Growing up “different” to my mum

by Erica

Born in Hong Kong but raised in England. 

It was a big change but I knew no different. 

You see, my parents just wanted something different, something more. 

I understand it so much better now, than I ever did before. 

I never even knew I was “different” until people would tell me “it’s a cold sore”... not coleslaw. It’s “switch of the light” not “close the light”. 

 

To think I grew up only speaking one language and now I think in another. 

To think I grew up speaking one language to parents but another to my sister and brother. 

Oh, the loss of cultural identity. That was hard for my mother. 

 

Cultural identity. It runs deeper than mere speech and language. 

It’s being proud of who you are, but I grew up feeling different and ashamed and it caused my mother so much anguish. 

High school was difficult, I just wanted to be like my friends. 

I felt she didn’t understand me, we would drive each other round the bend. 

I would say “why don’t you show me physical affection? like the mothers of my friends” 

It must have made her feel terrible but she knew there was a positive end. 

“Baby, don’t you understand, I don’t need to give you cuddles to show I love you” in other words “please understand, that I work so tirelessly so that you can do whatever you want to” 

And now I am living my best life and I am the happiest i have ever been, 

My mum went through tough times to get here, to support me, make me independent so that I can live my dream. 

 

You see, she was so selfless that she never expected affection or love back from her children. 

Her sole purpose as a mother was to provide them with everything they could have ever needed. 

 

Now I am proud of who I am and my cultural identity, 

I understand that this parenting is what was best for me. 

 

I could have never done half the things I have done, if it wasn’t for the bravery of my mum.

Erica

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