The burden 

A short, unfinished piece started by me remembering my father saying “you’re not my son, so don’t act like one”. 

Our sons, our brothers 

Places on a pedal stool before they could sit

Already perfect and complete. 

Not allowed to falter

And failures considered growth. 

Safe to go, wear, love as they see fit.

The world opened to them,

Open for the taking –  they can take it.

So they take and they take. 

Our fathers and uncles,

Telling us all of their burden. 

The men who upped.

Yet how they forget 

The backs that cracked 

And the bellies that split in two 

To give them the world. 

My rock and mattress

My not-so-little brother completed his GCSEs today. It got me thinking about the day I got my own grades and I realised this is now seven years ago! As it turned out I achieved the best grades in the school that year, and set a school record (which has now been beaten). Looking back though, what should have been one of my proudest achievements actually brings me shame.

Now, I think many children of immigrants will know the overbearing parent who will be happy with nothing less than the best. But that wasn’t my mum – she was supportive and always told us that so long as we tried our best, we would have nothing to regret. She installed in me the need to be independent, to only rely on yourself and to love everything you do so you do it well. Continue reading

You can do whatever you want

Me: I have considered being a [doctor, astronaut, archaeologist, surgeon, cadet, novelist, seamstress, house decorator, antique collector, climate change scientist, zoologist]* but my dad would laugh at me.

Despite several attempts, I never achieved telekinesis.

Friend: But your dad’s not here anymore. You are a grown woman. You can do whatever you want.

Why does discouragement linger and entrap a person’s soul so tightly? My sisters, let go of the voices that have turned into chains holding you back. He is not here anymore. You are a grown woman. Do whatever you want.

* I was a curious child, always trying new hobbies or being engrossed in a new cause with a burning passion – certain this was my calling. Funnily enough, now that I am free and able to take on the world, I hear no callings and am rather lost.

You may discover many defeats but you must not be defeated – Maya Angelou