Miller’s daughter

On ABC’s Once Upon A Time season 2, it is revealed that the Evil Queen Regina’s mother Cora is the daughter of a lowly miller. When she was young, she was once humiliated by a mean king and a young princess for her low social status despite of her wit and beauty. The humiliation became a fuel for her evilness. With the help of dark magic, she eventually married to a weak-minded prince and gave birth to a pure and innocent Regina, but her desire for power deprived Regina of love, thus turning Regina into a ruthless evil queen.

It reminds me of own upbringing. If I didn’t get to stay semi-anoynmous on this blog, I probably wouldn’t openly talk about this. I don’t mind telling people my parents are the definition of grassroots, but I seldom admit to people my father is a construction worker.

In my culture,  “construction worker” is the like synonym of  “gross, dirty, uneducated blue collar man”. This is how someone would use the term in a derogatory way.

“I was in the subway this morning. It was really crowded. When the doors were about to close, a dude forced himself in. He was stinky and his skin was pressing against mine. He was like a construction worker. Can you imagine how gross it was?”

Every time when I hear someone using term “construction worker” in a context like this, I feel like tell them, “By the way, my dad is one.” It’s not that I’m really offended. I know they don’t mean my dad is gross because they obviously have never met him, but I just thought perhaps they should be more sensitive when they talk. Of course, I’m not the kind of person to make a scene, so I never really added that “by the way” in any group conversation. Only  a handful of people know of this.

Sometimes I wonder if it makes me one of those people who are ashamed of their roots. I’m still pretty conflicted about it. I don’t have the desire to become an upperclass elite, say, to marry rich or to rise to the top as a CEO of some fortune 500 company. I have acquainted some of these so-called elites. Fortunately enough, I don’t usually feel looked down because for some strange reason, I have an air that often makes people mistake me as someone from a middle class background, but I know I don’t belong to that world.

It’s not like I don’t sometimes wish I came from a better background, then my life would have been so much easier. I wouldn’t have to try so hard and remind fruitless at times. One of the biggest regrets in my life is that I never attended a truly prestigious school.  Even though I was smart enough to get into one, I wasn’t able to afford it. Every time when I hear about the corrupt lifestyle of trust fund babies, I just can’t help but to want to smack someone.

However, there are also moments when I’m grateful for my upbringing. My parents obviously don’t have much, but they gave me everything they have. They  gave my the luxury of freedom to do whatever I wanna do, which is very, very, very important to a strong-headed person like me. From my acquaintance with those trust fund babies, I’ve learned that freedom and choices are taken from them the moment they were born into those clans. Sure they have the “freedom” to travel to different parts of the world or to party at any club they want, but they can’t pursue their passion because everything is planned for, from school to major to career to marriage. Now that I think about it, the upperclass functions more like Game of Thrones than Gossip Girl.

To convince myself every hardship is a blessing in disguise, I often hypnotize myself that my humble background makes my accomplishments more noteworthy. It’s true that I was born into a family of nobody. My mother once told me she knew my life would be stale, I would end up being average for the rest of my life if she didn’t spend every dime to send me away for college.

I’m very glad my mother, though uneducated, is a loving and selfless mother. That being a good mother has nothing to do with one’s occupation.


About Nicky

Nicky English is a journalist, an educator, a podcaster, a couch potato, a dreamer, and a child at heart. Learning is her passion, so is the English language, which she believes is the tool to unlock the door of knowledge. Born in Hong Kong, she received intensive writing training at The University of Iowa, where she double-majored in journalism and political science. Apart from the Hawkeye State, she’s lived in Chicago and Philadelphia. When she was a guest student at Georgetown University, she fell in love with Washington, D.C. She also has a Master of Arts in Communication. A little side note—she cannot imagine a world without her Mac and iDevices. Like many crazy ones, she hopes to change the world one day at a time.
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