I was conceived as a sack of organs. Not a human, a baby, a daughter, no - an existence only constructed to save my brother as a bone marrow match. But what happens if you are not? What happened because I was not? What happens when you fail the only purpose you were given?
There was never a singular story to my tale. Instead, I lived a life in oxymorons, a life where a dead shadow hung over me, and most importantly, a life where my deepest pains held power over my convictions.
I was born in California but after my parent's rejection - spent my first five years in lower China as a foster child. I was an unwanted little girl but returned to an upper-middle-class American suburb. I traveled the US as my father's business apprentice, but also buzzed closely to LA as a trained child performer. My heart was Christian, but my lifestyle was not. I cared much, but my normal was a mentally abusive reality. I constructed the perfect image as a teenage activist but was slowly dying in my spirit.
I was 16 when I first moved out on my own. At the time, I was battling PTSD and severe chronic depression, yet the world only saw medals, charity, and trophies. My personal life was in shambles, and soon, I could no longer be pitch perfect. In hindsight, I willingly chose not to speak out and to instead live in unbearable, secret agony. My soul was on fire, I trusted no one, questioned God, and failed to see a visible future.
I will soon lose my desire to live.
I was scholastically honored but tried to kill myself one cold October evening - junior year of high school. A sweet face but even my best acting could not hide the broken young adult I had already become. I had a mask to everyone around me but I could not lie to myself any longer. What was my direction? “Fuck Charlie, I was supposed to save your life but what the fuck am I suppose to do now with mine?!” was all I could silently implore my tired thoughts.
But I did not die. The water was cold, but my anger was stronger. And for the first time, I cried. It was not out of pity, no, but hate, hatred at myself for becoming malleable, for allowing the world to bend me into a shell that I hardly recognized. And most of all, I realized that the biggest betrayal was that done by my own mind - living a life trapped in dogma. That anger carried me throughout my secret recovery for the rest of the year - I reached out to trusted advisors but kept my mouth shut to the world. To them, I continued to live my life, collecting high school embellishments and being aesthetically pure.
But I was not the same person. I would choose to take an unmapped route, an uncharted life plan, go overseas, spend months in east China training, traveling, and teaching for a summer (after finishing high school early) before ultimately deciding to colloquially work and study in the Asian private sector. In other words, I had discovered a newly found vigor for life but yet, I was still silent towards my past.
Therefore, I became based in central China, traveled the world as both an international student and liaison officer, branched into corporate teaching and journalism and found a beautiful home within my cosmopolitan expatriate community. Yes, I had begun afresh, but despite my newfound spirit, my heart still felt empty. I gained new roots, a content lifestyle, and formed my closest connections but yet, something was missing. And as the daughter of a serial entrepreneur - entrepreneurship would ultimately lead me to return to the states almost 3 years later.
I was not interested in making a profit. I did indeed see a great opportunity but in simple honesty, I was trying to get high. I wanted to be passionate again, about something, anything. And if you are good at a certain task, that should be enough, right? However, my first month in Boston would be marked by losing an integral person in my life.
It broke my heart.
I was feverishly struggling with re-conforming to American society and now I had to face a new reality. I was alone, and I am now alone again. Consequently, I found myself disillusioned, and in my numbness, began writing to my penpal. I confided in her and for once, openly shared my sorrows, insecurities, and story. I did not know it then, but the words that I had shamefully concealed became the segue to shattering my innate isolation. We were continents away, each living our own respectable lives but yet, formed a meaningful connection by drawing on each other’s pain and strength. I began to find my voice again, and although it was an audience of one, I found an avenue for the most hidden part of my existence.
In retrospect, our weakest moments, my weakest moment became the catalyst for finding the projects that made even my most painful nights worth enduring.
I am now married to the startup culture with digital media as my apparatus for constructing a world without fear or shame. A world where no one should ever feel the need to take their own life, feel alone, feel inhuman, and most importantly, be ashamed to speak of one's own story.
This is the story I never tell. I am not a survivor, and I am also not a victim. I have always tried to uphold a proper molding but today, I am also truly happy and healthy. I cannot resurrect Charlie, but it is the intangible moments in our lives that shape and push us into vessels of tangible character.
We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!
OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly