At what point do you stop living for your parents, and start livingfor you? This question is even harder to answer when your parents are immigrants from a country that believes you are a child until you have a child, and even then you are seen as just a child- with-a-child. A 40 years old “teen-mom”.
But, on a serious note.
When are you no longer seen as a child by your parents?
Especially, when your parents are from a country other than this country. There is this weird sense of ownership in immigrant parents over their children. Now, obviously I am coming from a place of personal experience. Maybe it’s just a “parent thing”. Maybe all parents are that way, and feel that their children are their “property”. Maybe it’s just my parents, and the parents of my friends whom I have met. Either way, in my personal experience; I have seen how overbearing and controlling some immigrant parents can be, especially while raising their children in the states- or any western countries. Yes, my experience has only been with Immigrant parents, who have moved from their home-country to America, but 9 out 10 times….
Their eyes are never watching*Praise Be*, but always watching you…
There is this added pressure on children of immigrants, these extra set of eyes that we have on us, as we move and walk around in life. These set of “mmmmHmmm” eyes, or the “tapping of the tongue” eyes, the “Do you see Jean’s kids?” eyes….us immigrant kiddos know what I’m talking about, or maybe not, C’est La’vie.
You move about life never really feeling good enough. Living a life of fulfilling others, avoiding the mistakes your parents made, or the mistakes they think they’ve made. Regardless, you live a life where you are constantly worrying about whether or not you are being the “Prodigal” son or daughter, your parents have always dreamt of. As if your life purpose is to please your parents, your family. Every decision or choice you make, you hear that small nagging voice in the back of your head saying “mmmmm”, “all the sacrifices I’ve made”, “Nancy (Jean’s daughter) is getting her masters”- you hear all these silly, yet anxiety provoking thoughts. And it makes you think, or it makes me think.
“Have I been living a life that I want?”
“Am I creating my own reality?”
“ Or a reality created by my parents?”
My Immigrant Parents.
*Please keep in mind, this post was written following a very “fun” and festive Haitian Family dinner…the wound was still fresh*