And I credit my parents for that.
AND I mean that in the most thoughtful way possible.
Recently, I was having a convo with a friend, when they pointed out a few things. And not in a malicious way, I was very interested in their assessment of me, in regards to relationships. They said, “You need a weak man. And you are SOOO damn bull-headed.” They also went on to share that I act as if I was previously in a toxic and/or abusive relationship. To be followed with I overthink too much.
Is this critical, yes. Was I upset, no? I was intent to understand their assessment because, at this point, I’m taking everything into consideration 😉
Again, this wasn’t said with malice. While I agree with some of what was said, I also wholeheartedly do not agree with some too. After our convo, I was running and thinking about what was shared. Yes, I’m stubborn. Yes, I’m very opinionated. Yes, I demand certain things from people in my life.
But you know what? It’s because my parents, together, raised me this way. I was NEVER told I couldn’t do something I wanted to do. I was encouraged to do whatever I wanted, while still being kind, polite, and respectful. I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. They never limited me to anything or put me in a box. They let me openly grow and develop. The ONLY thing I was told was they would support me through college. And I was to go to college and get a degree — which is exactly what I did.
I was never told to be quiet nor were my ideas or wildest dreams silenced. I wasn’t told I couldn’t play sports or run for student council. I had ALL of the support a child could dream of. And for that, some find it hard to love me. Because, yes, loving me is hard.
Not only am I a strong woman, but I’ve also become acutely aware of my mental health and how that integrates into all aspects of my life — especially in a relationship. Hell, even friendships too. I will be too much for some people and for them, I have to say goodbye. The ones who accept me, regardless of the challenges I may present, will be in my life because they want to be. And because they accept me for ME, which is the ultimate way to love someone, friend or lover!
I do have my own toxic traits, some of which I’m working on, and some of which I have a harder time accepting. By no means am I a perfect human, nor do I get things right all the time. But I do recognize that I see where it can be hard to love me at times. I also am fully aware of the traits that some may deem hard to love, but that is because they just don’t see the value investing in me and I’m also becoming more accepting of this. I tend to people-please in this way, but I’ve realized sometimes it’s better to walk away. More often than not, it hurts, but I’ve learned its necessary.
It was during a run when I was hyper-focused on how lucky I’ve been to be raised by two parents, who are still together, who showed me minimal gender roles, provided a judgment-free environment, and loved me without conditions. I’m one of the lucky ones, I know this. I didn’t realize this as I was growing through it, but I see it now. Even at 37 they still fully support me, probably more than they should (financially).
It’s funny how my overthinking brain will go on tangents. Because somehow and some way, my thoughts took me from relationships to race and culture as well. I was acutely aware that I can go running and no one would bat an eye. I get harassed more for being a female than I do be a POC.
Recently, someone asked me “why do you love the black culture so much?” At the time, I didn’t have an answer, and I’m not sure I have the full answer yet either. But what I did realize, is exactly what Jo Koy was saying in his recent Netflix special. Growing up, there was no one that looked like me on screen, or in a position of power, or as a teacher/professor, or even in my career. Although I’m half Chinese and half Filipino, I look more Filipino, especially during the Summer months.
I don’t look Chinese enough, my skin is too dark and my features just aren’t as definitive of a Chinese person. All the Chinese actresses or actors are very pale with jet black hair. While I identify with them as part of my history, I don’t look like them. I also don’t speak the language either. Black culture, specifically music and media seemed to be something that I just felt connected with. I didn’t even think that “I loved the black culture” in that way, but that made me realize my privilege was showing.
What I did realize was I’ve been an ally for a long time. I don’t say this to brag, but I say this for my own self-awareness. And I feel no need to list out my allyship, but know I’ve always tried to build diversity in everything I do, from inclusion within my friends to any content I create in my career. But it is not enough and I am working to educate myself and work for racial equity. I am responsible to educate myself, then ensure I take that education and create action toward racial equity when the opportunities present themselves.
This awareness has really made me think back to events during my life where I encountered racism. One that hurts the most, is to know it was within my own family against one person I love the most, my father. I used to say it was just ignorance, but no, it was racism. I don’t ever want anyone I love to feel that way and seeing my parents go through that has helped shape who I am and how I see the world. They’ve never told me who to date, who not to date, and put any expectation on my dating life.
This post is super random, but if you stayed around to hear me out, thanks. It felt cathartic to do a brain dump since I haven’t in awhile. Like I’ve said, I’m an over-thinker by nature, so these things take up a lot of my mind space if I don’t get them out, whether it’s here or in my journal.
I’ve finally realized it’s okay to outgrow those who don’t know how to love me…