First of all, thank you for all that have commented on my last post. Your words have made me feel as if I’m not a complete a**hole for writing what I wrote. Because for a while there I felt that I was completely off-base and horrible to have said some of those things “out loud.” And to some extent, I still do feel that way.
I’m sure that this guilt stems from not only my formative years in Catholic school, but from my cultural upbringing as well.
I’ve found out (from the years of working as an RN, alongside many other Filipinos) that most people perceive that Filipinos are hard workers and, no matter what gets thrown at them, they are always happy.
Well, let me let you in on a clue … That’s because Filipinos are expected to be happy. Or at least appear to be happy.
In my experience, Filipinos are expected to hide any emotions that appear negative. So if we’re feeling sad, then the expectation is to hide that sadness. And (again) in my experience, the way that Filipinos hide that sadness is by focusing their energy on something that will “distract” them from feeling such sadness. And to me, that’s probably where the “Filipinos are hard-workers” perception probably comes from.
Because of that expectation to always appear happy, many Filipinos are not willing to talk about their sadness. It’s that whole “saving face” issue. Expressing any negative emotions out loud would “doom” us to a life of isolation. We’d lose that ability to be amongst the “norm” of society. We’d be different and therefore others cannot relate to us or talk to us because they don’t know what to say or how to act.
And because sadness and anger make others feel uncomfortable, saying these things out loud … or God forbid, even just looking or appearing despondent … is considered airing out your own dirty laundry.
Now, imagine having gone through 10+ years of not being “able to” express any of these emotions. Especially on how it relates to infertility.
It’s like having to sort through ten years of “dirty laundry” that’s been piling up just to find my favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans. It’s going to take awhile … maybe not as long as it took to pile up … but I’ve got to do a few loads and iron out a few details before I can once again wear those articles of clothing that made me look and feel my very best.
In addition, imagine writing a blog all about what’s bothering me. I’m absolutely positive that I’ve “lost face” within my Filipino circle of family & friends. Because believe me, I have felt the avoidance of engaging me in any conversation. And I’ve noticed the lack of effort on their part to find out how to appropriately discuss what Hubby & I are going through.
So to those Filipino family and friends (and any other readers out there … if I have any left … who might not understand my cultural considerations) who say that it’s been ten years and that I should just quit b*tching & complaining and “just move on” … I hope they know exactly how hard it is to do so. Because there is TEN LONG YEARS of stifled emotions that need to be addressed before I can move on.
I need to peel back the layers of disappointment, fear, anger and pain in order to find that happiness that I know is somewhere inside of me.
And that is probably THE MAIN reason for writing this blog.