This is coming from a daughter’s point of view, so if you’re a parent you might wanna reconsider reading this (although I think I may have some good points). But if you’re like me, having problems about some insensitive moms and dads, this is for us.
I have never flunked any subject in my entire life. The worse I got is a mere passing grade, or “pasang awa” as we call it in the Philippines. But that only happened twice in my life, only recently. My whole life, since I started going to school, I was never allowed to go out of my school-house-school-mass on Sundays-house-out with family routine. I was never allowed to go out with my friends even with a yaya to accompany me (except it involves some kind of practice for a presentation for school. And all that time, I saw my two older siblings going out with their friends, having friends over, or, bottom line, have friends. I blame my parents’ exaggerated protection for this.
By high school, I had already collected friends that I’ve known since pre-school. Part of growing up are invitation to slumber parties, birthday parties, and such things like that. I can only count with one hand the times I’ve been allowed to go to such without guilt or being forced to feel my conscience bothering me. As a result, I’d miss out on things that were crucial to building relationships. I was just your typical grade-conscious, obsessive-compulsive, all work and no play type of kid. I didn’t know the friendship protocols. I didn’t know how to keep friends. The worst part was in fourth year high school when my parents refused to allow me to go to our graduating class’ farewell party, which further isolated me and later on excluded me from the group. That’s why I had to start fresh in college. I could barely count anyone from high school who would go out of their way to visit me in the university I study at.
Of course, living in the dorm, I had all the freedom I never had before. It was so overwhelming and filling at the same time – I could go out of the campus with my friends, eat out, walk and explore the city on my own. No longer was I limited to places where my parents and the car would allow me to go. I could take the taxi. Ride the LRT for the first time. But a big part of me was still holding on to a debt of gratitude to my parents for sending me to the most prestigious university in the country. So I balanced the struggle to be academically in with the struggle to find friends and ultimately, a social life. I admit my grades were lower than my A-grade marks from the rest of my academic life, but nevertheless it was an effort not gone to waste. After all, three years into it I’m still here, right? But my mom, always assuming the worst of me, always reprimanded me for things she never really caught me doing. I understand it’s her way of reminding me how to be a ‘good’ person, but reprimanding me more than once a day and taking up valuable time that could otherwise have been time to actually mingle is just way too much. I never felt that I made my parents happy. Maybe I did, but it has always been lost to the times that my mom, especially, gave me a sermon or assumed that I’d turn out to be the bad daughters that she sees on the TV or hears from her officemates. I never really felt that I had a friend from my mom.
I entered cheerdancing again on my second year in college. Although it was hard, it gave me an identity in school – the cheerleader. Everyone thought that I was a typical dumb cheerleader who does nothing but make social appearances, make pompoms and make myself pretty. But what they don’t know is that I work hard to improve, take note not maintain, my grades. True enough, when my roommate-then told people about me, they’d say, “Ah, yung cheerleader.” Then when she tells them that I’m a Dean’s Lister, they get shocked. Apparently, even though dancing is the only vice I have, my parents don’t like it and would actually prefer my life to be all about school. Despite giving them outstanding grades. But when I finally quit in 3rd year, they changed their mind and wanted me to go back to the team.
I honestly don’t get it. I never felt close to my mom, never shared my most deepest, darkest secrets to her, and never felt that she’s happy with who I turned out to be. I try to tell her, but she doesn’t seem to want to listen; all she wants to do is assume that I’m a bad kid, and reprimand me for some imaginary bad thing I did. It’s as if she wants to spoon feed me everything and stop me from learning from my own mistakes. There’s always some imaginary offense that I committed, and my mom feels obliged to reprimand me for it, taking away what would really have been some quality time to hear each other out. It’s depressing. And it never ever made me feel safe to talk to my mom.