No Regrets Blog #4

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No Regrets Blog #4
by Grandpa Dinosaur

I am now bench-pressing 40 pounds. That in itself makes me smile.

I’m looking into a women’s boxing gym that give free lessons to victims of abuse, I’d really like the peer support more than the training. Thanks to my training regime, I can tackle depression head on and vent via exercise.

I’m growing tired of turning to friends who aren’t there and now I have a better peace of mind that I don’t have to. I’ve been slowly working out my inadequacy and no longer put up with people criticising my life, with a “help or back off policy.” Because god, if they don’t back off I will back away and walk out the back door. I don’t have to deal with this anymore. I can leave because I’m getting tired of confronting everything and having nothing happen.

Exercise has given me a sense of agency, being fat has given me great pride in myself and who I am. No matter how thin I get, deep down I will always remember what it was like to be treated like shit for being myself, even if that was being a fat person.

Recently I’ve been getting fatigue in other places, like when I talk to people about race, being a lesbian, being a Cambodian, being a woman. I get a lot of grief from feminists who ignore me due to my skin colour, gay people who sneer at me because I am not “gay enough,” Cambodians that don’t think I’m Cambodian, Coloured people who don’t always stand in solidarity with me because I am not their race, it’s very exhausting. Especially the last one, I try my best to address the problems and be inclusive of other races as possible. These few days I’ve been noticing that people keep asking me to address their race issues, but don’t care about the things I go through as a Cambodian person.

All of this is very stressful.

More and more, I feel the pressure of not the media, not ads in the paper but from my friends and family telling me that I’m worthless because I’m “fat” and “stupid.” I’m fat of heart and stupid ripped, I refuse to let people belittle and criticize my life. But then it made me confront the truth: I have body issues only when I talk to other women my age who have body issues. It’s the only time I realize that other people do not think my body type is abnormal.

It’s then that I realize the world is incredibly shallow, and not only that, they act as if they own your body and your mind.

I have never been shallow in that I decide to be friends with people based on appearance, but apparently people have been friends with me based on mine. I don’t know how I feel about that.

I’m feeling increasingly isolated from “womanhood” and my community.

I am an educated and determined lesbian, Canadian-born Cambodian artist.

From the Cambodian community‘s perspective I am a White-washed Asian who has no identity and is not welcome in their community. I am “fat” and “ugly” and will become a spinster because I am unmarried.

From my female peers, I am uncouth and inarticulate. (TRUE!!! XD) I “cause problems” and “create drama.”

From the gay community, I do not even register. I am not gay enough.

From the White perspective I am too foreign and my traditional Cambodian upbringing conflicts with Western mindset too much adjust to Canadian life.

From the artists perspective my work is too localized or too foreign, never “homely” or exotic enough to be wanted.

In their eyes, my body is theirs to label and their labels mine to carry and bear.

In my eyes, that is the mind of the world and their perception of me. This is how I feel, how much is this is true, I do not know.

The world being my “friends” and “family” who buy the stereotypes and lifestyles will give them “better lives.”

“Friend” and “family” in name alone, I am alone in this world in so many ways. Whenever I seek help, I end up getting criticism from other women.  I know that I’m not a 100% perfect person, I’m not a perfectionist and do not aim to be. I am aware I have flaws, but it is hurtful when people would rather yell and pick at my flaws rather than help me improve upon them.

I find a lot of people, from my mother, to my sister-in-law, to my friends, to my teachers.

I try to reach out and admit I need help and get the community I need, only to be slapped, told to stop crying and be strong until I actually AM crying.

I’m getting A’s in my grad school… Like literal straight A’s, but I’m burning out and dying in my eyes. People respect my tenacity and fire, but it’s all stifling. I am a student in trouble too. I am glad that my teacher is giving breaks as well as my team partner in my group. It feels like the closest thing to support I have had in a while.

Criticism isn’t going to help me when I need people to stay with me and support me and be there to work through my problems. Because I have problems, I AM very self-aware. I don’t try to ignore my faults of fancy them up to be redeeming qualities. I DO have prejudices and I OWN them, when many do not. Again I am not a perfect person nor am I a perfectionist.

I am extremely worn down because I am so isolated and do not receive help when I ASK for it or seek it. In the end, I chose to isolate myself rather than have people pick at my flaws instead of being there when I have problems or just am having a bad day.

I’m not someone who has ever come home to a happy family BUT I do not want to be a victim, I try my best not to be a victim and always try to pull myself up and be a role model despite my past and having no support from anyone. As you have noticed, this is the first blog post where I have mention of having an abusive childhood. I try my best not to let it hold me back, it is hard and I think I am doing a good job.

If you would like me to write about the abuse in my childhood, I will. I don’t mind, I will put myself out there if it will help people feel as they are not alone. Much like being a lesbian, I keep things to myself a lot because I like to keep my own business my business but I understand the importance of a community.

I also believe that is why I write for PDDP, because I know what it is like to be isolated do to sexuality and race and try to create a sense of community by saying “it’s okay to be yourself as long as it makes you happy.” Because I am happy and I would like to be THIS type of person, instead of a negative person who cries. I want to channel and challenge myself, rather than hate and hurt myself which is not always easy.

I hope I can bench-press 50 pounds by the next blog post.

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~ by l on November 5, 2009.

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