I’ve experienced the contrasts and extremes of growing up as a privileged person in one of the poorest cities in a third world country. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I had everything I need. I’ve seen people looking up to me wishing they had the same privilege, which often made me feel guilty. Recognizing this as a fact, I’m immersed with huge gratitude and responsibility- I can’t fail. I’ve had everything, I could be what I aspire to be- I had to.

Upon immigrating, the unwelcoming inferiority complex came as a shock to me. Americans over immigrants. Americans over Filipino immigrants. Model-Asian minorities over Filipinos. USA-born Filipinos over Filipinos. I could go on- but it’s always the Filipino immigrants have to stay small, have to aspire less. Being fed bitter truth that not all companies will recognize my qualifications, I stay unfazed, putting all my emotions aside.

Growing up with the Philippines’ unique matriarchal tradition, I am less deterred by male dominance compared to other Asians. My mother, even residing in the US, has provided me very financial tools I need. To complement my feminism, I grew up with a dad telling me I could be whatever I want, and I could pursue my passion- without prioritizing marriage.

Until I immigrated to the United States of America, the land of milk and honey. I am asked to step back. A land where everyone chases the American dream, I am asked to dream less. Stepping in the country, I was seen as a young, naive girl. Suddenly everyone’s trying to take away all the courage and dreams I’ve built before. You’re lucky, sweetie- but not as lucky as this county’s privileged.

I wasn’t told to aspire but to pick a rich husband. I wasn’t told to chase my dreams but to settle for jobs and just work hard. I couldn’t be an executive, but I can make a young, pretty, and submissive wife. My achievements are discredited. I need to be saved, a man could save me from the hassle. I’m asked to pick what’s convenient.

How nauseating. I am so sick of it.

Now, I’m taking my chances even you think I don’t have it. No opportunities? I’ll make one. I’ll thrive- keep going like every immigrant does.

Originally published at medium.com