The terrible "truth"
After being reported that I started using and sharing photos on Facebook, my mother was furious. To her, using social media was unacceptable since it was nothing more than "a sign of neglecting study and snob effect".
"I'm curious. What made you think your pictures are pretty? Look at you, thin lips, bulbous nose, gaunt and grey. You look like an addict! Nothing stings like truth and only family would tell you the truth, silly!" said my mother with a stare and a snigger.
It wasn't the first time of my life hearing such terrible "truth" from my mother, yet I still couldn't get used to it. Since a kid, I had always been aware of an unwritten rule that kept our family stable. That was, I was supposed to live at my parents' will and pleasure or - "Mama knows what's best for you" in a written version. I, however, had always preferred to live with my own wills. As a kid, I played football rather than playing piano as my mother demanded, and now, instead of going to some close-to-home universities, I chose to study abroad. But my parents always knew how to make their girl follow the rule, one way or another. What caused me great pain was their intentions of exploiting my weaknesses, namely my physical insecurities in this situation, to keep me under their control. They always said things knowing that it hurt my feelings. In fear of their verbal assault, I had been conforming to their thoughts and actions, thus unconsciously internalizing their scathing remarks about me. For years, I constantly felt like I was drifting along looking at myself from a helpless lens while my body just did what it was trained to do.
Still, a thirst for reclaiming my life never stopped smoldering in my heart. I continued putting efforts into making my dream of studying abroad come true, working hard to have a great command of English. My English learning journey was arduous when I decided to study the language on my own, but at the same time I derived great satisfaction from learning what I love and realizing English isn't just a means of communication, but a key to the world's knowledge. In the end, my IELTS test result came out gratifyingly with an overall score of 7.5, but more importantly, I felt empowered by achieving my long-term goal despite my parents' derision.
This achievement boosted my self-esteem and emboldened me to make my voice heard. I realized that family rule had ground me down, so despite my great fears and emotional vulnerability towards my parents, I became determined to confront them. On the night of the confrontation, I tried my best to control my quivering voice and express my gratitude for their nurture and upbringing. Then I grew bolder, telling my parents how helpless and inadequate their cruel words and overcontrolled behaviors made me feel all these years and demanding their changes. The confrontation ended in anger and chaos, and our relationship was strained for some time. It was intimidating, but after all, I started to feel inner peace and gain more confidence in myself, and more fortuitously, to see positive changes in my family relationships after a hard time.
I know there is still much for me to confront on the journey to reclaim my life. Still, my experiences have shown me that so long as I push myself forward, everything changes. With the growing belief in myself, I will continue developing my self-expression and gaining control of my life, as well as my relationships.