Sunday, December 15, 2013

Looking back at the past year

As I look back at my blog posts this past year, I have been struggling a lot mentally, despite my best efforts to grow out of my negativity. For me, the toughest part doing this whole personal growth thing, was that I kept reaching home to friends and family for empathy and support, only to be given   implications to "grow up" and "be more independent" and to take responsibilities for myself.

And with this "tough love", I have indeed grown much stronger emotionally. I have realized this is what made me move to Europe in the first place -- the fact I have very weak emotional and social support back home. It is a huge personal failure on my part. I have false assumed that once a good friend, always a good friend; that family should automatically be supportive and care about my well-being. I guess I was never a very good friend for my peers. With family, I guess all my uncles/aunts and cousins have enough family problems of their own that I end up as the least dysfunctional family member whining the loudest. I've been pretty retarded not realizing how much effort my cousins have put in to erect a false image that they are leading normal, happy lives. I seek them out for help, naïvely assuming that the image (stable careers, responsible husbands, happy kids, vibrant social life) is not in congruence with their inner psyche. Everyone else is desperately trying to suppress their emotional baggage, burying them as deeply as possible, while I on the other hand, have been aggressively digging through all my emotional crap, showing everyone and asking them to identify the contents for me. This hit a lot of nerves and that's why I've received a lot of cold, unsympathetic responses.

I'm not trying to say I am better than my extended family. I'm saying I just now figured out that I have been asking the wrong people for help... I'm asking people who have more garbage than me to help take up some of my junk. Of course they would refuse.. I would refuse too if my plates are totally full. This whole time I had thought that it was all about me... that they dislike me because I'm bratty, spoiled, immature, not lovable, etc.

I am lucky that my chosen field of study allows me to move to another continent at my will. Just like I did in India, while immersed in a totally foreign culture, I get to examine which of my values were culturally ingrained, do not serve me and can be let go, as opposed to values that are universal to human kind (or simply unique to this particular culture I'm immersed in) and should be treasured. I get to interact with people with other types of problem upbringings and see how they manage to partly function professionally. This sounds kind of horrible, but it's reality that most people in the world carry trauma. Some are more damaged than others. Some are less good at hiding their trouble than others. As much as I like to complain about my roommate and some of my co-workers, I see they are still able to master some aspects of their work lives, solving problems I'm not so good at solving, dealing with issues that I try to avoid/suppress myself, presenting themselves confidently in certain situations that require it.

All in all, 2013 was psychologically a very challenging year for me, but a lot of growth and maturity happened. I learned that I shouldn't depend on my family any more. It's good in that I will take more mental responsibility for myself from now on. The sad part is that this could only happen when I put up more physical and mental distance between myself and my family. The hard truth is that my extended family have never in their lives felt close to me. I'm the one who had been clinging on to them the whole time, the way my mother had been clinging onto me emotionally the past several years. It's a good thing I'm sorting out all my mental garbage just in time for a new year to come. 

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