responding to: Daily Prompt: Denial
Four years ago, my father had already predicted that I would be more of a literature and art person than a science and math person. Because I was an average Asian-American that lived according to Asian standards, he couldn’t tell that I was bad at math and science by my grades or standardized test scores; he could tell by the way my thought process ran during our conversations and arguments. Ostensibly, there was never any logic to it. Since math is known to develop one’s logicality, he began to persistently urge me to study extra math outside of my school work.
As the stubborn person I’ve always been, how could I possibly listen? I thought I wouldn’t ever have to worry about school. My grades, at the time, never failed to meet the Asian standard. I wanted to focus more on sports and art, things I actually enjoy. When he told me how terrible I am at math and science, I was flabbergasted, for those subjects always came to me the easiest at school. How could I be as terrible as he says?
He’d always tell me to “study extra math or you will see exactly what I mean in high school or college”. I never obeyed, arguing my stance based on my existing grades and test scores.
He’d continue with “You’ll see. You’ll pay the price when the time comes”.
And I’d reply with “Gladly. I’ll always be able to deal with whatever comes along. When have I not?” Boy, was I naive.
Now, four years later, I have begun to see exactly what he means. The price he was talking about, the price I thought I could easily pay but really can’t, is never being good enough. I’m never good enough to meet my own standards. I’m never good enough to meet my parent’s standards. I’m never good enough to meet the standards Asians have set for themselves, but have been integrated into American society. And there’s no escaping it. Ever since the Russians launched Sputnik I and II during the Cold War, math and science have held their position of importance in our education system, a position that isn’t likely to change.
I’m not good enough, echoes my thoughts day in and day out. I’ve tried to hide my insecurity of never being good enough behind my anger with the conformity of the American education system, but hiding behind anything never seems to be effective, as Thursday night has shown.
That night, I was trying to ask for my parent’s permission to go to nationals for FBLA. They said no because of my bad grades and my terrible SAT score. They deemed academics as a foundation, and any extracurricular activities I do as compliments that add on to the base. Without a secure base, they said, anything I add on would be useless.
“This was the price you agreed to pay when I urged you to develop a stronger sense of logic. Virtually every subject is built upon it, the way society runs nowadays. Throughout the rest of your life, if you aren’t able to sell yourself with abilities this society wants, you will continue to suffer the pain of watching opportunities you had in your grasp fly away. You will continue to watch the rest of the world progress while you stay the same, never able to do anything you want to do, because you chose to ‘enjoy your life’ while everyone else was working. 10 years later, while everyone else has a life to enjoy, you will be working. You will continue to feel as if you’re never good enough because you aren’t trying to make yourself good enough. You’re denying your unwillingness to work harder by a mere ‘I hate this education system’, blowing off your entire future in the process“ said my dad.
I couldn’t argue with the truth. I hated hearing it because, at the back of my mind, I always knew he was right. I denied my laziness because it’s easier to live with myself that way.
Eventually, they let me go to nationals due to my endless flow of tears, but with my promise that I will work hard, even on the things I don’t like to do, which meant neglecting my writing (lol the irony) and my art for a while.
Denying the truth was the start of my folly. An inevitable meeting with reality forced me to realize how my arrogant idealism was destroying my entire future.