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I dislike my culture and I feel guilty.

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by TheBLA, Jul 20, 2008.

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  1. TheBLA

    TheBLA The biggest loser alive.

    Its not so much that I dislike it, but that I will never fit it, I'll always be an outcast.

    I am Indian, from India and living in the USA and generally, there is pressure on us to attain extreme academic success, to have a well-paying job, to marry a nice Indian wife, have kids who will attain greater success than you, and so on and so forth. Of course its not exclusive to us, you'll see this in also Chinese as well for instance.

    Its good that we have these high expectations on us, we are expected to succeed, our elders know we can, and yet it is also very bad if we fail to meet these expectations.

    I am very lucky my parents are not as strict and hard on their kids as many other Indian parents. Well, I'm sure they are disappointed in me, but hide it well when they see their Indian friends with their kids far more successful than me.

    Somehow, I screwed up and fell off the "path", strayed off the "plan". And its not this as well, but you know that some cultures are not as friendly to depression as others, like Indians, Chinese, other Asians.

    I hear of many of the youth in these groups that commit suicide because they failed a major exam, failed to get into the college their parents wanted them to get in. And I'm sure they could not vent, not talk about it, because they are not supposed to be depressed, its even more of a taboo than it already is. They had to hold all of it inside until they couldn't take it anymore. If someone was there to listen, they might still be alive.

    Why the hell it have to be taboo? Anyone can suffer from depression, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, and all of these things that divide us. So then why are some groups less empathetic to depression than others?

    I'm sure if I commit suicide, my parents would lie and say I died of a heart attack for example, to avoid the shame.

    I dislike my culture because of this, I dislike other Indians, its not their fault, but I somehow strayed off and am a complete and total freak. And yet, I have only been with Indians my entire life and only feel comfortable with them. I know if I tell these Indians that I dislike my culture, I will be extremely ostracized, as I have when I told my mom.
  2. itmahanh

    itmahanh Senior Member & Antiquities Friend

    Hun no one can choose their race, culture or heritage. But you dont have to let it entirely run who or what you are or want to be. Yes, the need to respect age old lores and lessons is hard to avoid especially when family driven. But you cannot let them destroy the individual that you are and want to continue to be. You say that your parents are not as strict with cultural "laws" so that is proof right there that things can change with each generation. You are the next generation hun, so please respect the old ways for the lessons they can teach you, but dont let them keep you from growing as an individual. Hard yes, but you seem to be a strong young man that knows and understands what he wants from his life. Good luck Rahul.
  3. aki

    aki Well-Known Member

    You shouldn't feel guilty, you've done nothing wrong.
  4. gentlelady

    gentlelady Staff Alumni

    I agree with itmahanh. While our heritages help to define who we are they do not have to rule what we become. Your Indian heritage will always be with you. Learn from it and take with you those portions you feel are positive. Leave the rest behind. Depression and suicide are misunderstood and not excepted well in any culture. Hopefully, someday that may change, at least for depression and other mental illnesses.
  5. Dave_N

    Dave_N Guest

    I can somewhat understand what you're going through Rahul, since I'm west indian and have parents that have high expectations of me. I think that they'll always be disappointed in me for chosing to become a teacher and not becoming a doctor (which as you know is the dream that all indian parents have for their kids).

    On one hand, its good having parents that have high expectations of you, because it challenges you to achieve your highest potential. The problem is that when you fall short and don't meet their expectations, you're viewed as a failure. But you know what, all that really matters is what you think of yourself. If you can look yourself in the mirror and be proud of what you have accomplished then you're a winner in my book.

    I didn't have high enough grades for medical school, so I became a teacher instead. And at the end of day, it really doesn't matter if you have all the money in the world, because money doesnt buy happiness.
  6. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    I'm really sorry to hear you feel like that. I'm quite lucky as I've never really felt that pressure (it'd be vague but it'd be very far away as I'm quite a 'far away person':laugh: I'm lucky I failed my private school exams when I was younger that my parents blindly put me through from the age of 5 I'd have gone crazy in an environment like that and I actually had teachers saying at age 5 "please don't ever bring your daughter here again" I threatened them that much as a little girl) but I do hear what you're going through. :hug:

    You aren't a freak. The people who you feel so intimidated by are the freaks. Have you stepped back and seen how pathetic they all can seem? They are so anxious. I used to sit in classes at school and write the most scathing things about the people who you feel are 'higher' than you. The way they treat others is disgusting, the way they don't look at important things in life (this is where I think you haven't created your own values separate from the culture you talk of which I'd argue aren't exclusive to people who are Indian but I know what you're talking about- the suicide stuff) is so harmful, both to themselves and the people they are around.

    You can look at your situation in two ways- you are the freak, or they are the freaks. What is more easier? To say you're at fault, as I imagine you have done, can be easier than to look at yourself, the people around you and how you react to the people/culture/system you dislike.

    I've always felt that they are the freaks. I've never felt like I was the freak. I could be said to be 'South Asian' by the way in Britain (born here, maybe this is where there's a difference in experience?), and what you're describing is only one type of a certain culture shared by people who aren't Indian too but loads of people. I live in a very mixed area and have gone through a really tough high-academic school. There are many people who are Indian --I'm generalising with 'Indian' I mean how you mean it- who aren't like how you describe and have different types of culture(s).

    Take care.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2008
  7. Anime-Zodiac

    Anime-Zodiac Well-Known Member

    I understand what your going through. It's certainly tough. Don't feel guilty, in my own opinion some cultures are a lot stricter in certain areas in life and other cultures are stricter in other parts also.

    You should follow what you want and what goals you have for yourself. Follow your on path in life. I understand that you want acknowledgement and acceptance but it's your own life in the end of that day.
    When your a lot older, do you want to look back at life with soo many regrets.
  8. DrowningInTears

    DrowningInTears Well-Known Member

    lulz, that reminds me of 'harold and kumar go to white castle', and how kumars dad was obsessed with him going to medical school.

    But anyways Rahul, your english seems very good from wat u typed hav u tried making friends in other cultures. Maybe you can try exploring other cultures in the us and see if you can connect and make other friends that like you how u are? Some people long for other forms of success besides just money/wife/kids. There is joy to be found in being creative and persuing other dreams and desires that may not fit in ur culture.
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