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By: Anonymous

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“What about forgiveness?”

My friend Jennifer asked me this question over a couple late-night vanilla lattes. As someone who grew up in the same Asian-dominated community as I did, I knew she knew all too well the pressures hardass Asian parents put on their children. As my eyes filled with tears (a rather embarrassing sight in a bustling Starbucks on a Friday night), I admitted “I hadn’t thought about it.”

Not that I don’t understand the importance of forgiveness. It really is the most important thing a person can do. In fact, I myself have counseled friends to forgive those who have hurt them because it’s the only way to release the anger and resentment inside of them. I honestly had just never considered it for myself.

I’m angry at my father. Angry because he wired my brain at such an early age to not accept weakness and to be ashamed of what he considered failure. I remember when I was struggling with AP Physics in high school and cried out of frustration because I couldn’t understanding vectors and velocity, he said that all I do is give up. I remember only a few months ago when he gave us his theories of why my sisters and I didn’t get into an Ivy League school. We’re adults now and he’s still holding that over us. I remember him judging my friends’ parents for being “abusive” because they didn’t push their children hard enough to be successful in their careers. Never mind that that their family seems to function a lot better than ours does. I’m angry that even though my father strives to compliment and praise me now, it’s too little too late. I appreciate the gesture, but I don’t believe it. I would have appreciated a carefree childhood instead of one that guaranteed that I become an angry, defensive, hopeless person because I didn’t live up to his expectations.

The list goes on and on.

Not only does the list go on and on, the list is actually a tape that plays in my head over and over again. I want it to stop but it never does. It plays relentlessly every single day until I have to come up with reasons not to kill myself.

I don’t know if I could ever talk to my dad about this. As angry as I am, I don’t want to hurt him, and I’m sure that if he knew how much he hurt me, he would feel bad.

So, forgiveness. How do you forgive? What does forgiveness even look like? How do you stop the tape? I really want to know.

 
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At The Laundromat is a supportive online community that exists to challenge the taboo of talking. We welcome you to air your dirty laundry – your past, your emotions, your fears, and your questions – in a safe space. ATL is also an online extension of Vanessa A. Yee’s documentary featuring young Asian Americans breaking the silence that takes hold of their lives and their families. So speak. Write. We’ll listen.
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