This I Believe

Santhala - Smyrna, Tennessee
Entered on September 13, 2006

I believe that life is unfair, love hurts, and that in the end, all you’ve got is you, yourself, and only you. People are born into this life, crying and eyes filled with childhood innocence, ignorant and scared, and come out of this life wise and full of knowledge gained from loving and hurting, and seizing the moment and regretting it. I have yet to finish this journey. Experience makes us wiser, makes us learn from our mistakes, and makes us live with the shadows. Experience haunts us, surrounds us, and experience is what is masked behind the sweet and innocent smile on my face.

Growing up Asian, in a strict, protective home, with strict, protective parents, and under a strict, protective culture- life may sometimes seem unbearable. Furthermore, I’m growing up in America, the first generation in my family, where breaking rules is unheard of, and thinking on your own is unacceptable. Traditional laws were carried over to the states, therefore forbidding any independence, self-worth, or teenage freedom; my family was no exception.

I believe that I am an individualistic person who is self-sufficient, self-reliant, and free wheeling; to adults, this means uncontrollable rebellion. So, as my story goes…

‘Love is my weakness; guys are my idols.’- this is probably every teenage girls’ philosophy. One guy in particular had earned a special place in my heart. It had been nearly three years, he and I, and as everyday passed, I became more afraid of my parents unraveling this enormous secret. We’d gone through so much- he pulling me up from my severe depression and giving me back my life, and me giving him back his self-worth. We had endured three years to hell and back and I thought that I loved him; I did love him. So came my fifteenth birthday, and a trip to the mall on Saturday with my best friend was a must. Of course I’d be meeting him there, too. My parents came to pick me up early without me knowing it, and it was too late. My parents had figured it all out- just by seeing me entangled in some boy’s arms. At this point, being the naive, barely-teenager-much-less-an-adult person that I am, I chose to make a critical decision. Was I to go home with my parents, and suffer the consequences for my foolish actions, or leave forever with this boy?

Before I knew it, I was walking to the mall parking lot, my hand wrapped ever so tightly around his, crying silently about what I was about to do, and getting into his car. In the back of my mind, I was sort of praying that I could escape my life- finally. Secretly, I’ve always waited for the day where I could leave, run away from reality and my life, and live- without the pressures of trying to live to everyone else’s expectations. And as I was sitting in that car, tears blurring my vision while staring out the side window, my mother’s voice kept replaying over and over again in my head; I could hear her saying, ‘You’re so young; don’t ruin your life because of a boy. You’ll be free one day… just hold on to your innocence for a little bit longer.’

That weekend away from home, away from my parents, and away from my life, I finally felt free for the first time. I felt like nothing could hold me down any longer and I felt like I was actually my own person. I felt like rebelling, and rebelling, I sure did. That night I stayed with him at his home, and fell asleep crying in his arms. The next day my brother picked me up and I stayed with him for the next two days. In the time that I was hiding out at my brother’s house, teenage curiosity got the best of me. That night I smoked my first cigarette, got drunk in someone’s backyard sometime near midnight, and under the influence of alcohol, got his initial tattooed on my lower back. Whether I’d like to admit it or deny it, what happened had happened; I could never take that weekend back. I remember thinking to myself, ‘Is this really what I want? Is this really what I’ve been supposedly dying for? Is this what freedom is suppose to feel like- filled with terror and scared to death about what I have just done?’ And for the first time in a long time, I wanted my mommy.

Did you think that this story had a happy ending? Did you think that my parents became less strict, I came home to open arms, and that this boy and I lived happily ever after? Well, then, I guess you are wrong. After my crazy, rebellion period of a weekend, I came home the night before my birthday. Needless to say, I suffered the consequences- greatly. My parents were furious when I came home, they became even more protective, and the boy of my dreams had left me. It was the first time in my life that I had felt free, and it was the first time in my life I was pushed up against a police car, being handcuffed, and being escorted to the Juvenile Detention Center. It was the first time wearing a jump suit, and it was the first time regretting what I had put myself, my loved ones, and my family through. It was the first time in my life that I had acknowledged that my mom was right.

I had always imagined myself, running away forever with my knight in shining armor, or maybe like the lines of the song “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard. Maybe, I had imagined myself being normal- or what I had considered normal, instead of being tied down by my overly protected parents and overly protective culture. However, I have come to the realization that I shouldn’t regret my past, although I am constantly haunted by it; I know that the obstacles that I have put myself through and the things that life has put me through- it all happens for a reason. But in the end, you are still left scared, scarred, and bleeding. My life is unfair, but I have come to terms with it. Love hurts, but I’ve learned to mend my heart, and in the end all I’ve got is me, myself, and I. This is what I believe.