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Something I rarely talk about

I kicked off the “My Story” page telling you I am a daughter of immigrants. I didn’t expand on it there because at the time I considered it is a small — although unique — identifier.  But the more I thought about it, the more it I realize that my experiences deserve some time and space.

They had a much greater impact than I want to give them credit for.

My parents were born in China. My dad arrived in the United States when he was a boy so he became fluent in English. On the other hand, my mom made it here after my father returned to China to marry her so her language skills have always lagged.

They settled in New York City and raised five children. I am the oldest. I was sent to parochial school (I wasn’t Catholic) where, for a while, I was the only Asian student in the entire school. My folks did what they thought was best — that private school offered a better education — not knowing the potential stress of putting me and my siblings in a situation where not only were we ethnically different, but religiously. I was there for eight years.

My childhood was filled with instances of being mocked at school, on the streets, in stores, etc. I’ve been called it all — name the slur or stereotype and it’s been aimed at me.

I wanted to spit at them.

But this isn’t a sob story.

It’s about how I learned to live and love, and refused to internalize all the hate that was flung at me.

It’s about how I chose to stay REAL.

Resilience. The truth is that if we allow other people’s opinions, ideas and rants to get under our skin for too long, then we’ll start to believe it. It will fester, clear a path for negativity to course through your soul and erode the beautiful person you are. What people say is about their own securities, their own problems. It’s not a reflection of your true who. Therefore, I let hateful talk bounce off me, and I pray that the perpetrators will release the darkness within themselves.

Embrace. If you love something, embrace it. If it feels just right, embrace it. Hold your friends close. Hang on to your values. Put your arms around whatever it is that makes you feel alive and healthy. I’ve learned to weed out people, places, ideas and expectations and get to the CORE.

Am. I am. You are. That’s it. Just be, my darlings. Pretending sucks up way too much energy. You don’t have to work that hard. I used to want to be blonde with blue eyes. I used to want to impress people for my own ego. I used to say yes when I really meant no.

Love. Love extends, transcends. I’m not talking mushy love — although that has its place. I mean kindness, compassion, joy, listening, extending a hand. People often take their cues from how you treat them. So if I act from a place of suspicion, closemindedness, hate, anger, insecurity or fear, guess what I’ll get in return? Let go and let love, baby.