I need to remember who I am without my grandma, my mother, in order to progress and not regress when I return home. I need to be conscious of the ways in which I’ve improved, and in that security of who I am and who I want to be, keep a strong eye on what it is in my grandma and my mother that I do not wish to take, and prevent these things from seeping into my still impressionable mind.
- I should not push onto others what I think is good. I should not push onto others anything. I will keep myself to myself unless asked.
- I should not comment whatsoever on anything about others. Compliments should be reserved for that which they deliberately chose, which means I can compliment an outfit, but not a character trait, and not one’s bodily appearance. I especially should not comment on anyone’s eating habits. Because any sort of influence on a person is negative: I don’t want to push anyone in any direction; a person should float free and choose in which direction they should go.
I want to love China. I want this culture that is somehow supposed to be mine, which I am supposed to represent — I want to be able to cherish it, to have Asian Pride, to bring it forcefully crashing against whiteness, against assimilation.
But here’s a secret.
I hate China.
I hate the hyper-humble performative act. I hate the objectification of women, of children, of anyone really. I hate the easy fulfillment of roles stratified solely by age and gender. I hate that every single type of person has an articulated ideal: three days here with my grandmother and I already know exactly the person I was supposed to be: conscientiously neat, quiet, domestic, impeccably caring, studious, successful. Even what I eat: it’s never enough, and if it’s enough, perhaps maybe then we can criticize the ratio? I hate being called ‘mei nu’ by strangers, as if the most important part of my being such that it must be included in my title is that I must be ‘pretty’. I hate sitting in between two adults and hearing the same conversation about my round face but long legs and eating habits and my too-hyped piano playing and my university and how well I care for my grandmother.
It took being away from family to fully realize how oppressive the culture is, and yet it took even more time away from family to realize that it may not be oppressive at all. Who am I to say what is right? But I can say this: I can say what is right for me. I am American. Narcissistic individualism and tanned skin run in my veins. I don’t want to be Chinese; I never can be Chinese.
And the only thing I suppose I can hope for now is that one phrase I heard from someone not too long ago: that this situation — my self-loathing but hyper-aware being — is the flawed but necessary transition to a better ideal come next generation.
a middle aged asian man is doing walking leg exercises in the airplane aisle and you think about what you and melody decided on that defined the attitude or china: a stubborn disregard for shit. a blatant inability to feel embarrassment in publc places. they’re doing it right, really, you think.
somehow, I have taken to the habit
when I see an asian human
living, moving, breathing
of wondering how I would perceive them were they white
a cultural difference in love; a gap that not only cannot be crossed but is mistaken for its antithesis
a forcing of an identity: one which I do not want, one which I am born into and out of, one that I will never escape and so: I must embrace it, turn it inside out, understand
an understanding of the quiet, of the frustrated silence, of the obnoxious loudness borne of overcompensation; unthreatening femininity handed down as an heirloom, a protective amulet, a lucky charm which we, the new generation of Americans, either hide under our pillows or crush with our Converse, our Vans, our olive skin a protective shield against the smooth pale softness that would connect us to our alien doppelgängers, those of the anime and brand-name knockoffs and that despised docility
a new hardened vigilant position against those Americans I so long to be; a sharp explanation of their privilege, an internal conversion of perceptions of ineptitude to that of a differing experience; an understanding that some reasons are not individual but collective, though frustrating that distant collectivity of our kind may be, it is still our kind and our kind is not wrong; I understand this now; I understand that the desire to learn must not be sparked by intimidation but by a curiosity, one that I have the permission to expect — should expect — to be reciprocated
i had a horrible day yesterday. so i woke up early to pick up my friend and go to perform with the band at the reopening of some store. so i go and play for about 20 minutes. super lame.
later we go home, and i chill for like half an hour until my soccer game. we leave, we get there late, but no one else is there. the game starts, we have 3 subs. of course i know what that means. i am subbed about half the time. it sucks. we lose 4-1. that was possibly my last game ever in my entire life. i don’t know why i was so hopeful in making the freshman team. if my coach will barely play me in rec, how can i ever get on a high school team with competitive girls? anyway, no one else on my team made it to school teams either.
get home, play piano and chill until we give my brother presents (i got him a hat) and we leave for my mom’s friend’s baptism pot-sticker making party. too bad, once i get there i start feeling awful and sick and crunched over in pain. i couldn’t stand up straight, so while all kids had fun, i lay on the ground (cause there was no where else) and listened to my iPod and just lay there. good thing lying down made the pain go away, so i fell asleep and 5 hours went by pretty fast.
we ate potstickers, but they were gross and the one that wasn’t gross i ate way too much of which did not help my stomach problem.
we got home, and i miserably went upstairs and slept.
well today, my mom is getting baptized, so i want to make today a good day. my stomach is feeling a ton better. i actually slept 9 hours last night. NINE HOURS!!!! that is insane….
lets hope today goes better 🙂