It’s 12.34am on a Saturday morning and I am trying really hard to sleep but its one of those nights where you have a million and one thoughts rummaging through your mind. I’m just going to write – won’t edit either, and maybe post it? I’ll see how I feel.
I wanted to discuss with you all the topic of ‘Expectation’ and how much of it controls what we do. Being an Asian girl living in an Asian community in a western part of the world, I was expected to follow the traditional educational pathway and become either a doctor or lawyer. I was then expected to get married as soon as university would finish at 23 (I believe a doctor degree is about 5 years) then at 26 I should at least have a baby (maybe 2?) and live happily after.
Did that happen? Hell to the no. I decided very early on, (I was 8) that I wanted to be an Architect, I couldnt even say/spell the word, but I knew I wanted to design buildings. I was intriguied with everything about space/design. I kept it a secret from my parents until I was 18, when I enrolled they accepted it but my mum till this day feels a sense of resentment that I never became a doctor.
I got a job as a part-time beauty consultant at the age of 18 and loved my job. Based in Central London meant that I was often watching street fashion and felt so inspired, my dress style changed massively. I began to reflect my personality through my clothes. This helped my confidence! When I told my parents that I wanted to pursue beauty/fashion, maybe intern? They told me it wasn’t a ‘real job’ and I should focus on Architecture. To be fair I didn’t blame them, it wasnt anything that was heard of in the Asian community. And I enjoyed my degree so I let my beauty/fashion remain as my part-time job/hobby. Biggest regret of my life.
After finishing university I was expected to go into work straight away…my parents were oblivious to the recession. I decided that I wanted to teach, I tutored before, worked on a project with youngster and felt that I could be creative at the same time as having something socially acceptable. I joined teaching and have been teaching since. I love my job, love where i work and what I do. But if I had a penny for every time someone questioned/commented why I didn’t work in the fashion/beauty industry, I could probably put down a mortgage.
There are times that I feel like most of my life I have pretty much done what was expected from society. Even my parent’s expectations ultimately derive from what society deems to be right. This post may come across as a dig towards my parents, please rest assured that is not the case. I love them to bits and think every decision they have wanted for me was for my own benefit.
However there are times where I sit and wonder ‘what if…’ It’s a horrible feeling. A lot of young Asian girls have the same issue and I see it on a daily basis because of where I live. Parents actually say ‘what will u do by going university/working? You will only end up getting married and having children’.
I don’t think this will ever stop until the generation changes. If I have children I know I will let my daughter/son become and do what they want (with in reason) and fully support them.
I think this post is basically trying to say, dont follow society. You were born as an individual so why follow the crowd? (I’m pretty sure that is a quote from somewhere…)
Expectations isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can allow you to set goals, but there’s a very fine line from where it begins to control your life and take away from your dreams.
There are probably a lot of you who perhaps don’t go through the same shiz that I did. But if you feel the same pressure/expectation from society then my advice:
Once/if you have just finished college/school and are unsure of what you want to do – try interning at a place that interests you! Take a break, give yourself time to breathe and think. An issue with being in London that everyone is constantly rushing, there is no time to stop and reflect, sometimes reflection helps you to make the best decision. There will be a lot of people who will frown upon your dreams, but they are worth pursuing because you dreamt it. Every amazing thing in this world came from an idea, a thought.
Be pro-active, make things happen for yourself because if you dont, you will only be left to wonder on the “what-if?”