Everyone loves a good little story every once in a while. I wouldn’t say that mine is good, but at least it gives a bit of a glimpse past the fairy tales of the everyday stories that we read on social media. And hopefully it will also give some sort of a ray of hope to some who may be able to relate to what my life has been like.
I was born to two pretty damn fantastic parents who would do anything for their children. And whilst they have their own little quirks like every parental individual does, they have provided for me and my sister to the best of their abilities.
Now, what I’ve come to realise over the years (and I’m totally not claiming to be an old goat here), is that we are all conditioned in a way that our parents were conditioned, and it is really up to the individual to break the spell as it were, of what is known as normality in this world. Be it in our culture, or in our traditions, all around the world. No one is spared from this. Our teachers who spent most of our school days with us also have an influence, and they would obviously be influenced by the ones who’ve brought them up, and by the principles and morals and traditions that their elders and teachers have.
Being of Asian descent, there is nothing more important for a woman, in traditional terms, to have all the basic housewife traits ingrained into her at a young age. Think cooking, laundry, general errands, listening to her husband and abiding by his bidding, etc. You get the idea. Things have definitely turned over the last decade or so, significantly too, but there are still so many women who are bound to these ideas of what is normal to them and their families.
Asians have a strong sense of pride for their culture and traditions. And as much as I’d like to classify myself as the Westernised Asian, these traditions and cultures bear some significance to me (well, the ones that make sense anyway). I grew up in a culture where anything out of the normal route of an Asian woman’s journey will be seen as something to gossip about, something to make a big deal about, even if it’s simple as going overseas to study.
To put this into context. I am an Asian woman, living abroad, in the Engineering / Construction industry where about 85% are generally men, Catholic, and a lesbian.
A lesbian who happens to have come out only 3 years ago because her principles and the traditions / beliefs she was brought up with had a massive influence on her being normal. Having to come to live two very different lives (one who was just swooning over girls on TV, and the other who was trying to avoid all sorts of conversations regarding dating men, marriage and babies) for about 30 years really does screw your head in a fashion that is not pleasant. And to develop feelings for straight women who may or may not be aware and are therefore emotionally manipulating you… definitely not the best spot to be. Being Catholic and having been taught that homosexuality is an abomination – how is that resolved?
It took a good 30 years to get all of that straightened out in my head, and whilst doing that, I refused to date because I didn’t want to do something that wasn’t true to myself. I did not want to subject a guy to someone who will never be forever love. I know, how noble. Not really. I was just a coward back in the day. I didn’t really have a mind of my own. And I allowed people around me to influence me in a way that saw me losing myself, and ending up as a person who was single, and never had a date in her life at 30.
And then it clicked that there are perhaps only two things in this world that really matters – to love, and to treat others like how you want to be treated. It really is that simple. Forget the complications that are brought about through the interpretation of what bible has to say because that in itself is man-made. Chinese whispers for thousands of years, imagine what that actually does? And how do we explain the concept of actually feeling for someone of the same gender to the Asian elders? It can be tough. My mother is my best friend, and the first person I wanted to come out to was her – who happens to also be the most difficult. But hey I did it. And that, was and is going to be the best decision I have made in my life. The liberty that came along with it, the ability to go out and actually potentially find someone was a feeling that was very welcome.
And then one had to deal with being a virgin while dating at 30. It’s a daunting thought. To come up with women who have been dating for most of their lives, be it with men or women or both, and having to explain myself every single time, is something very very tiring. More so, to deal with the shocked reactions of “omg really?!” or “but why?!” or “wow…..”. Any one of those would send me right back into wanting to book anger management sessions, or I would just cry at wondering what the fuck is really wrong with me. It took me a good year or so to get my head around the fact that my sexual experience should not be something that determines what sort of partner I am (yes, it was bothering me that much). Instead, I should be seen for the person I am, on the inside – how very cliche. I know, but it works, so I’ll take it.
And then having to find someone who matches my bases of moral standing, principles, ethics, intellectual and emotional connectivity in a pool that really isn’t that fantastic, is something that is a struggle in itself too. And being the age that I am, how do you actually find someone who would understand what your history is like, and then like (or eventually hopefully love) you for who you are? It is difficult, and that’s not pessimism talking. It’s realism.
At the end of the day, I am approaching 33, have not been able to hold a relationship (if we can even call them that) for anything more than 6 months, and am starting to lose the hope of actually find that soul mate that I really would like to have to share the rest of my life with.
But what I really wanted to put out there is that if you’re struggling in the same way I am, questioning why the fuck you haven’t actually found anyone even though you feel like you’ve got so much to give, then take heart in the fact that there are others around who are going through the same thing, and that you are not alone in the struggles you face, no matter where you are, how old you are, etc. I am still somewhat hopeful for us. Perhaps I will be more hopeful once I get past this tough time of emotional frustration, but don’t lose that hope no matter how small that glimmer is. If there’s glimmer, it can be made a fire.