do in life. It faded and changed as time went by, little did I know I am easily swayed by beautiful painted pictures.
At 23 years of age, I kept on realising that each time I wanted to become a free bird, standing on my two feet. I was put shackles on by my parents overly protective thinking.
I saw a ted talk recently on how parents protect or try to stop us from doing something because they have experienced it. What happens when asian parents do that?
The child becomes stunted, at the age of 27 I have no idea what I am really doing with my life. According to some it is because I lack ambition. I beg to differ, I think it’s because overly sheltered environment is crippling. To all those asian children who stay home, family does not equal to being stunted and never achieving growth or development.
Have you ever done anything in comfort zone? How about when you are given too much of responsibility all of a sudden, how willing and grown up are you to accept it?
This line of questioning came from my 16 year old self. I had passed my 10th boards and I realised I have no god damn clue of what I want. Not when it comes to love, to happiness, to career, to living a habitual compassionate life. I had zero clue and yet I behaved as though life is existential crisis because I do not match upto society’s standards.
I never got the asian parent hype where their children are made obnoxious and I never saw them in a humble beginning nor the continuation.
I always imagined to live life my way. It came to my attention oh so evidently that even thought I had license to drive and do everything an adult does, I needed permission. I needed validation, care and depended upon it.
There is a term in psychology which was constantly used in my house, Conditioning. For each time I behaved like my self. I was out of control, rebellious and hormonal. All I wanted was to become independent- emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and lastly financially.
To all those who lived outside, did a boarding school or just plainly went away from home. Congratulations, you have learned that growth begins when you leave your comfort zone.
I’ll tell you why it becomes crippling right from being awake to going to sleep.
1. When you wake up, the breakfast is already ready. You just go take a shower and toss the smelly clothes from into the bucket.
2. You eat food, meals from someone else’s hands. Fro breakfast, lunch, dinner. Eat whatever you like or just take a fruit from the basket.
3. You go to school or college unaware of the pressure on your shoulder which will fall when life is going to hit you strong and hard. And it’s going to, but you keep thinking about the trivial things which feel important at the time like social validation.
4. When you come home you take off your clothes and toss them around or maybe it just lies there on a pile of unclean clothes, you try to tidy up your room but always make a mess at the end of the day, the bed is already made for you to lie on and play games.
5. You watch the television for hours and procrastinate about doing the homework.
6. You require permission for going out, if you are a female you cannot have a guy friend as though the world filters them out from your daily life.
7. Your told what to wear and how to dress in functional gatherings which seem to be a lost case because you hardly remember the names of people who show up on your face asking if you recognise them based on one interaction you had when you were 5.
8. There is no free will allowed. One cannot go out past 7. If you are not home by 8, you have committed a grievous serious crime. When you do get home you get a lecture on all the unnecessary things a parent should be saying to their children.
Yes, this was a lot like my life except I never really walk on social validation scenarios instead I be bizarre and disliked for having different choices and opinions. What I forgot to tell you that asian parents love telling you how awful life is without teaching you how to live it.
It’s so stupid now that I think of it. Its just Beta, if you leave the room with the light on, who’s gonna pay the bill? You have no idea how tough life is. If you don’t study hard you will be doing a menial job, working day and night and get minimal wages. Oh you went out with a guy-friend, is he your boyfriend? Who is he? Where does he live? In a group we had few guy friends. Who is your boyfriend!!!!
Everything is pre-decided, it’s like they make you a drug dealer for simply wearing a one piece or coming home at 9 after a friends once in a year birthday party.
The worst case for me came when I realised my sibling is very responsible because they know how to kiss ass or seem responsible. How is trying hard for getting social validation deemed something to aim for? What I mean by kiss ass? Cooking at home for others, being a prodigy child who follows every instructions, who excels and aces exams.
I might sound like I dislike my sibling because I am sarcastically describing our differences but I think I laugh at society’s differentiation in treatment based on what they deem as validation worthy. My sibling is multi talented being but I never compared myself to them. I got compared after a lot of my failings.
The reason I mention the difference. The sibling was determined to be superior and better than me, of course by others. For me, everyone is as flawed as the honesty in society.
My sibling was given freedom because they did everything an “Aadarsh” person does. Aadharsh stands for those who obey without questioning. The sibling had guy friends and goa trip and everything they wanted just because they fitted in a category of society approval. My sibling got to grow but also stay stunted because of requiring and following society norms.
Where was I? At the age of 16, I wanted to go far away and get an experience of learning in a different setup, in a different country. I was told no because I had not grown up.
When I was 23, way way different than 18, more street smart and well not so naive version of me. I and my father had gone on a trip abroad. We had taken two different flight days. He flied 1 day after and was going to be there on time for departure to back home. When the flight was delayed, every god damn person was making a fuss out of ‘letting me go all alone’ on a plane from one plane to another.
My sibling was told of this delay, my mother started crying and begging and everyone was creating a god damn scene as though I had met with a critical accident. It was left to my uncle to decide what happens. He took me to the airport, the airport air hostess said he cannot come with me any further. He said, but she needs help. (Something like that) The woman looked at my age and said she is an adult she can go alone.
Nothing pissed me off to this very day that my parents thought I am not adult enough to live independently. I can’t think of any possible scenarios that could happen on a damn plane. Apart from the plane falling down and crashing, the plane having turbulence or experiencing delay. What could happen for a person to travel alone from one plane to another?
It wasn’t just one experience, one of my aunt said to me straight up. I didn’t you, I asked …. cousin because they are (act) very responsible in their dictionary of responsibility.
I always wonder why are people who are different treated so badly, skinned and criticised by the nature that makes them be who they are? Like the goth girl who wears dark makeup is made a vamp in childhood movies. Or that the single ladies or divorced are the witches ready to destroy your family life. I stopped caring about why at this time. At this point I mean when I was 23, I told my parents I want to live alone. They behaved as though I had died. They didn’t take it well at all. I think it’s codependence which keeps on passing from generation to generation and it is girl oriented, guys get a pass.
How’s a life for a boy?
You get to stay out late as much as you want to, Oh you are shirtless and roaming around half naked. It is fine as long as girls don’t show skin off their arm from sleeveless clothes or legs or even face.
You are having bad behaviour? Good, my son has a personality. I cherish his ever changing bad behaviour. He is a lost cause but I love him.
My son loves wearing shorts, but as long as the girl doesn’t wear them its fine.
My son can be a gangster girl, but you, you stay decent. You don’t look up or talk back. You don’t wear clothes which are considered vulgar. Wearing one piece is so vulgar you can see the legs and arms and your face, while saree is so decent and traditional as it shows your neck and back and waist and hands or why not just wear a stoll and hide your face as though you have done a crime. Stop wearing skirts or one piece you are inviting rapists. (This happens, not in my house. But this shit happens to several people)
My face has somehow always managed to stay still, watching the world be hypocritical, watching them be toxic and arsehole to their children as well as openly be lady Tremaine. This thing about parenting has become blurred line to me because leading a sheltered life becomes crippling.
Has anyone seen IT? 2017 horror movie, there is a character called Eddie, most kids are having Eddie’s mother. Telling him he is sick when he doesn’t have anything. Telling him he can’t stay out with his friends because they are a bad influence for making him feel happy. Being the only sole person who’s opinions matter.
It’s terrifying! Honestly, it was terrifying to watch my life go back watching myself crippled. Where my opinions were sidelined by, you can do this when you grow up. Later it changed to, you can do all that when you are married. As if people! As if they become relevant when you get married.
I told my parents that I will be moving out and was going to start from taking a job. I will never forget what my father said to me that day. He said “you will be cutting my nose by doing so”.
I failed to recognise that there was a line present, I had never realised that Lakshmanrekha wasn’t there just to stop from me growing but it was a barrier to keep me into the dumb club of gossipers. Women previously had only one function in the family actually its still there. Such thinking is still present although times have changed, decades have changed people are still assholes to woman. Giving them liberty and making them understand what they are supposed to do in life.
My parents aren’t evil but they became blind by their overprotection and “Love”. As a rebel that I am, I left my home. Despite their hateful words, unwelcoming abuses that I got. I was happy that I was finally stepping up my growth. I started with making the biggest decision of my life. Moving out.
As a professional I have seen so many people in their 30s unable to take responsibility and look around for an adult when their parent is near about dying and they just can’t handle life. Children who are never given their own space to make their own decisions and make mistakes. They never grow, you call them brats and all those names but you never give attention that you made them.
When I moved out. I looked for a job, people gave me no hopes what so ever. Everyone close whom I spoke to only handed me out “go back home”.
How is deciding to be an adult taking the wheel an abomination? When did it become a life battle because I am an asshole for trying to become an adult. Not a kiss ass version but an actual adult.
I realised very soon I cannot cook. I knew only baking cake. I was ordering in and I realised I went and wasted gas on driving distance far away to a place which was giving me a job but no salary. I realised I was spending a lot on buying food, paying the bill, paying for everything like water, food, shelter. Basic necessities. And I was running out, I was given two choices. I consider them ultimatum, cold shoulder if I stayed up with my quest or welcomed with a temporary warmth if I decided to come home.
After listening to the adult struggles, I decided to do it all. The person who woke up at 10 or 12 pm on a Sunday morning now was waking up 6 or 5 am in the morning. The person who won’t take responsibility for oneself and rely on others was now struggling and going around for a job with an appropriate salary to be enough for paying the bills and being enough for daily expenditure.
I became a person who relied completely on others to an abomination. Everyday at work people would ask personal questions as to why I require doing a job. I can have my parents pay for my expenses they said. From a senior citizen to a young child, why are we conditioned?
Why are we so hell bent on outcasting a person who wants to break free of bullshit which is constantly lurking in each family in every place in every corner of this world? I think woman empowerment isn’t just for those who are abused or kept uneducated. I am grateful for my family, they have given me a sheltered life, perhaps too much. They have given me a silver spoon but I wanted to grow. They have given me education and a life which many don’t really get.
I think value comes when you are made to work in harshest sun rather than enjoy a sleep in an air conditioned room.
When people deliberately ask me if I live alone and why I live alone. These are the questions they throw at me, it pisses me off because…
You live alone?
Who lives with you?
Who does your laundry?
Who cooks for you?
You know how to cook?
What do you make? Is it junk food.
Do you have a maid?
Who cleans the place?
You go to work? Where do you work? What are you doing with your life? How do you do …
Blah blah blah bleh bleh…. Bleh bleh bleh. Bleh bleh bleh.
To all the questions above.
People, I have moved to mars, a place where you have to do everything, an AI in my yard puts the silver platter in my hand. I don’t have any problems what so ever, all I do is party all day long and have fun. (Sarcasm!)
As an adult take out trash has become a hobby. I take it out as many times I can in a day and everyday. For those positive thinkers, no people don’t say all that in a good light. They just hope and want to watch me fail. I do fail, Im not ashamed about it.
. If anyone wishes to show up at my place for special visitation. Take an appointment I lead a very busy life.
To those who wonder what an alien I am to enjoy this while I have a family. I also get questions like, why do you live alone? Away from your family? Is there something wrong? Do you have a problem?
I may sound like an ungrateful evil villain or a selfish one but It takes me a lot of energy to do adulting. Im not good at it, I lack all the skills which should be taught to become independent. Cues help. I have went everyday into making constant hard decisions and sticking to them. My family later claimed to be proud because suddenly I look responsible because I ‘look’ like I am doing well alone. I struggle everyday, life doesn’t become bed of roses even if I live life my way. Everyday of remarks meeting my way, everyday of strangers prying onto my life. I have started to focus on what is important.
Life is difficult. Nobody is going to tell you to choose an out of comfort zone choice. Most people choose comfort of their home and later in life they are bamboozled when life hits them hard with toughest decisions like their family members death or having non financial income or….
I realise how many dark negative remarks I made throughout but thats how it has been. People don’t accept anything good, they just make a lot of protests and write banners of hatred.
My purpose of living alone was to make myself dependent in my own terms so when life happens. I am ready for it. It wasn’t ever to cross a line or create a me vs the world. But it seems If I have to choose the world vs me, I have chosen me.
I want to add, so why do parents do what they do?
They have good thinking here, there is no bad intentions but somewhere society’s conditioning makes them lost and accept and become like society. Most woman used to get married at a young age, like child marriage. My parents are educated and got married what is considered later according to their life. They must have experienced this bad world, world has a lot of dirt in it. Specially for a girl child, only my experience. There are lots of pedophiles, eve teasers, stalkers, harassing individuals, perverts, etc. world has n number of crimes. The crimes don’t spare you just because you are a child. I think their reasoning is to keep you away from harm but some get forget the idea of balance and go overboard.
This is my advice for all parents globally, not just because you are asian. Accept your child the way they are, they will always have minor flaws. Shaming them, criticising them, making them seek validation constantly you are going to create a barrier between you and your child. This learnt behaviour isn’t recognised by everyone. Following is fine but one should always question it they are following the right mindset. Cause you know even cults have a large group of following.
Start showing affection to your child by verbally saying how grateful you are to them. How you treat them is going to come back around. Many goody to shoes stay the same and do care for their senile parents but not everyone does. The sarcasm aside treat them the way you’d wanted your parents to treat you or better yet how your children should be treating you.
Recognise that you don’t live the in the same world as your child. If you never teach them tiny skills like going to buy grocery, going to bank, having a self defence training for if and when… you cannot always be with your child. Protect whenever you can but don’t limit their growth at the cost of their protection. Life is a journey one embarks alone. Do try to help as much as you can, I am not telling parents to give up scolding and disciplining their child. I am just telling that choose their development rather than what your idea of their development’s appearance in society.
I also want to leave you with one story I experienced. At the time I was working in an operation theatre, I met n number of women. When asked to bring a medicine required for on going surgery of their relative. The woman would always reply ‘mera mard ko pata hai’, literal translation my husband would know. They would explain how they understand nothing for even simply taking the prescription going to the medical and asking for medicines, paying them and coming as soon as they can. They always answered that my husband makes all the decisions he would know what to do. My face would fall and I would always urge them to learn that just because their husband makes the decisions they are not going to be stopped for doing this one thing. Many people even in their later years fail to understand importance of decision making, importance of having an opinion, questioning wrong things and having ones own mind. At the time like this they face a massive existential crisis. This is not just for woman alone, we all need to understand the basics of self development when reaching adulthood. You decide.
To Self growth.
Thank you .