It was a few hours pass midnight and I couldn’t find anything that opened around the area where I parked my car – which was also my bed at that moment – so I went outside and find some place to hide for me to take a leak. Maybe it was the combination of the cold autumn night and not having anything to eat on that day, but I never felt so exposed to the outside world like that in all my life. I felt so bare, unprotected, and the saddest thing is, so alone.
Have you ever felt like your world, as you know it, went crumbled to the ground in just a matter of seconds? Imagine everything you have, everything you’ve worked so hard for, everything that is important to you – your whole world – is taken away from you. That was what happened that night. I wanted to go to a hotel so that at least I could get a good night sleep but I couldn’t afford it at that time. But as uncomfortable as I was, I could care less about my physical condition as the pain I felt inside of my heart was so much greater than anything I ever felt my whole life. I remember crying inside the car until the tears couldn’t come out anymore and my voice could no longer scream, until finally I was too exhausted that I cried myself to sleep. When I woke up a few hours after, I never felt emptier in life than what I felt that morning. I opened my eyes that morning with no purpose in life whatsoever. I don’t know where I wanted to go, I don’t know what I wanted to do, I just felt so empty.
I remember back in my school years, I wasn’t the alpha type, no, far from it even. I had always been this naive girl who always ended up being bullied either by my fellow classmates or by some of the teachers because I couldn’t stand up for myself. I was a typical Asian girl who wouldn’t think much about anything other than falling in love with romance and thinking about getting married to my prince charming. I didn’t care about a career or whether I wanted to be successful in life. Yeah, sure, I went to college and got my premed degree but I really didn’t think too much about what I wanted to do with my life then. After college, as any typical Asian child would, I had to work in the family business. I didn’t really have much dedication to my job in the first few years until some very influential people came into my life and gave me a lot of enlightenment about myself and about life. Maybe it’s the combination of that and my mother trying so hard into making me a hardworking lady boss – she really tried every possible way to start a fire in me, and then before I knew it I had become a strong, independent woman. In the midst of all that, mother gave birth to my baby sister and that innocent baby girl turned my world upside down. My mom has always been a busy businesswoman ever since I could remember, so I felt the need to be the caretaker of that beautiful baby girl. She had me at “uh”.
Raising her, I learned to be selfless and to put her needs before mine. I learned to be a “mom”. I searched for her school, her pediatrician, her nanny, and I would go to all of her school events, parties or parents meeting. I taught her how to lift up her neck, taught her first words, how to walk and potty train. I took her to school, picked her up, made sure that she’d get a proper meal, did her homework with her, scheduled her next pediatrician appointment, anything a mom would do. She was my world.
Working in the family business was tough. At first I had to prove to everyone that I could do the job so that I could earn their respect, and then there’s your parents always pressuring you and wanting more out of you because everything you did were never good enough. If it’s good, it’s just okay. If it’s awesome, it’s just good. And when it’s bad, it’s so terribly awful. I had to do more, achieve more, be more. And not including the weight of the whole company relies on your shoulder – it was a very tough life for me. I would cry as I was driving home and I remember thinking, did all these people work as hard as I do? But if I don’t work this hard, I wouldn’t even be able to pay the bills, so I had to keep on moving.
I didn’t realize since when, probably because my job required a lot out of me, but thriving in my field felt good. I had become an independent businesswoman and I felt confident with myself. I felt like finally I had something in life I could be proud of – finally I had achieved something in my life. And without me realizing it, I had made that my identity; that I am a successful businesswoman.
Until that one day, everything that I thought was mine apparently was not. It turned out, I didn’t even have anything I could hold onto. Everything that I built-everything that I worked so hard for-everything that I ever loved-everything that was my world-they’re not mine. And when everything was gone, I felt like I was left with nothing in this world and I didn’t know what was the purpose of me waking up in the morning for anymore. My whole life, as I know it, was over.