Flawed Fem

My Flawed Life as a Mother, Sister, and Daughter -To my Family, With fellow women, & In Christ.


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This is Us…This Me.

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So… I’ve been dying to write about this show since day 1. But I held off until the end– This is Now.

A little background: This show is co-produced by Ken Olin- the star of another favorite
show of mine Thirtysomething. This is Us’ original title is “36”. 30something, 36- hmm
that has to tell you something! That cannot be a coincidence! This guy is making this
show from the heart! And at the heart of this show is a story about family- being in that life stage now- This- is Us  also…-is Me.

This is Us is a collection of stories. About a mother and a father’s sacrifice, about a husband and wife’s love, about a siblings’ collective bond and individual struggles. What makes this show so universal is that in whatever life stages you are, there is always one (or more) story that you can relate to. For me, there is something in each character’s story that moves me:
~There is young Randall, eager to learn about his African American culture as a black kid with white parents- I am not adopted, but I was a Chinese kid living among Filipinos, trying to balance my Chinese roots with the Filipino culture on which I was raised. ~There is Kate, with weight, body image issues- things I struggled with as a teen. ~There is Kevin, struggling in his craft/profession, trying to change his work to reflect his true passion- I uprooted thousand of miles from my happy home to practice psychology, if that is not parallel to his career storyline, I don’t know what is.

As a wife and a mama, I relate the most with the central characters- Rebecca and Jack.
At first glance, the obvious person I would most identify with is Rebecca- a SAHM with musical dreams. And I do. I definitely see my struggles in hers. When some people are hating on her, I want to shout to them- you don’t understand! Put yourself in her shoes, try raising many kids, on your own, without family support on both sides, leaving your dreams behind, and doing that over and over again for many years. I am luckier as it is, I don’t have triplets and my parents are very supportive (but they do live far, so I am lacking in family support too). But the mommy part, the feeling isolated part (most of my best fam and friends live elsewhere)- it resonates with me. The show mentions it but cannot really show 15 or so years of stay at home scenes. I am only on year 5-6 and much as I am fulfilled, I am exhausted. Imagine 15 years with triplets! Also remember that this is a woman who was hesitant to have kids to begin with, and have unfulfilled aspirations as a singer. I am not questioning her commitment to her family, but she definitely have that unfinished business that she suppressed for many years. And all the feelings she bottled up, unfortunately came up and it expressed itself as resentment towards Jack. Hers is a life of restlessness- of longing for her personal dreams vs. the mama guilt she carries for being her family’s caretaker all these years. And when she finally sees the fulfillment of one dream, it also threatens to shatter her family dreams

And Jack. Oh Jack. The beloved patriarch. The father role model. People will assume I
love Jack because he is perfect. Flawed but close to perfection right?! How many times
have I (and I’m sure most of the audience wives) have turned to their husbands and
say, “why can’t you be like Jack?” “See that, that’s how you’re supposed to do it.” Many
people are hating on Rebecca precisely because Jack is perfect and Rebecca is, well, for
lack of a better word, opposite of that. Extremely flawed. Always complaining. Selfish.
And the list goes on…
But if there’s anything about the show one must learn, is that it was never a straight
forward storytelling, and it’s multi faceted, and that’s what makes it riveting to watch. For me, more than Jack’s goodness, I see a man whose identity is tied to his family. He was the one who wanted to start a family. He was a man whose personal dreams take a backseat for his family. He was the one who, when the kids were getting older, desperately wants a baby (or a dog) to cling on to their cherished childhood. This is a man who vowed to create a family so unlike the one he grew up in. And he did. He was saved by family, his happiness lies in his family, his life is his family. And although that may sound like the best thing in the world, it also makes him easily frustrated and volatile when it comes to his family. And how far that will lead to his self-destruction remains to be seen

And all these characters come together to create these rich complex and loving
relationships that we call family. What makes this show stand out for me is the realness
of each relationship, and how the sweetest moments come with human flaws. How
selflessness needs to be balanced with self-love. And how underneath the conflicts,
after all the mistakes and misunderstandings, hope is always around the corner.
Because a family is what you make it to be. A house is not a home until love prevails.
Life is not about one perfect act, but a series of choices to keep it together. That this is not about one’s self solely, nor is it about others always. This is about both. This is the collective and personal journeys we take together as a family. ^This- makes- This is Us.

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The Child I Am

CHILD SERIES #3

“I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” -Viola Davis

Without intending to, I had unintentionally started a Child series, writing about my
children in my first two posts. Different child, back to back periods in my life. So to round
it up, I would like to end right back at the start. As the Child I Am.

The Child I am. I am the child of my earthly father and mother. Their blood runs
through me. Their essence becomes me. I learn what I want or not want as a young girl
surrounded by male siblings and cousins. My identity as a woman was formed in
response to my family traditions- demonstrated by the fears, guts, and faiths of my
mother and grandmother. My mother uprooting herself in the city. My grandmother
taking pride in her work, when women don’t work. My mother juggling work and rearing her four kids, being truly present in both. My grandmother travelling around the world in her 50s-60s…I am feminine & feminist through their independence, their support systems. Their capacity to love, their love boundaries. Their many strengths, and their valuable flaws.

The Child I am. I am the child of two lands:
To my motherland- I bleed when she bleeds, I rise when she soars to new heights. I
have become aware of politics in my teen years, but it is only in the recent years that
my heart for social justice has grown deeper. Ironically, it is being away from my home
country that I have begun to search my soul and feel regret for being blind to the poor
man’s plight, and deaf to their desperate cries for justice. I had to be ripped apart from
my comfortable life and as I start to live a life of hard work, I have begun to appreciate
the same hard work my countrymen have done. Yet I succeed, while most of them perish in the cycle of poverty, corruption, and blind religion.
To my adopted land, my second mother- I have dedicated many years of social work to
you. And what I had only hoped to do in my motherland, I have achieved here- to do
good work with your homeless, oppressed, and sick. You have made me more aware of
race, and a vast array of cultures, which both exhilarates/excites me and frustrates/cuts
through me. And as much as the current political air angers and terrifies me, I continue
to hope and pray for my children’s sake, for their future’s sake.

The Child I am. I am a Child of God. Above all else, I define myself in Him.  I am loved just as I love. His love is unconditional. And in spite of my imperfect love, I am filled with His grace and mercy everyday. I am wonderfully and uniquely made. Even as I am not without doubts. Even as I question my existence. Even as I am nagged daily by mother’s guilt. And even as I am a human forever bound by flaws–  My Father’s Spirit inspires me to live supernaturally. To aim beyond my limits. To live a life on fire. To bear the fruits of patience, kindness, and love:
“So my Lord, I bring this offering;
A stubborn heart of stone
And ask You, in its absence
Please exchange it for Your own.”- Beth Moore

The Child I Am. Of many mothers. Of two fathers. Of one Spirit. They have mold me. They have become me. They have formed The Woman I Am.

 

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A symbol of Me ~Live Love Laugh~

 

 


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The Child I Lost

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“There is not a single day that goes by that I didn’t think of the child I lost.”-Dr.K, This Is Us

Those words bring me back in time. It was not too long ago that my heart was ripped in shreds. My lifelong dream crushed. My soul felt anger, grief, and numbness all in one very confusing despair. And at that moment, my life stood still and my heart stopped beating. My whole being was frozen in the cold harsh reality of losing a child I have dreamed of all my life.

                           ~~~~~~ § ~~~~~~

Ever since I was a kid, I always liked to play with dolls. Baby dolls. I am the eldest child, and I like to baby my younger siblings growing up (sorry guys!) In fact, I credit myself for my mom getting pregnant with my youngest sib-  I prayed really hard for a sister! So it was a foregone conclusion that kids are a definite part of my future. I didn’t want them right away, but I know I want them soon. What I didn’t know was that it was going to take me longer to get them. And that it was not going to be without pain. A lot of pain.

The first time I got pregnant I was ecstatic. I felt the morning sickness and knew right
away that that was it! My husband was no less, if not more, excited than me. When I casually asked him to bring me some stuff from the pharmacy- including the pregnancy test- his reaction (shock) was priceless! It was one of the happiest moment of our lives.

Then one day it happened. Twelve short weeks later, two days after I made the surprise baby announcement to friends, I felt it. I saw it. My gut instinct was telling me something was wrong. My brain was trying to deny the possibility. It took all my courage to pick up the phone and call my doctor to see me that day. And the moment she turned the monitor away from me, I knew that my happy moment has turned into my worst.

“It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.” My doctor kept saying those words. I looked at her like she was talking crazy- I don’t think it’s my fault! Why would you keep telling me that?! Maybe her other patients are weak, but not me. I’ll be fine. Or so I thought. It took me a good few weeks to feel the loss. And when I did, the tears wouldn’t stop flowing. I have visions of my baby’s strong heartbeat stopping – this kept replaying in my mind and I thought I was gonna lose it. My husband was supportive, but it was my body, it was my vessel that lost our child. I then realize what my doctor was trying to tell me. I did blame myself for the loss. And even though I didn’t believe it at that time, it was not my fault.

It was not an easy journey back from my loss. I wish I could say that realizing I’m not to blame made everything ok, but that’s not how it went. My head was filled with unanswerable questions, my heart was aching with inconsolable sadness. Feelings of indignation and despair would overwhelm me at times, even as a sliver of hope was starting to break through the darkness. It was a long battle back into the light, but over time, simple joys and a renewed faith allowed me to regain my laughter and love of life.

~~~~~~ § ~~~~~~

This is my story. This is my truth. It is my hope that in writing this, I can reach out to those of you who have experienced this loss. For you to know that it’s ok to mourn. For you to know that it is not your fault. For you to know that you are not alone. To seek help when you need them. And to know that in the midst of despair, grace is possible, and life will reappear, however long that takes.