respect

Notes from my 20 year old self

The way I see it…there are no legitimate excuse for me or any of us to be unable to attain what we aspire for..

I sat on the hard wood floor, going through my parents’ vast collection of photo albums. I smiled widely at the pictures of my father in college posing cheesily next to his pride and joy of a trans am back in the late 70’s. I flip further back to earlier pictures of those he left behind in Vietnam, a village full of our relatives. As I open my mother’s albums I found the same confident woman smiling back at me in the front of a coffee shop near Neman Marcus in Dallas, the last pages were mere remnants of her posing in her long flowing ao dai in the front of my grandfather’s old house with her sisters.

They left their comfort, their loves, their homes, to find hope in a place which exuded salvation. My mother flew solo letting go of her dreams and career in search of work to support her family despite her foreign tongue. My father and uncle experienced pain and anguish escaping incarceration by the communist only to be stranded in the Pacific for 21 days without food or water and then to be left in a refugee camp for over a year.. Their journey was no simple trip over to the states.

What did they have to face when they reached the shores of America?

Only to find more hardships fighting discrimination, loneliness, and unfamiliarity. Defeated? Never.

Barriers. There are no barriers they couldn’t climb. I couldn’t be more proud of my father for graduating Oklahoma State, and my mother for finding multiple jobs to raise my siblings alone as well as send assisting finances to the other side of the globe.. Somehow..They found their nitch, assimilated to the once foreign culture, built bridges and burned some and somehow their paths intersected…and there was me. Together we have a comfortable lifestyle. Both have yet to surrender their hard work ethic.

Headstrong. This is where I come from..

Hard on myself? I should be.

When I find myself stressing about school–I picture my father walking alone on the cold snowy campus in Oklahoma in his late 20’s holding his hefty Vietnamese/English dictionary and tape recorder as he scurries to his lectures after working 10 hours as a janitor at a local church.

When I find worrying about my finances/jobs–I remember my mother’s hands delicately weaving through white cascades of fabric, sewing intricate patterns of embroidery for hours then using the same hands to hold those of my brother and sister as they cross the street to return home to their small studio apartment.

So…here is the explanation on why I am how I am today.

Why I have little sympathy for petty problems, why consciously I am so hard on myself, why my expectations have no cap, why I do not complain about my parents being so unreasonable with me.

I have my reasons, because whatever complaints, worries, or anxieties I may have are surely negligible to what they have faced..

Now tell me what I want is intangible? No excuses.

That’s why it sickens me when I see kids take advantage of their parents. That complain about the minuscule things. That shrug their mother’s and father’s hardships as pennies of the past and disregard their advice. There is no excuse for you youngins’ to leech off your parents. If anything leech off their wisdom and pay your respects.

I came across this today from my old blog. It looks like 20 year old me was wiser than I thought she was.

I needed this today–Simple reminder that I really do have it good and I shouldn’t let my minuscule problems or insecurities weigh so heavy on my shoulders.

And I’m sitting here

Sifting through every generic term for love..to describe the amount of love and appreciation I have for this man in my life…and I can’t seem to find the right words to depict this feeling.

But then again..this type of respect can not just be depicted..it must be felt
And as I sit and flip through the albums that document our history together..you can feel it through the eyes of the step children he has raised, the determination that flows in these vary veins that want nothing but to make him proud.

Yes. That is it..this simple yet so very complex man is my father. This man who holds his guitar as gold and has shared his wealth of love and knowledge of music, this man who’s sarcasm and humor lies beneath the undertone of every joke that’s uttered beneath my breath, this man’s who’s love for the eloquence of nature can be felt in every wisp of wind that caresses my face, this man who’s pride reigns strong has molded the spine in which hold’s my head high, despite it being filled with heavy thoughts

This man is my father and I’m humbled to be his daughter.