Growing up Filipino, I've heard it all. I've been told that, because I was Asian, of course I was smart, I didn't work for it, it was just "in my genes". But here's what it's really like dealing with the detrimental effects of Asian stereotyping and harsh parenting; because when things really began to get difficult, I realized how much of me tied into the numbers I saw on the screen.
We all know that joke about a B+ being the new Asian F, but what happens when you don't get that grade? When you fail, because you're learning just like everyone else and hit a bump in the road? What are you supposed to do when you've been trained to never accept that failure? When your parents have always told you that the reason they immigrated to this country was so you can have an education?
The result is loss of self worth. The result is panic attacks. The result is hands shaking and sleepless nights because you're struggling and you don't know who to tell. You start wilting; the heavy weight of your parents sacrifices' and failure on your shoulder doesn't allow you to grow. You feel like you've been cut at the stem before you could even fully bloom.
This year I'm trying to learn that it's ok to struggle. And that struggling doesn't always mean that you can pull the grade back up again. This year I'm trying to learn that I'm not lazy. I'm not worthless. I'm not a disappointment. This year I'm finally learning the process of recognizing my failures and growing from them. For years I wore a crown made out of a stereotype, something I defined myself and my worth by.
This year I am taking off this crown that I have outgrown, and I am never putting it back on again.