By Wan Lan
Often times, I fall into anxiety about “identity”since and before my daughter was born. “Where are you from?”would be an awkward question for me all my life. We believe we are Americans as we immigrate here, we hold the same faith and values as Americans. But the asian appearances are like labels and the mother language me and my husband speak at home reminds us all the time of the place we spent our first 20 years.
The process of awakening is a pain. It’s years of exploring and reflecting, of course in this great country of “true freedom”.
Sometimes, the independence of all the cathaysian nations in the Far East sounds like a dream too good to be true. How can I answer my daughter properly and decently as she grows up and asks me where she comes from. I hate the word “China”, as it attaches to the feeling of being ashamed. I feel sick when seeing those foolish arrogant Chinese taking pride in their face of being Chinese while taking advantage of the United States. Reasons are too complicated to explain, and time is more worthwhile to spend somewhere else.
The best realistic way I can think of to get rid of being connected with China, and more importantly to help myself feel better is to run away. Run from the Chinese populated areas, run from the occasions they like to flood in. Settled in a peaceful small town, doing simple work, giving back to the community which embraces us without prejudice. Living a life lonely but freely. Pretty much like Henry Thoreau’s Walden. That is the life we are living now.
Today I totally comprehend years ago when I heard Maya Lin said her parents rarely talked about China when she grew up, and she can speak no Chinese at all. This is exactly what I’m doing to my daughter too. I will never teach her to say any single Chinese word, even try not to mention “China”in front of her. She is the blessed American-born-American, not the American-born-Chinese. As for her explorations about her identity in the path of growing up, I will be of any help like a friend and listener to share with her my very honest knowledge and sincere opinions. But intentionally guiding her out of the Chinese world, is the best compromise I can make to deal with my own struggles inside.
Life of multi-culture background is not easy, especially migrating from a less civilized environment to a highly civilized one. Hardship equals grace. Jesus bear the cross alone, we must bear our own.
My passion and efforts in building the Yvuania nation along with all other cathaysian nations will witness some progress and achievements in the years to come.
By that way I should have a better answer to my child’s question of where we are from.