Saturday, April 16, 2011

Farewell My Fatubine

(Title not meant to be a quip.  It was on my mind, but yes, thank you for returning my movie =D)

Dear Fat,

I burned over 2600 calories on Sunday by jogging for 13.2 miles and then hiking mostly uphill for another 3.  I also burned my skin.  Being white must be terrible . . .

which leads into the subject of being Asian (you like how smooth that transition was?)

A child growing up with embarrassing Asian parents learns several important lessons on her own:

1) Fobbiness is embarrassing.
2) White people are inherently cooler.
    and even more from her parents:

    3) A?  A?  Why isn't this an A+?
    4) Being fat is terrible and will never allow you to find a husband.
    5) I bought all this food for you. EAT IT!

    These conflicts prevented me from really appreciating my little bit of culture for far too long.  I think it also stunted the relationship I have with my family.

    Let's face it: I'm lazy.  Without my parents, I probably would have tried to get through life by just skimming the surface.  Relative to the standards that I have, I guess I am skimming the surface, but at least this well ingrained fear of disappointing others keeps me moving along.

    But let's go beyond that: I know that I have never had to struggle in my life the way that those in our parents' generation did.  Although I often heard stories about their childhoods and how they would lack for things such as milk and proper clothing, I'm not sure that I could picture the emotional scope of this life until I started watching Chinese films like Farewell My Concubine and To Live.  Yes, it's kind of sad that I had to learn these things from movies, but these particular movies were powerful in depicting how simple individuals lost their traditions and bought into the promises of each new government as they struggled to preserve their dignity and protect their loved ones.  No, my parents' lives were not nearly that dramatic, but I never knew before how to picture the poverty and to hear the propaganda of their time.  I've seen a lot of foreign films set and/or made in different time periods, but watching these, I felt something different stir inside of me--where I was genuinely moved by the history of my people.  Like the histories of many other peoples, it is defined mainly by struggle and disappointment.

    Living here now in modern-day America, what do I have to complain about?  I have too much to eat?  These leafy greens are a little wilted and yellow now, so I'll throw them out.  I spend too much money?  I'm being paid to go to school in a time when others can't find jobs, and I still can't live sustainably.  I don't like my job?  I have come to realize that I don't really know what to do with myself if I'm not working on something.  Writing this blog is probably the most productive use of my procrastination time.  But here's my way of thinking now: my life isn't really that hard.  Yes, I'm disappointed, but that doesn't mean I can't keep moving towards something.  This idea helps when I'm convincing myself to work a little harder in lab, at exercise, at anything, really, on any particular day.  I also need to remember that I have never ended up quite where I wanted to be, but things have generally turned out okay.

    With skin peeling off of my shoulders,