Most people grow up with family where they learn how to love and give love. I, on the other hand, spent my entire childhood by moving everywhere, seeing my own parents getting violent, and the floor was covered by blood. I grew up confusedly.
In Vietnam, domestic violence was pretty common back in the days. Pshhhh, even now. People accept that behavior as a lesson to teach the youngsters what is right and wrong. The in-laws also encourage the husbands to beat up the wives in order for her to fall silent. My grandparents have 6 children. For some reasons, only my dad has that ugly character. So as the result, my mom and I were trained to get beaten up whenever and where ever.
Growing up brokenly taught me a lot of things. Things you couldn’t learn when you had a happy life. Things you couldn’t appreciate when you are love and be loved.
- I don’t take happy moments for granted.
As things went, I was never known when would be the next time my dad raise his hands on us. So when he was happy, me and my mom were happy. Extremely happy. I love all the afternoons he picked me up from school and asked what did I want for lunch. Instead of yelling the whole way home.
- I forget and forgive quickly.
Imaging today is the day my dad happy. I will ask him to take me to places, to buy me comic books, to say jokes without worrying. Keep that in mind, I don’t hold on to the hurtful past. I forgave all his mistakes and still look up to him as a father. Life goes on, that mind set applies to everything else happens in my life.
- I don’t use awful words on anybody.
I have heard millions terrible words that my dad had used on my mom. An amazing women who I could write a whole 1000 pages about had heard all kind of mean thing from her husband. It was my first 10 years but the feelings I had were the strongest, I felt her pain, saw her tears, knew how much she suffered. That woman deserved to say the worst stuff about my father but she chose not to. I learnt that from her. “Nobody deserves to be called that way. They hurt you doesn’t mean you have to be the same way back. You don’t like it. Walk away.” I have been practicing that since then.
- I enjoy little things.
I enjoyed seeing my dad hugging my mom at nights when they were happy. I enjoyed a-less-than-2-pennies banana ice creams ’cause I know that was all my mom had. I enjoyed living in a slumdog neighborhood where I surrounded myself with rats and candles. The kids played roles instead of computers. We made fun of Vietnamese songs instead of learning English. I also enjoyed all the late night trains from Saigon to Nhatrang in every school break. I enjoyed hearing/speaking my own tone of Vietnamese even when my husband said “Your Vietnamese is not correct.” I know that. How many people are proud to pronounce Vietnamese not correctly? I do. I am proud of where I am from and nothing is going to take that away from me.
- Money is not that important.
I grew up with very little money. My mom made tons and my dad spent triple of that on gambling. We did get better after years. Then we moved to the States and started from scratch. She raised two daughters with 700 bucks in her pocket. I graduated college with 3.75 GPA. Now money is not the problem anymore but again, I can live with just 5 dollars in my hand and still happy.
I grew up brokenly and I am thankful for that. All the lessons that I got from my younger and also the darkest time taught me more than 16 years in school. Life has its own way to deliver meaningful messages. Remember, always choose the bright side.