I’m so bored with being afraid.
I grew up always in concern. Fear of my abusive father. Of disappointing and dishonoring my household. Of not being an ideal Asian American child. Of not being fluent sufficient — in Chinese or English. Of being judged on a regular basis by aunties and uncles and lecturers and pastors.
I used to be too loud, too brash, too bizarre, too younger, too opinionated, too boy-crazy, too American, too Taiwanese — an excessive amount of.
I used to be perpetually afraid of not being adequate, sensible sufficient, or fairly sufficient — of not being sufficient, interval.
It was inconceivable being “enough” once I was each an excessive amount of and too little on the identical time.
I attempted to alter myself — to twist myself into becoming an appropriate narrative — however it might by no means stick for lengthy. Not due to rules however as a result of it was an excessive amount of effort. I merely didn’t have the power (or appearing chops).
So, I hid my insecurities as an alternative. I masked it by being smug and haughty. I assumed myself higher than everybody else. I always felt as if different individuals owed me and didn’t deserve the success they obtained.
I used to be stuffed with contempt, spiteful, and imply. I used to be jealous. Though I didn’t often gossip as a result of gossips are inherently untrustworthy and I didn’t wish to appear untrustworthy — I used to be snide and lower down what different individuals mentioned or did.
“Who did they think they were?” was a recurring chorus in my thoughts. It will not be misplaced on me that now, that very same query is directed at me — often by my detractors, and infrequently on my own once I permit lies to whisper louder than regular.
Who did I feel I used to be? Who, certainly.
My buddies say I snapped the yr I turned 40. And although I personally don’t suppose I modified a lot, from the surface wanting in, I perceive. While I had by no means a lot filtered my opinions or ideas once I spoke (which was usually), I finished holding again much more. I altered my bodily look drastically. I launched the final vestiges of worrying about what others would take into consideration me; I shifted from outspoken to unapologetic.
Not everybody appreciated it.
For some, I modified in a single day from the “right” form of outspoken to the “wrong” variety they usually didn’t know what to do with me. I used to be as soon as once more, each an excessive amount of and too little. But this time round, I gave zero fucks.
You know what occurred? Nothing. And every thing.
I suppose it’s not completely true that nothing occurred — however like, I didn’t die. People didn’t go away in droves. I used to be happier and extra alive than ever. I gained alternatives. My writing improved. Amazing individuals who I’d by no means considered cool sufficient to know got here into my life and stayed.
I’d already put within the work to achieve competence, data, and expertise so my confidence wasn’t ill-founded. I used to be not threatened.
I turned beneficiant — particularly when crediting and acknowledging different superb individuals. It not harm me to see different individuals succeed as a result of I knew their wins didn’t equate to my losses. There was room for all of us.
The world was sufficiently big. And the world opened.
I’ve misplaced individuals. That stung — however I selected to be pleased about the season I had them in my life. I trusted we had been not what the opposite individual wanted — and I needed them properly.
Of course, I do care what sure individuals consider me. I care about my household, sure buddies, and revered mentors — and their good opinion issues to me — as a result of I worth them and their insights.
I fear that I’m anti-Black, racist, misogynistic, classist, anti-gay, or transphobic.
I fear that I’m punching down as an alternative of up.
I fear that I’m inflicting additional hurt to the weak.
I fear that I’m an unkind and unjust individual.
So, when these choose individuals say I’m out of line, I work via my preliminary defensiveness and disgrace, consider their criticism towards what I do know of them and what I do know of the world, after which I personal it. I apologize, I study from it, and I do higher.
My ego will get just a little bruised, but it surely helps me let go of the have to be excellent.
I’ve made enemies, too. But what do I take care of what individuals I don’t give two shits about consider me?
If something, their hatred amused me. When I hate individuals, I erase them. I ignore them. They stop to exist for me. So for sure individuals to exit of their approach to castigate or disgrace me — to paraphrase Regina George, why are they so obsessive about me?
They can hate all they need; I can’t hear them.