Growing up a Hmong American women…
I am a First Generation Hmong American Woman. Hmong is my first language. I learned how to read, write and speak English in elementary school and was required to attend an ESL (English as a Second Language) class several times per week. Though grade school was challenging due to many many disadvantages, I was determined to out-perform my classmates and with my collection of awards and certificates, I would say that I had been successful. I attended college as a high school sophomore, graduated high school at the age of 16, paid for my college tuition while i worked and attended college full time, purchased my first home at the age of 21, purchased and paid off a brand new car in 3 years, stayed committed to cultural and traditional values (well… most of them), finished college, became licensed and certified in many trades and am currently actively adding successes to the ongoing journey we call life.
So what’s my point? With the brief summary of a few of my successes, I have concluded that my parents will never understand or be satisfied with my successes and struggles because they cannot relate. They only understand that they fled their country so that there could be a me now, in the now. Non-traditional Hmong mommy and daddy can’t understand that I am going through First Generation Hmong American Woman struggles in the here and now.
Obey them, respect them, confide in them, believe in them, honor them, fear them, love them, cherish them, and if you dare do all of these things…. they still say you don’t love them enough!
So confused.?!.!!! How is it that I did, do and am actively succeeding in so many aspects of this brutally blissful life and yet I DON’T LOVE YOU? Am I too selfish or too stubborn to believe that I will NEVER meet your expectations? On top of assimilation, educational gains, earning a living, reputation, personal struggles and self sufficiency; I forgot that if you aren’t the number one priority in all of everything I breathe, I am not a worthy child; except that you already are the number one priority in my life at all times. It was and is all due to the fact that I love you so much I am fighting to succeed in all that i do.
Would you continue to fulfill the expectations of your parents or would you have steered your wheels in the direction of your own desires? I’ve chosen to fulfill their expectations with some minimal compromises and it is what I call: My Life as a First Generation Hmong American Woman. My parents’ expectations of me will forever need to be proven by action day in and day out as a physical and visible action of love to be recognized by their own generation.
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