Four

My mum emailed me today, asking me how I was doing. This is the second check in email this week, in addition to one text and one phone call. And it’s only Wednesday.

I know it’s not a crazy amount of check ins, that she’s doing this because she cares, because her and dad know that I haven’t been myself post the break up and they’re concerned. Still, it feels suffocating.

Every now and then, third culture stuff catches up with me and I suddenly feel very disconnected from my Chinese family, and I want distance from them. I harbour a lot of resentment from having to be the English speaker and translator for my family, having my parents rely on me to be their mouthpiece and bridge between cultures, having being pulled into the adult world of admin and sacrificing my childhood in the process. I wish I lived in another city so I wouldn’t feel obligated to see my family every week. But I don’t, I live a 30 minute drive from my parents and if I don’t see them every week I feel guilty for it. I just can’t win. Chinese culture is intensely family centred and I feel trapped by that.

So I know that my feelings towards mum checking in aren’t rational, and aren’t to do with the fact that she’s checking in (because that is a nice thing to do) but I’m unable to separate this, and her, from my own complex around my Chinese culture. Even though the gesture comes from a place of love, it compounds the smothering I already feel and I think I just need some space for a while.

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