Why does this keep happening? I internally ask myself.
I’ve almost reached the end of my second week studying in the hotel hospitality program. That’s six more intensive weeks left. I feel very accomplished that I’ve made it this far and intend to keep going.
But tonight a single sentence from my mother nearly shattered me. Once again I felt (or perceived) that she was not being supportive of my endeavors.
I hadn’t, until tonight, briefly specified to my parents what I’ve been learning in school. I didn’t really offer up the information. It was more like my mom asked and I answered.
I hate my own discomfort with telling my parents almost anything. Yes, there is a language barrier. I try to speak in mandarin, and for words I don’t know how to say, I say it in English for them. Sure, there are times there are things I do want to share with them. It never really lands the way I want it to; whether I am clumsy with my words or they don’t react the way I thought they would.
After my short explanation about my Monday and Wednesday classes where I learn interview skills and the other days where I learn about different departments in a hotel (including housekeeping), my mom said, “The best would be if you don’t work in housekeeping because you’ll be very tired.”
I didn’t say anything back but I felt an immediate impact from her words. What I got was she disapproves of my job choice. The school program itself is for a room attendant or houseman position (houseman is basically the male equivalent of a room attendant, a position mostly held by females but men can work as room attendants too).
It bothered me that I perceived she thinks I am not suitable for that career and that I am not living up to her standards. I know if she had it her way, I would be working as a bank teller like she did. She offered, more than once in the past, to get me a job in a bank since she knew employees there. I always said, “Let’s talk about this again in the future”.
I never had the heart to outright tell her I wasn’t interested. Not because it wasn’t a potential for me to earn money but because I knew some of the expectations I would have to do for the job wouldn’t work in my case. For example, being bilingual as a bank teller. My mandarin is only so-so in a casual environment, how could I eloquently explain bank protocols to a customer? Plus, in a lot of banks that service Chinese customers, it’s preferred the employee is fluent in both mandarin and cantonese, for the simple reason that some customers speak one dialect over the other.
Last time when my application for acceptance into the school program was still pending with no status update, she was the one who suggested I didn’t get in because I wasn’t robust enough in body type for the job. Which, by the way, wasn’t even part of the criteria that applicants had to meet to be eligible for enrollment.
She was wrong then and she is wrong now, too. I have to scoff at myself a little here. There was a time I found it extremely hard to separate myself from my family. I didn’t feel like I had an identity of my own. I am still in the process of knowing who I am, and part of that is gaining confidence to stand on my own two feet without needing approval from others.
I almost wrote “approval from those closest to me”, however, that is not really true. My parents and my brother are closest to me in terms of blood relation but not emotionally. It is an extremely hard fantasy to let go of; that I can be in a world where I live up to the standards of what my parents want for me. It is awful I determine my own worth by gauging how positively they perceive me.
It’s also my life, not theirs. So however much my mother doesn’t believe in me, I am not going to stop. Maybe she said what she said out of care rather than a warning. The reality is what she prefers for me isn’t necessarily what I want. I am my own person and I can make my own decisions.
My question for you the reader: Has anyone in your personal life disapproved or expressed disapproval of your school/job choice(s) and how did you deal with it?