Diamond Bar High School

Column: Developing my own character

Growing up, I was always tethered to my parents when it came to making decisions. From what I wanted to eat to what I wanted to do on my birthday to what types of clothes I wanted to wear, I always let my parents choose for me. Just like so many other children, my parents wanted me to learn how to play the piano at a young age.

Some days, I would come back home with random clothes in my closet that I had never seen before. My parents would bring me whatever clothes they thought looked good, and they expected me to wear them. As a result, even if I didn’t like the color or the style of the clothes that my parents bought for me, I still wore them.

In my eyes, doing anything that my parents didn’t prescribe to me was some form of betrayal against them, so I just did what my parents expected. Throughout my childhood, I was taught to be obedient towards the family members in the generations before me, so I always had that mindset of following the orders that my parents and grandparents gave to me.

Usually, my parents would just buy clothes for me whenever they had time. However, on one rare occasion that I went shopping with them, I saw a pair of Lebron 12 Lows at the store, specifically the “Snakeskin” colorway.

I remember seeing those shoes in the store; the rigid structure of the shoe combined with the contrast between the bright orange heel and the black mesh on the forefoot and the toe area made me compelled to buy them. After begging my dad to buy them for me, he finally agreed to get them.

Since those shoes were at a price that was much higher than what my parents usually spend, I contemplated whether or not spending that much money on a pair of shoes was worth it. However, I knew that if I didn’t buy those shoes at that moment, then I might never get the chance again.

When I got those shoes, I wore them every single day regardless of the circumstances. In fact, they were the only shoes I had at the time. They would be worn during summer camp, in PE class, and even during trips to the beach. Somehow, I managed to wear them for an entire school year until my parents forced me to get a new pair because the rubber on the insoles have completely worn away.

My persistent use of those shoes was caused by my desire to prove to my parents that I was able to make productive decisions without their guidance. If I bought those shoes and never wore them, no matter how much I enjoyed them, my parents would have viewed that purchase as a waste of money. Every scuff and scratch on those shoes was a visual representation of the value that the $80 brought to me.

Looking back at those shoes, I realize how they have impacted myself as a unique individual. Choosing and buying for myself for the first time felt like I had so much more freedom than before. Those shoes represented my first step away from my parents, and they allowed me to be more confident in taking actions without the guidance of my parents.

As I’m writing this article, there seems to be a lack of topics that I can write about, because I grew up just tagging along with what my parents did. If I was given two choices to choose from, I usually asked someone else to choose for me. My strict obedience towards my parents as a child has restricted my growth as an individual character, and the majority of the blame is on me.

I never built up the courage to think for myself, and I always walked with the crutches that my parents provided for me. Now, even though I appreciate my parents’ efforts of making sure they provided everything to me that I needed, I feel like I have built my own personality through the music I listen to, the instrument that I play, and the sports that I play.

As I am thinking about my future in college and beyond, I need to be able to be more comfortable being myself. Even though my parents are my number one supporting staff, there will come a moment that I need to be able to run on my own.