Monthly Archives: August 2016

Bilingualism

When my mother gets angry, her English switches into something in between English and Vietnamese, the words are English, but the grammar, the sentence structure, the twists and turns, the intonation is all Vietnamese.

And it is not because my mother is not fluent, oh no, she is the most intelligent woman I have ever known, and learning two languages is nothing more than breathing to her.

It is because Vietnamese is the language of her heart and soul, the language of her bones and her blood, the language that feeds the roots of her brain, and when she is angry, when emotion comes first and passion runs high, then it is this language that comes pouring out in every breath even when it’s English that leaves her lips.

When I am angry, I can barely speak, the words get caught in my throat, they get stuck somewhere and I don’t know why or how, but it’s usually stuttered or mangled English that comes through.

Even when English is the primary language I speak, Vietnamese is still the language of my heart and soul, my bones and blood, the roots of my brain, the language of the mother who brought me into this world, and even if it may not come out as naturally as speaking, somewhere in me it’s trying, and so the English gets caught along the way.


The numbers are too high

1 in 3 women – that’s like if I got together with my two best friends and there’s a chance that one of us is going to be a survivor, that’s like out of my dance group of 60 there’s a chance that 20 of us are going to be survivors.

That number is too high, that damn nameless faceless number, I do not want my friends, I do not want anyone to become another name with a hashtag on social media trying to get justice because the name of the institution is more important than their name their face their body, the name and reputation of their rapist and their institution is more than important than their body their safety their life, the number is too high, even one is too many, yeah I’m calling you out UCLA. Northwestern you too.

I will not let you turn more people into #names and despondent faces and broken hearts and traumatized bodies.


Steel

Darling, I used to say that you were made of stardust, that galaxies and supernovas that have come before you have all collapsed and crumbled and come together to make up what you are, but now I know that all of that is not enough to describe you.

Darling, you are more than stardust, you are reforged iron, your blood is steel, men have waged war with the very strength in your veins for centuries, and it is the men with your blood that win.

Darling, do not be ashamed that our body is the battleground that shows the war waged between you and your mental illness, the scars – the trenches where vicious battles have been fought and the battle wounds they have left behind, the dark under eye circles – the remnants of rumination bombs that affect you longer than anyone can imagine.

Darling, you yourself – the fighter and victim both in this war that has been longer and harder than anyone could have ever imagined, military men and women would salute and stand at attention as you walked by if only they knew what a fighter you have been and what a fighter you still are, Odin and the Valkyries themselves would welcome you into Valhalla for this war you have fought so desperately.

Darling, you are the strongest steel in this war, you are titanium, and you do not have to fight alone.