With my recent return to Hong Kong and then a visit of the Philippines next week, I am contending with family issues. Within the past few years, I have significantly shifted my perspectives, broken down and rebuilt my own version of my belief system, more so since my journeys in 2013 and 2014. I appreciate these changes in me, however, they contrast the belief systems held by my family but do form the basis of my evolution.
This post is in regards to traveling outside of one’s psychological boundaries and barriers. What happens when you’re the lone dove who wants to test out your wings?
To me, “leaving the nest”, typically relates to finding financial independence and creating my own home and life. What about the mental and emotional aspects of “leaving the nest”?
Finding the courage to break away from familial structure and mind set is challenging, if not at times – impossible. I would know. Despite the fact that I have been alive for 40 years now, this is still a struggle of mine. My mother, does not approve of my ways, neither does my brothers. I receive more love and support from friends and complete strangers. Sad, I know.
However, it begs the questions… Am I living my own life? Am I alive to appease my mother and others that I respect and love? OR Am I alive to give myself contentment?
How do I set the boundaries? How do I give myself true independence?
After years of effort, I am finally past the point of seeking external approval – constantly. These days I’m grateful when I am heard. When I receive support and feel understood, I float to cloud nine. However, that emotional cord with immediate family members can cause tremors and easily rattle the self-confidence and personal belief system that’s newly established.
Life for me is a bit easier at times, as my family and I live on different continents. I can choose to withhold information. It is also helpful that they do not dabble with social media. They know nothing about me spewing my thoughts here on this platform or elsewhere. Let’s keep it that way.
However, as my main goal upon my visit to the Philippines is to visit my maternal grandfather’s grave, I have no choice but to rely upon my family members. My mom has been to his grave many times but she has no idea how to get there nor know of the address. She also refuses to give me the contact numbers to my distant relatives there in the Philippines. She wants to maintain control, I suppose and force me to be reliant and dependent. But I also understand that she has never seen the Philippines without someone helping her, mainly due to the language barrier. So she is projecting her fears onto me. She worries, a lot.
At the same time, my family has a very traditional mindset – whatever the elders say do not question it, just follow the instructions. Yet I have nurtured myself to question, be curious – not necessarily to protest or debunk the statement. I just want to gain a more thorough understanding. Yet from my family’s perspective, I am seen as questioning authority.
Actually kind of similar to the situation between the Hong Kong government and it’s protesting citizen who are seeking true democracy. It’s a struggle for me to be seen as an adult by my mother and declare independence; yes, even though I am 40. Similar to the Hong Kong – China relationship, the one government two rule system is not taking hold either in my household.
This visit to Hong Kong for me is very sensitive. The shear fact that I chose to stay in a hotel has already offended my mother. It might be easier if I have chosen to visit a war torn country. However, sooner or later, I have to face the music. I have chosen the sooner. I do not need my mom to completely understand and give me empathy or support – at this point, I just want to be heard without judgement. I know in her old age it’s hard for her to change. So I’m trying my best to flow like water around a sturdy rock in the ground…