Thursday, April 27, 2006

The day that I changed...

Growing up as the token Asian kid in a sea of upper middle class white suburban children, really makes a boy think about the kind of person that he needs to be in order to fit in. I fell into a very specific crowd of kids very early in my life. We were the surfers, all through school our parents would drive us to the beach and we would stay there all day long. Then in High School we were the entire varsity surfing team. So I always had my surfboard define who I was and where I fell on the social ladder. There was a large portion of my high school career where I completely forgot that I was a minority, and I almost managed to fool myself into believing that I could be one of them.

Then one day I went with my father to work on "take your child to work day" and I noticed something that I had never really noticed before. My father was the only non-White executive in the office, and for the first time I was completely aware of the fact that I was inherently different from everyone around me. I was angry because my father had done the same things that I had done to get ahead in this world and it made me ashamed! Why should I have to change so much to accomadate people that would never do the same thing for me!? It hit me pretty hard because I felt like such a chump for trying to trade in all of my asian social traits for more mainstream American ones. I went to school the next day ultra aware of all the things that I did on a daily basis just to fit in with all of my friends, and I was completely ashamed of myself. They were all just small things, but all the small things really added up in the end. Like taking elocution lessons to lose my accent, and pretending to be disgusted with Spam (even though sometimes i stay up at night thinking about spam and rice, with a couple of fried eggs, COMPLETELY smothered in hot sauce and or ketchup!!YUM!!) just so i wouldn't be made fun of.

I remember that first day back to school vividly, because one of my friends did something that he had done a million times, only my blinders were off this time and I totally spazzed on him! We were walking to class when we ran into a fellow Asian student, and he screamed, "Chink!"He didn't say it as a joke or anything, he was saying it to be mean to this guy, and it wasn't the first time that he had done this to someone. However this was the first time it really bothered me and I started to yell at him. After that things just escalated, until I became a fully realized, pain in the ass, loud mouth, Asian American.

That's when it happened. I was sitting there thinking about how proud I was with myself for finally letting everyone know who I was and what I was all about, and it dawned on me. I am gay. It had been so easy to ignore when i was consciously trying to deal with a million other things at the same time. Like focusing on my accent or pretending not to notice the hateful stares from other Asians disgusted with how white washed I was. But once I didn't have those things to deal with, it was like a ton of bricks was lifted of my shoulders only to be replaced with the weight of the world. It was scary how easy people accepted the new Militant person that I had become, everyone was so accommodating and they were eager to get to know the "real" me. So I put on my new mask as a straight and proud Asian man, and I began jumping through the same old hoops all over again.

2 comments:

asher said...

That must be awful to feel like you have accomplished something really big in your life, and then realize that it was only the tip of the iceberg. I am sorry that you are having such a hard time with your sexuality, it seems like you are deffinitely the kind of person that is going to do just fine once you choose to actually take a step out of the closet and into the real world. I wish you luck with whatever you decide.

Josh said...

That is really depressing. I feel really bad for you. You deffinitely have a lot to work thtough, but I think that you have come a long way since this point in your life. You are an amazing guy that keeps on growing and learing from all of the things that you have done in your life. You inspire me to live a life more like yours. Thanks a lot.