Going home for me is both a joy and a battle. While i adore seeing my parents and can't wait to indulge in my Mom's delicious Korean cooking, i know that going home will inevitably lead to one or more conversations about my work, money, and my shortcomings. And so i always leave a little bruised, a little more unsure of myself, and maybe just maybe, a little bit sadder.
It's not that my parents aren't proud of me because i know they are. It's that they can't help themselves. As Americanized as my upbringing was, my parents are still Korean immigrants who came to this country with no money and speaking very little English. My mom worked in a factory in Boston (where they first lived) doing parts assembly. She owned 2 pairs of shoes. My Dad worked very hard, business after business, trying not only to provide for our family, but also to secure some sort working life for his siblings and their respective families. They have been self-employed since I was born, often working in the "ghetto" and enduring a ton of physical labor, dangerous conditions and unbelievably rude customers. They still deal with this on a daily basis, and it kills me. I wish they could retire, but the economy and my previous spending habits won't let them (or so they say).
The point is, they are from a different generation and cultural background. As such, they don't understand some of my struggles. They don't understand this overwhelming desire i have for self-acceptance, peace, wellbeing, and spiritual growth. They don't understand why i'm unhappy with my career. They definitely don't understand why i feel the need to "figure out what i want to do with my life." After all, isn't that why i went to law school and became a lawyer?
Everytime i go home, my Mom and i have heart-to-heart's. Sometimes they are great, and other times, they leave me disappointed and tres sad. This past weekend i told my mom i was going to see a therapist. I told her i realized that i'm really unhappy with some big areas in my life and that i was trying to find myself, figure out what makes me happy. Her response was not entirely unsupportive, but it definitely let me know that she thought i was spoiled and ungrateful. And that my focus was entirely too much on moi, and not others, and that was the source of my unhappiness. She also told me i should pray (did i mention that my Mom is a devout Baptist?).
This pissed me off. I DO PRAY, MOTHER, but it's not enough. I can't just sit back and let life pass me, "praying" that i'll find happiness. It just doesn't work that way, at least it doesn't for me. She doesn't get this. And i can't blame her for it. She didn't have the luxury of pursuing happiness when she was my age, she was just trying to get food on the table.
But I'm tired of guilt. Guilt has plagued me since i was a child, and it managed to throw me in the pit of depression not too long ago. And so the conclusion i've come to is that it's okay that my Mom doesn't understand that part of my life. It sucks, because i want to be close to her in every way, and i want to tell her things, truly confide in her. But if what i'm seeking is acceptance and understanding, i will not get it from her. And that's okay. Or at least i think it will be.