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I Was Mocked for Taking the Road Less Traveled

I’m sure there are many that had to go through the bumpy roads that’s full of potholes to get to where they are today.

By Mika OkaPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
I Was Mocked for Taking the Road Less Traveled
Photo by Cole Keister on Unsplash

Life never offered me the luxury of direct routes. While others graduated in four years, it took me more than ten years before I could afford to continue my studies.

I know that sometimes in life we have to take completely different routes due to a lack of resources. The people who have the resources to do what they want to do are very lucky- Sahil Patel

There wasn’t much choice, really. I knew I had to forge my own path, even if it was a detour.

I still remember those ten-hour retail shifts. It was brutal. Draining the life out of me, leaving no energy for anything else.

It was pre-2000, saving for college fund was impossible on my salary. Dreams deferred, replaced by the harsh reality of survival.

A friend that graduate from a beauty school was raving about it. It seems like a better option compared with the retail work I was doing.

But I couldn’t even afford to pay for the vocational training. I had to brave myself and pound on doors for a trainee spot. I started at the bottom, covering most of the housekeeping tasks.

I learned every corner of the business, picked up different skills and saw how things really worked. Not exactly what I signed up for, but growth happens in unexpected places.

Except for one crucial skill: office politics. While others charmed their way up for promotion and survival, I would hit the wall again and again.

They would agree to promote me. It would mean more responsibility but less than minimal pay raise. My lack of certificate became the employer’s excuse against pay raise — how clever, right?

They’d exploit my eagerness, knowing I had no choice. Frustrating, but I learned, grew even if the pay never reflected it.

Years gone by, the thirst for learning never fade away. Then comes the affordable online education. Finally, I could work and study.

Never expected completing my studies to feel so bad like this. My own kin questioned my hard work, like my accredited certificate paled in comparison to the “proper” college path.

As if the countless late nights and dedication meant nothing, a mere sham.

Same thing happened when my situation didn’t allow me to join any culinary or art school. My curiosity still burned even when illness threw another hurdle, isolating me, making traditional learning impossible.

Again, I had to carve my own path, a winding, self-taught journey. I devoured cookbooks, scoured online tutorials, and experimented relentlessly.

When I posted my social media “achievement” — photos of my creations, I got a sneer, a dismissive wave of the hand from my kin. The look on her face, a twisted mask of disgust and disbelief, burned itself into my memory.

What triggered such venom? I never got the answer.

When someone in my situation, someone who hustled, learned and grew the hard way, gets judged for not having a piece of paper, it really stings like hell.

Now, the question that burns: why the spite, the mocking?

I’m sure there are many that had to go through the bumpy roads that’s full of potholes to get to where they are today.

Why belittle the effort, the sheer determination it takes to travel a different road? Does the road less traveled count for nothing?

My heart, enduring as marble to keep.

©Emika Oka

Thank you for reading 🖤

Previously published on From The Corner of My Mind

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About the Creator

Mika Oka

Sharing her unique perspective on the world as a hearing-impaired autistic person with bipolar disorder despite the challenges.

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Comments (1)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran2 months ago

    I'm so sorry you received such treatment 🥺 It's not fair at all. All I can say is, try your best to ignore them. As long as you are not cheating or hurting anyone, you continue with your path no matter what anyone says. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️

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