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The Boredom of Life - Ep 5

black and white minimalist (twitter post) quotes

My early life seems to have been filled with those hazy days that you can't remember well, but you know existed. After my dreams began, things in normal life didn't seem to phase me as much. Being bullied at school, being called racist names, being lured to the back of the bus, only to be tormented with a torrent of punches. It all blurred together. Like most kids with too much and nothing on their minds, my grades slipped, leaving distinct memories of teachers berating me in front of the class for doing poorly, and sinking deeper into my psyche.

When I look closer, those few happy memories I did have were always tainted with sadness.

When my parents moved here, with their newly adopted baby and with no family nearby, they became pivotal members of the adoption community, making friends with other couples who had also adopted. I remember a private gathering they took me to at a nearby hotel pool.

I had met some new friends who wanted me to swim with them, but I couldn’t find my mother. Ignoring the feeling in my gut that I should keep looking, and desperately keen to go and have fun, I just told my father instead.

I found out my mistake just as we were about to leave the changing room. My mother came barging through the door, her fiery eyes betraying her anger. She walked straight up to me and hit me hard across the head, sending my head bouncing off the tiled wall. She didn't yell, nor did I make a noise, I just hung my head in shame enduring the stares of friends behind me as they all held their breaths. My stony face was marked with a cut above my eyebrow and a single line of blood streaming down. I closed my affected eye, praying that the tears I held back wouldn't come through.

At that moment, past memories flooded my mind's eye.

As humans, we tend to remember things that cause grief, pain, and heartache. Our innate drive for survival compels us to hold onto these memories.

Yet even though I was alive, these people who were supposed to love me, continually denied this existence of mine. Small things, like not having an accent in order to acclimate more to the fake high society we lived within at the time. My father, though I believe was coming from a loving place, ordered me to speak very little of my native tongue in order to be as Americanized as possible. Although I understood his reasonings, I think another block of insecurity of self was born.

My mother always told me that since I was adopted, I would inherently never be good enough for my native country's marriable pool and that my only prospect would be with someone "American." These notions were and still are a prevalent thought process for many immigrant families. Since childhood that became another building block of insecurity. I was not worthy enough for those that look like me, perhaps barely worthy enough for an "American," and definitely not worthy enough to stand alone as just a girl with her own dreams and her own identity.

For my parents, I was a controllable factor among too many they couldn't control. Love and care were given but only to present me to society. My worth a direct reflection to their own. Hypocritically, they bound me to endless "secrets" growing up, yet their own lack of self-control meant every aspect of their lives was laid bare for the world to see. Whether it was my father dragging my mother out of the church on Sunday by her hair screaming at her in front of the whole congregation, or my mother incessantly complaining about the hard life she lived to all her church friends.

Everyone knew but said nothing.

Everyone became blind because my father's money sustained much of the church when it was still growing. He was, at least to his friends, a loyal, kind, good person. My mother as well, although quite selfish in nature, was materially generous to "friends."

To my child's eyes, everyone was bought and paid for.

No one was there to help save any of us.

We had wealth that bred jealous natures. I'm sure some even thought that this wealth was undeserved, especially with how my parent's acted. They were both "kind," but even with their kindness, they seemed to lord over everyone, expecting to be treated like kings. I understood very well the sentiments of the church. I saw it all and endured the whispers behind my back.

I was the quintessential child. Quiet. Showing deep respect for my elders. Never speaking up or back. I honored my parents in my early childhood by trying to be the ideal accessory, but even my own mask started to crack under the pressure and I slowly started becoming something else entirely.

Something to disdain and show off at the same time. My mother especially used my presence as a form of blind pride, and her main source of anguish for her miserable life. A fountain of superficial pain she could use to garner more attention for herself since that was the only kind of attention that didn't have her crouched in the corner of her room being pummeled into submission.

In the end, her "woe is me" act would be both her source of escape and downfall.

So I wondered..if my face looked the same as my mother's. Eyes glazed from the perpetual pain. After every episode of verbal and physical abuse from my father or consternating looks from those at our church, did my mother also compartmentalize in order to endure the things we think we must in order to survive? Was my face the same as hers?

We may have not had the same blood running through our veins, but at that moment, I was my mother's daughter.

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