EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE TO REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL | KELY

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"You might feel lonely at this moment, but it doesn't mean you'll be lonely forever. As long as you continue to be yourself and look for people who share the same values as you, you will find your family."


My parents divorced when I was only two or three years old. I only saw my mother a couple of times a year when she would pick me up after school and take me to play at the park. I wanted to spend more time with her, but I couldn't, knowing that my parents were separated. At the same time, because my dad had different partners and another family, I mainly lived with relatives, and I only saw him on the weekends.

One time, my father had had a little drink and told me, "I actually love your mother very much and I want to start over with her." I was only in primary school at the time and I didn't understand what he was telling me. All the TV shows I'd watched as a kid told me that if you loved someone, you would love them forever. But it couldn't be further from reality. For a long time, I thought my father was in denial. If he really loved my mother, why was he still with other women? My mother once said to me, "Sometimes even when two people love each other, differences in personalities, family backgrounds, values, etc. can still make it difficult for them to be together."

My parents' words struck me hard and have stayed with me even to this day. I think that growing up in my family, I really didn't think much of relationships - not just romantic relationships, but also familial relationships. Just because you share a home or a biological connection to someone doesn't mean you'll get along with them.

Later, I began to write about human relationships. When I started writing, I didn't think too much of it, I just wanted to write stories that resonated with people. But as I continued writing, I realised that maybe I was writing from my childhood experiences.

I can't say that I fully understand my parents' relationship now - my father has since passed away, so I'll never know the full story - but I find that if you continue to unpack something, you'll find that there is more than one way to see something. Most things in life aren't so black and white and the more you experience, the more you'll understand why humans behave in such contradictory ways.

I once went to see Wyman Wong in concert. He shared that his parents weren't particularly proud of his work as a lyricist. Throughout his whole life, he had struggled to gain recognition and approval from his own family. He said, "You can find new family members. Those friends who appreciate you, they can be your chosen family." I realised then that family isn't just who you live with. The people who you share a connection with, who support you - they can be your chosen family.

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