“While I had discussed my mom’s illness with my friends’ parents, I had never thought to talk about it with my own mother. And now there was a surrogate me. Breanna could share and understand the one thing about my mother that I never could, her disease…..Plus, I didn’t want a friend, I wanted a mom.” (37)
“Parents are supposed to be our storage facilities: insert a memory, let them hold on to it for you. Leave behind stuffed animals and school projects, report cards and clothes, they keep them so you don’t have to. I knew that wasn’t part of the bargain with my family. I’ve thrown out piles of things, taken them to the dump and never looked back. But still, to see my dad in a blank space, it only seemed to make him more blurry, like he had just appeared on a canvas, before the background was filled in. His sphere was borderless, and the sense of nowhere made me feel alone, unbound.” (46)
“We want our parents to be the norm from which we deviate. So when my dad came out, my instinct was that I needed to husband-up and get married.” (48)
“If you haven’t spent any time deliberately and intentionally shaping your narrative, if you’re unprepared, like I was, then one will be written for you. And if you already feel like a fractured self, you will start to feel like a broken one.
That’s how I felt the day I was outed: splintered and smashed. I had not yet figured out who I was, and now I was robbed of the opportunity to public do so, to be in flux. Though the writer had gotten it wrong, I also think there was no way he could have gotten it right.” (119)
“You acknowledged the unsteadiness and either braced yourself against it or let it transplant you somewhere else.” (180)
i’m a bit thrown off today. my work week has been shuffled and it’s been forever and eight days since i last blogged.so, i am a day behind with this nocrush women wednesdays post-sue me. i am also glad to come back to this woman’s work that is rich with art and life. i’m focusing on parents today, to question (and not answer) nature vs. nurture. i mean, we’re obviously influenced by our folks’ absence and presence, but as john waters said, if you’re over 30 and still blaming your parents for stuff, you need to get over yourself. which is not to say that i think that carrie brownstein is in any way blaming her parents for anything, i just appreciate the tenderness with which she gives her folks a break, all while acknowledging the little her that both needed them and raised them.
i suppose music’s role in our lives is always something that will be at the forefront of my mind. it’s always there-to remind us of all the moments that it punctuated, and it is one of the first ways that we understand our parents, either by the music they make or the music they choose. i wonder if i’m the only second-generation vietnamese person who thought for years that the carpenters’ discography were classical vietnamese songs due to the bootleg “new wave” movement in 1980s orange county that trickled all the way up the west coast. i mean, in a lot of ways, there’s no wonder that i’ve always heard the lyrics that i want in songs-this is what ran through my veins. it’s also no wonder that i thought “emotions” was a destiny’s child original-i mean, what else would it have been?
i can’t remember when exactly i figured it out, but i do remember that it was just another thing that i found charming about a part of me that i didn’t quite feel connected to, but understand without question that i am it to a tee. i think i felt the same way when i was zipping past farms scattered with dragon fruit trees and goats on the way to central viet nam on a road that felt like it was being built as the van drove over it, like those bugs bunny cartoons.
would i be a singer already if my dad had pursued it as a career, rather than keep his daydream clandestine and his laser discs pristine? would he have been around more? to my knowledge, he seems separated from his musical heroes in a way that i’m not (completely). what did he actually think when i emailed him to tell him that i had met lionel richie? was he jealous? or could he just not fathom such a thing? today, i wish that he moves a touch closer to his dream of being a singer, now that he hasn’t had to worry about supporting me, he’s divorced again, and he’s retired. i also envision myself a little closer to my own dream to be a singer. and not just in my boo’s car, either.
homeworking soundtrack: joey bada$$, jamie foxx, bahamas, the carpenters, jeezy
duolingo status: 509 day streak, 5779 lingots
libraries lately: queen/saulter, parliament, city hall, the beaches, annette street
icp lately: dapper joe from field trip
nba finals that i’ve cared the least about since 1994: warriors up 2-1
motorcycle rides: 1
clove cigarettes: 2
kekou gelato flavours lately: durian, mangosteen, vietnamese coffee, black sesame, green bean coconut