First Encounter: Racism

The first time I encountered racism, I was five. I was in kindergarten and it came from a fellow classmate whose ethnic origins hailed from Spain. We were in the cafeteria eating lunch and there were tensions at the time between China and the United States. She turned to me and said “Go back to your stupid China!” 

Stupid is a big, bad word for a five year old. (And for any primary school student up until they learn the other bad words.) It cut deep, this hurt. To be rejected for something completely unrelated to me for something we as five year olds didn’t even understand. And to be honest, I’m not from China. 

I was born in the United States, but by simply looking at me, you wouldn’t know this. Yes, I am of Taiwanese descent and I look Asian and that’s the first thing people see when they look at me. People take all sorts of assumptions when they look at someone of color and presume to know if they are American or not. I’m American. I was born in the United States and regardless of the color of my skin, it is how I identify. 

The lesson in this, is that there are witnesses to our actions everywhere. This first encounter hasn’t stopped me from loving people who are different from me, and learning to love my enemies and wish them well. But we need to be aware of the behavior we model in our society, in front of the children. They mimic behavior and repeat words that they hear. They see the antagonism at home and they project it out towards others. Family is a big influencer in our thought processes and our values. When we speak ill of others and wish them harm, someone is witness to this, and we perpetuate this cycle of negativity, hatred, and discord. The innocent can be harsh mirrors of our reality. 

Think before you speak. Think before you act. Ask yourself, “Is this the kind thing to do?” 

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Thoughtful Thursday – 2015 New Year’s Brain Dump

Hello Wonderlanders!

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone starts the new year in good health, and with a fresh start.  Not that you can’t have a fresh start on any other day, but to be cliche, new years are always something exciting.  This post is more like a collection of multiple vignettes from this week that snapshot my thoughts and emotions.  I’m really worried about spamming my subscribers’ inboxes, so I try to collect these.  Eventually when I get better at this coding thing and making everything work, I’ll create an option for people to only receive one newsletter a week.  Count that as a goal.  😉

Since I’ve utterly failed 3/5 days this week to keep to my posted schedule, I’ll be attempting to use the theme for next week.

It’s getting closer to the time for me to move back to the suites and I always get moodier and more anxious when I do so.  This break was, for the most part, relaxing.  But it was overshadowed by anxiety and moodiness, and fights with my mom, and spurts of inspiration among other things.

Nostalgia – My Mom

I love my mom, and we’ll probably never see everything eye to eye, and as crazy as I think she is at times, she’ll always be my mom.  I listen to the advice she gives with a grain of salt, because I know it’s good advice, but I’m stubborn and I’ve got to touch the fire to learn that it really burns.  She knows this too, and she laments that I’m not like my oldest brother who listened to almost everything she said.  But I’ll be okay.  Because I’m different from them.  My oldest brother, in my most recent birthday card wrote,

” One thing I’ve always admired about you is tenacity – you pursue what you want and don’t back down.”

I don’t think I’ve ever quite realized it’s called tenacity.  I’ve always called it sheer stubbornness to my mother’s despair, and her graying hair is evidence of it.

Spoiled. Unproductive.

This week, I wanted to do a lot.  And I did very little of it. I had ideas for what I was going to write, but then I didn’t follow through.  I got sucked into this mood of neediness and insecurity and wanting to spend time with my parents even though I wanted to be away from them already.  My time slipped through my fingers like grains of sand and very little was accomplished.  I still owe my penpals their letters, and my dear dad got me stamps.  He always spoils me in little ways, sometimes behind my mom’s back like when he comes to my suite at 6:30 in the morning to drop off some food for me, or to bring me my jackets because I’m freezing and it’s raining and my roommates like to keep the suite cozy at 70-74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gifts

My mom gave me three big gifts this season.  They are also from my dad, but he doesn’t usually find out til after the bills come in.  I got running shoes from Sketchers from Costco.  This isn’t a big deal, but to me, it means a lot to me that my parents still pay for things that I can afford, especially because I know that they are financially stretched.  My mom, like my Amah (grandma in Taiwanese), likes her lipstick for when she goes out of the house.  If she forgot it in her purse or can’t find it and there’s a beauty department nearby, she’ll sometimes buy a new one.  Which is how she ends up with a small collection of them.  She gave me a really gorgeous Yves St. Laurent lipstick in what I think is their color “Fetish Pink.”  The last gift was her Michael Kors Jet Set Logo Tote in white.  Yes, she’s used the lipstick, and the tote, but it still means much to me to have them.  I’m not trying to brag.  I’m just sharing something that means a lot to me from my parents so that days down or years down the road I can look back at this to try and remember the good from all the negative.  I received many other gifts from friends and family, and they too are cherished items.

Xoxo

Allys

Whatnot Wednesday – A Merry Christmas Eve

Hello Wonderlanders!

I hope that you are having a wonderful time with your family(ies) wherever you are.  It’s the season to celebrate the good, and rejoice over the triumph of the less fortunate things that have happened in your lives.  I was going to do a post under Wedding Wednesdays under Christmas weddings, but then I realized that I didn’t really have any friends who would have a wedding at this time of the year that I know of.  This post is a bit more personal than my other posts, because I’ll be talking about my life at home and the things I experience.

I’ve wanted to write to pen pals for a long time, but never really had anyone to do it with.  Finding pen pals online was not an option because my internet use was limited as a child and throughout high school.  I never thought about it until I was on Instagram and started seeing a whole community of snail mailers who keep the art alive. After reading over several pen pal wanted ads, I finally responded to maybe 20 of them. By the end of day one, I had agreed to exchange letters with maybe 8 people.  By the end of day two, 14.  Tonight?  I’m on my 15th.  This is my cap for now.  It’s already a bit overwhelming thinking about how many people I have to start letters to, but it will be so worth it. I have 5 Stateside, and 10 international now, ranging from ages 16-36.  I think there is lots to be learned from people of different ages and from all over the world.  Learning is one of my passions, and letter writing will definitely foster that passion.  I’ll write more about the letters as time goes on, but I am definitely excited to be making new friends and seeing the world in a different way.

*I am writing this here as a bit of a warning that the rest of this post will be a bit of a downer.  If you want to maintain your holiday cheer, I’d like to bid you adieu, and enjoy your time with family and friends.*

It’s been a little bit of a rough week due to family issues.  In previous posts I had mentioned that home was a major trigger for me.  My mom has control issues and me being a round peg and not fitting into her square box personally is driving her nuts.  Her going nuts translates to me having various mood swings and wanting to be alone.  The person who patiently suffers through all of this is my dad, and I cannot thank him enough for his support.

Today is my brother’s birthday, and it sucked.  He is on parole and may possibly be incarcerated for violating his parole.  There are many ways he could have circumnavigated or prevented this instance of violation, but it occurred anyway which will be casting a dour mood on the rest of my holidays mainly because my mom is now uptight and anxious about what will happen to him.  He’s the middle child and my mom still babies him because he’s her natural born youngest, and he also did a good job blaming her for most of his troubles.  Not everyone who gets incarcerated is guilty, nor are they all innocent, but deep down in your heart when its someone you really know, you know what the truth is.  It doesn’t change that I love him, but I am angry at him, and respect him less, for the way he has handled things.  It’s a point of contention between our mom and I, but I know she’ll always choose him and that’s alright with me.

If you make the conscious decision to complete an action, take responsibility for the consequences, good or bad.  By doing so, you are truly being an adult.  When your words say a separate thing from your actions, no matter how mature you think you are, you aren’t.  It doesn’t matter if you have mental health issues – somewhere in your head, in your heart, deep within, you know right from wrong.  Accept your decisions as your own, and shoulder your responsibility instead of making it someone else’s cross to bear.

Wishing everyone the best from the bottom of my heart,

Allys