I can only share my joys and sorrows with my family. All the tears that I shed and all the laughter that I share are pieces of a puzzle that fit together in the end to create a picture. A picture of sweet harmony. When I am thrust into the next phase of my life, the phase of independence and separation, I will never forget who cultured me into who I am today- my family.
As a fifth grader, I could not speak English. My family and I were foreigners. At school, I felt the green and blue gazes on me. I had never felt so unsure and unsafe. Once, during recess, my peers were kicking soccer balls, jumping hopscotch, and laughing with friends. Sitting on the ground, I stared at them. Alone.
At the end of the day, I arrived home humiliated and frustrated. Upon entering my room, I slammed the door shut, kicked off my shoes, and hurled my backpack against the wall. I could feel my cheeks reddening with tearful anger at the unfairness: why did I ever come to America? I hated my dad for getting a job in the United States. I hated my mom for forcing me to go to school. I hated myself for being different. Suddenly, a tentative pair of hands grazed my shoulder. My mom.
I froze when I saw her gaze: her anxious, gleaming eyes absorbed my anger. I realized that I was being selfish to act this way when my family had given me a chance to work for a better future. A future in the Golden Land of Opportunity. All the hardships I endured paralleled the hardships my family endured. I was not alone. A different kind of emotion welled up inside my chest – a feeling of guilt and love for my family. A feeling of loyalty.
Isolated and furious, I was about to fall off the brink of insecurity. But I was saved and caught by the net of concern that could only have come from those who had supported me all my life. My family.
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