(image credits to Amid Night Suns on Blogger)
I must admit, I’m not a perfect
person robot capable of completely compartmentalising my feelings— this post stems from annoyance and anger at a certain relative over an argument on Saturday. said feelings of annoyance/anger led me to reflect on the happenings of the past few weeks and how said relative (and related) has crossed me repeatedly over the past few weeks…
those who are my Facebook friends would’ve known about the conversation that ensued between the spouse of said relative and I during the funeral, and it’s time to bring the matter up again— not because I am a petty soul who bears grudges, but rather because I am done trying to mould myself to fit into the stereotype of “success” that most people of Generation X around me still seem to believe in:
so basically I’ve been getting arrowed from all directions (i.e. all my relatives) in the past few months with regards to my choices pertaining to MY higher education and the path I’ve chosen to take— being on the receiving end of countless bouts of criticism because I chose the faculty of arts and social sciences as my primary choice in the national university.
to begin with, I’ve practically been born into this whole scheme of arrowing/criticising: I’m the only granddaughter my grandfather has (essentially being the only niece on this side of the family to all my relatives), I am the first to have entered an (elite enough) secondary school, I am the first to make it to (and through) junior college alive and kicking, and I am the first to make it to a university itself (and a local one at that)— to them, I am an almost successful product of the local education system (I’ll only be considered successful once I actually graduate from the university). I was born to be a target, and a target I’ve truly been.
the one thought that’s been plaguing everyone (in my family) around me is the question that they’ve been tiring me endlessly with: “you’ve made it so far and became successful in the public education system— why are you throwing your success away by choosing the arts?” and I truly couldn’t be any more enraged, and the issues I pick with such statements made by THESE particular people are a mix of personal and otherwise:
- who are you people to have say in what I choose, or have an opinion of it?
- who do you think you are criticising something that’s way bigger than what you (and possibly, I, but I’m giving it some time to attain) could possibly achieve— that’s to say, who do you think you are criticising and trying to demean the arts with your narrow-mindedness and I’m-so-much-better-than-that attitude?
- who are you to think that the arts is a way of failure?
I must also say that some of my statements are made in bias: my ‘great’ success of making it to a local university to do the arts is overshadowed by my cousin’s meagre achievements:
“OH! YOU PASSED YOUR EXAMS! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!”
or their simple DECISIONS:
“Boy ah what are you studying? Business studies ah? WOW that’s really good; you will definitely be a good businessman one day. I’m so proud of you!”
“You got into the Express stream (in a very very run-of-the-mill school)? Good job baby I’m so proud of you!” (yes, even at thirteen my youngest cousin is being regarded as a baby and I am positively disgusted at the mollycoddling)
“You’re studying engineering in the poly(technic)? Good job boy! I’m very proud of you! Being an engineer is a very good career!”
I’m not looking for approval or attention from my relatives, but I have gone through my more conscious years with this family without hearing so much as a “well done!” or a “you did good!”, even whilst having accomplished the most amongst all the dimwits I’m afraid to call my cousins. but I digress.
to sum it up so far, the serious bones I have to pick with my relatives: I’ve achieved so much but my successes have failed to attain recognition from my relatives, who instead choose to exaggerate the little things my (male) cousins have done [that’s the feminist in me talking] and criticise me for choosing the things I know I will do well in, all because I choose to break away from the norm.
I am criticised because I decide not to choose the more ‘noble’ of paths such as law, medicine, dentistry, engineering, finance/commerce, or even business. (okay, granted my imbeciles of relatives would probably criticise me for choosing engineering since I’m a girl)
I know that the grades I’d attained wouldn’t qualify me for the more elite courses (even with my extremely decorated extracurricular portfolio) but I know myself and I definitely know that I wouldn’t succeed in something I’m certainly not interested in (read: me at ‘A’ Level physics) but somehow these close-minded jerks I have for relatives simply cannot grasp the idea of me wanting something for myself instead of wanting to fit into the typical stereotype of success (which would mostly be the career paths I’d outlined a few lines above)
simply, I am tired of being told that I have to do certain things/ choose certain paths/ make certain decisions to become ‘successful’. I’m tired of having to listen to people’s suggestions of making myself perfect (in their eyes). I’m tired of being marginalised for being a girl while my idiots of cousins exercise their freedom of choice knowing that whatever they do will be supported simply because they are endlessly fawned over.
I am tired of being scrutinised, and I just want something for myself. I want to be able to choose my own path, knowing that even if I don’t succeed, it was a decision I made entirely on my own. I want these morons (known as my relatives) out of my world, because the last existing significant tie I had to them died a few weeks prior.
I want, and I’m going to pursue my own definition of success, whether these nincompoops like it or not. Watch me.
“Besides, who ever asked you what you wanted in this world, girl? The answer to that question, reader, as you well know, was absolutely no one.”
― Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux