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If I Had Been Born A Boy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Whenhe's home I can't bear to see him. His gray hair, washingmachine-eaten-dryer-shrunken clothes, his huge gold-rimmed glasses, and wrinklyeyebrows are all condescending and annoying to even glance at. The first wordsfrom his mouth are always, "You are sooo lazy, like a piiig." He holdsback the last part, then finishes, "like yoa mudder." At the mereutterance of those words in his Chinese accent, the anger and temper I haveinherited from him blaze open.

I have heard so many stories about the manwho worked his entire life. Fun was nonexistent, and those who did have thisunnecessary aspect to their lives were scrutinized for seeking it. Anythingpleasurable was painful. Skiing, a walk in the park, a trip to the mall or anyvacation gave him no sense of enjoyment. "You don't need any of it," hesays. All you need, according to his creed, is to "eat and sleep well."Life, as he knows it, is a hard block of pain and crises. And while such a sadsoul should perhaps evoke pity and sympathy, or be hailed as a hard-working hero,he instead receives nothing but contempt and status as the household pariah andconstant party-pooper.

Women, I have come to see, bear the harder andmore painful end of life. Don't let our fragile bodies deceive you; under thesesmall bones are a soul and a heart stronger and more vibrant than any man couldever crush. But I have also realized that if I had been born a boy, my life athome would surely have been easier and more peaceful. Rather than be at thebottom of the household hierarchy, I would have been at the top. The chores wouldbe left to my sisters, who would get my share of work and parental anger dumping,as I have come to call it. I would be highly spoken of. I would be praised. Iwould carry the family name.

Regardless of the fact that we're in the"modern age," there are always those who carry traditional beliefs,some of which are positive, others which hinder any upward progress. The one Ihate the most is that old Chinese favoritism toward the male, that treasure inthe bag of junk. A family of girls is the worst to have, especially a family offour "lazy" and "useless" ones. Girls should be skilled incooking, doing the laundry on a regular schedule, washing the dishes and learningall those household chores that I now hate with a passion. I could have enjoyeddoing them (there was a time when I did), but now the mere mention of my lack ofskills, or rather my lack of "any sense of responsibility," escalatesmy blood pressure.

I have often wondered, what is wrong with me? What itis about me that is so hateful? I've wondered why none of my accomplishments areever looked at, only my faults and flaws. Why does his eye go straight to the A-rather than the A+? Why does he look at that basket of dirty clothes and open hiscriticism-stained mouth first, rather than asking how my day was? Why is it thatthe only looks I get from him are of disappointment, anger, frustration andannoyance? Was that how he looked at me, a girl, when I was first born?

But I've realized in the process of asking myself these questions agazillion times, while squeezing myself to keep from crying "like a weakgirl," popping open a bag of Doritos, and ranting in my head, thatregardless of every flaw he points out in me, I'm not the lethargic slug he sees.I know I'm not perfect. I know I'm not like my obedient grandmother or my dutifulaunts in Taiwan. I'm an AMERICAN-born Chinese GIRL. I know I may be everything hesays I am. But I also know that I have potential. I am smart. I am hard-working.I am responsible. I could someday run a clean and organized household. And I amcapable of succeeding in life. None of this has to come from his mouth, because Ialready know it.






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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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beautifulspirit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 8, 2012 at 10:54 am:
Powerful article...nuff said.
 
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