Growing up

As I’ve established a couple of times here I am a Filipino, and my family are too of course. We do have Spanish ancestry on my dad’s side but I was raised by my maternal gradmother, and boy does she have an iron hand. She’s the traditional Filipino grandmother, religious, conservative and she’s not afraid to hit us as punishment. When my brother and I got older though (became College and Highschool students), she became calmer and she’s actually cool now haha. I love her to death though, but when I was a kid she imposed this “winner” mindset on me. I dont know if this is a typical Asian thing, but unlike other kids who were told “it’s okay to lose, you’re still the best”, I was told that losing shouldnt be an option and to never take “no” for an answer. Granted that those other kids were raised by their parents who most likely belong to the Gen X, (granmama is a baby boomer) who exercise more liberal ideologies. I was punished for getting a 96 instead of a 100 in my exams and quizzes (yes she checks them, we were instructed to return the tests to her), whereas my classmate’s mom was happy when he got  an 85, I was given the silent treatment for winning 2nd place in contests, while my classmates were treated to lunch in KFC for having a participation trophy, I couldnt understand why I had it hard-er than most of my classmates. Whenever I’ll tell her how different she is than other grandmas she would tell me “because I am!“, straight up with no further explanation. Other kids were allowed to go to sleep overs while I was not, I had to lie and tell her we have a project to finish but even with excuses like that, she will ask what time we’ll finish and she’ll send my cousin to fetch me.

When I was 9, my parents separated and we were given to her. The afternoon of the first day of us living with her, she was standing in the kitchen and I was so upset and was so used to my mom’s “cuddly” attitude that I hugged my grandma from the behind, she didnt react the way I wanted her to and she continued cleaning, then she asked me if I was crying and I told her yes, then she broke the hug and she said “Let’s not be silly and dwell on something that is over”, she raised me to be tough. But I didnt turn out that way really, I just learned how to handle my emotions in public but at night I still breakdown, basically she taught me to have a hard exterior. That’s just one of the many times she refused to console me because she believed that by doing so, she’s making me weak. I was taught that this is a dog eat dog world and that I wont get what I want without working hard, she taught me that things are never easy and that if it is then I’m doing something wrong.

There were side effects of this of course, because as soon as I went to college I rebelled, but not to the point where I permanently screwed my life. I just developed a drinking problem and smoked, I was still a scholar/dean’s lister until I graduated. I have anxiety too, and I overthink, am insecure because of all the body shaming she did, I also dont know how to express my emotions well especially to the people I love (because I was told growing up that it’s a sign of weakness) and the list goes on. But the good weighs the bad, although I had that kind of upbringing I am still alive and kicking, and I am not easy to be brought down, I may get upset sometimes but I dont  give up and cave in. I can easily adapt to different environments too, I find ways to get what I want and I am independent. If I settled for second best then I wouldnt graduate uni with flying colors and I wouldnt be working now 🙂 yes, I do have a job, not my dream job yet but I’m saving up for that. As I’ve said, I dont give up and I always find ways to get what I want.

Maybe this is a typical Asian upbringing, but I just wanted to share it because whenever I’ll tell people this in Uni before they were shook hahaha. But it’s okay, I grew up a decent human being anyway and I am grateful to my grandmother for that.

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