When I was 16 years old, I was sitting on a train traveling back to a small province in China for the first time since I left it 4 years ago. I was 16, I had barely started to speak English, and I was returning home. The landscape gradually turned from vegetation to sand, and my heart swelled as I realize that home is approaching, with grandmother and aunt and cousin eagerly waiting at the platform. I didn’t know what home was, only what home was not. Home has become a memory. Memory has become my home.
I am 26 now. Ten years have passed since I began to have an inkling of how interesting, how messed-up, how painful and how difficult my life has really become since embarking on the journey to America. Sometimes, well, most of the time, I have a hard time figuring out which part of me feels the pain of growing up in America, which part of me feels the pain of emotional abuse from my parents, and which part of me just feels the pain of growing up.
The memories of that past no longer affects me, but it has shaped me into the person I am today: detached, somewhat superficial, insecure, unaware of what’s expected, and certainly easily prayed upon.
I have liked someone, because I trusted him. And he ended up not liking me, and told me so. I am sad, now, and depressed. What is wrong with me, I ask myself, that made me not worthy for him to like, that I am somehow not good enough for him to get over his ex-girlfriend for. Or perhaps it wasn’t the ex-girlfriend at all, nor was it any other choice involved. That it was the pure fact that I am not likable. I am just not likable, like what my parents have always told me all those years growing up.
I take 2 steps forward, see some rays of hope. And then I take five steps backward and completely collapse in the darkness.