Rewriting My Culture With Dreams This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

November 26, 2011
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
I’ve always hated being Chinese. In my childhood, I felt like my culture suppressed me from doing what I wanted. Like many strict Asian parents, I couldn’t get iPods or game consoles because my parents felt like it distracted me from my education. I was brought up in a very sheltered and academics-oriented upbringing. I was so oblivious to technology that I was alienated in elementary school.

I couldn’t do conventional activities, so I had to rely on my creativity to entertain myself. Instead of playing video games, I read novels, drew comics, and wrote stories. Whenever I was stressed, I vented out my anger through the characters I created. I wanted to write my own books like the authors I idolized, but my father disapproved. He wanted me to be a lawyer, but I had no interest in law or money.

The more my parents tried to control me, the more I rebelled. I refused to go to Chinese after-schools and purposely deviated from the obedient Asian kid norm. I was kicked out of ballet for bad behavior and refused to learn piano and violin. Instead, I took up French, marching band, and water polo. I said no to SAT classes because I wanted time to pursue my own activities. I knew my parents could limit my entertainment, but they couldn’t choose my interests.

Despite my eccentric façade, I carried the conservative and paranoid Chinese mentality I was brought up with. I was reluctant to date boys, overreacted about academics, and constantly tried to outdo my classmates. No matter how unorthodox I tried to be, my actions were still Chinese at heart.

Ambitious to a fault, I tried different sports just to challenge myself, even when it made me the worst player on the team. I joined every journalism group within a thirty-mile radius because it would support me through writing novels. I woke up an hour early every day to write my novel so it wouldn’t interfere with my studying. Even though I had no interest in getting rich, I was obsessed with being successful and well-rounded. My Chineseness was the impetus to the forceful and proactive persona I have today.

It’s taken me years to grapple with that fact and accept myself as an American-born Chinese. Nevertheless, my culture and strict upbringing has brought me to become the hardworking and ambitious student that I am today. People have told me that I’m good with words, but it’s only because I’ve paid the price through hours of practice. Writing is my passion and passion is what I pursue. My culture is a part of me, but it doesn’t have to dictate what I’ll become in the future.

I won’t follow the guidelines set by my family, but I’ll keep their philosophies about hard work and determination. There’s more to who I am than just where my parents came from, and I’m determined to prove that. But if anyone decides to question my motives, and wonders why a Chinese kid is typing stories in a basement, it’s not because I failed to live up to expectations.

It’s because I’m proud enough of who I am to take the paths I want.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback