For several months, I’ve had this unused category and I think this is the perfect time to express to my readers the struggles that helped me to get to where I am today.
My name is Mandy Nicole and I am first a first generation Asian-American born in Detroit, Michigan. My mom ran away from bullets at the age of twelve and has been able to provide me a life that was filled with many lessons and for the most part, she did it on her own.
I never felt like I fit in. Never.
Growing up, I would go to school and although I spoke the same language, liked the same things, I never looked the same as other my classmates. Unfortunately, I was made fun of (what kid wasn’t) but I think I took it extremely hard because I looked different from everyone else.
Not only was school difficult, my family life was not at all easy. To be honest, I felt like an outcast because from day one, I was always treated different.
I was born with a heart defect and was rushed into the operation room within hours of my parents celebrating my birth. The first 6 months was torture for my family and somehow, I became a “bubble” girl- a “Bubble Boy” reference where a boy’s mother trapped him in a plastic bubble and comes to find out, nothing was wrong with him. I have always been treated different. Maybe a little different from the other kids in the family, which also caused friction because of jealousy.
It doesn’t stop there. I am an only child. Although I was able to socialize with my other cousins, it wasn’t the same. From my mind, I was an outcast. According to one cousin, I was extremely mean and made her life miserable. The crazy part of this whole story is that I was also the only cousin, with an exception of one (who lived far away and just met this past year), who was the only kid in the family with divorce parents. On the flip side, I was jealous of my cousins for having “normal lives.”
They all went to the schools with their classmates since grade school. I went to three different high schools and moved around the country.
The point that I am getting at is that I never felt like I was welcomed from my family or from my school mates. It felt extremely lonely.
Adolescent past, thank goodness for that it did and I graduated from college. I started my career as a teacher because I wanted children to have an opportunity to feel excepted. I had so many examples of great teachers that were strict but fair to me. They never looked at color but judged me on my academic performance and my character.
I absolutely loved being in the classroom but had to leave because the state doesn’t have the best interest in the students and their teachers. Maybe one day, teaching will change and I will be able to help shape our future generation but I won’t hold my breathe.
During this time, I never felt like I was good enough. I grew up with two cultures and it made it very confusing during my first few years in adulthood. I didn’t grow up with a gold star for showing up, I got bad grades to get my parents’ attention but that backfired, and just gave up because no matter what I did, it would never be good enough. I’m sure you have heard about this with many funny stories about “tiger moms” and it’s not “BAsian, it’s Asian.” It’s funny, but it’s the TRUTH!
I got my first “good job,” when I was 23. Impressive right?!
I don’t blame my parents for raising me this way because it’s their culture and in their eyes, they wanted me to have more than them. In my eyes, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Now looking back, a couple of “I’m proud of you” wouldn’t have hurt but we can’t change the past but focus on the now.
Due to my upbringing, it kind of hindered by #girlboss mindset. This is no secret. My parents disproves me building a brand and being on my own. They wanted to be content, have a retirement plan, and play it safe. I do respect that but I needed to do something that would make me happy.
Recently, I have been extremely quite on my blog and Instagram. It’s really cute because even Andy mentioned that I haven’t posted in a while and that he was concern (he’s old school and is not into tech, which make it adorable.) If he noticed, I’m sure you have noticed that I have been quite.
After #SipandMingle Tampa Edition, my personal life started to cave in. It started to test me in a whole new way and I think we are almost through the dark tunnel to see the light. Maybe…
The point is that I’ve had so many people who have been there by my side through this tough time and there’s so many things I’ve learned about others and about myself.
I want to take a step back to explain how my upbringing hindered my #girlboss mindset. Growing up, I would be asked almost every four months about my 5 year plan. Not a month from now, but 5 years, EVERY FOUR MONTHS. I didn’t know what I would be eating later that day but not especially 5 years from that moment. I typically said “I don’t know” but I needed an answer. It’s great to plan things out but I don’t think my parents understood that it kind of messed me up as an adult. I was never happy because I didn’t realized what I had now but instead always looked in the future for happiness. This is why I never could tell MYSELF that I was good enough because I didn’t realize that I had it so good in the presence.
Here’s a life lesson that I learned the past couple of days. It’s okay to always want more but if you don’t realized what you have now, nothing you achieve in the future is ever going to make you happy. You will end up chasing an imaginary happiness that will never be obtain because you’re never going to learn how to enjoy it.
When life decided to take a turn for the worst, I was able to see the positive around me. People who surrounded me always TOLD me that I’m “doing it” but I wasn’t able to believe it because I was raised to always want more.
I have the most amazing friends who have stuck by my side through this crazy time and some amazing readers who I have the most respect for. My parents might have not had the best toolkit when it came to raising me, but I do appreciate them because without them, I would have not been shaped as the person I am today. I FINALLY have respect for myself and truly understand my self worth. I would not have amazing people around me who stepped up if it wasn’t for my personality and for my crazy upbringing. The point is that I understand that I’m good enough.
Take a look around you and who you surround yourself with. Most likely they are amazing people because you yourself are wonderful.
Thank you all for being there for me.