Don't Be You

In the Asian culture, being yourself isn't something that is advocated. If anything, Asian parents want their children to fill some sort of picture perfect checklist of academic accomplishments so they can someday go to an excellent college and get an excellent paying job. Anything less is failure, and things like affection and self esteem are useless. The book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, written by Amy Chua is a perfect example of an Asian mother attempting this very thing.

To be fair, not all Asian parents are like this. But my family were.

For a long time growing up, I tried to fulfill this image of a smart Asian kid. To say I had mixed results is putting it kindly. School was something that I just didn't appreciate, though I loved learning. Still do. School didn't teach the stuff that I really liked. Nor did it nor my family really encourage me to find what I liked. I joined the varsity volleyball team in my sophomore year of high school. That was an accomplishment. To say I was the shortest member was putting it kindly. But my grades were slipping, so my brother tried to get me kicked off the team. I loved it too much to quit.

As I started my college career, I declared to be a business major, which I hated, but being a doctor or a lawyer was not in the cards. I wanted to do something creative, so I began to study acting and delved into martial arts. I wrote stories, did pencil drawings, and lived in my imagination. All were deemed a waste of time by my family. Still...I continued my double life of a dutiful college student while exploring my artistic side, rebelling against this stereotypical Asian image.

What I've learned is that I'm not that image, but then, nor am I a rebel. In swinging from one aspect to the other, I've found who I am, which is a person who tends to be introspective with a lot to say, having found a vehicle through this site, but more importantly, through my novel.

There are times when I'm very loud and lewd. Other times I'm very quiet and shy.

So my girlfriend wants to hang out with her conservative friends this weekend. And I asked why am I not included. Basically, she's afraid that my loud lewd side will come out, as it always does in groups, and will offend her conservative friends. She's asked me before to be less Jimmy and more "normal".

What the fuck does that mean?

Here's what my ego said, "She cares more about what other people think, and is ashamed of who I am." Even though who I am is not that loud lewd person.

She deeply cares about what other people think. She doesn't understand that she has no control over other peoples' opinions, nor do they affect her in reality.

In other words, if someone thinks she's stupid, they thinking that won't make her stupid. Just like when comedians joke that Asian guys have small dicks, I don't go around showing people my dick. Plus, it'd be flaccid, and that's not impressive.

She didn't like my Superman wallet. She doesn't like my loud lewd side. She wants to hang out with her conservative friends. So why the fuck is she with me?

Is Rebelling a Bad Thing?

The hero of the 7th Province has a choice.  He either rebels against his close friend and former mentor, or join him in taking over the world.  Each choice ends in war.  That's a tough place to be.  Is there a correct choice?  For the hero I'm not sure.  As a writer, the choices that each character makes, ultimately mine, is a crap shoot. I love that.

Even though I've plotted my whole novel, each day I wrote brought new discoveries and challenges that made me giddy.  I'm never sure how things were to happen.  I just know they had to happen.  As a result, writing my fantasy was a huge adventure.

Is rebelling bad?

I have a secret.  It's one of my favorite things about myself.  I don't get along well with authority figures.  That doesn't bode well since my day job is encrusted in a corporate empire.  The funny thing is they have a lot of propaganda that emphasizes their business values.  I won't get into the hypocrisy of it.

Is rebelling not a good thing?

A parent tells a child to kiss Uncle Louie.  Child scrunches her little face and shakes her head.  Parents eggs the child on, saying Uncle Louie loves the child.  Child pouts her lips, turns, runs toward her parent's leg, and grasps with all her might.  Parent gets upset, unhinges the child, pushes her to Uncle Louie, and forces her to kiss him on the cheek.  (I credit this example to my best friend.)

Is this wrong?

Hell yeah.

The parent just took the child's power away, forced her to kiss a strange man, despite her not wanting to.  If Uncle Louie were a child molester, the parent just punched a large hole in the child's ability to resist the attack.  In the child's mind love is associated with force.  And we wonder why some women stay with men who batter them.

What if the child was just being a brat?

Firm discipline should take place.  You decide what firm is.  That's different in each culture, society, family and individual.  But in the example above, the child is not being a brat.

Teaching a lot of adolescent kids made me realize one thing.  Almost every single one exerts their own independence.  Every parent exerts their control in an attempt to guide them.  It's the nature of the ocean, the ebb and flow.  Parents think their kids are being a pain in the ass.  Offsprings think their parents are being assholes.  What more could you ask for in a relationship?

Think of a pendulum searching for their own center.

Parents often ask me to infect a behavioral change.  But that's an impossible task.  All I can do is mentor them without limitation.  Tom Cruise taught me that.

He was on Inside the Actor's Studio.  A great show by the way.  He said that his mother never limited him in what he did.  She was watchful, but allowed him to explore the world.  Now he's some actor making at least twenty million dollars per movie, chump change.

As you sit in your day job, and if it's not the place you want to be, then what are you doing about it?

See part 1 to this article.