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A War Between Two Different Minds

By: Connie Cao

I know being a teenager isn't easy; it has never been. Reaching age 12 was a complex conflict, especially with responsibility coming my way. I reached a point where my parents and I had two completely different minds.

Do you know the movie "Turning Red"? Damn, Ming had a lot of things to deal with in her life, especially the parent-teen conflict. She was such a sweet innocent girl! Her parents thought of her sweetness as "necessary" until Ming broke free and became a cute red panda. She and her parents become disconnected, and her journey began when she could venture as a red panda, alone and with her thoughts.

I remember lying on the sofa, staring into space, wondering what shade of nail polish would look best. My dad and brother, Ethan, were engaged in a deep conversation. It would be time for my brother to get ready for hockey training in half an hour. I never really liked hockey; it's such a competitive sport. Dad was telling Ethan to play well today. My brother's face was contorted with fury and embarrassment. I edged closer to them, hoping to catch a glimpse of their secret conversation.

You know how parents give you "advice" but it becomes an insult? Well, my brother experienced the worst. "I want you to play, work, and train today; you got that, Ethan?" Dad was saying as he pulled down my brother's jersey. "Even though you're slow, weak, and out of practice," Dad continued. My brother's face turned a deep shade of scarlet, and his ears glowed pink at the sound of weakness.

I knew exactly how he was feeling. I couldn't feel any better about those words. I loved feeling praised and congratulated by my parents for my whole life, but that was like a fairy tale to me. My brother never experienced such treasure as well…

Now at age 12, past my birthday, I finally have a better understanding of how much my parents actually love me! They praised me so much, but they never showed me it; they wanted to help me improve and give me advice. Putting myself in their shoes, I would have done the same. I would have held my child’s hand and led them up the stairs to their success, instead of stopping halfway and wasting precious time congratulating them. In the end, when they finally do succeed, that is their real reward--and all the praise might have not meant much at all!

Mom and I had a similar conversation as the one with my brother and my dad. I have always dreamed of being a ballerina. To perform on stage and to have the spotlight on me. To watch the audience applauding me from either end. But instead, I never really had such an image. Instead, I saw my whiny face complaining about how tight my dress was and how much homework I had to do.

"I want to be a ballerina! I want to be like her!" I pointed at a sign on which a beautiful ballerina was doing a pose and underneath it, the words ``Swan" were labeled. "Come on, I know you can do much better!" my mom said, smiling slightly. I grinned, happy that she was praising me. "But you're much too fat. Your body won't be able to handle much! You can barely do a split mid-way!” Mom continued. My smile faltered and became a frown. I felt furious. "I don't want to be a stupid mathematician; I don't even like math! I'm not even good!" I yelled, stomping my foot on the ground.

I never knew that Mom wanted the best for me or dad. That’s just the way Asian parents are. Their past was difficult, harder than mine. I wished I knew how hard and how much more responsibility it takes to be a parent. How much they do care about me, how much they love me and wish for me to be successful.

Every now and then, my self-teenager conflict comes back, and I completely forget about the positive light. I continuously battling with my family and show how much I think my opinion is right, how my decisions and actions are right. Until then, I will face this obstacle and allow our two different minds to bond into one.

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