Perhaps it’s just one of those days where I feel particularly aware of my singleness. Maybe, in some far depth of my consciousness, I am thankful for it. I’m trying to be, at least.
So. Oneness. Single-life. Unity. Our society places paradoxical worth on the individual…or, to clarify, the Asian-American circle does. My parents simultaneously want me to “bloom” as an individual and snag a husband. Soon. Not that they explicitly say it (sometimes they do), but their comments range from, “So, are you going to that AAA formal?” to,”We really think [insert male friend here] is a good guy. We really like him.” Yes, there is that chuckle under my breath. I’m thankful my parents invest heavily into my presumed future romances.
Then, there’s the dark stitching around the sides of this Encouragement Pillow. What if I am single for the rest of my life? What if every break-up just indicates I’m destined for an attic future with way too many feline friends? A part of me always feared that what G said in 9th grade Arkansas History class was true. “Sherry, you’re still going to be living at home when you’re 30.” Sure, he meant it in the best of ways…I think. He “meant” I would be aiming for my PhD, thus stuck at home. However, that 9th grade band geek wearing tennis shoes, pleated khakis and lame shirts interpreted everything differently. A small part of her thought ugliness would prevent any man from coming near her, that personality was complimented when nothing physically beautiful could be found.
I want to find 9th grade me. Borrow the TARDIS from Matt Smith and break every rule of time travel to tell myself some things. Maybe add in a slap or two for good measure. Because those thoughts I had as a 14 year old? They translate into action a few years later. So, yes. TARDIS that girl up. I would say…
“Listen. Life isn’t just about having someone else validate your worth. You’re a new Christian, a fledgling really, but you need to understand this – God loves you. Yeah, yeah, I see you rolling your eyes. Stop that, it’s annoying. Do you understand the implications of that statement though? Listen to me. The God of the whole universe, who was there before time began, the Author of all that can be written or spoken…loves everyone, including little, sinful, broken you.
In that way, you’re not special. Hey, stop crying; you have to realize this. The world does not revolve around you. Maybe in the movies the nerd goes through a makeover montage to physically enhance her, but in the real world? You need to learn how to let circumstances refine your relationship with God. Physical beauty is so finite…so shallow. I know, I know, you say you’re above that. But I know how long you’ve poured over Seventeen magazines, coveted images and longed so long…to just be accepted? White? Conventionally pretty? You know what I mean. I was you.
Yes. Life has not been kind. It was easy to get swallowed up in darkness, let the pitiful wails of victim-hood suck you in. I’m going to say what everyone else was afraid to – everyone is just a little bit selfish, with their own motives. Even you – get over your little ego trip. Life is so much more, you don’t understand.
Yeah, okay. I’m lecturing. I know I sound like Dad. Anyways, stop whining. There is so much to life beyond being noticed by little Arkansan white boys. I know what you do.Hide away desire, stuff it down so low that you pretend it never existed. Boyproofing. Baggy shirts and weight-gain, trying to hid the baggage in your mind.
What I have to say is harsh. It sucks, but you need to hear it. Reality check? The U.S. is not perfect. You are not mainstream, white-washed pretty. That’s okay. People will insult you, tell you everything from your hair, your eyes, your clothing is just “not right.” That’s NOT okay. You can talk to them, shout at them…but their lives are too small. Some of them have to see life outside their small town to know what exists. Some of them need experience to teach them lessons about tolerance. It’s junior high, everyone has so many issues. Some people will wallow, even benefit off the insecurities of others. That’s their choice.
You though. Yue. I know you hate that name, or maybe just how people pronounce it. Not with the lilting, mono-syllabic rush that Mandarin-speakers do, but the Southern drawl of “You-ay.” It grates against your ears and sends tears dripping down your chin. I know it hurts, but God is righteous. Stop trying to educate people, they stopped listening a long time ago. You just concentrate on getting out of here. Because Arkansas isn’t forever. Persecution isn’t even forever. If you lived for 80 years, that’s just 80 years of torment here and an eternity with God.
Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep forgiving.
Stop feeling bad for yourself, because you’re not alone. Even if your paranoid, neurotic thoughts tell you that everyone hates you, remember the truth. The Trinity is with you. I am not being cheesy, so no more eye rolls.
Hey. Yue. You’re going to make mistakes because you are human. I want to tell you there is beauty in you. Every smile that cracks because God’s grace is not only sufficient, but just too much to handle. Not everything is in white teeth or creased eyelids…the best thing? God knows. Everything you’ve been through.
So keep praying. Keep reading Scripture. It is not in vain.”
At worst, 9th grade me would think I was a hallucination. At best? I’m not sure. Would I heed the warnings?
Here I am. Surviving. Alone. A lone. Al(l) but one.
My friends are all getting into relationships, and I feel like I break everything I touch.
There has been a lot of pain, but the more I reflect on everything…I do believe it all comes down to my heart. That selfish, unbearable, desperate thing. It captures the wants and insecurities of 5 year old, 12 year old, 20 year old me. I have a lot of growth to pursue.
To quit cigarettes, you must first want to quit. I’m not saying I want to quit love, but I think I’m going to quit chasing after people. I got so mad at this friend, because he ran away from me. During a run, he lost track of his thoughts and left me behind, without a route. Me, as an English major…I thought, “This is a metaphor for my love life.” People running away, me left behind, desperately clinging on to cold tracks. Ugh…how morbidly depressing, right?
I realized I can be content. My divine collision proves that youth is not eternal, things break, and people can die. Oddly, I’m calm about everything now. Because, in the midst of all this entropy and chaos, I believe God is constant.
Unwavering. He is All(one).