2016 End of Year Thoughts
It is near the end of 2016, it has been an eventful year! Even though there were plenty of changes in life, time flies, and things happened quickly, like a glimpse of light, faded away before you can get a grip on it.
My friend used to tell me I have nine lives, always surviving in tough and challenging situations. This year, it marked the 10 years anniversary of my time living in the United States. I truly can't believe it! Many Asians from where I came from, see America as a dreamland, a land of opportunities and luxury life. I can only say, dreams come in many forms, they are never exactly the same. When it was a good dream, I wished to stay under the blanket a little longer. However, when nightmares taunted me, I woke up screaming, trying to breathe, and grabbing emptiness in the dark.
As an immigrant, a legal one, just in case you would like to ask. I seldom felt like I had a voice. While reviewing my life in 2016, it is hard not to mention the unbelievable outcome of the Presidential election. Being a minority in this society, I ran into enough discrimination and public humiliation that my voice was sealed. I had so much fear that I often hid and tried to stay in the shadow at all times. During many personal events, I learned that fairness is the most luxury thing I can't always have in life. While fronting many raging individuals, I caved, I doubted. In the first few years of my time in the US, I barely had any friends and my family was certainly not here to support or to give me hugs. For a very long time, I was wondering who exactly I was in life, could I ever pull through some inhumane treatments? Many times watching movies that depicted slavery in history in the US, I lost control of my tears, something was echoing deep down in my heart. The pain and the struggle people had was somehow familiar to me.
Many times I encountered people who asked me the reason I moved here. There was an opportunity and I took it without thinking much. I was young and ignorant to any challenges that I might face. It has been 10 years, I guess you may wonder why I didn't just leave after all that terrifying experiences. Sadly, I am attached to the better materialistic lifestyle I can possess living in the US, however, that is definitely not enough to keep me staying. First, I was never a person who would give up easily. Regardless how challenging it is, I want to find a way to improve, to change, and to make it better. Maybe, that's why my friend back home thought I was a survivor. Quitting is not an option when I have hope. Some people may ask, what's hope? Trump is our president for the next 4 years. I can tell how fast 4 years can just fly by without you being aware of it. If you think this is wrong, you have 4 years to prepare, to understand and to influence people who are on the opposite site. Don't let yourself feel regret again after next 4 years. I know and understand it can be scary to stand up for what you believe. As a graphic designer, illustrator, and photographer, my business can be affected if I hold a specific political view. People may not hire me because I chose to have a voice. I do have to evaluate and decide how to accept that I may lose many opportunities, how many friends mute me on Facebook, or any physical harm that I may face in daily life.
When I go online, I saw so many hateful messages that saddened me and terrorized me, but I am aware that most of these people are not around me in real life. Most of the people I know may not agree with each other's political view, but they are supportive of each other as a community. I see love and strength in people despite how much I wanted to just give up and run away. Eventually, it is the kindness of people that keep me rooted in this land. I love how people are willing to forgive, to be open minded, to challenge your own beliefs. The world is rotating, and nothing stays the same forever. There is not an absolute rule on how things should be. The world is like a giant moving machine. You can be part of the machine that steers the direction, or you can choose to be a useless part that is being discarded, left behind and be forgotten. I urge you to not give up when you are ready to take the ultimate choice in life. Change takes time, go get involved and influence people with love and compassion. We can't change anyone by poking each other.
During the holiday season, I will still celebrate by non-stop shopping since I am not a Christian. I do believe in the higher power, regardless which religion you are with, God exists to lead us to a happier and better life. When you are uttering hateful speeches, you are not with God, you are just a human being who is struggling in life. I know differences can appear to be so annoying when things don't go well in our lives. Perhaps, we all can take this opportunity to put aside our phones and keyboards, spending less time blasting anonymous strangers online. Go out and breathe in the fresh cold air, or stay warm and cuddle with your loved one, or maybe just your dog? Allow yourself to be freed of anger and pain. Just breathe, we are still here for each other after all.