Born and raised in a Chinese family, I can say that I fully understand how parents’ expectations can go crazy. If it’s something achievable, like maybe getting an A in exams or maybe getting into a good university, probably it is still not that hard for us to obey them. However, sometimes, their wishes can harm us in one way or another.
If you happen to have a perfect angelic parents, good for you and I’m happy for you. My own parents happen to be ordinary humans, unfortunately, and like any other human beings living on this earth, they are not perfect. However they wished to raise a trophy daughter, there were times when they went overboard and I had to disobey them—which is kinda taboo, by the way, in a Chinese culture.
Here are some of my past experiences. I’m not writing this to shame them, I just wanted to share so all daughters that are going through the same problems I did will be able to gain courage to say no and stand up and protect themselves.
Knowing More Doesn’t Always Mean Knowing Better.
First off, trust me—your parents only want the best for you. They want you to have a better life than they do. A better job with bigger salary, a more beautiful bride, a more dependable groom, a bigger wedding day, etc etc. If it is within your power, and if you also want so, I think it’s perfectly fine to go along with their scheme.
However, sometimes they get so blinded by their expectations, they forget that it is YOUR life, and YOU are the one living it, and if things go wrong after they die, YOU will be the only one facing the outcomes.
I mean, of course they know more for the extra years they have lived. But only because they know more, doesn’t mean they know better.
It’s harsh. But it’s true.
Let me give an example. My mom used to spread hatred towards how big my feet are. She used to say that in China, the smaller the feet are, the prettier the women are deemed. She told me in China they even bind the feet so the feet will get smaller. She used to buy me shoes one size smaller so that my feet wont get bigger.
Trust me—She’s loving and caring and always want the best for me, she would never dream to harm me. Probably if she knew how foot binding will ruin my feet, she wouldn’t even dare to suggest it to me. She just didn’t know; her idea of beauty is just bent a little bit, probably because her late father was a genuine Chinese.
With her telling me how ugly my feet are, it was hard for me to not hate my feet. Even until now I find it especially difficult to find shoes or sandals that would look good on me. And on my early years, when I didn’t have money on my own, I would just wear whatever smaller shoes she provided. It hurt. And I didn’t like it.
Luckily I have always been the rebellious girl who would stood up and say no if there is something I don’t like. As time went by, I started to wear flip flops instead of shoes. Even when going to malls or hanging out with friends, when she told me to wear shoes, I wouldn’t listen.
Disobeying her orders to wear smaller shoes made my feet grew naturally, as big as what it needs to support my height. Do I regret ever disobeying her in this? Ummmmmnope.
So this is the first condition on which it is okay to disobey your parents: When what they told you to do, hurts you.
Their idea of beauty might be different than your own idea of beauty. Might also be different than the world’s idea of beauty. If she told you you gained too much weight, it is okay to introspect and maybe do a little something about it, but it’s never okay to starve yourself and hate your body shape because she wanted you to have a different body. It’s her problem, not yours—you are not her doll. You’re a human being.
Daughters, Take Full Responsibility on Your Own Life.
Let’s rewind to a few months earlier, right after my past relationship ended.
Now that I think about it, I was a lot tougher than my parents in facing that event. I remember there were times when my mom would tell me that it was such a pity I ended the relationship. She told me that she thought my ex was good for me, and she also pushed me to get back together with him so that I could get married soon.
And by the way, very recently there was also a girl who added me on LINE and told me that her mom is also forcing her to get married soon. She’s 24. I’m 25. Moms somehow see this age with a blazing hazard lamp, telling them that a deadline is coming soon.
They want us not only to get married, but also to get married SOON. As soon as possible. With whoever it is. As long as it’s a guy with a job.
It’s silly that somehow they seem to forget that marriage is not only about meeting a deadline. Choosing a partner to spend a lifetime with, is a serious matter that one must not take lightly. Funny thing is, in this matter I think I am a bit wiser than my mom.
She, like my acquaintance’s mom, somehow thought that in a family, a woman functions only as a mother and a servant to the husband. As long as the husband has a dick and can pay for a decent living, GO MARRY HIM.
Well dear moms, no, it doesn’t work that way.
And girls, the next time your moms talk you into marrying someone because your age is getting closer to a deadline she put on you, tell her this:
“Mom, I want to marry and I WILL marry. But I will NOT marry someone YOU choose for me no matter how good looking, how dependable, and how rich you think he is. I mean, if you want, by all means, you can marry him yourself, if you think he meets your standard to be a husband. But I will not marry a guy you choose for me.
Trust me I want to marry and I WILL marry someone, some day. But I will look for him myself and you should trust me on this. I will need time. I might fail again. I will get closer to my 30s but I still refuse to marry someone only because of a deadline you set on me. And anyway if I marry someone I don’t like and end up having a miserable life, you think you will be able to live with that?
If you can’t accept me not marrying someone before I reach 30, and think of it as bringing a shame to our family, then please let me go abroad and live in the West, with a Western lifestyle, in which it won’t be a huge problem and I will have no problem finding someone even after my 30s. You can just tell everyone I eloped.
If you can’t let me do that, then please trust me on this. I am not talking to you as a daughter now, but as a team. I am 25, I am capable to choose a guy for myself, trust me I also want a happy life, so please just shut up and watch.”
That was more or less what I told my mom when she last pushed me to get back together with my ex, by the way. Around a month after I said this to my mom, I found the guy I like, got into a relationship another month after that, and up until now even though we’re still adjusting and compromising, it’s going better than my past relationship.
Had I ever get back with my ex because of my mom, or force to marry him because of my mom’s deadline, I would never find my Tomo kun and it would be a great great loss. I can’t even begin to describe how great the loss would have been, but just know that every single day, I am grateful I ended my past relationship and found Tomo kun.
This is the second condition on which it is okay to stand up against your parents: When they push you to do something which brings almost no benefits to them, but puts you in a great risk.
If they are ashamed of how you choose to live your life, well, sorry to them but this is your life and you yourself is responsible for your own good. Stand up to protect it, don’t risk your future only to feed your parents’ pride or ego.
When It’s Time, It’s Time.
Last but not least.
Dear daughters, please know that I know, it’s always tough when you have to choose between your partner of your parents.
I’ve been thinking about this since I first started to like Tomo kun, and more after the day we got into a relationship. He’d told me I have to be fully aware that he is not an Indonesian, and there will be a time when he WILL need to go back to his country. Though he’s not intending to go back to Japan in a near future, but if anything happens with his family back in Japan, if he has to go, he WILL go.
Even though we didn’t actually talk about the chances of us getting married—it was too early, we haven’t even started our relationship yet by that time— but I kinda knew what it meant.
If he has to go before we’re settled, then we might separate. If we settle down to marriage before he has to go back to Japan, I might have to go with him to Japan when it’s time.
Which means I will live in a foreign country, far from family and friends, maybe for the rest of my life.
I think Tomo of all people knows how tough living in a foreign country can be. Especially one where you don’t understand the language. So I think he wanted me to prepare, either to separate if we don’t work out, or to separate with my friends and family if we work out fine. Somehow it’s a lose-lose situation for me.
However, this is my take on this matter: If we do work out, and he wants me in his life as much as I do him, if I have to go with him even to another planet, I will follow him.
I am fully aware that this means I might go away, far from my friends and family, and if that happens, I will sadden my parents and I probably will not be able to take better care of them when they are older.
But after I become someone’s bride, I am responsible to him more than I am to my parents. This is a tough concept and is very difficult to swallow. I can even feel the lump in my throat as I write this, but this is how I see this matter. After I become someone’s wife, I will obey my husband more than my parents. It doesn’t make me love my parents any less, nor does it mean I respect them any less. If I have to walk through fire to save them, I probably still will.
If anything, this just makes me want to give them as much as I can, while I still can. I appreciate them more now, cos I know now that if someday I have to go, I will go.
This, for me, is the third condition on which it is okay to disobey your parents: When you have other priorities.
Put first things first, and always remember that the things you want to do might not always be the same as the things you have to do.
Alright, so that’s all for now. Thanks for reading through this and if you found any grammar mistakes please just pretend they don’t exist. :p
I will be back soon (i hope) with another (i hope) lovey dovey post.