Our 6th Grade teacher was a woman. A woman who resembled a man.
6th Grade was where I met the two of my closest friends. This was the time I began drifting away from my 5th Grade friends, but not so much that I stopped going over to their houses and hanging out with them. I simply felt like we were growing too differently for our friendships’ own good.
6th Grade was also where some problems with my self confidence arose. Mostly thanks to my parents.
Around this time, I began going over to my friends’ houses. And when I was there, I realized something.
Their lives were amazing. It was like something out of a dream.
And I don’t mean toys or material possessions.
I knew the difference in our income statuses and housing and accepted that my parents were very incompetent at everything they gave their hand at.
The “something” that separated my friend’s life and me was freedom.
It really was.
When they wanted to play pokemon, eat, go out of the house, even watch their TV or browse the internet, they did it. They had complete freedom in their actions and their parents only stopped them from doing dangerous or stupid things. They could honestly do anything they wanted.
I did not have that.
I needed absolute permission from both my parents for anything. I couldn’t play Pokemon as much as I wanted, I couldn’t even watch TV without their say so. It was amazing how they had complete control over me. Mostly through fear, but it was an effective way.
I tried to get them to understand what I wanted. I mustered up courage I never knew I had, just so I could have what my friends had. They thought it was a stupid idea and my friend’s parents were abnormal.
Obviously, it was the other way around.
Yet, no matter how many times I proved their words wrong and told them how ours was the only family to require so much permission, they constantly threw the same thing back at me, claiming I didn’t know enough Korean to understand them and I was still a baby incapable of thinking for myself.
That was completely absurd!
I understood them just fine, they were simply too stubborn to leave their Korean values behind when they left Korea. Many of our “discussions” ended up into yelling matches where my courage failed me and I took their lecture and punishment.
I knew that my life was worse than my friends. As my depression continued, I started to believe that I was worse off than my friends. That my friends were better than me in every way. That I was a loser.