The anger stays within me toward the people around me who are not accepting and willing to have mercy for us, and the people who never understand why I ended up being so brutal and always speak of the truth. Because I grew up in lies and conceal everything; that affects me now I can’t sit still and witness how humanity can be so cruel to a little girl I was and often used the anger to motivate me is the better human than they are, perhaps that would be my revenge toward the society.
Once I thought everything supposed to be dark and that is the way life supposed to be. We all struggle to be the light within the darkness. When I was in third grade, my grandmother attempt jumping from our apartment to suicide. Luckily people call the police, and they rang the bell and saved my grandmother. I remembered my feeling is so numb and I don’t understand what would happen if she died. I have not grabbed the concept of life and death yet. Lucky, we only live on the third floor of the apartment building, so the fireman rescues her a little easy for the not so high height. The next day I continue to go to school, eat my snacks; pretend nothing is happening in my family. Now, grandmother is being locked down inside the psychiatric hospital, brother and I were free for the period of a half year in every afternoon after school. Dad is same as usual; he always looks tough with a blunt face and no emotional expression, quiet with a stare like a stray cat. Now I looked back, my dad might have difficulty to accept the reality and not sure how to react and the only way to express it is to hide his emotion, all of his emotion. I don’t know how much of this bluntness is due to the medication he is in or is part of his personality is emotional incapable to handle the truth. Now his mother suffers from schizophrenia as well.
It was one of the joyful times I had in my childhood, that half year when my grandmother stays in the mental ward, I have all the afternoon to choose what I can eat for lunch, first time for myself, and by myself. I feel the independence for the first time in my life. I continue to do my homework and continue to enjoy my anime, but I wasn’t able to understand how serious my grandmother’s situation is. The diagnosis came back and the doctor said she had her break down and yes, it is schizophrenia. The grandmother’s absence doesn’t really affect me in a way because I heard too many times about the adult wants to kill themselves when they feel upset and I’m tired of the saying. At that time, I thought growing up must be a horrible thing to become, and they all want to die on daily basis. I don’t want to grow up, and I want to draw, I want to do art and become an artist like the anime I am watching. I want to be one of the people behind the curtain who draw the anime and make a living and get paid. I want to be like them. I set my goal as being an artist around that time.
I was always good at art, I m a natural born to fall in love with colors, forms, and shapes. When I was kindergarten, I would circle the text according to their shapes for all the homework I was given. I color everything within the shapes and even got my first award for the best artist in the whole class when I was in kindergarten. Art classes become the only outlet for me to deal with the chaos in my family. Now looking back, I would say art saves my life by giving me hope and light within darkness. I imagined myself as the unicorn Pegasus hybrid would bring love and hope to the family, so when I was little I always put a smile on my face, conceal my feeling within, and try hard to act like I’m the happy princess who I made up, I heard once at school being princess is a very popular career girls love to become. So, I would be a caring princess to my family.
Even I am the princess of my family, but I never own a dress except for my school uniform. My dad is so paranoid about I would be kidnapped one day, so being dress like girly wasn’t allowed under his roof. I remembered my mother who I see once a month, one time she brought me a very princess-like dress for my birthday. It was creamy pink, satin with laces and pearls along with the silver thread. It looks fancy and I love and love it. I only allowed to try it in the bathroom, but not allowed to wear the precious dress anywhere. ‘Wait until when there are chances that relatives have wedding party we need to go’ Dad said to me. I nod and the princess dress seal back to the transparent plastic cover with a knot at the end and the next time I saw it; I was too big to fit into it. Now I looked back, dad has overprotected me and I wasn’t allowing to be girly nor any extra school activity nor I am not allowing to express my feelings, that fake happy girl appearance I realized I can lie well, and only I know how deep I conceal my true self. Even now I’m thirty-three, I am still trying to find out who I really am; I need to dig deep where I buried my true self in the deep dark space inside my heart. Sometimes I wonder the way I grew up become who I am or the one I buried is the one who I am, I’m so confused about who I am but the happy princess I used to be, the broken version of Cinderella, the one who talked to animals and the tough survivor under difficult situation. Or the one ugly duck that thinks she is the misfit in the wrong crowd and often dreamed about being a pretty swan one day.
Hong Kong disappointed me, I often feel super lonely and hopeless when I was little. The neon lights at night contrast my lonely soul. The crowded streets during the festive times are the most depressed moments for me. Chinese is a group-oriented culture, and often any festive holidays are for the family reunion. I remember the decrease amount year after year the people we know visited us. One by one they are not coming back because of my dad’s dramatic changes, somehow schizophrenia is like an actual virus that would pass to them if they knock on our door. On top of the success and money rooted deep within Hong Kong culture, we are being isolated. I often think is because people do not want to associate them with us because of this mental illness. In Chinese, we call it ‘wires got stuck and knotted’ and they all scared us like we are the devil. People without medical knowledge think we got the bad ghosts to stay with us. Moreover, they associate ghosts are bad, very bad luck for their own family.
“We have to conceal our information to leak in order to protect ourselves.” Dad once warned me. I was puzzled and often confused because that is not what we got taught at school. At school students supposed to be 100 percent honest and there is a strong competitive culture for study. The top of the class rank means the student is the most popular among the social crowd. The bottom of the class everyone would ignore them. There is one time someone cut her wrist during class; she has no friend since that day after. Something strange about your background determines who you associate with, moreover the better grades you got in the rank, the more extra afterschool activities you are allowed to sign up for. I was not good at anything, the middle-rank girl often nobody cares about. I daydreamed a lot; often dream about rainbow unicorn would bring me into a better place. One time I literally saw a unicorn with rainbow hair appears outside of the window, I called grandmother to see it together, but instead the next day I am at the hospital being examined.
I was scared and don’t know what did I done wrong. I walked into a room where all the walls are white, everything included the pieces of furniture are white. There aren’t any colorful objects there. I feel uneasy and think I must be in a deep big trouble. I just refused to talk for a year, I just not going to give in the lies you think I’m sick. They were discussing the potential chance to give me a brain CAD scan. No, I am not sick; I just think all you lie to me about my biological mother. She is my grandmother; there can’t be another lady who I just met. My mother can’t be her, I was being forced to call her ‘mother’. I got really upset because all of the lies you told me about my mother, all these times I thought my mother just old. That’s it, she gave birth to me when she was so old. I am so puzzled why I was being dragged to here to talk to the doctor.
“Do you know why are you here?” Doctor asked.
“….(No respond)” I won’t respond to you, your liar. Everyone is lying to me.
They ended up giving up on me, again. There is no way they will know the real truth. I refused to talk. I was shocked by the fact that my grandmother is not my mother. I didn’t know until later I accept the truth since day one. I must do something terribly wrong that they have to punish me by lying to me. It can’t be the truth, but since that day, I realized the fact that the only surviving is to lie. I lost my hope for humanity. Everyone lies according to his or her own benefit.
Since that day, I am giving up, my pure and innocent self-died within me. I even imagined a funeral inside my mind. The unicorn died with me too. I turned myself into darkness. I was a quiet third-grade school girl.