Tag Archives: vietnamese

On Vietnamese Heritage and Seeking Revolution

The other day I felt sad and a little ashamed about how little I know about Vietnamese culture and history. After joining a Slack channel consisting of a bunch of radical leftist Asian Americans, I read messages from a lot of these folx about how understanding their ancestry and familial roots helped in their healing processes. These messages and some of my own introspection over the past year made me wonder: how did I get so disconnected from my own heritage?

My lack of cultural understanding related to my Vietnamese heritage feels rooted in my abusive childhood. My mom yelled at me and gaslighted me for several hours a week, every week, for the first 18 years of my life. This experience motivated me to focus on healing, including healing from my disordered eating in my adolescent years and my PTSD in my college years. Throughout high school and college, I read a ton about Psychology, active listening, self-compassion, etc. in addition to going to therapy. My desire to practice healing as a therapist stemmed from more than my own experience with abuse though; I wanted to provide to others the compassion my grandmother gave to me. I also always loved understanding people and analyzing interpersonal relationships.

So I ignored a lot of my Vietnamese heritage and focused on more mainstream mental health practices. Continue reading

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A Post For My Father

A few nights ago, I wondered what it would feel like to cut off my ears.

I remember thinking something similar when I was thirteen or fourteen. I was in the car with my mom, sitting in the passenger seat as she screamed at me. This I was used to – what scared me was how she had formed her hands into fists and was punching the leather of her seat as well as the surface of the dashboard. While I cannot claim to remember exactly what had caused her anger, I do recall that it was something insignificant. Perhaps I had closed the car door a little too loudly. Maybe I looked at another boy who walked by for a little too long.

But, as she spewed poison and purged her anger, I thought to myself: I wonder what would happen if we got into a car accident right now. I wonder how much of myself I would be willing to give away for her to disappear. I proceeded to bargain mentally – would losing an arm be worth not having to put up with the abuse anymore? How about an arm and a leg? All of me?

Looking back, I realize how melodramatic and shallow those thoughts were. Continue reading

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