It has been a minute since the last update.
very a little disappointed in myself for not writing as much. This is my creative outlet and I know i haven’t been creating lately. Bleh. I made an awkward promise to myself today to not to neglect the writing. After all, you can’t nurture the craft if you don’t practice. And I should nurture this, because writing is the happy place. And I’ve no reason not to. Even if this turns into a personal headspace of random thoughts sans direction, it is, at the very least, an exercise in discipline. So here goes the promise.
Read on, lovelies.
My writing isn’t always a reflection of my personal life, but that doesn’t mean what i write isn’t deeply personal. There are times when I listen to a song that means everything in that moment and I become inspired to write as if I had taken a page from its melody and turning it to my own. My thoughts as of late.
On turning 32 and the close of 2018. There is an ache that lives in my chest. One that creeps up like clockwork for hours on end. The kind that makes you want to just sit and reflect on the kitchen floor of a past life and the goodness of an ending.
For as long as I could remember, I couldn’t wait to be in my 30s. I had been a hopeful wee child with silly makeshift wisdom and a longing for becoming an adult. When I turned 32, Google prompted me to look at before and now photos from 10 years ago. As I perused photos of when I was just 22, the decade old memories were blooming with optimism and strewn with flower crowns. I had moved to San Jose that January and by mid year, took my first domestic flight on my own to the great state of Texas. Hashtag adulting.
When you’re in your 20s, everything has a timeline and you think if you followed it you’ll be fine. But not even good storytelling could justify just how inadequate that is. The whole of my 20s was a path of moving forward with structure and 401K’s and security. Now that I’m starting my 30s, I can see what the 20s meant. I was at the center of a cultural divide with what it means to be Chinese growing up with traditions and values unlike those of my parents. They wanted what every immigrant parent would want for their children – security, suburbia and a stable life, (a mediocre one if lucky). I wanted freedom, acceptance and a life of creativity and thought. They were more than disappointed most of the time.
But I was always at arm’s length, even with all the pitfalls, the near misses, wishing and wanting for something else. I didn’t want to disappoint them more than they already were. But I was always reluctant for my life to be a series of always striving for an identity so I tried to balance both. I studied Literature and not science. I resided in Cali but lived 6 hours away. My first real job was editing content for a teeny startup, not working for a Fortune 500 firm. My first meaningful relationship was with kept in secret. I didn’t get married in my 20s. I wanted to try teaching.
My independence at that time was defined by little rebellious acts of a very dreamy girl trapped in a family of traditions and old school mindsets. Traditions that were at times completely foreign to me. I could not read or write Chinese and my limited speech is shameful but i felt the goodness in belonging to a part of something unique even though the Chinese side of me resented the conventional thinking. The struggle to find a middle ground was always challenging.
It was the life of strange beauty and the agony of a twisted path for a 20 something girl in two realms. The Chinese side and the American side. Who thought about the long drive ahead…?
Now in my 30s, I have finally made some strides in finding a true balance. As the year comes to a close, I am reflecting on what has been an era it has been. It feels as though I am walking through a door and shutting it for good. I am no longer trying to please my parents. They will deal. I am finally becoming that adult that I’ve always wanted to be.
2018 was a monumental year. I had made a bold decision to leave my little life back home behind and take a journey toward something strange. It may not be much to anyone really, but for someone who lived a highly bubbled life, this was a huge walk-on-the-moon-for-the-first-time moment. This is also not to lighten how many judgements I received from people I knew, strangers and friends alike.
I suppose what I want to convey in my writings is that finding yourself and your voice beneath the clatter of cultural and generational gaps is possible if you never forget the power of your own strength. For me, it is like a snapshot of time condensed in a fragile space in this one moment of realization and knowing your future self is writing to you now, letting you know that everything will be okay.
I know that being happy can seem like an anomaly, but I can say without avoiding any gazes or crossing my fingers behind my back that, at this very moment, I feel like the sun. I know I will always look upon this time, not without a sense of melancholy, that this was the happiest time of my life.