According to the aesthetic standard of ordinary Chinese people, I am pretty, at least I was so when I was little. One of the proofs is that, very often a random passer-by pointed at me out of a group of girls on the way to and fro school, and said, “Oh, look at that little girl. She is so pretty.”
I never knew I am pretty though, although the above said proof. One of the reasons was because my mom often scolded me by saying, “Don’t stare with your stupid big eyes.” Due to my own character, I was very sensitive to my mom’s judgement. I thus believed that I was very awkward; especially with my big eyes on my face, my expression might be very stupid. When I grew up, whenever people admired my pretty, alert, penetrating, big eyes, I was very surprised and thought it was only their politeness. I finally trusted their appraisal to be true when my dearest husband also liked my big eyes.
I don’t blame my mom. Being a housewife from the small village of rural area in China, she didn’t take any school. So the way she taught us was primitive, without any deliberate methods. Actually most parents in our village taught their kids in this way. That’s why most of the kids dropped out from elementary school or middle school. Very few went to high school, not mentioning college. So the case like my life path was very rare and exceptional considering my growth environment. My parents have been very proud of me, because I jumped out of the rural area and went to big cities, and then went abroad. My fellow villagers are proud of me too because the world I saw was out of their imagination. For them, some of the elders never went out of the rural area, and they even don’t know the earth is round.
I am lucky that I can explore the outer big world. However, due to my primitive educational method, there have been lots and lots of inner struggles in my mind along the way when I was trying my best to adapter to the outer world. For example, my mom used to tell me that, “all our neighbors look down upon us, you have to study hard to be distinguished.” I followed her advice and studied hard and fulfilled my (or her) dream. However, the success was based on distorted motivation. I found myself end up caring too much about others’ opinions, and being very socially awkward. Looking backward, I don’t even know what my mom’s theory “all our neighbors look down upon us” is based on. Maybe she only wanted to motivate me. My obedience to my mom helped my outward success, but also deteriorate my inner value.
Now that I am literate with one bachelor degree and three masters degrees under my belt, I should be responsible for myself, instead of complaining around. I would like to cure every single wound inside. I want to become a person with high self-esteem and lead a life with meaning. Honestly speaking, I still don’t know how. But at least, I have the courage to face up to my inner world, and write an article about it. To me, this is a big step.
I am a mom of two lovely kids now. I know the enormous influence of a mom upon their kids’ future lives, given myself as an example. I understand the huge responsibility to educate my kids in the proper way. Not a time I felt like treading on the thin ice, and sometimes I got the feeling of helplessness. I know myself well enough so when my kids perform short of my expectation, I would figure it out that, “even I myself is kinda messy inside, how can I impose high request on my kids?” Secretly I am convicted that I shall elect example for my kids.
Self-improvement is a learning process. Parenting can be learned too. Thankfully, there are a lot of classic books on both subjects. I am eager to devour them and apply them to my life. Stay tuned!