The Grossness of Interest Entitlement

I’m not even really sure how I’m going to write this but I’m going to start and see where it goes.

I used to tolerate politely how guys flirted with me or showed interest in me because I took what I could and tried to work with it. Even if how they acted didn’t exactly make me feel good. Even if they weren’t even at least attentive to me in bed. I guess you could more than say that my self-esteem wasn’t great. I would do this even when I knew they didn’t like me all that much. I would start acting up and they would give me headaches. I was sadly comforted by the dysfunctions because it was a reflection upon myself.

This happened often as well when I wasn’t comfortable with my looks. If I felt like they were just interested in me for my looks and to bang me, I would feel like shit. Then when I was alone, I would eat to protect myself from that. It was weird. I never put those pieces together until recently.

My own interest was never important to me. I would try to make their interest work. I would fill in their blanks for them. I would make excuses and accept when they made them. I would rationalize for them by telling criticizing my own self and believe them when they said that I was getting too worked up because sometimes I did, but looking back, it was when their passive interest was driving my insecurities and I forced my own attachment too much to say fuck it.

Now that I understand how to put myself before someone else’s interest until I can gauge it myself… Some of the encounters I’ve had have been gross, to say the least. If I’m unsure about my interest in someone but they showed theirs with me first, I wait to gauge by how they go about it. If it’s passive, or wishy-washy, it doesn’t do it for me and I’m pretty upfront about it. I’m baffled by the reaction to it. The response I can get is like they expected me to accept this low level of show and think it was okay. They would insult me, backhand talk at me, or say some racist shit.

Sometimes there were guys who couldn’t understand why I wasn’t interested in having sex with them just because that’s what they wanted. I had one guy in my past who fiddled with me to fuck me and I totally fell for it. We sort of bumped into each other and when I mentioned that I wasn’t a fan of him for that situation, he told me that for what it was worth, he was attracted to me. There was not one apology or acknowledgment of his douchebaggery. The next words to come out of him was asking if I still lived in my old hood, with a tone that spoke of a potential hook up and that’s when I shut it down. I told him this conversation was over and I never want us to acknowledge each other’s presence ever again. I felt gross even having a conversation with him but I thought hey, it’d be a few years, people grow. Instead, I wanted to throw up in my mouth. Even after those few years, he still thought he was entitled to fuck me and thought I’d go along with it.

Gaslighting is something I’m only starting to really get an understanding of. Guys did this to me a lot and I always thought it was me. I thought I was crazy until I realize they spoke to me like I was so I thought I was, even though what I was doing was just being straight-forward and you know, mature. I’d call out misinformation they told. I’d call out when they told me something that didn’t match what they said of it before. Or question why they were lying about something. They were quick on the defensive and quick to talk to me that was to say, mind your own fucking business. Uhm, no. If you are trying to get with me, you best have yourself in check and real. I maintain my standard of honesty and integrity with myself and the best that I can with others. I’m not about to put that aside for someone who doesn’t.

It’s gross to me how someone can go so aggressively at me about my looks. It used to scare me that I attracted guys like this so I would subconsciously try to protect myself from it. Now that I can own my looks and not have their say in it, I can deflect it. Look, I don’t mind a compliment. I’ve learned to graciously accept them. I also know I’m not ugly and these days, I am confident in how I look because I like how I look to myself. But when it’s all you’re focusing on and you’re coming at me about in a manner that is the equivalent to a teenage boy finding porn and attempting to masturbate to it for the first time, it’s not chill. I’m not an object that you can persistently come at. See, that’s where I get annoyed. Most people, if you ignore their this kind of behavior, will stop. They don’t continue. But some do. If I’m lucky, they’ll resort to calling me names and telling me I’m a stupid bitch anyways and then stop.

The rate that I’m seeing this now and rejecting is crazy to me. Who do these guys think they are?

Sept 17th, two years ago, last year & this year

On this day two years ago, I was in Winnipeg on a whirlwind trip that was less than 48 hours. I didn’t want to go. I ended up going because my ex at the time didn’t want to be away from me too long and was willing to fly me out. I voiced my hesitation but in the end, I went with his wishes because I wanted us to work and it would make him happy.

I had a miserable time there. I found out the life he told me and that I saw in Vancouver, was a different tale he told back at his home. His family life wasn’t as close as he made it out to be and he ignored me most of the time instead of introducing me to his friends as I thought he would. They asked me questions I didn’t know how to answer because it was different from what I was living with him back home. They didn’t even know of the person we were fighting about back home. I hated it there yet I tried so hard to convince myself that I could make this work. That I could make Winnipeg work. We had plans to get married. I was really stupid.

When that relationship ended, it was the crisis I needed to realize that shit needed to change, I needed to change. I made a promise to myself that I would work on myself. I didn’t keep that promise very well in the beginning. It was really tough but I kept trying.

This time last year, I started a new job that I couldn’t believe I even got. I had plans to quit my previous job just five days before but instead of two weeks notice, I was so fucking fed up, I made it effective immediately. I remember waking up the next day after I pulled that shit and going, what the fuck do I do now? I had nothing lined up and the reality of that hit me hard. But it was the beginning of me understanding faith. I told myself that if this was meant to be the right choice than something better was going to come along if I put in the work. So I hustled the fuck out of job hunting and then I got a better job.

This led me to take another step into the unknown a month later by saying fuck this to living any longer with my roommate at the time. It was something I should’ve done months ago but she convinced me rent was too high in Vancouver to live on my own and I didn’t believe myself an adult enough so I believed her instead. I snapped on that misery too and gave notice without even finding a place first. I put it in faith’s hands that there was better and I would find it. I found the place I’m currently at and at the time, even now, it’s right for me (even though the laundry is garbage). I got pretty lucky with the rent as well, to be honest, so there you have that.

Flash forward to today. My lease is up next month but I’m going to continue living here because, on my own, it’s good enough for me. It took a few months to build a home out of it but it’s been the first home I’ve ever felt since being on my own. It’s been a place I can have people over and feel comfortable about it. It’s got a welcoming and cozy vibe to it that I dig, that I set up. I actually don’t tend to have people over but the option is there when my place isn’t a complete mess.

I started a job a month ago that is what I’ve been looking for with a company that wanted me a year ago but I declined because they couldn’t offer what I wanted. It’ll be a job that I will either be valued at or will give me experience for a much better one a year from now. I finally feel a sense of responsibility and autonomy in a position for the first time in my life. It’s been a rocky road with jobs this year and employment but it’s recently beginning to find a steadier footing.

Two years ago, I was an emotional mess in a relationship with a guy I didn’t even really like. I started therapy because of him and I’m so grateful I did because my therapist opened my eyes to who he was and that I wasn’t crazy for my thoughts of him. It was hard coming to terms with how stupid I was and it wasn’t easy to genuinely forgive myself and believe that I wasn’t going to be the same stupid person. It didn’t help that for that year after I was still distracting myself with dating because I didn’t know how to use my time properly but it was the first time that I was attempting to try for myself.

A year ago, I was still a mess but this time a mess in my own space, on my own. I shed my miseries and only had myself and my own doubts to face. I had lived on my own before but I wasn’t ready at the time but this time I knew I was. I was more determined than ever to be my own person and attempted to bust my ass and was getting there, even though it was pretty poorly. I stopped distracting myself so much by filling my time with guys even though there was a couple I got attached to. Thankfully, I got over them and haven’t looked back since. I made the decision to put myself on anti-depressants to help keep the big emotions at bay while I tried to learn proper ones.

Today, I stand on my own two feet. Not alone, because I am blessed enough to have people who let me know I’m not alone, even when I feel the loneliest. I was in a relationship that I believed in too much but I’ve grown enough to not invest in it and move on for now, maybe forever. I’ve busted my ass off this year to get to where I am now. I worked through a death, a roofie incident and a somewhat emotionally abusive relationship. I made it through them and as I went through these things, I was still learning ways to take care of myself. I’m not as self-destructive as I used to be and I don’t think I ever will be that way to the level that I was again because I’ve learned to love myself.

Today, I see myself and have allowed others to see me. I don’t have that sense of isolation, hiding or invisibility anymore. I’m no longer on the anti-depressants because I’ve learned emotional regulation that I can handle on my own now. I still stumble but I don’t hide it anymore because I’ve learned to open up about it with people who remind me to be gentle instead of dismissive of me. I’m not as self-absorbed in my own issues now that I’ve learned to connect more with the world. I’ve come to accept the flaws of me and the parts of me that I thought would get rejected. I don’t distract myself with dating anymore because now that I’ve learned to make it something that I have a choice in, instead of something to fill my time and void, I’ve lost interest in trying. I’m happy doing my own thing and once I realized that loneliness was the driving force of it, and really recognize it without defensiveness, I was able to overcome it with the help of my friends.

Two years ago, I was in love with the wrong person and in the wrong place. Last year, I didn’t know what love was. This year, I found love in the right place and with the right people. It’s been a journey and I’m not there yet. I still fumble but I’m not as lost. I don’t downplay how far I’ve come because I acknowledge the amount of work I’ve put into where I am right now. I shed a lot of who I thought I was, who I used to be and old thought patterns and mindsets that were holding me back. I believe in the depths of me rather than thinking I’m deep down shallow because I’m not sophisticated.

Today, I look in the mirror and see who I am instead of confused at who’s looking back at me.

 

 

 

The Learning of Being Kind To Myself

TO YOURSELF

For three years, it has always been a personal goal of mine to squat 200lbs in this pink Betsey Johnson dress someone gave me years ago. I decided what better time to hit this vision than for my 30th birthday next month? I’d done the program before, it’ll be great! I can do it!

Confession: I did day one of it and decided to stop the program.

I had to be honest with myself and say I didn’t want to commit to it. I wanted flexibility in my life. I knew deep down that I’d be giving myself low-key anxiety with the rigidness of the program because I’d be putting expectations on myself. I would’ve drowned in the guilt if I didn’t keep to the program because I’d rather be doing something else. I settled on telling myself that, after my birthday, I’ll be 30 for 365 days and that’s 365 days to still pull this shit off. I’d honestly rather be putting my time into practicing driving and getting my licence by my 30th because if this happens, I can do anything and I’ll be crying. I’d rather be crying over that.

Also, the open mic thing will be on a Monday and I had to tell myself, I’d rather watch my friend do something he’d always wanted to do and join him on it. On the program, I’d have to choose between the two so I chose while I’m ahead. I want the flexibility to work on material and maybe meet up with him before the day so we can politely smile at each other’s attempts at jokes.

I mean, I’m still going to go to the gym. I’m just not going to just go when a program tells me to. As long as I go and keep at it, it’s what’s going to matter. Powerlifting is always going to be there for me as long as I put in the effort. It’s like the supportive boyfriend that believes in me and just wants me to do my best, whatever way that works for me. I’m the overthinking girlfriend who doesn’t want to disappoint him by not being as great as him because he’s sculpted like a God and makes me feel weird things when I see him deadlifting all those 45lbs plates. I just want to be good enough while he’s reassuring me, “Babe, you are good enough, do it how it works best for you. I’m not telling you what to do. Don’t put that on you or us.” And I’m crying because he’s being so understanding and perfect.

I feel guilty when I make decisions for myself that isn’t about “being healthy”. I made the decision to catch up with a couple of my closest friends this week and eat and drink an amount that I’m paying for in carb face and belly. I can’t look in the mirror right now because it’s pretty bad and I don’t want to see the evidence on my face. I went to the gym twice this week because I currently have a tweaked neck from work and acupuncture did not help it as I thought it would. I’ve been getting migraines. This wasn’t a good physical week for me.

Come Sunday, I’m telling myself it’s okay. To not take all this anxiety and guilt seriously. To be honest with myself with the fact that I am not a rigid person. I like structure but I need flexibility within that structure. Also, I am not very disciplined and trying to really force that shit on myself will make me go into a self-sabotaging mode and if I go deep enough, it can get ugly. Also things like, I was mindful of my neck and didn’t want to make it worse because of my guilty ego. I’ve been kind to myself about it. I’ve been talking myself through the anxiety and guilt. Mind you, I still feel them but I don’t feel them seriously.

That’s the reminder I have to tell myself. To not take my overthinking anxiety seriously. To remind myself who I am now and that person won’t just say fuck it, and bask in the piece of shit mode. To remind myself that I’m totally a responsible adult and believe it. Tomorrow is the start of a new week and there are no expectations that I’ve put on myself for it. My neck will get back to normal eventually.

Being kind to myself is tough but it’s something I have to learn without spoiling myself when I try. I didn’t understand this difference for a long time.

Re-Aligning Myself

Confession: Lately I’ve been feeling intensely lonely.

What started as a minor feeling devolved into the root of why I feel that way. Instead of pushing it down, I kept asking questions. I didn’t like the answer and before I knew it, I was realizing how much of the truth of my loneliness I buried deep, deep down inside of me. Instead of feeling shame about it, I started a conversation with a few close friends. I’m still feeling it and I’m allowing it, but I’m also very mindful of how false it is.

I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself because I am seeing so many directions I want to go. I feel the passion of it all the same to them but I can’t make up my mind. I need a second to take a step back, breathe and align myself back up. Even if it means taking a night off from a task. It’s not life or death. I’m allowed to make it up. I’m fighting the guilt about choosing this.

I’m so open to opportunities that it somewhat holds me back. My head keeps turning in all sorts of directions and my attention span is overturned by the excitement of everything. When I start being flighty, I start feeling doubt from what is basically the confusion of making a choice. I want to do everything then collapse from the expectations I put on myself. It’s become easier to manage now that I’ve learned to recognize the disability I have with learning. I’m not effective enough at it to multi-task all these ambitions but I’m getting there.

I’m grateful for the friends who have been giving me the push to straighten myself out. A sloppy night resulted in a promise to do open mic together. It’s weird how standup has been something that’s idly stuck over the past few years. I thought maybe this year would just pass without it but I’ll be signing up and bombing again in a couple of weeks, this time with a friend so we bomb together. I don’t think it’s a thing I’m meant to do but in its own way, it’s been something that challenges me awkwardly. Maybe this time will be better. Actually, anything will be better than the last time I did it. I’m almost somewhat excited to see if I’m any better and surprised about it because of last time. I should be running scared but I’m not. Fuck it, let’s do this.

Aligning right now means showing up in other places while putting other stuff on hold while I figure out what’s important to balance. Shit is about to get real in the next couple of months and I’ve yet to sit down with myself and ask if I’m even ready for it. Deep down, I know I am but the mentality needs to be there too. I’m thankful I’m not in my own head about this and the conversations have been helping. I’m connecting more with my life and the people in it than ever. It takes away that void I used to try to fill otherwise and it helps me come to terms with what I need to be doing. They help me be gentle with myself instead of harsh for being foolish or indecisive and feeling all over the place. Opening up has kept me grounded even though I wasn’t quite there initially and for a while.

I think I’ve got my writing voice back again. We’ll see how true it is by how often I’ll show up. Let’s see where I am still in a couple of weeks.

The Body That Confidence Built

All of my life I’ve been pretty self-conscious with my body. I’ve always found it kind of strange because privately, I can’t keep clothes on except for my underwear. In public though, I’d usually pretty covered up. If I showed skin, there was always a part of me that felt like I was trying hard and had this back of the mind anxiety that someone was going to call me out on it and I’d have to sit down. How I wanted to feel couldn’t match how I did feel and it was a mess trying to make it work on the outside.

When I felt good about myself, I hid it. When I had the best body I’ll ever have, I took it for granted by being so insecure about it. There are many photos to remind me of how it looked but at the time, I couldn’t own it. There was always shame when I felt proud. I thought I would come off as shallow for it. It didn’t matter to me all the work I put in. I always told myself I could do more, do better and someone would see that and call me out on it. I was scared to be the phony I worked up in my head that I was.

I felt comfort but pretty shitty when my body was on the chubbier side. It was my coping mechanism. I’ve learned now it was a form of self-protection from really connecting with people or at least what I saw as “proper people” romantically. It was a form of self-sabotage to keep me feeling the way I felt inside about myself. To prove that self-loathing because I didn’t think I was deserving of my body otherwise. I’d use any stressful excuse to eat myself into a miserable hole. Sometimes it was so bad that I’d eat until I’d almost throw up and then continue eating because I felt I deserved the gluttony that I was feeling. I never even threw any of that miserable eating up. I kept it all in because I was so shit with myself, I felt like I had to sit with my disgustingness and not cop out by throwing it up and away. When I could, I’d excuse it as me just trying to have a fat day and enjoy myself.

You’d never know that by looking at me or talking to me though. No one did. It was a secret about myself I hid it very, very well. You also couldn’t tell because no one was really paying that close attention to me and it was all in my head. I was my own worst critic and so incredibly hard on myself. I constantly got myself into situations with people that would leave me rejected. I was in arrested development with style for so long because I didn’t know how to dress because of my poor body image. I always dressed down or looked cheap when I tried to show skin and “look sexy”. Or when I wanted to dress pretty, it felt like I was overdressed and I would feel anxious. I was too scared to own who I wanted to be because I spent most of my life thinking I could never do enough for it. So I’d eat myself back into a comfortable misery.

I also didn’t know at the time that I was scared of ever genuinely feeling the word “sexy”. I wasn’t whole on the inside so I was scared of attracting the wrong people who just liked me for my body instead of me as a whole. I fulfilled that by attracting those people anyways. I never did attract the ones who would throw me away like trash but I sure as shit attracted the ones who were flimsy with their interest and too passive to let me know the truth about that. I would get crushed by it and put it on myself. I went through a lot of headaches subjecting myself to a lot of gross behavior from guys. I definitely tolerated more than I should have. But I couldn’t feel attractive to myself so I tried to find the approval on the outside and I was self-conscious for even that.

I know this is going to sound weird but I also had this weird anxiety about being rude if I owned my confidence. I think it was a girl issue thing. I’m not exactly sure how to explain or pinpoint it but I didn’t want girls comparing themselves to me and I would feel shitty about that too. This anxiety made me feel arrogant and I didn’t want to blow smoke up my own ass. There were times I’d slow down my hustle because of this and I always knew it was weird but I didn’t stop myself from this either.

I’ve been working on owning who I am and who I’d like to be this year more than ever and I’ve allowed myself to feel proud of the work I put in. It’s the first time that I’ve felt this way and it stuck. It’s a confidence that I know isn’t going to go away because I know how hard I continue to keep working. My body isn’t the best out there but at this maintenance, it’s enough for me. It can get better and it probably will. But whatever confidence and work I put into it will always be what’s enough for me now. I can now feel this way because I know my efforts aren’t shallow. There’s hustle. There’s grind. It might not be the hardest work out there compared to others but that doesn’t dismiss how hard I work. Just because I’m fundamentally lazy doesn’t mean that I won’t put that aside to get the work that needs to get done. I take care of my body now rather than fight with it.

I’m also learning my own terms of sexy. How I dress reflects how I feel on the inside and how I think I am. It’s kind of trashy at times but it’s within my style. I feel more at ease embracing this rather than the discomfort of hiding all the time. I repeat to myself that I’m allowed to feel good about myself and it’s the air I’ll exude rather than shoving it in people’s face. Everything is coming from the inside out and manifesting. I look in the mirror these days and see who I am and don’t hide from her anymore because she’s a fucking boss to me.

It’s been a while since I’ve binge ate the way I did before. I still have fat days but they don’t happen so frequently anymore. I’m no longer afraid of attracting the wrong guys by dressing the way I feel like because I don’t have a fear of myself anymore. Come owning myself came owning my choice to how I choose to respond to grossness and it’s no longer with a patience of politeness. I don’t have intense sweet or carb cravings anymore because I don’t feel the guilt I did about eating as before. I like the skin I show and even though my stomach isn’t perfect all the time, the shape of me is what I like and I have worked my ass lately for it. I know how to dress up and have a bit of style now. It’s still not great but it’s improving. I’ve been debating on buying a sewing machine just so I can tailor my clothes a bit more to me because I know how much of a difference that would make.

Even when it came to other females, I’ve stopped feeling that anxiety and insecurity. Like many people of any gender, the right people will lift you as you lift them. You encourage and support each other and not lowkey want to tear the other person down. If you feel any comparison that makes you feel like you have to dim yourself a little to make them feel better, maybe it’s not the right friendship or relationship for you. If it’s people who aren’t willing to help themselves or they’re just lying and want you to lower down so they can keep their lie, leave them. I’ve learned it’s not your responsibility to make people feel better because they’re not willing to do it themselves. You honestly can’t feel bad for surpassing people when they weren’t moving that much along.

It took me a long time to let go of external environments, thoughts, and anxiety to get to where I am. It took looking at myself and past it.  My body was never the problem; it was my mental and emotional state. It took a lot of work to believe I deserved the self-care I was teaching myself to give myself. It took even more to own it and allow myself to keep it. It took me a long time to understand how I wanted to feel about myself to myself and that it doesn’t have to be cool. I’m not cool. I don’t think I’ll ever be cool but you know, I can be other things that can equate to that or better.

To my body, I’m sorry for everything I put you through but I’m glad we’re getting along now. I promise to take the best care of you and to push you to limits you didn’t think was possible. To help you keep stay strong while you get even stronger. To keep you good until the day I completely destroy you by getting knocked up and eventually pushing a baby out of our vagina. Maybe you’ll get lucky and that will never happen. Who knows?

 

 

 

 

Being Honest With Yourself Can Be Tough

I had a revelation out of nowhere (or it felt like it) today. It made sense of a situation that I had troubles with. It took away the projection and got to the root of why I was so attached. Instead of feeling the madness I was feeling… I felt clarity. I also felt sad and somewhat embarrassed by the root truth of it all. It’s not easy being honest with yourself about something that you didn’t even understand was there. But now I’ve learned something else about myself that I can work on.

I don’t feel the intensity of isolation that I once have. I’ve worked my way through that and feel like I have a grip on it now. But the extent of the loneliness I feel is something I’ve buried in me and the truth of it to myself is coming out. It’s not so much that I am uncomfortable being by myself. It has more to do with the fact of my shame that I’ve mostly been my own family my whole life. I’ve basically raised myself into who I am with no idea of what to actually do. I have a family by definition but throughout my life, there was always a disconnect and that disconnect manifested itself in really damaging ways that I’m only now recovering from. It kept me away from people and for the life of me, couldn’t relate to what seemed normal no matter how much I wish it did.

I got more of a sense of family this year but with the key family member that I have, there have been some truths I’ve had to come to terms with and it hasn’t been pretty. I also thought I found someone who understood the loneliness and the disconnect but that wasn’t true. I had to be honest with myself that maybe some of my past negativity and sadness was related to feeling like no one saw me as family and never would. Parts of that still feels true but being aware that this is my thoughts will allow me to be mindful more of it. I’ve made progress in the fact that I talked to a friend about this revelation even though it felt awful to talk about and discuss.

Part of the reason I think I buried it is because I don’t want people to feel sorry for me about it. It’s sad but I don’t want that reinforced. I suppose instead of pity, I just internalized it and let it come out in poorer form. But it makes sense. I can definitely see this as something I longed for subconsciously but never fully had and not something I knew to navigate and I think there was a part of me that didn’t want to.

This isn’t easy to talk about. It’s something I’ll need to talk about more and explore.

Movie Thoughts: Crazy Rich Asians

Ever since I saw the trailer, I knew I had to see this movie. I watched Joy Luck Club all those years ago. I enjoyed it but just like any other movie. I think I was too young to understand and I haven’t watched it in recent times to have a real answer. Also, I was raised in a small white town with Asian culture, not close to my mother and if I can be honest, not much racism. I was obviously Asian, my parents were obviously FOB… But I was also obviously white, even if it wasn’t visually. My identity was blurred between my heritage and white influence.

The older I get though, the more I identify myself as Asian. I won’t be quick to pretend that I straight up identify as Vietnamese as a whole because… I don’t. I still have the white influence I was raised on but I understand the cultural differences now because I’ve experienced it. I get what my parents kept saying to me because, in a way, it’s true. Maybe it’s racist to say, but I get when other cultures go, “White people, amirite?”. I agree. I get it now and I get really depressed when I experience it.

Okay. It’s racist, I get it. Let me get defensive and say I don’t apply this to everyone off the bat. It stays in the back of my mind but

There was something about Crazy Rich Asians that I felt when I saw the trailer. It was an All-Asian cast, which is something you very,  very see and seemed like it was told in a story like how I would watch in White North America. The cast looked legit and my heart was filled with joy. I haven’t read the book and while I plan in my head, I don’t know when I’ll get to in real life. There was a sense of both of the cultures I grew up in combining and I wanted to be there for it. I knew I had to be there for it.

Before I got there though, I felt the same kind of thing with To All The Boys I Loved Before. I felt that connection. I felt that familiarity. But it was in the white culture I grew up in but with the culture my parents tried to instill in me. It was strange and it made my heart grow and my tears fall – but not just in its usual emotional investment. For that blue moon, I was being more than my usual crybaby self.

I fell in love with the characters. The cast. The casting. The understanding of how judgmental the Asian culture can be. The racism between Asians themselves. The pettiness. The honesty in what your relatives will say. But also, trying to decide between whether you should live for yourself or what you’ve been taught by your family. Are you selfish and bringing dishonor or are you happy living by your own life? I still get confused by the two. I can’t explain eloquently how it showed the shrewd cleverness of how I think Asian minds represent in the Mah Jong scene, but it was so well executed from both sides. It’s what I’ve always seen in Asian movies that I haven’t quite processed equally from the White ones. Michelle Yeoh’s facial expressions. The tackiness, oh the fucking tackiness. Those scenes with Peik Lin Goh’s family seems over the top but sometimes Asian movie scenes are like that. I don’t know, maybe I’m just over the top excited about Asian representation and it got amplified as shit when I saw the movie.

It’s not that I’ve ever been ashamed of my Asian culture and heritage. I just never really embraced it. My parents were stereotypes but they weren’t the Asian stereotypes that we are familiar with. I grew up in a broken environment that I co-related to being Asian and it made me resentful of it. I didn’t like being Asian because of what my parents represented of it. It took me a long time to understand there was/is a difference. Since I’ve learned this and separated from the trauma of my parents, I’ve learned to embrace being Asian and be proud of it. Not quite Vietnamese but just… Asian in general. It’s what I identify with while growing up in white culture… and living it. I don’t know how else to put this.

You know what I wasn’t expecting? The empowerment of women in the movie. Perhaps it’s self-absorbed to say but, between this and All The Boys I Loved Before, I’ve come to sense with the assertiveness that I kept trying to shrink. Maybe it’s because when I see it represented by another Asian person… I see myself and in a way that’s North American White that I can relate to and understand, not just a foreign movie or show, with subtitles that I can only fantasize with.

The irony is that I saw both of these things with the person I finally had to come to a sense with. 

Of course, I love Rachel and Nick’s storyline. It’s what my heart fucking lives for every time I see romance movies, and can only hope that a man will love me for me like that in my lifetime. Nick didn’t quite melt my heart like Peter Kavinsky but shit, it got candle waxed. There was something about Michelle Yeoh as the mother’s point of view because I get it. I fight with it every other day. I fight about it with my own mother and I understand where she’s coming from. It’s funny because it’s usually in the form of white people… not someone of “lower status”. I appreciated the shit out of the scene at the beginning with the hotel staff and her as well. I’ve seen this type of shit go down and it disgusts me.

You know what else I wasn’t expecting though? Fucking Astrid. I wasn’t expecting to relate parallel to my own life because, fuuuuck, she’s Astrid and I’m not. I will never be Astrid but I related to her with her relationship with her husband so hard and I did not see it fucking coming. Except, it wasn’t cheating. Moreso the insecurity dynamic. It’s a really powerful scene because I feel like there are many women (even men) who can relate to this sort of relationship but not have the strength to pull it like a boss like she did.

I wanted so hard for Rachel and Nick’s fantasy but I ended up relating to Astrid the most and when I saw how she handled her course of action, I realized (not right away, but the next day), I can be her without being at her status. I didn’t shed a tear for my situation when I had to accept it all over again but I fucking cried realizing the strength she gave inadvertently gave me to make a concrete no. She made decisions based on what was best for her, not influenced by insecurity like she was facing in front of her. She didn’t make her husband into something he’s not and she dropped a “C” word in the same context that I had dropped it that same day. I believe in serendipity and this fucking proves it, ok? I lived that fucking moment so recently from the viewing of that scene that it seemed like my own memory I was seeing. I wasn’t sure about it at the time. Even when I tried to pull my own Astrid the next day, I am still not sure at this moment but I remind myself… I need to be the confidence and strength of Astrid. My heart is similar so why the fuck not?

I never realized how much Asian representation would mean to me. I still can’t quite make sense of it because I was never fully embraced in my Asian heritage until these past couples of years… at the most. But I can’t deny the tears I cried reading about the dent it’s making. How it can be good, just as good, as the other romcoms that I have grown up on. There can be chemistry with Asians onscreen and it’s not awkward or weird between two Asians. It is possible to get tingles. It was fucking magical to see the strength in women that I see in movies I watch with subtitles.

Also, I was never quite sure about Awkwafina and how I felt about her but in her recent interviews I’ve seen and I’m not exactly sure why in this movie, but shit, I have a newfound not quite fully explained boner for her. And I really like her voice. I really do. I wish my voice sounded similar to that, tbh. I’m all for it.