Know What Has Been Given Before it is Taken
All the time at school when Thanksgiving is coming near, they always give activities such as: “What are you thankful for?” Some kids would answer, “family.” But when I answer, I hesitate or reflect to how broken up my family is.
I am a ‘struggling’ teen as you would say. One time after my four hour math tutoring class, I saw my dad intently reading a book. The studious look on his face made me question what he was reading, and when I asked, he held up the book in response, on the title read, “How to Handle Your Struggling Teen.” Why am I a struggling teen? First of all, you should never label your teen in such an egregious way, school is already abolishing most of your teen’s self-esteem. In my opinion, calling your teen a “struggling teen” are words that will be easily mistaken. From what I know, I do not struggle, I know I can get through tough times, but it takes a while for me to heal my own “wounds”. John Green, one of my favorite author, quotes, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who gets to hurt you.”
In this world, I am born to my mom, who is half Polish and Ukrainian. My mother has a more American culture because she grew up in Georgia and New York before meeting my father in San Francisco. My father on the other hand, grew up in Shanghai in slight poverty, and came to San Francisco at the age of eighteen I believe. These two cultures are absolute foils to each other, and I acknowledge this more than anyone. Since I am born in America, I wished I had my mother’s eyes and blond hair, and loathed the fact that I had no similarities to her. Looking more like my father, racism is a big problem. Nobody really liked me, all of them thought I was absolutely intelligent, and had no athletic or social skills at all. They teased me for the small eyes I actually do not have, and all the other stereotypical things they delight in.
Not only was racism a problem, but family is the most disquieting thing I have to deal with, and it is the pure-pressure I have been born into. My mother had me before she was married to my father, and when I was born my mother and my father constantly fought. When I turned five years old, my mother went to jail, and I dwelled with my grandma. Later on, my grandma passed away from stroke, and I became heart broken and lonely. Everyone in the family (on my father’s side) fought tempestuously to who would inherit what. My grandma is like the band to the beads of a bracelet, when she was gone, we all fell apart and scattered. Afterwards, I moved in with my aunts in Hayward, which isn’t the best city. My aunts constantly pushed me, nagged at me, teased me, and scolded me. Their culture is more loud and out in the open; harsh opinions would be uttered here and there. I felt depressed, no one smiles anymore, so I didn’t either. I took all their words seriously, and I forgot about all the good things they have done for me. All the time, I wish to not have been born at all, not to be Chinese or American. I had wished not to exist because people had fathomed that that is the best outcome. When my mother came out of jail six years later, I was in the fourth grade, and I didn’t know that my mom needed the most care. I thought that she would finish college and then become apart of the family again with my father and I, but instead, they divorced. My naive and childish beliefs had been crushed into smithereens, and I became the mature and serious girl I have grown into. Cassandre Clare, another author, quotes, “Growing up happens when you start having things you look back on and wish you could change.”
Finally, I went to a Catholic school, and stayed with encouraging friends. My grades have improved dramatically, my melancholy demeanor had lightened somewhat, and I have slowly collected myself. I began to gradually realize that my aunts were trying to make me better, and that they were shaping me to be independent. After reading many books, I found a inner wisdom that told me, without my tragedies there would never be a greater outcome of the person I am.
So, this Thanksgiving there is much to be thankful for, if you open your eyes and just really take a look– even just a glance of this world. You are blessed should be the first thing you notice, and that things with a price tag don’t have a good value as love and sharing. You want so much that you forget what you have, and when you forget what you have, it will be taken from you. That is why I appreciate my culture. Not many people are lucky to be diverse, to be bilingual, and to know different countries, but I am. What are you lucky to have? Don’t be afraid to brag because you’re not supposed to, you’re supposed to be thankful.