For those of you who know me, you know that I love words and often try to incorporate them in my art if at all possible. Looking at the unfinished painting, I suddenly had an idea of what I wanted to convey -- "A delicate blossom she was not. But she moved me just the same." These words are a reflection of how I see myself... but I didn't always see myself that way.
Growing up, I was painfully shy. You could barely get a peep out of me. I just never had the confidence that some of the other kids had. Maybe it had to do with being a child of divorce and not having my mother around anymore. Maybe it had to do with all of the moving around I did as a child and always being the new kid in town. Maybe it had to do with living hand-to-mouth and never knowing where the next meal would come from. Maybe it had to do with the strict father I had who, with just a look, could bring me to tears. Maybe it had to do with always being the only Asian kid in a 20 mile radius and being exposed to all the racism that goes along with that. A culmination of these influences and more made me a delicate child.
But there came a point in my life, where I began to gain the confidence I lacked for so long. I attribute that turning point to the day I was reunited with my mother. After living with my father for 12 years, my father finally decided to give custody of me, my sister, and my brother to our mother, so that he could begin a new life with a new wife in England. From that moment on, my life changed. All of the worries I had disappeared and all of the burden I shouldered was no longer expected of me. For once in my life, I could be a kid, and I had a mother to nurture me and to care for me. And, I tell you, once those basic needs are taken care of, you just gain the confidence you need to live life. My mother taught me how to be strong and be independent and to be proud of who I am and where I come from.
And now that I am a mother, myself, I hope to instill those same values to my daughter. I don't expect her to be refined and to always be a lady. Instead, I want her to be a mover and a shaker and to have the kind of childhood I never had. I want her to be a dreamer and to seize opportunities when they present themselves to her. I want her to laugh out loud and to get dirty and to dance like crazy when the spirit strikes her. For these are the things that will move me -- not a child of delicate perfection -- but a child who isn't afraid to live, to fall, to make mistakes, and to pick herself up and try again.
I am no longer that delicate cherry blossom, falling apart at the slightest rattle (though memories of that time will always linger within me). I am stronger now and have realized my dream to move people with my art. And as I settle into motherhood, this will continue to be my dream... that, and raising Izzy, my ultimate creation, to move others.
"I don't think I want to know a six-year-old who isn't a dreamer, or a silly heart. And I sure don't want to know one who takes their student career seriously. I don't have a college degree. I don't even have a job. But I know a good kid when I see one. Because they're ALL good kids, until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they're no good. You so much as scowl at my niece, or any other kid in this school, and I hear about it, I'm coming looking for you! Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam."
- John Candy, from Uncle Buck