“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
– every Asian relative on CNY ever
It’s such a question that never rusts, just transferred from generation to generation, like ocean wave after ocean wave. For as long as I can remember, my mind has vacillated between numerous options; teacher to lawyer, swimmer to artist, guitarist to businesswoman. Yet, to this day, I fail to set my foot upon a destined path. It feels as though everyone around me has found their future, grasp who they want to be. Me? I’m stuck at square one—nay, the game hasn’t even started for me.
I want to say I started writing at the age of ten—when it morphed into more than just a school grade for me. Prior to that, I’ve always held a despise for English classes. It wasn’t so much as I didn’t understand the curriculum, more so the fact that I was told what and how to write. See, I don’t know if it’s just me or the entire Asian continent, but it seems our teachers have a way of trimming all students’ brains into the same shape to “build the nation’s future”. Being jailed inside of word limits and hands cuffed by the formatting, I couldn’t help but wonder about everything that was going on outside the world that I can write about. To have the power to spread awareness and inject intelligence into the world with words, boy, you have no idea how great that sounded to a ten-year-old sitting at the back of an old classroom.
By then I had started music classes too, a side passion of mine. Like any other youngster who tries to procrastinate by doing absolutely anything else other than homework, I picked up my guitar one faithful night and started strumming. For the longest time possible, a note turned into a chord. A chord morphed into lyrics and just like that, my first song came into this world. It was quite the cheesy song and I’m not going to bore you with the details. Either way, that was the moment I decided I wanted to be a writer.
Songwriting, poetry, stories of all genres—there wasn’t a single one I wasn’t willing to explore, except for horror, that is. I’d spend hours reading, pour my allowance out at the bookstore. It was a cyclic routine of reading and writing, thousands of attempts to find that one unique style that screams “Allison”. It hasn’t been easy and to date, I’m still on my path of searching. I guess that’s one of the wonders – the journey – it’s what makes the destination that much more precious.
However, being born and raised in an Asian household comes with a price. The hefty price being your entire family tree insisting that the only way to fend for yourself in this atrocious world is to study something related to STEM. As if having rice for three meals a day wasn’t enough! Even when I shouldered the burden by entering science stream in my senior years, I never gave up writing. It was to a point where I can feel it boiling in my blood, running through every tunnel and vessel inside of me. All these years, to prove that I was more than a good-at-math-Asian shell, I kept throwing myself at English competitions, writing, debates – the whole package. Thank my lucky stars; mess after mess, debacle after debacle and after thousands of nights scrapping drafts on my trusty laptop, I’m finally getting somewhere. Fruitious is an understatement.
Now that I’ve graduated from high school and struggling to open the next chapter of life, it’s pretty catastrophic. But, rest assured that I will never throw in the towel on this. I know I will always return to writing at the end of the day.
So, hello there! Welcome to the world through my words.