I wasted so much time trying to meet my parents’ expectations, but now I’m done

She reminded me that I’d already failed to fulfill my responsibility, so this time I had to put extra effort to achieve.

One gold trophy. That’s all it took to raise my family’s expectations on me.

It was a reward for me as a top student in my school. Of course, my parents and my eldest sister were ecstatic. It felt as if their legacy was shown through my small success.

Little did I knew, they had something planned for me.

It was my sister’s idea to send me to a boarding school. I begged them not to. They refused to listen and convinced me that it was for my own good. Deep inside, I could feel they took a great pride from it. Imagine how proud they’d be, telling the relatives and neighbors about it.

I couldn’t disappoint them. So, I agreed.

I spent three years away from them. During those years, I put a lot of hard work in so I could live up to my family’s expectations. I knew they had high hopes for me. My sister kept reminding me about the victories I’d gained in the past and my younger siblings made me their role model. The pressure was more than I could handle. It was as if I owed them my success and I had to fulfill that responsibility.

But I couldn’t do it.

All three years, my results were just average. I graduated, as an average student. I wasn’t as brilliant.

Of course, my family was disappointed in me. But they didn’t give up. Not just yet.

My sister had just graduated with Master’s degree, with honors, of course. She arranged for me to get in to the same college. I thought I could finally choose which major I wanted, but she didn’t give me a choice. It had to be business, just like she did. She reminded me that I’d already failed to fulfill my responsibility, so this time I had to put extra effort to achieve.

My family ignored me when I said I wasn’t interested in business.

I started to feel resentful of them. My relationship with my family became strained. Still, I gave it a try for them. I overworked to reach their impossible expectations and my health started to deteriorate.

I failed even worse than before. This time, my results weren’t just average, they were awful.

I failed to give my family what they wanted: a brilliant student, a high achiever. I’d failed them all. There are no words to describe the guilt I felt for disappointing them. But when my parents blamed me for not trying hard enough, my heart dropped.

Was I at fault for this? I tried my hardest make them happy. What more could I do? I’d been doing my best. Couldn’t they at least appreciate that?

I even abandoned my real passion, writing, to please them.  I didn’t tell them, but I’ve always loved writing. It’s always been my passion and back in high school I’d won many writing and poetry competitions. Most of them were first prizes, but my parents were never interested.

While in boarding school, I’d completed a 300 page manuscript.

As a consolation for my ‘failure’ in boarding school, I showed them my work. I just wanted them to feel happy about my accomplishment, to be proud of me. But all I got was a nod from them.

They promised to read it later. But they never did. They never even give it back to me. To this day, I don’t know where it is.

My heart was broken knowing that my talent in writing wasn’t acknowledged. For them, writing was just a hobby, not something that I could pursue as a career. According to them, writing wouldn’t get me anywhere. I should do something that would promise a bright future.

When they accused me of not trying hard enough to succeed, I remembered the manuscript, and my heart filled with anger and regret. I’d had enough of trying to meet their ridiculous expectations. Years of my life had been snatched away trying to make them happy. For once in my life, I decided to follow my heart.

There was no use in explaining to them why I had to be selfish this time. I have the right to choose and decide my future. This is my life, not theirs. It shouldn’t be wasted by doing things that I hate. I want to spend my life doing something that I love.