Thursday, January 1, 2015
I've been running isn't just an Embrace song: it's my life
It's been awhile since I've blogged. I could come up with some seemingly valid excuses to explain my absence, but the truth is that I've been avoiding it.
I remember the first moment I realized I enjoyed writing. I was a sixth grader at Stovall Middle School. Mrs. Hale was my English teacher, and she encouraged me to write stories. She said that I was a very imaginative and thoughtful child, which probably was her kind way of saying that I was a manipulative liar. I'd like to think that she recognized my stealthy ability to eavesdrop on adults and create fantastical stories to impress my classmates.
Near the end of my last good year as a child (because life fucking sucks after you turn 12), the sixth grade held a writing contest. Mrs. Hale encouraged us to "write our story."
As an awkward and abnormally short Asian kid in a predominantly non-Asian school, I wasn't sure that I wanted to share my story with my dumb ass peers.
My family immigrated to America in 1980 from Vietnam. Instead of moving to the area where all the Asian people lived in Houston, my grandfather decided that we should live where everyone else lived. And by everyone else, I mean, very mature-looking girls who wanted to murder me because they are fucking evil assholes. That's totally a hyperbolic statement. They weren't mature at all.
So, what I am trying to say is: I felt alone.
To compensate, I wrote a lot--in journals covered in stickers and locked with a tiny key.
For the sixth grade writing contest, I decided to write my mom's story. Mainly because she'd lived a much more interesting life that I had at the time, and because I truly believe that every mom deserves to have a story written about her at least once in her life.
A few days after I turned in my submission, Mrs. Hale asked me to stay after class to discuss my story. Maybe it was because she really wasn't well-versed in the subject of refugee camps and the Vietnam war, but my mom's story both shocked and impressed her. While we were talking, I just remember the look on her face. She was transported. Suddenly, I was transported. I had never felt that sort of elation.
For a long time, I carried that moment with me. I carried it all through my adolescence. I let it be the reason why I chose my career path. I let it push me until suddenly, it disappeared and became a distant memory that I no longer want to visit.
I wish I had a better reason.
I wish I weren't always running away.