Why do we hide
What’s truly inside
Pretending that we’re all the same?
But what we don’t know
Until we let it go
Is we are all truly the same.
Why do we hide
What’s truly inside
Pretending that we’re all the same?
But what we don’t know
Until we let it go
Is we are all truly the same.
On my journey of self-acceptance, I’m trying to embrace the concept that we are all the same. I am no better and no worse than anyone else. I am human, perfectly imperfect. This concept usually comes up for me when I start getting super hard on myself for my mistakes.
I’ve mentioned before that I have issues with timeliness. I mean, this dates back to grade school for me, and I really have to plan things out and focus, to make it on time to just about anything. It’s so bad, that my kids don’t know what to do with themselves when we actually get somewhere early and have to wait. We’re usually rushing in at the last minute and barely making it on time, or just late. Like most people, running late gets me really anxious and worried.
I’ve started incorporating some of the Reiki precepts I’m learning into my morning meditation time. The prayer that I’ve learned from Reiki goes like this, “Just for today, do not anger, do not worry, be thankful, do what you are meant to do, be kind to others.”
I recently had the special privilege of asking a prominent Reiki teacher about these precepts and the focus on anger and worry embedded in the prayer. I have been learning about the law of attraction and the power of my words and thoughts to manifest what I speak and think. I questioned the use of “anger” and “worry” in relation to this concept of attraction. I had even gone as far as to create my own “positive” version of the Reiki prayer. 😂smh. I guess this tells you what kind of student I am. Anyway, I’m really glad I was able to ask this teacher my question because his answer gave me a whole new understanding. He explained that unlike affirmations, the Reiki precepts were more like guiding rules for life. For example the precept, do not anger can be a reminder for me when I feel anger coming up to question that anger. Where is it coming from? Why is it there? Does the anger serve me? And then to be able to let the anger go. This is different from an affirmation which may help me in the moment to turn away from the anger, but may not allow me the space to examine and release the source of the anger. I was able to apply his explanation the very next day.
After spending my morning meditation focusing on mindful breathing, Reiki precepts and grounding, I got my kids ready for school. Needless to say, the time management just wasn’t there this particular morning and we were running late. The problem for me is not getting up on time, because I’m actually up very early, it’s more of a focus and time management issue. I’ve been really good recently with getting my son to school on time using positive affirmations. I literally say “We are going to be on time to Ms.__’s class today,” about 50 times from the time they wake up until I drop him off at school. And it’s been working. We’ve been on time every day for quite a while now. But this particular morning we left extra late. I still used my affirmations and it worked! There were almost no cars on the road and I pretty much drove like a maniac the whole way there.
But, on the way home as I thought about the collateral damage of our morning commute, in flooded the feelings of self-condemnation. Thinking about the Reiki precepts helped me work through the guilt I was feeling. I felt guilty because I spent the entire 25 minute (normally 35 minute) drive to school filled with worry and anger. When my kids tried to talk to me, I told them I couldn’t talk to them because I needed to focus on the road and get there on time. I also drove pretty crazy, which I know scares my kids. I even honked at a lady for fluffing her hair in the mirror instead of driving. My kids, like me are both highly sensitive, so I’m sure that they were very affected by the worry and anger energy I was emoting. My son even asked me, “Who do you love the most God, other people, or yourself?” I told him, “I don’t know, I can’t answer that right now, I have to focus on the road.” Theses were the guilty feelings I drove home with, wondering how my children were handling their school experience after all that negative energy. Wondering if my son would ever ask me that question again and care about my answer.
It was during this time that I started thinking about how I had prayed earlier “do not anger and do not worry”. I started to ask myself why I was worried. I was able to acknowledge that the worry did not serve me at all. I could have made it to school on time without any worry or anger and I could have given my children a different start to their day (and the lady I honked at). And myself…. that worry and anger hurt me most of all.
As I examined the source of the worry, I realized it had nothing to do with my son and his needs. The truth is that I was worried about being judged as a parent by people at the school and I was worried that their negative opinion of me would lead to negative actions against me. I was giving these people more power over my life than my Higher Power.
At the end of it all, I was left with my feelings of guilt and shame. This is where compassion for myself has to come into the picture. It’s easier for me to offer myself compassion when I can remember the Japanese concept of wabi sabi, the beauty of imperfection. It reminds me that being an imperfect human is what makes me perfect. My imperfections accentuate my humanness and the acceptance of my own humanness allows me to love and honor the humanness in others.
I am no better or worse than anyone else, and the same can be said for us all. We are all perfectly imperfect in our own way.
This gives me hope for humanity. Just as I can reach across the aisle and change my mind about someone or love someone who seems to be an enemy, so can everyone else.
If we can see and accept our own imperfections, there is hope that we can have compassion for the imperfections of others.
We can stop seeing each other through the eyes of judgement and allow ourselves to be surprised by beauty that exists in every living being. I know this begins with me.
I want to be surprised.
Today I saw five American flags displayed outside of homes and businesses on my way to the Starbucks closest to my home. At first I wondered, “Had they always been there? Because I never noticed them before.” Then I thought, “Maybe it has to do with a current holiday,” not wanting to believe that so many in my neighborhood are fired up about the direction our country and government is heading- the white supremacy regime. But, nope, Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales don’t usually evoke national pride. So then I decided that it was because they are racist and they are supportive of a racist agenda.
Ahhhhh…. this is where I get myself into trouble. Cause now, I’m mad, I’m mad at my neighbors, I’m mad at my governing officials, and I’m mad at all of the people in my country who voted for Donald Trump. And all of this before I’ve had a chance to drink more than 3 sips of my coffee.
This judgment and hatred of me.
I also realize that I need to be more willing to give love and acceptance even when I feel it may not be deserved. That doesn’t mean I’ll accept injustice. No, in fact I will fight against it! But, it does mean I choose to accept the person as a human being who is just as in need of love and forgiveness as I am. That is my goal.
6/24/16I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the unexpected love that I and my family have received recently. I think this is important for me because as I’m diving into social media on the issue of race, I’m encountering so many negative opinions about biracial black/white people and about black people. Additionally, now that I’m focusing on this issue, everywhere I go I’m noticing real, or perceived slights.
It’s easy for me to let these experiences further reinforce my negative outlook. My goal in talking, writing, thinking, praying about these issues, is to offer compassion, love and acceptance to myself and others. I also hope that my sharing can somehow help others, or at least make a positive difference for my children’s future. My goal is not to spread hate or prejudice. One of the biggest reasons that I’m writing anonymously, is because I don’t want to hurt or push away the Asian, black and white people in my life that I love and care about.
Here are some of the small moments that brought joy to my heart recently. An Asian mom in my daughter’s mommy-and-me swim class befriended me out of the blue by saying “Hi,” starting small talk, and even sharing personally about her life. The Korean man at the snack bar, always has big smiles for my kids and I, and he helps my kids practice their Korean. My Korean neighbors, who speak very little English, have been so kind to me personally by always going out of their way to smile and say “Hi,” and even offering to help me carry my groceries. I also had a really encouraging time during a recent outing with my husband, son and daughter. There were lots of people there of all races and mixes. While we were there, we received lots of love from strangers of all races. In fact, I’m noticing that I’m receiving more love from all types of people at unexpected times. I think that opening myself up honestly, first to myself, and then to others, is changing me. And I am enjoying the changes.
I’m writing today to help me deal with my anger over a look that I got yesterday from an Asian woman with her family at the gym. I was with my kindergarten age son and preschool age daughter, and we were heading in for my son’s karate class. He was dressed in his gi, and looked awesome. My daughter was happy and cute with her sparkly dress and wild curls. And I, for once had on makeup. We were all happy and smiling as we headed from the car to the front doors of the facility. As we were about half way down the long pathway to the entrance, an Asian family was walking the same way from the opposite direction. I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest, so my natural instinct as I pass people is the make eye contact, smile and even say “hi” to strangers. I’ve learned to tone that way down since moving to Southern California. But, I guess I’ve become comfortable at this gym, so I tend to let my guard down and slip into my over friendly mode.
As this young family approached, I noticed them because they looked so cool in their super colorful workout gear from head to toe, and sipping on their water bottles (even their very little girl). I noticed the mother looking or should I say, staring at us, we made eye contact and I was smiling, but in return she just gave me and my kids this look of contempt. It was like a slap in the face, and it threw me off so much I just immediately looked down. They reached the front door a little before us and I watched her saunter in in front of us like she was a big boss. The whole scenario infuriated me. I held it inside and kept a smile on my face and my voice upbeat with my kids on either side of me. But inside I was a wreck. It honestly took me all the way until we got into the dojo before I was able to feel unshaken. Throughout my son’s lesson, and even after putting my kids to bed that night, I was filled with rage towards that woman. I was also mad at myself for looking down. I questioned why this stranger had such a powerful effect on me with only a look and a saunter. I questioned why my immediate response was to look down, as if I was feeling shame. Maybe I was feeling shame in that moment. I’ve felt a lot of condemnation, rejection and shame growing up, so I guess that is a familiar emotional response for me. But, what I was really interested in, was figuring out the root of my rage towards this random stranger. It just didn’t make sense to me. A friend once told me “if it’s hysterical then its historical,” meaning that there is something deeper causing the emotional response. I realized late that night that her look was the physical representation of what I feel from my Korean in-laws, and many of the Asian strangers that I encounter, especially when I’m with my kids or my husband. What I feel from them is: “You are beneath me. You cannot be with us. We don’t want you around.” If I had never married an Asian man, I probably would never have noticed this racism, and I certainly wouldn’t have cared so deeply about it. But now, my children’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins are Korean. My husband is Korean. My children are part Korean. As a mom, I’m terrified for the day that my kids start noticing and experiencing some of what I am experiencing. Maybe they already are. How does this relate to my title? Through out all of these many negative experiences, I’ve been surprised and encouraged by a number of Asian people that have gone out of their way to talk with me, be kind to me, and befriend me over this past year. And they are all positive, beautiful and loving people both inside and out.
I felt terrified of putting myself out there in this blog after watching a comedy show, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra. I thought her show was really funny and I agreed with a lot of her perspectives. But, I was again left thinking, “Maybe there just aren’t other people that can relate to me.” Those familiar feelings of isolation came flooding back in, like I’m the only one who can understand, or even have compassion for my situation. I’ve heard it referred to as terminal uniqueness. The fear started to stifle me again.
I kept writing and rewriting, but not posting. I asked myself, “Why was I so bothered by this comedian’s words, when I really liked her?”…. Maybe that’s why I was bothered. I liked her, I agreed with her perspectives on feminism and on how Asian men can be underrated. But, I was really bothered by her comments about racism. She made a joke about how her mother doesn’t have any black friends, and that “life is not Rush Hour the movie.” She also said that she thinks people should marry within their own race so they can “go home and be racist together.” I am married to an amazing Korean man 😘. We feel the sting of racism from all sides, whether it’s being excluded from family functions or the general ice that we sometimes get when we’re out in public. I think that Ali Wong’s words struck a nerve because my in-laws’ racism has sometimes been downplayed and tolerated among our family and friends because it’s “cultural.” When did cultural racism become okay? I wish that someone Asian would stand up and say, “You know what, it’s not okay!”
I am half white and half black. Growing up, I verbally identified myself as black. That’s how I saw myself, and that’s what society and my family told me that I was. Back then, being overtly racist against black people was not something acceptable in main stream media or society. But it seems like something has changed. Now, it almost feels like being racist against black and brown (Latino) people is seen as acceptable. That really scares me. I now identify myself as mixed race black and white. In college, I began to challenge the label of black, because I am, in fact, half white. I immediately got a lot of resistance from my black friends. They couldn’t understand why I would not want to be called black. In fact, one took offense and said I was trying to be white. Being white was not what I wanted, I just wanted to be recognized for who and what I truly am, and not be made to fit into someone else’s label of me.
It’s been getting even more complicated for me as I’m filling out forms for my son’s school. I’m forced to choose one primary race for him and then allowed to add multiple secondary races. My husband and I decided to go with Korean, since our son is 1/2 Korean, 1/4 black and 1/4 white. But, Korean is not what he identifies with. My children almost never hear Korean spoken, I don’t cook Korean food, and my husband’s parents disowned us when we got married. In fact, The first time I ever spoke to my mother-in-law was after my son was born and we’d been married almost 3 years. Even after that, neither my son or I were allowed to speak with or meet his grandfather until my son was 3 years-old. My husband and I continued to send cards and money $$$ to them every Birthday and holiday during the time we were cut off. Even now, the relationship that we have with his family is rocky at best.
My son also doesn’t look very Korean. He looks like a handsome African American young man with Asian eyes. He calls himself brown skinned and part Korean, but I don’t think he would identify himself as Korean, nor would he identify himself as black or white. This makes perfect sense to me, because none of those labels are what he is. I am confused by our societies obsession with separating races. I don’t see the need to choose a race to identify as in the first place. It seems like an idea that a mono-raced person came up with. To me, as a multi-raced person, it seems completely nonsensical. It’s like asking me whether I identify myself as a mother, or a daughter, or a wife. The answer would be all of the above. It would be silly for me to have to choose one primary relationship and then list the rest as secondary.😔 Why is our society so race obsessed?