“Cuz all I ever wanted was to be enough for you, but I don’t think anything could ever be enough for you.”


Although it has been four hours since I have heard this line from the new song of Olivia Rodrigo, it still sticks in my mind. Even in my dream, these words kept repeating not until my mom slammed the door to wake me up to get ready for school. 


I grabbed my phone, 6 am. I checked my ‘To-do list,’ and I have seen a long queue of things for me to be done today. I mean, it has always been like this: a never-ending list. I prepared, went down, ate my breakfast, and left the house, carrying the burden of being a pressured kid. 


To-do list Number 1: Ace the Economics Assessment!

Trying to remember the concepts I studied last night, my eyes kept closing. Risking not having enough sleep to review is definitely a bad idea. Anyway, what is important is that I need to get high marks for this exam. I need to ace this because my parents would be happy with that. If I do not do well, they will scold and ground me. When I got 84% in a maths exam, my parents were so mad that they threw all the books I love. They also prohibited me from using my phone for one week and gave me mountains of mathematics practice tests. My parents think I did not give effort to that test because they believe anything is possible if you focus and put your mind to it. That is why I do everything I can to get scores higher or equal to 95%, even at the expense of my physical and mental health. At least they are happy. 


To-do list Number 2: Get the exam results in Biology.

After taking the Economics exam, now it is time to get my exam results in Biology. I am unsure if I did well in my exam last week; what I know is that I used all my neurons in answering this exam. While walking towards the biology classroom, I received a message from mom, asking if I had already gotten the result. I disregarded it and entered the room to ask for it. My teacher handed the exam paper to me—96%, the second-highest score. A big smile is painted on my face, for I know my parents would be glad by this news. However, when I called my mom and told her the ‘good news,’ her answer to me was kind of off. She told me, “Great,” and asked why I only got the second-highest score and not the highest in a monotonous voice. I got weirded out and thought about it the whole time. I saw my classmate who got the fourth-highest score, jumping for joy, for her parents promised her a dinner date after hearing her exam results. I don’t know why I’m a little jealous; why are my parents not like that? I have been doing my best in all my endeavors, but why can’t I hear just even “Congratulations!” or “I am proud of you!” from them? Have I done something wrong? What else can I do to make them happy? 


To-do list Number 3: Review for SAT!

The dismissal came, still thinking about those thoughts, but I shrugged them off and proceeded to the library to start reviewing for the SAT. As a graduating high school student, SAT is one of the things I need to give my attention to because this will help me in my university application. Since I was young, my parents have kept pushing me to do good at school to have an appealing transcript of records to enter a prestigious university and eventually find a career in STEM that will make me wealthy. Yes, my parents want me to enroll in a STEM-related degree, specifically to enter medicine, because they believe there is no money in arts. Even though it is against my will for art is what my heart cries out for. I will just obey them because I believe my parents know best, and they will be happy with the decision I am going to make. 


To-do list Number 4: Attend Piano Practice.

After a long day at school, I needed to go to the piano workshop my parents enrolled me in when I was ten years old. I enjoyed it so much that I got better at it, and my parents would usually ask me to play during family gatherings. They are always delighted when I do that because my aunts and uncles would praise them for how they raised me. However, I grew tired of it; I got burnt out practicing piano throughout my childhood and teenage life. I am just doing it for my parents. 


While heading back home, Olivia Rodrigo’s “Enough for you” played. Listening to the lyrics, I realize that I can relate to Olivia. She did a lot to make her more appealing to impress the boy she was dating, and now she is looking forward to getting the better version of herself back. I also do that; I am trying to do all the things my parents would be proud of me. But I do not know when to stop impressing my parents. I envy Olivia because she figured out to end it already and enjoy life for herself. These thoughts playing in my mind led me to two questions, which happiness do I value: mine or that of my parents? Who am I living for: myself or my parents?


I may have answered the questions in my Economics assessment, Biology exam, and SAT practice questions, but these are the questions I cannot answer at the moment. For now, I need to do the remaining things on my list. I will let you know if I have answers already to my unanswered questions. 


Patrick Sursano

About Patrick Sursano