My mother has always been my most adamant supporter. She has encouraged and motivated me so that I would do almost anything to please her, including sustaining all the pressures that she and my father put on me to succeed. At a young age, I realized that my parents depend on me to become everything that they have always wanted to become themselves.
My mother never had a chance to complete her education because of difficult family situations. She has put all her unrealized hopes and dreams on my shoulders, a seventeen-year-old. I have always been labeled as the child fated to be more than they. My siblings resented me and I, in turn, resented my parents for the added pressure of being "the one that will be everything." Even with the resentment I carried around, I still tried hard to remain on top of my grades through elementary and middle school because I didn't want to disappoint them. My father would actually gloat when I brought home a perfect grade. It felt like he earned the grade, not me. He would offer me a simple "Congratulations" and then walk away. He would brag to his friends and co-workers, but never say any more than "well done" to me. I remember when I did not get the highest grade, and received a score less than perfect by my father's standards. I wished for a heartfelt "I am proud of you" or a hug and kiss, but instead was asked the question, "Where are the other ten points ?" Crushed beyond belief, I would laugh it off and pretend that I did not care. But I cared more than I thought. My mother would see the hurt and come into my bedroom and tell me she was proud of me. Her encouragement took away some of the pain. It kept me determined to strive for all that she had envisioned for me.
As my final year of high school comes to a close, and my college career approaches, my mother is becoming more and more aggressive in her desires for me to succeed. She doesn't seem to realize that her positive comments which are intended to inspire me, terrify me because I am afraid of disappointing her and my father. I know I am ready for the college experience. I am mature enough, independent, and strong. I keep having nightmares of failing out of school or not becoming the success they thought I would be. It is so hard to overcome this fear. I know what it takes; I guess right now I am nervous about the unknown. I have to trust my judgment and let go of the demands of my parents. I will live my dreams and become the success that I want to be. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.