Letter #119

Content Warnings: generational guilt, anxiety, family stress, parental pressure/expectations


Dear Reader,


I’d always believed that my price for existing was making myself useful to others—an idea passed along to me by my immigrant parents, who left their family, friends, and culture behind to come to America and give their children more opportunities. And their parents had accomplished similar feats for their children, working odd jobs to put food on the table and putting aside their own dreams.


They say they did it out of love. I believe this must have been true to some extent. However, while being passed down the generations to where I am today, this love has warped into guilt and obligation. To give is no longer a selfless, beautiful desire but an exhausting generational obligation. An obligation to repay an invisible debt to our parents, who have sacrificed everything and “only” wish for us to climb as high as we can in society. How can I repay such a debt worth generations of human lives?


We give all we have to the next generation. Then, with no energy left for ourselves, we become bitter, empty shells. And what happens when children are raised by empty shells?


I am exhausted. I wish I could put everything down,  run away, and be absolutely nobody in the world. But I can’t because of this debt.


It feels like I’m raising myself like an animal on a meat farm, never owning my own flesh.


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