2006, the year I hit rock bottom. I was down on my knees. If an earthquake or hurricane hit, I would have sacrificed myself. Not because I was being noble, I was done living. The feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and sadness consumed me. I had no purpose, other than work. I was able to show up at work FINE (Fucked Up, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional). Meanwhile battling severe anxiety, $60,000 in debt collections, and a marriage annulled 6 months after the wedding. What went wrong? How did I get here?
Backtrack to 12 months before the meltdown, I was on top of the world - financially independent from my parents, finished MBA from Stetson, started a new career Corporate CRE Banker, planning a lavish wedding in Long Island to a lawyer from an affluent family, surrounded by loving friends and family. My parents were very proud. I got everything I thought I wanted, but something wasn’t right with me. I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel fulfilled. I felt Empty, Confused, and Angry.
I got here because I’ve been on autopilot most of my life. I was following the path my parents laid out for me. Get a high-paying degree, marry an educated man from a good family, buy a house, and raise a family. And once I achieved the plan, my mind went, “Oh shit, what do I do with the rest of my life now?! The future I saw myself heading into was boring, plain, and dull. I felt suffocated and this was the first time I felt the feeling of anxiety which spiraled to panic attacks and to Depression.
I never asked the question, “What do I want?”. It was always what would make my parents happy. Pleasing my parents up until then meant I was loved, accepted, and worthy. The more perfectly I did things their way, the more praise I received, the more love I felt at the time. But they never asked me, "what do you want" or allowed me to want. Since I was living my life according to their plans, I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t have a sense of self.
My Early Years
My childhood was typical of a first-generation immigrant family. My parents worked 12-hours a day to put food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads. Working multiple jobs each, just hustling. Living paycheck to paycheck. My 4 siblings and I were left to fend for ourselves most of the time.
My parent’s parenting style was domineering, critical, and controlling. That was what they knew at the time. They kept us safe and out of trouble by controlling our every move from a distance. We never ate out at a restaurant or went on a vacation. KFC was a treat. I transitioned into my role of sister-mom in the 6th grade (12 years old). I was responsible for cleaning, cooking, and the well-being of my 3 younger siblings (5,4, and 2 years old at the time). I was not allowed to participate in any afterschool activities, have hobbies, and expected to come straight home after school. I was allowed to have only Asian friends (in an all-white low-income community).
My mom has a huge heart, so she took in lots of houseguests. We constantly had random strangers, introduced as family friends or relatives come live with us. Her act of kindness had unintended consequences for me. Some of the male houseguests showed me lots of kindness when my parents weren’t around. They gave me the attention I craved from my parents, which left me vulnerable. I lacked the mental capacity to know what to make of it. I also didn't have the courage to ask or tell my parents for fear of getting yelled at.
I didn’t have a childhood, so once I was of age to drink, I partied so hard I would come to work hungover at least 3-4 times a week. All I wanted to do was work hard during the day and party in the evening. That was how I coped as an adult.
Needless to say, out of no fault of my own, my childhood SUCKED and was traumatic right from the start. I didn’t have any good role models, but yet, those were the role models I was blessed with. They were doing the best they can with what they knew. Now I am working on being an amazing parent, because of them, I know what not to do.
When I Took Back My Power
Luckily for me, later in life, I woke up! I discovered I can be Be, Do, and Have whatever I want. It’s all within My control because I learned it’s my responsibility to Be, Do, and Have whatever I want. As my level of consciousness and self-awareness rose, I came to know the superpower that resides within me and no one can take that away.
It’s one of those life principles that appear to be easy, but hard to put into action because all the life conditioning has become engrained habits that I no longer accept to believe. With practice, it gets easier and easier over time. I’m still working on dreaming a bigger dream each day.
I wholeheartedly believe this and live my life based on this Universal Truth. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR WHATEVER I WANT TO BE, DO, AND HAVE!
To build a like-minded community of individuals who believe it's their responsibility to Be, Do, Have, whatever they desire. Not blame God, Government, and others.