I Get It From My Mama
My mom has a way of just getting straight to the point. Full of all these funny, yet very true sayings of life, love, and family. I'm lucky enough to be able to say that my mother is one of my best friends and yet still very much my mom. When life has dealt me some blows, when I've hit rock bottom, when I start questioning my very own path in life, my mother is the first person I turn too.
We talk all the time and when there is a span of three or four days without hearing from each other I start feeling the need to reach out to just say, "Hi I'm alive. What are you doing?" I know to some that's a bit much but hey to each their own. I'm close with my parents and that's something I'm grateful for because I know plenty who wish they had a close relationship with their parents.
In honor of Mother's Day, this weekend, I thought I would share with you some memorable moments that my mother and I had throughout the years. All of these moments I attribute to the type of person I am today - good or bad... just kidding, it's all good well at least in my eyes. It's only a few because let's get real if I listed them all we would be here forever.
EMBRACE WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT
I grew up in a small farm town, where I was definitely the token Asian kid. I was picked on a lot in school because I looked different than everyone else. I was the kid that was more interested in playing kickball with the boys then chasing them and I dressed kind of like a boy. I hated anything that was pink or had flowers on it because it was too girly. My mom tried to put me in ballet class and I told her no because ballet was for girls. Now that I've painted a lovely picture of my younger self, let me tell you about one of my earliest defining moments.
During a PE class in the second or third grade I was told by the teacher that I couldn't play kickball because I was a girl. At the time I remember not liking the answer but taking it at face value since an authority figure had told me "no." Of course I was upset and told my mom, this was also during a time where I was getting picked on more. My mom found and gave me a book that to this day I have with me. It's called China's Bravest Girl, and tells the story of the female warrior Hua Mulan (yes the same character as the Disney movie). Inside the book my mom wrote, "So you, my daughter, will know you can do anything you want even if you're a girl." And boom just like that my life changed.
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT, THEN JUMP FULL FORCE
My mother worked in the courts for 20+ years before she decided that she wasn't happy doing it anymore. One day when she was painting bumblebees on my closet doors (my room as a child was sunflower themed hints the bumblebees) I remember her telling me that she thought she should become a teacher. The more she looked into the idea the more it felt right. So she started going to school full time, while working full time, and with the help of my dad, raising a family. I remember her late nights of doing homework on the kitchen table, working on the computer in her room while everyone else was in bed, and surviving on three hours of sleep only to get up and do the same thing all over again the next day.
Having watched her do that still amazes me because not many people would have had the guts to leave a career of over two decades to pursue something totally different. In seeing the risk she took by listening to her gut, how hard it was to make it through, and the victory at the end is part of the reason I believe I listen to my own instincts in pursuing goals and dreams that also seem risky.
So I've been known to be a tad sassy, classy, and little bit smart assy, but I come by it honestly and you can thank my mother. I swear she is full of one liners, epic, quotable words of wisdom, and moments of, "Mom you didn't. Mom you did, didn't you?" Y'all think I'm kidding but I'm telling you this is the lady that gave her superior at work the bird while she walked away because "they deserved it." You want to talk about zero f*cks?
Although most of the time her words of wisdom are spot on she does have a way of delivering them that makes them special. Example when you're about to tackle a difficult task head on mom will often say, "Sometimes you just have to grab the bull by the horns and hold on for dear life." Yeah, as her daughter you try delivering that analogy to your city friends and see how many weird looks you get. Or how about, "There is nothing in life a little booze can't handle." Now mom is not a heavy drinker but when she's ready to relax or it's been one hell of a day she's been known to go straight to the scotch. Or how about, "that'll go over like a fart in church" to describe a situation that probably won't go over well. Trust me I can go on and on but frankly it would just be way too much.
THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION
This is a moment that happened fairly recently while I was having a conversation with my mom. I was talking to her about how hard it is to pursue a career as an actor, writer, and producer. That nothing is guaranteed and there is no direct path to get to where I want to be. I had and still have the reality of bills coming in, busting my ass just to make ends meet, and frankly just burning myself out from working all the time.
I told her, "You know I really shouldn't be complaining about bills and all this because I'm the one that is putting myself in this situation. I'm doing it to myself. It wouldn't be this way if I just decided to get a regular full time job" And her words to me were, "Well that's not an option, so no you're not doing this to yourself. You're doing what you have to to get to where you need to be."
As someone who has chosen a less than "normal" career path the uncertainty is scary and there are times when you feel like you're very much alone on the journey. When you have supportive parents, like mine, who believe in what you want to do in your life as much as you do the journey doesn't seem so lonely.
To all the moms out there I wish you a Happy Mother's Day. Know that you are loved and appreciated. To my mom, I would like to say thank you for being a great mom and friend and for showing me what strength and love looks like.