Life from the beginning was far from perfect. I was raised by a single mother, from the tender age of four and a half. My father decided to follow his heart as a man rather than his responsibilities as a husband and father, and consequently left my mother with no choice but to pick up those broken pieces.
I remember feeling absolute anger, sadness, and confusion, and amidst these conflicting feelings, I was trying to find an answer, why. I tried to piece back the broken pieces together, with ‘why’ as the glue.
I was trying to find the perfect answer.
I believe I was subconsciously trying to find the perfect answer for my father not being present. As I was also subconsciously trying to find the perfect answer as to why laughing and smiling are rare occasions for my mother. Without a doubt, I was subconsciously trying to find the perfect answer as to how I could protect my mother and share those burdens that rest on her shoulders.
Over the years, trying to find that perfect answer mutated into an unspoken burden; this constant duty of pursuing unattainable perfection.
Eventually, it all came crashing down.
When I realized the weight of the responsibilities I tried to shoulder: that filial overcompensation of trying to create a better life for my mother and me; the arrogance that came later towards my mother; and that sham of a self-worth from trying to be perfect all the time- I fell into a state of helplessness.
It is through this state of utter helplessness and realizing there was never anything within my control, I found the answer. It wasn’t perfect, but it was THE answer.
When I finally understood that my father left for love. When I finally understood that my mother had love to keep her going, despite the lack of smiles and laughter. When I finally understood I shouldered all those responsibilities because of love.
To understand that love was the reason alleviated me from focusing on the consequences. It allowed me to be free from the grips of duty to try to prevent unfavourable consequences. It expanded my mind to consider the fact that I had learned what love is from my parents- even though not from their marriage, but from their individual decisions born from love.
As quoting Thich Nhat Hanh: “The more you understand, the more you love; the more you love, the more you understand. They are two sides of one reality. The mind of love and the mind of understanding are the same.”
Author: Jessie Jing
Author Bio: Jessie is a South-East Asian writer and dance artist currently based in London.
She is an award scholar for and recent graduate of Trinity Laban Music and Dance Conservatoire, under the Graduate Diploma in Dance programme.
In 2017, Jessie produced her first independent poetry exhibition in Hong Kong, titled ‘Pursuit of Perfection’, in collaboration with fashion store Mahka HK. The exhibition collaborated with a multitude of artistic disciplines including dance, floral art, and live art drawing.
As of 2018, Jessie is currently working towards publishing her first poetry book – title yet to be revealed.
Link to social media: Instagram @jingely | Twitter @jingely