Today I got inspired. Maybe I should do this more often. Meaning, go to shows. With Southeast Asians. Today a friend of mine said to me that I’m a good writer. It’s such a surprise to hear that unsolicited. (I really appreciate that friend for touching on something no one else knows.) So I take it as a message that I should really pen down my thoughts more often. If for no one else, me.
No one ever speaks to me when I get home. My mom doesn’t say hi. I consider saying hi to her, but I weigh the odds and it just isn’t worth it. I come home to my own spot, but no one really talks. Rarely, if ever, does anyone ask me what I think, how I feel, whether I have considered this or that and most of all, if I’m happy. (Well, except for the person I’ve been seeing, but that’s a different subject.)
I live in a world where for the most part I am silence. That silence is deafening. I sometimes hear so many voices in my head. I want them all to stop. When I was in college, Professor Knaus asked me to write about what silences me. Those three words have haunted me since I was a freshman.
Is it my mom who won’t talk to me? Is it society and racism? Is it me for internalizing it all?
I’ll say this. It’s a lot of things. It’s what I can’t even write about because I am judging it as I type it. It’s the person I want to be my mentor and is my “savior” who said some things that hurt me before that she can never take back. It’s no one, not even my mom, for taking the time to get to know me. It’s me believing in them and trusting them, that they mean well. It’s the fact that I feel so misunderstood, alone and withdrawn from the world that I fight, kick and scream. It’s the fact that I only feel myself in certain places, certain times and with certain people that I don’t trust myself because I cannot be myself all the time. It’s the fact that I always feel judged and not loved and I am judging every action I take because someone won’t love me if I do it. And someone will love me less if I fight back. I will find out that they love me even less when they don’t care.
What keeps me from being my true self is that if no one has ever been interested in me, what I think, maybe I wasn’t worth it in the first place. Maybe no one thinks I have anything important to say. Maybe I am just unworthy.
Maybe my perspective doesn’t matter. Maybe my words don’t amount to much. Maybe I couldn’t put them together if I tried. Maybe I am just broken.
Maybe I am the opposite. Super powerful. Maybe I have agency. Maybe there are people who will draw it out. But no one will love me like mom should… right? I don’t trust anyone. I don’t trust help. I don’t trust love.
I don’t have stability.
I don’t have stability.
I don’t – I am from Oakland, CA. A beautiful place. A proud place. A broken place. A dangerous place. A place where the wrong look gets you hurt. A place where diversity is also like you-could-get-your-shit-took-if-youre-not-careful. A place where looking around is depressing. A place where maybe just maybe you can look for hope in a cool graff piece or a warm thought. But the factor is that you LOOK for it.
I have come to realize that there are people in the world – the suburbs and wealthy subdivisions – who have never experienced the uncertainty I have before. And their world is not perfect but their world is OK. OK as in even. OK as in “normal”. Normal as in they ain’t scared that all they ever had could be gone the next second. That something very violent could happen in front of their eyes and the community around them will just adjust to that normal.
I have come to realize that I am not one of those people. I am very scared of losing what I have. I am very scared of the cycle of poverty that has repeated itself in my life over and over and over again until I think it’s normal and I expect things to fuck up. I get uncomfortable around people who are stable. I feel inadequate around the people who have always had enough.
I get scared.
I get scared a lot.
But basically I get so scared that everything wonderful will be taken from me that I don’t believe in beautiful things like care, tenderness and love. I don’t think I deserve it. I don’t see it on a regular basis from my systems of trust and so I don’t believe it’s normal. I actually feel very strange when someone sees me and makes an attempt to let me know. When that happens I know I’m broken. (I wonder if my pure heart will ever come back. I wonder if it could be a natural part of me.) I know I’ve lost a chance to truly be honest about my struggles, my self, my voice(s).
So I write and prefer to write because here is a focused unadulterated blank space where I get to let out my thoughts and see them, forreal. And because they waste no one else’s time, cut no one, and cannot get cut down, I put them down. I am silenced because no where I look do I see me – not in the ways people look back at me, not in the ways people listen, not in the family I call home, not in any person I talk to because the parts of me I show are just the parts that I have gotten accustomed to showing, not in the media (definitely not in the media), not in my trust.
I do not have a voice because I am imprisoned by the shackles of shame and disappointment. I no longer seek a voice that empowers me because too many things have disempowered me to the point of worthlessness.
I am 30 and this is my voice. Thank you Meng for asking me about me and encouraging me to write.