I have immigrant parents, I'm mixed, and I'm a woman of color.
After years of being friends with amazing immigrant women and women of color, I realized how much we all have in common. We all struggle with the pressures put on us by our backgrounds. If you have immigrant parents and you grew up in the United States, you must know how it feels to not fit in with your own family sometimes. It really is a struggle trying to balance trying to living your life the way that you want to and trying to live your life the way that your parents raised you.
This issue is more common than we realize. At least five of my ethnic-American friends can relate to what it’s like to feel as though you’re stuck in between the different realms of who you want to be and what you think you “have to be” because of the pressures placed upon you by your family, culture and background.
I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Immigrant parents may not ever understand. For some reason they think that they can place their identities and their ties with their culture on you when you don’t feel as connected to your background. Or even if you do connect with your background- you may disagree with certain ideals or goals that they expect from you to achieve. Pressure to get married for example, is one of the things that truly disturbs me. It seems as though women in the Middle East and Asia are pressured into getting married at younger ages. There are women that are 26 or 27 that feel pressure to get married or have children because they are considered “OLD”. Are you kidding me?
That’s just a single example of the goals that immigrant parents set for their children, specifically women. It’s a burden honestly. I’m here to tell you not to give a hoot about what people expect of you. Because in the end, it’s your life that you’ll be living. It’s okay to respect their ideas, but it’s also okay to not agree and not want to follow the road that was pre-paved for you. I’m honestly always trying to challenge myself by trying to define what it is that I want for me personally VERSUS what is it that I want based on what I was brought up to think.
It’s never too late to think about what it is that you truly desire and it’s never too late to reinvent yourself.
It’s already hard enough being a young ethnic- American woman millennial that’s living in Trump's America. We don’t need any more of this pressure that’s placed upon us. My recommendation is to try to stay strong and try to focus on the larger goals that you have for yourself.
You shouldn’t make yourself more anxious or upset because you can’t satisfy a desire that isn’t your own. You can make your own choices. If you want a more traditional lifestyle, go for it. If you want a less traditional lifestyle, go for it. If you want to challenge yourself, go for it. If you want to do something unique, go for it. The world should be your oyster and it shouldn’t be weighed down. Even if it’s hard to do and even if you don’t know where to start- write down all of your goals somewhere and take one step closer towards those goals every day.
Try not to let others dictate how you feel and try not to let the pressure get to you. I’m working on trying to not let it bother me. Can you relate? If you ever want to talk about it- reach out. We need to build each other up and be each other's support system. I would love to hear your stories and I would love to help.
Photo Credit: Rachel Dwyer