i recently realized that i’ve never had a chance to be ‘manette’, just plain old me. i went from being the dutiful, trying to be perfect daughter of chinese immigrant parents, straight into being the loyal girlfriend to the first boy who smiled at her in college, to being the loving wife, to being the do-it-all mom, and now she’s the overly ecstatic grandma who longs from afar – a whole width of a continent away to be exact.
there was always some role that i was trying to fill to define who i was. and each role somehow had definitions associated with the role that helped me strive for perfecting those roles.
now i’m a 60-year old woman, who has the opportunity to live without a role. three of our four children live scattered across the country, and the one who lives in LA travels a lot. they are the most loving children in the world, and i must say, i adore the relationships i have with each one of them. but they’re grown now, each fully independent and contributing to the world in beautiful ways.
i’m now a woman ready to live a life with no expectations, simply a woman who is interested in learning, growing and sharing her truths with the world. a woman who wants to discover her own self, or to create who she is to become.
in coming to this place of independence, i had to practice self-honesty and self love. for it is in the realization that my need to nurture, care give and manage others, was keeping me from discovering my fullest potential. i had to let go of my co-dependent habits that i had acquired early in my life, when my parents were living in fear and asking me to perform well in school and write letters to my father’s boss, so that i could help keep the family from failing in america.
as i let go of the belief that i’m responsible for someone else’s well being, i free myself to live a more fulfilled life. i can be there to help the people i love in my family, but i can choose not to feel guilty when i can’t be there to do it all.
i can have a life of my own. i can love myself enough to say i deserve the love that i give so freely to others. i choose to live a life free of co-dependent behaviors, and one that is more self-fulfilling and filled with the honest truth – the truth that i can’t be responsible for any other adult’s happiness, no matter how intertwined i am with the other.
i have to love myself first – the happier i am, and the more fulfilled i am, the better i am able to give to others in a healthy loving way – one that is not co-dependent and based on a label of the “dutiful, loyal and committed wife.”