I recently posted this poem on my Instagram and it’s one of the few I can actually relate to. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy posting poetry about love and heartbreak, but in the end, I’m as experienced in love as I am in Astrophysics. That’s nada by the way.
But ambition is something I can understand. Especially the suppression of it in certain cases. I come from an Asian country, and most stereotypes of Asian parents are accurate and that often leads to them making our lives a whole lot harder (sorry Ma!). They want us to do our best, and that usually equates to a reputable job that earns a lot of money, so when they go to dinners with their friends they can lean in and boast about how, my sons a doctor! World class surgeon! And another parent can contend with my daughter is an engineer, bloody brilliant girl ah! They manage to turn even the smallest details into a full scale miracle. Let me set the scenario,
A young girl walks into the kitchen. She tells her mum, “Ma, I got a 98% for my Bio test.” The mother would nod, maybe give a congratulations smile, not much more or they’ll seem too loving. But the moment the kid leaves all the relatives are called. So at the next family gathering, everyone suddenly thinks your a doctor.
Ok that might have been a slight exaggeration, but our parents do tend to blow up even the smallest accomplishment. I think they’re still talking about how my 7th grade geography project almost won a Nobel prize.
You get the idea. It’s a contest between parents on whose child is more of a success
A small note: most Asian Parents really do think anything lower than an A* is worthy of disownment.
So it’s fine for all the kids who’ve grown up knowing that they’ve wanted to tinker with people’s body parts or the insides of a plane and all those other kinds of socially acceptable jobs.
And there grows our problem. Because in a world of would be doctors, pilots and engineers, there not much space or respect for the artists. For example, out of the two hundred and fifty students in my grade, only 14 actually do literature (including me). The number of kids doing art, I don’t think is above 5. Even other teachers put down the arts when we tell them what subjects we do. They ask us why we do it, tell us that literature is hard. Well, sir, so is physics, but nobody asks us why we picked that subject. And it’s not only Asian cultures that put down artists, even western cultures portray them as struggling, starving lunatics unless they make a name for themselves. But in that gap between fame and just starting out, we are nothing to them but idealistic dreamers.
Another small note: Not all Asians are Chinese. Don’t forget us brown people!
Yet another small note: Not all brown people are Indian!
And it was a hard year for me this year when it comes to choosing a career path. To write or not to write. I’ve always wanted to go into publishing, helping other people get their voices out there, maybe publish a book along the way too. But then there’s also the fear that my parents wouldn’t let me. To get into publishing, I’d need a literature degree, and my parents already think that me just doing lit as a subject is a waste of time. Added to the fact that they’re threatening to not send me to uni unless I get a scholarship makes this all the more daunting.
So along the way, I’d toyed with the idea of becoming a doctor, an engineer, maybe getting into neurology. But it always comes back to me, this craving to write, to spill my soul onto my keyboard, my heart onto paper. And I think I’ve become resigned to it, I’m never going to escape my love to write.
This blog is the beginning of my argument to convince my parents that my writing is important, that it’s worthwhile. That its good enough of a career path. That I’ll work hard for what I love. Here’s to hoping I succeed.
Not a note this time.
A small piece of Advice: I’m young, I haven’t lived long enough to be the wise old lady who sets you on the right path. But I know this; This is your life. Yours. Live it however you want, Do what you love, be the person you dreamed you’d be one day. And one day maybe when you’re the wise old lady of this story, you can tell everyone else what an amazing life you had.
Thanks for listening to the ramblings of a teenager having an existential crisis and I hope I helped anyone whose struggling with what to do with their life ❤
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