This is going to be a pretty personal post. I guess I will leave it here because I cannot see many people clicking on it to read it and that is fine. The whole thing will probably sound like a whole load of self-pity and me pointing the finger at everyone else and if such an accusation was put at me, it probably would be justified.
Anyone who knows me well and that is probably very few people, know I am my harshest critic and forever analysing things including my own life. All the experiences we go through, good and bad, make us the person we are today. I often wonder why I am the person I am today, and for a long time I thought I could pinpoint it to two separate instances in the last decade.
However, I have come to realise what probably most shaped things to come was one day when I was 10 and what has probably been a ripple effect since then. See, that was the day I passed the entrance test to grammar school. Well, actually I passed two. From that day any my subsequent acceptance of the place, the expectations of me, even at such an early age, shot up to sky-high levels. Yes, I had always been slightly advanced for my age but that kind of sealed it. Pitting that against the backdrop of my sister’s background, there could seemingly be no obstacle in my way. See, she had an extremely difficult childhood, one she very nearly did not survive. She was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 5 when my mother was pregnant with me. Through large bouts of chemo, she missed a lot of school and she was given no hope of passing her GCSE’s. Not only did she pass them at an awful school, but she went on to attend university and just a couple of weeks ago, we was at her third graduation ceremony. I, on the other hand had no obstacles and was the more academic sibling. The expectations stayed with me through high school. If I so much as got a C, there was great disappointment in my parent’s minds. I have often spoke about the huge sacrifices they made for my sister and I to get a good education and I still stand by that but those expectations weighed me down so much. Eventually, I got a really good set of GCSE’s but they could in hindsight with more application, done even better. Now no-one put a gun to my head or anything, but I felt compelled to choose a path that would be to their pleasing and that was to be one of my furst major mistakes. I took the wrong A-level subjects and did not do very well at all. I managed to get into a good university but again I made a major mistake and chose the wrong degree. Five years later, I finally managed to graduate in a reputable degree but I should have followed my path and did what I wanted. I didn’t and I paid for it, and still paying for it.
My parents never hit me or anything but my dad had a sharp tongue when I was younger and I grew up with very little confidence in myself. Maybe I am pointing the finger again, or maybe he did have a part to play in that, I guess it is open to opinion. But whilst I was close to a breakdown at uni, I was saved from myself in what to date, was my only serious relationship. I was so happy and worshipped the ground she walked on. But again, I continued to let what people expected of me take over and I could not do the one thing that she wanted and that was to tell my parents about us. As a result of that and a few other things, we split and I was heartbroken. By all means, we most probably may have broken up somewhere else along the line but I should have let my heart do the talking but I didn’t. As a result, my confidence ever since, has shrunk and shrunk and for the last eight years I have let myself be used by people, especially of the opposite gender and yes I know that is down to me. I let myself be used but I dunno, I am not saying it is the same as an abusive cycle or something but it is a cycle nonetheless and when you let yourself get into the cycle of being used, it is very hard to snap out of, but not impossible, granted. I still have a number of those people still lingering about on my Facebook. Once upon a time, I would delete them but now I leave them on there as an act of defiance, to show that it doesn’t bother me anymore but who am I kidding?
So in conclusion, it wasn’t the last ten years really that have made me into who I am but from when I was ten years old onwards and I have let the waves take me from bad decision through bad decision but all for the best intentions, and when all is said and done, the biggest loser out of it all, is me. I know this isn’t an isolated story and I am not trying to make out the world revolves around me but I just wanted to tell my story, that’s all. If someone reads it fine, if they do not, also fine. I guess it is just a way of me opening up which i seldom do. Maybe it is just a load of finger-pointing and I am aware that end of the day, no one forced me to do anything but hey.
I know I have more unique circumstances than some of you who may be reading, the constant mindfuc*ing of being between two cultures but I guess my message to mothers out there who’s children are still young is let them follow their heart. I am sure most of you will anyway and I don’t mean to come across as preachy. I have been defeated by expectations from a young age and as a result, nowhere near my potential in anything. I have no confidence to do anything and I will probably carry on with the next few major decisions, appeasing others. I cannot break free of this cycle.
I am sorry if this has been some mother of an essay or a gigantic diary entry but there you go. Thank you for reading one chapter of what could easily be a biography lol. Peace.
Mashy:) thank you for writing that. and yes expectations like that can have very far reaching consequences (also fully paid up member of the ‘but you could’ve done better!) club. looking back had we both done what we wanted to do, we would’ve maybe fared better but going against those expectations, it’s a very hard thing to do. I did in the end, but deliberately chose an opposite path as I could, which really was underachieving massively. at least you kept at it and didn’t give up. a lack of confidence growing up cannot be underestimated in how much it can affect the course of our lives. you’ll be ok, you have a lot going for you;) x
Thank yo for leaving a comment Sarah. Means more than you know. Time will tell hey? x
It will:) you’re not alone x
Mashy,firstly I want to say thank you for sharing this side of yourself and Secondly I know deep down you have a little seed of confidence, that you are hiding away from the sunlight. You are a smart, intelligent young gentleman who any girl would be lucky to have, please let that little seed see the Sun and help it to grow. Granted it will take a little knock every now and then but with your wall of true friends I am sure they can help you to grow your conifedence from a seed to a full tree.
Your analysis of your past seems pretty plausible to me. Particularly the combination of people’s expectations of you and the unfortunate events in your sister’s early childhood. It is somewhat of a tautology to say that we’re all the product or victim of our circumstances. If I would fault something, though, it wouldn’t be any of the decisions you’ve made thus far, but rather the lack of prescriptions made to yourself that would result in a change in the future. I won’t bother quoting Einstein’s definition of insanity, but coming to understand why we are the way we are, is only one step in the self-improvement process. It needs to be followed with concrete changes, which lead to you not feeling the same way in another 5 years, to make it a fruitful enterprise. I believe you have a number of good friends who would support you in this endeavor.
Finally, it goes without saying I consider these the adverse effects of coercive institutions that result from private ownership of resources and the means of production. I would recommend reading literature on Marx’s theory of alienation and false consciousness to further elucidate.