Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I am Selfish

In the beginning of our relationship, my husband, Ly, thought I was quite giving, because I had brought him orange juice when he was sick. This made me feel good. As the relationship went on, he changed his mind and thought I was selfish. Do you remember that movie The Joy Luck Club? Where a mother was describing how her daughter was “best quality”, because she didn’t choose the “best quality” crab during the dinner party? To Ly being totally unselfish is “best quality”. Well, during buffets and parties, I always chose the “best quality” anything. I use to pick out the meat from a vegetable and meat dish. I use to (and still have a strong urge to) rush to be first in line in a buffet or serve myself first in a dinner party. I still think that when people sit around and wait for someone to start eating is silly. Since no one wants to be the selfish one, everyone would just stare at each other and the food, not making a move, in the beginning of a meal. So I still end up being the first to eat on many occasions, despite my current pursuit of trying not to come across as selfish. Ly calls me “worst quality”. This makes me feel bad. Especially for an Asian, it doesn’t look good. I try to be more giving and sacrificing, but it doesn’t feel right. The most defining moment of my current issues was when my first-born, Hunter, was learning to eat solids. It was a stressful time for me so of course I was snacking a lot. Hunter was quite picky, and I ended up snacking on food that he would have eaten. Ly blew out on my face. Said, “What kind of mother would do that?!” I was reeling from this comment. On top of the pressures of maintaining the house and working overtime, I wanted to run away from motherhood. From everything. I couldn’t get over it. Whenever Ly would bring home treats from various relatives, he would look directly at me then say, “Don’t eat it. It’s for Hunter.” Number one they were treats. Number two they were forbidden. So, of course I ate them. And I felt so bad. Like a bad mother. (check this post for an example). But I couldn’t control myself. Every time, I wanted to runaway or kill myself. The biggest blow was right after my second-born was born. I was stressed out again, so I was snacking uncontrollably. I was eating all of Hunter’s food. Ly was yelling at me, and I ran away upstairs. Hunter comes up to me; looking sad and said “Mommy ate my M&M’s.” I went spiralling down the abyss of sadness. I was torn between walking out that door and staying with my helpless newborn. For three days, I had difficulty leaving my room and doing my chores.

Recently, I came across one of those Internet personality tests, which tested selfishness. By no means are they accurate or scientifically sound, but I did it anyways and the results were quite enlightening…

You Are 56% Selfish

You are quite balanced. You are able to compromise when it's in the best interests of those involved.
But you're no pushover. If something is important to you, you'll get it!

And I started to think about selfishness. That the exact opposite of being selfish, which was being a pushover, was not desirable either. I started to look at myself and my unflattering acts of selfishness, and I realized that they were all related with food. I have to stop beating myself up for being “selfish” or being a “bad mom”. I have to see it for what it is. A problem with food. This problem I can face. I can finally close that escape root now, because I’m not a bad mom and I’m not “worst quality”. I’m not perfect either, but perfection would bug me anyways.

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I fear no one’s opinion! I am knowledgeable, focused, and efficient. I make this priority and build from experience. I do this for my children and myself. Supported by love, I will persevere.