Are you a Bad Asian Daughter?
“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” – Mary Oliver, from the poem “Wild Geese”
“You do not have to be good.”
Ever hear that one from your parents? HA! Ever hear that from a teacher, or a boss, or a mentor?
If the answer is yes, count yourself lucky (and cherish that relationship). If you actually believe that you don’t have to be good, then consider yourself enlightened.
But if you’re like me, and still wake up sometimes to face parts of yourself you’ve been conditioned to believe are “bad”, welcome. Come and sit for awhile. Read. Cry. Share. Smile. Learn.
I’m inspired to start this blog because I’m tired of believing I’m actually B.A.D. I’m tired of living with shame, guilt, and a nagging sense of dishonoring ancestors (a vague term for the ashes of dead people whose names are inscribed on a family shrine in a mountaintop cemetery somewhere in Asia).
I’ve glimpsed what my life can be when I embrace my own freedom to choose, when I dare to do what I was never encouraged to do, when I act courageously in the face of a fear that has kept me silent for so long before. And you know what I’ve found? I actually LIKE myself. What I like most are the very aspects of me that I once believed were B.A.D.
So what are the B.A.D. parts?
Well, that’s the whole point of this blog. I want to explore, tidbit by tidbit, all the ways I’ve begun to like myself MORE by embracing everything I had once considered B.A.D. about me. One small step at a time. Instead of turning my eyes away, I have leaned in. Instead of labeling and judging my desires, I have become curious about them.
No, it hasn’t been easy.
Not at all. But if you’re Asian, you know something about doing things the hard way. You haven’t really been afraid of difficult things in the past. You’ve probably even lived most of your life with the belief that “Life is hard.” or “You can’t expect anything to be easy.” or “You’ll always have to struggle to get what you need.”
I once believed those things as well. I built muscles of resilience by working hard all the time. I am grateful for every single experience I had while I believed those thoughts, because they eventually led me to a place in my life where I could no longer continue in the same way. All that pain led me to my eventual path of healing.
And now I’m growing different muscles. I’m developing those “opposing muscle groups” you may have learned about in gym class, or from your personal trainer. If you don’t work both sets of muscles, say, biceps and triceps, or quads and hamstrings, or lower back and abs, you develop imbalances and become prone to injury.
Same goes for the emotional, mental, and spiritual muscles you might call “the mind”. As I go deeper into yoga, meditation, and spiritual practice, I see more and more of an integration among mind, body, and spirit. I see them not as separate entities that must be “connected” but rather three different ways of expressing the single essence inside each of us, which is inherently beautiful, truthful, and loving.
Need evidence of this to believe it? Good. I don’t expect you to believe everything you read here and take it as truth. I encourage you to go and find your own truth. That’s the purpose of everything on this blog. I share what I’ve gone through because it’s the only truth I can claim as my own. I share it with the hope that it may inspire you to find something that’s as true for you, in your own way, and to live your life from that place of curiosity.
So how is it that I am a Bad Asian Daughter? And how can you find out if you are one too? Read on….