Bursting My Chinese Bubble

The older I get, the more I realize how much I have been living in a bubble.  This bubble was not completely intentional though; I think it kind of developed out of circumstances and a lack of understanding.  What I’m talking about is the very square environment that I have grown up in and grown accustomed to all my life – the very Chinese bubble.

I didn’t really have much say about this bubble when I was younger; my family immigrated here from Taiwan when my parents were in their early 30’s, so it was of course a foreign land to them.  Naturally they felt safer and more comfortable with Chinese friends and going to a Chinese church.  The only exposure I had to “foreigners” (though truthfully speaking, I was the foreigner) was when we lived in Union City and I had mostly non-Asian friends (gasp!).  But that however was short-lived because we moved to Fremont when I was in junior high and even back then, the schools there had a good Asian population (nowadays, they are predominately Asian – it’s scary how we are taking over the city!).  So I surrounded myself with Chinese friends, went to a Chinese church and continued this pattern throughout college and well into my working years and married life.  So, as you can see, my bubble became quite hardened (made more of concrete than water) and was almost impenetrable, albeit for a few non-Asian friends I met at work and grad school.

I never realized how limiting and harmful it is to live in a bubble until just this past year.  Hubby and I made the big decision to change churches – from a Chinese one to a multi-ethnic one – and this decision has blown my bubble to pieces!  It has been so liberating for me to slowly shed the prejudices I had before about people – prejudices that were there only because of how I perceived people to be based on their appearances.  But beyond their skin color, tattoos and clothes are people just like me.  Our stories may be different, but we are all people who have been made in God’s image and who struggle through life’s ups and downs.  More importantly, we are all worthy of acceptance, love and respect.  I’m ashamed to admit that I used to think that people who followed God had to be Chinese and square (like me!).  Nowadays, I try not to make judgments that are so shallow and instead try to get to know people for who they really are.  

The best thing about our transition out of the Chinese bubble is that our kids will grow up in a more balanced and accepting environment.  They will know that people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, attitudes and dress and to love people for their insides.  And they will have a better glimpse of what heaven is like – a place with all kinds of people who love God, not just square, Chinese ones!  😛

Image courtesy of digitalart/freedigitalphotos.net

Here’s Rob Thomas’s song, “Streetcorner Symphony“, a cool song about people of every color.  🙂

What bubble(s) do you find yourself in?

Unwritten

Now that E is getting older, he’s been asking more complicated questions and trying to wrap his head around bigger concepts. Once when we tried to explain to him that there was a time when Mama and Baba didn’t know one another, not even each other’s names, he asked, “Did Baba know his own name?” Lol. 🙂  His question got me thinking that it can be a strange idea for kids to grasp, that there was a time when their parents were not their parents. For kids, it’s hard to imagine their parents as individuals who lived and experienced disappointments, hurts, losses, successes and adventures before they entered the picture.

For myself, when I see pictures of my parents from their younger years or hear stories about their past, I find it easier to understand the people they have become, who they are and why they do what they do. Likewise, I hope that as E and C grow older and know more about hubby and me and our pre-parenting days, they too will understand us better. I hope they will understand that although I believed I was ready to have kids (yes, I was disillusioned!) I came into parenthood with a lot of baggage. My dreams of being a perfect mom were really just that – dreams, because I still had plenty of issues to work on and a lot of growing to do (and still do!!). With that said, I hope they will be gracious and forgive my parenting mistakes.  They can blame me all they want to their therapist, but I hope they end up learning from my mistakes and not repeating them!  😛  My wish is that when they become parents one day, they will be better parents than me – more patient, more nurturing, less square, more fun, less dysfunctional and overall, more mature.

So, where does that leave me? I know I’ll never be a perfect mom, but I know I can move on from my past and make changes to be a better parent and moreover, a better person each day. The best part about life is that everyone gets to write their own story and regardless of how it starts, it’s the middle and ending that count. And with God’s help, I am aiming to fill in my unwritten pages with stories of growth and hope.

Image courtesy of anankkml/freedigitialphotos.net

Check out the song “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield.  I like these lines the most: “We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way” and “Live your life with arms wide open”.  🙂

What do you hope to write down in the unwritten pages of your life story?

Getting Out of My Own Way

I have always enjoyed writing, whether it be poetry, song lyrics or this blog(!) and have been happy and encouraged to receive positive feedback from people who have read my work.  However one of my dreams has been to have something of mine get published, so that I can have proof that my work meets professional standards (cause publishers have to be more objective than your family and friends!).  Recently I entered a children’s ebook writing contest and was disappointed to find out that I hadn’t made it to the final round of voting.  So it was a total and complete surprise to me when I got an email last week from the publisher telling me that they still want to publish my book!!  I was THRILLED and when I say thrilled, I mean I was doing a “happy dance” for two minutes straight and getting funny looks from E who has rarely seen me, his 2 square 2 be hip mom “cut loose” before!  🙂

My book!!  Buy it at meegenius.com!

It’s just so exciting and amazing for me to fulfill a goal that I never thought would be possible to reach.  I would say I’m usually a glass half-full or very full kind of person when it comes to other people’s lives, but when it comes to my own, my glass tends to run low.  This doesn’t mean I don’t try my best; when you are a recovering perfectionist, you of course put out your best effort.  But my pessimistic side is always at work; even now I half expect to receive an email from the publisher saying they have changed their minds! 😛  This is all because of my greatest fear – rejection!  And rejection means failure and failure only leaves you feeling like a deflated balloon and who wants to feel like that?

I know I got it kind of easy this time around, I mean you don’t usually reach a big goal on your first try.  I’m contemplating writing and submitting more work now (don’t worry, I’m not quitting my day job yet, haha), but I’m trying to get in the right mindset for it, knowing that I will very likely face rejection.  But like they (whoever they are!) said, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  So I’ll just take it step by step, with courage and hope and remind myself that if all else fails, I’ll at least have one book published in my name.  🙂

I just love this song, “Nothing Ever Happens” by Rachel Platten and the words of the chorus (it describes me perfectly).  I think it’s time for me to “get out of my own way”.

In what ways do you need to get out of your own way?