Whatever you dream to do, be sure to do it well.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Become Unbreakable: My Metamorphosis Conclusion

Life somehow finds a way to bring new light on wisdom we have always known and repeated. The expression on my mind is, “Better late than never.” Right before I sat down to conclude this metamorphosis series, I had a long conversation with my father. Our talk consisted of two telephone calls.  On the first call I let him know some keys things that I withheld for far too long but finally said about our relationship and style of communication, which stubbornly remained one way from him to me. He called a second time and said something that surprised me so much that the sentence repeated over and over in my head. I even snatched a pen and scrawled it on my hand as he proceeded to talk on a new topic that grabbed little of my attention. I just never thought I’d hear those words from him. He said, “I’ve learned from our last conversation that we [as parents] need to be happy for our kids, not just for ourselves. I feel better knowing this and I want to share it with your mother.” My lips pursed tightly together into my signature grin when I felt something to be too good to be true. I told my father how much I appreciated those words.

You see the path before you. Go after it even if you have to cut the wires.

You’re probably thinking that this is a given and not worth being excited over, but let me shine a little more context to the picture. Culture, family honor, prestige, pressures from church friends, work colleagues, society, and material possessions or trophies have had a significant hold on my family’s perception of our worth to the point where it has been distorted and inflicted needless suffering. We drowned and obsessed over all of these externalities, which released much anger, depression, fears and worries, along with hurting our relationship with each other. They blinded us to our true potential, hopes, dreams, and individual identities apart from the family unit, culture, society, and so forth. Toward the end of my college career I made the decision to stop equating my worth to the attainment of prestige, wealth, fame, honor, and material success. My parents, however, continued to tie their worth to their children’s attainment of prestige, wealth, fame, honor and material success. My father words encouraged me to believe that he let go of those perceptions and was willing to accept his children’s’ dreams as long as we loved our pursuits and believed they would make us happy. I hope my mom can feel the same way too and discover and pursue her own dreams beyond her children. I’m 26 and my brother is 20.

As long as we’re honest and patient with each other and brave enough to open tough lines of communication, we can reach each other and end up surprised at how much the other side can change or be willing to change for the better. It’s not about winners or losers, but about the desire for mutual happiness. If our hearts are in the right places and our words spring out of love instead of spite, anger or disrespect, then both sides can hopefully see the big picture, the big ideals and visions. The intricate details are traps for strife, contempt and suffering because we hardly if ever agree on the details.

If I ignored my miserable state and continued to pursue medicine back then, I’d end up a bitter med student or would have quit somewhere along the line and regret those years full of frustration, low-self esteem, and confusion. I would not have experienced those amazing two years studying Sociology and Education in New York and would not have gone to live in Korea for a year. I would be a completely different person, and I would not be writing this post on this blog. And my sadness over my life’s trajectory would have wounded my parents as well. I am sure glad I woke up in that library basement those five years ago. And even if I had woken up in the middle of medical school or the middle of my career as a doctor, it would have never been too late. The important this is to wake up. Better late than never.

The path is clear and I am not afraid. 

How about you? Ever had a breakthrough in a difficult situation among your family, friends, or coworkers that gave you hope in humanity’s potential? Please do share!

Have an enjoyable weekend!

I plan to see Invisible Man at the Huntington Theatre in Boston with my friends. YAY!

Thanks for reading,
CSS :)

Please share (tweet or repost) if you liked My Metamorphosis series. Thank you! :D

I snapped these pictures above on my cellphone while on a fall nature walk to a park near my home.


Anonymous said...

I think it's great you were confident enough to open up to your dad, and that he wasn't too proud to admit that he could do things differently.

As a parent, we want what's best for our kids. The problem is that what we think is best for them may not be what they think is best for them. My kids are still young, but I pray I will be able to let go and let them be.

CS Severe said...

I can only imagine how stressful it must be for parents, but I believe life offers us breakthrough moments if we're willing to see and accept them. I'm happy I had enough courage to bring this particular issue up because it's not usually a conversation we have or expect. Thank you for sharing!

Jai Joshi said...

Wow, what a moment with your father. Thanks for sharing that.

I think that moments like that are precious, when true communication occurs in families and people finally start to see things from each other's point of view. Good for you in not pursuing medicine and ending up miserable. I know that if I'd done something similar I would have been just as miserable. We have to follow our own goals and ideas of success.


CS Severe said...

Communication has always been a weak point in my family which is why that moment was so important to me. And your words about communication in families are very true. We certainly have to follow our goals even when it seems difficult and discouraging at times. Thank you for sharing as well!


Anonymous said...

Wow Sammy, for one so young you are exceedingly wise. Your courage and strength to go against the 'family flow' at such a young age are commendable.

And more than anything I'm so glad that your father opened-up to you before it was too late. My dad died twenty odd years ago and sadly many things were left unsaid. My mother has dementia and many things can't be said. You have done something SO many folks would love to do, had meaningful conversation that brings great change in the family dynamic. I'm in awe!

CS Severe said...

I'm very sorry to hear that about your parents, Elizabeth. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. It means a great deal to me. I'm still learning and always trying to keep an open mind about things. While I wait for some teaching gigs to start, I've had a lot to think and learn about during this gap time.

One thing that I've been more mindful of is death. As I watch my parents get older, I'm more aware that I won't have them forever. Thinking so has motivated me to act and be more patient with them as well. Thank you again and God bless! :)