Have you ever been told this before, “you’re a girl, you don’t have to study hard cos you belong in the kitchen”?

Image via Pinterest (portrait references)

Truth be told if you’re born in the era of darkness and especially if you’re Asian by heritage (like moi), you’d have a high chance to have come across this saying from either one of your parents or relatives. Maybe the conversation sounded a little bit like this?

” Hey, what are you doing in there?”

“Studying mum.” 

“Why are you spending the whole afternoon with your head in the books? No one is helping me with the house chores. What do you think I am? Your maid?!” 

Familiar? Brings back horror memories right ? Yes. It’s terrifying reliving these words that may or may not have carved your entire lives. 

We’ve been through those backward times when girls were told to learn how to cook and clean and that studying was just a waste of time. 

I guess parents who came from that era did not understand the amount of damage that could have affected their child in one way or another. Especially so with families who were constantly struggling financially. We were told to maintain our “beauty and femininity” so that either some assumed “rich” man would show up some day or that we would work at some place that required merely our outlook and not our smarts. 

For those who have followed and listened to this “intelligent advice” and flung your books aside and went out looking for jobs at 16 and saw your future just working floor in retail for the rest of your entire lives, I’m sorry. If your life was swayed some way into you believing that you aren’t any better than the next beautiful girl with a fake smile, I’m sorry. If you told yourself, “Ok I’m done with studying and since I ain’t good at it, I’m just going to get married at 18 and call it quits.” I’m sorry. 

I’m sorry that there wasn’t anyone standing by your side to pick you up from the floor when you were slapped for studying, for not being there to tell you anything and everything’s possible, I’m sorry for not voicing out about your intelligence to your parents, how much potential you truly do possess. I’m sorry for not watching your back when nobody got yours, for not stopping that guy that convinced you that the money you earned from your part time job was for him. I’m sorry . With my hands to my chest, I truly am sorry. 

Well, lest not forgot that most of us turned out pretty awesome, out of that hard knock style of upbringing. Most of us, not all.We learned about Life the hard way and had enough common sense to tell right from wrong and survived the most part. 

I look back into my life and I wonder what I would have become if I had listened to the negatives. I knew I did the best that I could in every thing that I ever pursued. If I started it, I’d be sure to finish it. That was what studying was for me. I didn’t like it much. In my opinion, school was for smart people and to me, I wasn’t one of them. Only because most of my teenage life, I was the one that people ridiculed, made fun of, thought of as “slow” and “dense”. I was the girl that some girls bullied and one or two boyfriends (and an ex-husband)took advantage of.  I was the one that they associated with characters from tv series that were silly or not so bright. That was me. I was the dark skinned cat-eyed girl that had her classmate tie her long hair to the classroom chair. I was the one people said, “You’re so annoying, I hate your voice. It’s irritating and you keep talking and talking. Can you shut up?”

Yes people were mean and still are. You won’t be short of haters with dark hearts and clouded minds and neither will you be short of people who’d love just the very thought of you and those who love every morsel of your being. 

I think I can say that so far, through the people that I know and have spoken to, I have met the greatest bully in my Life, and guess what, he is still bullying me till today but that’s a story for another day.

I’m here to make a statement. 

Little Lady,

You’re not so little. You’ll grow to be a beautiful woman, with so much to give, talent to show and skills to contribute. You are the potential triple threat of beauty, bravado and brains. You just have to be the one to make that first move in your Life. You have to put your foot down, not take that BS anymore and make things happen. You want happiness ? Love ? Confidence? You have it in you. Let it come out of you naturally. Love the body you’re born in, it’s the only one you’ve got. Look after it properly too, please, it’s on loan (points up).    

Don’t be alien to your inner self, she needs you. She needs you to Trust. To have Faith. To work hard for whatever you want and you know damn sure you can attain it. You are not less, you are not dirt, you aren’t a bimbo on heels, you can if you want to. Change your circumstance. Be the wedge in the doors of opportunity and say “Whoa whoa wait up, you ain’t closing on me.” 

At work, I’d usually give a tip off. I’d say, “If you can’t change the situation, change yourself, if you can’t manage the issue, then manage yourself. Don’t let the dirt destroy you.” 

Change is not necessarily a bad thing people. This change I speak about is the word “Improve” disguised as the word Change. You just didn’t decipher it fast enough. Go ahead and try it. Try to improve your being, be it in new good habits, developing character , upgrading yourself educationally or rebuilding your moral make up. 

In whatever form you choose to enhance yourself, remember to stay grounded, be humble always especially when learning, take criticism with a pinch of salt and filter out the bad stuff. Recognize the good stuff from the sound of correction. I know it’s hard being corrected, I still struggle with this too but some times we just got to smile and take it in “like a man”

It’s not enough to just live. You have to love the Life you’ve built. Now that is living. -LM 

To future and present parents, I know it’s tough. It’s not easy bringing up children, trust me I understand but please don’t tell your kids that they’ve got nothing to live for. Don’t let them down. They were brought into this World blind, deaf and dumb. You are the hand to lead them. You’ve gone through the cracks, you’ve drowned and saved yourself before, you’ve been there and done that, guide them. I know it’s easier said than done but wouldn’t you sleep well at night to know that you’ve done your best and even if your kids turn out rebels of some sort, you won’t look back and regret, consciously aching at the fact that you had played a part in their destruction. 

Heck, some of us “adults” still aren’t adults today because of some thing that affected us when we were younger and maybe we weren’t so lucky to meet strangers who’d tell us off and taught us to do right. 

Some of us weren’t that lucky. 

Some of us had urban families that we made through people outside of our families, that we look to for comfort and love. Naturally some kids tend to do that, especially teenagers. This is the transition they’re going through from a child in walkers to an upright standing adult. It matters what you say to them. 

It really does. 

So folks, what you say can either pollute their minds with struggle or plant the seeds of success.

If we’ve done all that we can, the best of what we could teach and give and love, the rest is seriously up to the hand of the Al-Mighty. We are at the mercy of chance. We can only hope and pray that they’ll turn out fine, like most of us did. 

Yours truly,

LM 

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