Lately, I’ve been feeling this weird void. I don’t really know how to describe it.
I feel like there are these walls with hanging mirrors surrounding me, getting closer and closer, almost suffocating me. The mirrors project so many things. And mainly its been one thing.
Growing up, I was the only guy at home. I didn’t have a dad growing up. And with that fact alone, a lot of pressure was put on me because I was the only male in the household. Back then, I grew up with a lot of responsibilities, all pertaining to one thing: my family. By my sophomore year in high school, I was a fifteen year old student working three jobs so that I could help out my family as much as possible. I hurried to get my license by sixteen so that my mother didn’t need to wake up in the morning to take me and my sister to school after coming home from her eight hour graveyard shift. School was my main focus, getting good grades to that I could get into the closest UC to home so that I could be there for them. My plan was to commute to save money so that it wouldn’t burden my mother with financial costs. I picked my major specifically so that I could make something out of myself and prove to the world that a single mother could raise a successful son, to prove to those who have always doubted our survival without my father that we can make it out in the real world without him. My life, my everything, was dedicated to the people I love. And it still is.
I look at myself now in one mirror and see all that, and I turn to another and I see…this:
I’m a junior majoring in Public Health Sciences trying to survive school. I haven’t been home long enough to even sit at the dinner table with my family because I’m always trying to take care of things in Irvine. I can’t even be there when they need me.
I feel like…I’m letting them down so much. Things from back then, the person I was, totally 180’d. To be honest, I’m starting to question myself. As hard as I’m working everyday, is it really helping them? Because of the craziness of school, I have always thought that if I persevered through school and do well now, it will lead me down a path that can help my family out so much in the future. But I find myself at a dead end all the time. What good does it do if I can’t physically be there for them now? Is this all really worth it? I don’t want to let them down…And it makes me so disappointed at myself as a person that I can’t even be near the person I was back in the day.
I remember coming to SPOP 8 for orientation at UCI and sharing with my SPOP-mates our greatest fear. My greatest feat consisted of 2 things:
1) Not being able to provide for my family.
2) Becoming like my father.
A new fear has developed lately in response to this void that I’m feeling.
3) In the end, becoming a person that’s all talk.
And by that, I mean everything that I have promised, everything that I set my heart and soul out to do for my family, becoming all talk. School’s been so tough lately that its making me doubt my abilities. I want to go to dental school, just like I promised them. But what if I don’t make it? What if life takes me down a road that doesn’t even get me near what I vowed to do for my family? I’m not one to complain, but these walls have been suffocating me to the point where its making me pretty scared of the future.
I’m not afraid of the future, I’m just afraid I can’t become the man I aspire to be for my family.
I want to be the man who can provide, the man who can be there for his family always. Making it in the world not only means I can do good for them, but its a statement to everyone that my mom raised me right, that I can be someone, something in this world without my father. So many people have doubted us, so many people have looked down on us. And I’ll be damned if I keep letting them view my family in that light.
Damn, things have been so difficult. I need to get it together. As hard as it is not being there for them all the time, I know deep down that what I’m doing now can take us to where we want to be. I just need to keep believing. I just need to keep working hard. I just need to keep persevering. But no matter what happens, I don’t want to lose myself, who I am. I’m a family man. And will always be.
Damn it, I can’t psych myself out.
“Chin up, chest out, shoulders back, and G.R.I.N.D.”