Having read Amy Chua’s book, which I couldn’t put down until I was finished, a first for me ever. I can’t help but reflect on what I must have been like to raise. I only know from my perspective and that perspective was definitely molded by what seemed to feel like my mother’s non-stop criticism, don’t get me wrong she also used positive reinforcement, but it’s always the negative that seems to stand out and this is how we get sympathy too, to cry over how mistreated we have been, this is also how kids are, the American way. American kids point blame and cry over almost everything.
I’m not gonna lie, as much as I love both my parents, my mother was the bad cop to my father’s good cop persona. As much as they played their roles of his yin to her yang, they were one and the most unified couple I have ever seen in my life. They are a team and growing up they looked like the same person to me. I do not see my father without the presence of my mother and my mother is not whole without the presence of my father. They are a unique match in an American world where parents often times come off as battling siblings, in front of the siblings they are raising. Perhaps this is where I am often times put off by American families, but my Chinese upbringing has made me too polite to ever say this out loud, so I write this instead.
There’s something about the American way which is about allowing everyone the same type of freedoms and rights which seems to nurture a sense of entitlement, rather than responsibility. Shouldn’t having Freedom and Rights be treated with Respectful Responsibility?
I have a tendency to gravitate towards people who come from generations before me, a time where people operated from the basis of Integrity, Dignity and Respect. I don’t have to wonder about the agendas of these friends, they have already worked hard and accomplished a lifetime of genuine living which they share with me and keep me educated in a manner far more valuable than what I tend to get when I try to engage with people my age or younger. I do have a few very close friends, maybe 3, at most, younger than me and my age, but they are the souls of generations far beyond my years, containing innate wisdom which I can only contribute to strong DNA and actual core values.
As much as I love being an American Girl, when I encounter the genuinely, disingenuous of this generation I am also disgusted by the way the American Way has made it ok to always point a finger of blame and constantly manipulate for self gain. People of all ages disrespecting elders and blaming their parents for not doing enough. I even have to shamefully admit that I would catch waves of this syndrome until the sour energy spawned by this toxicity causes me to literally have an allergic reaction to myself and I automatically go into hibernation mode to reflect, detox and cleanse.
This brings me to a much needed Confessional.
I have at times been such an ASSHOLE to my parents, but the person I really have been reflecting on is my Angelic Father William CC Chen.
Anybody who really knows me, knows how much I adore my parents. Anybody who really knows me also knows that I have NEVER spoken an ill word on my father, but I don’t think anybody could, which also makes me feel like that much more of an asshole. Sorry, Mom, I have bitched and moaned about you, but you also made that easy by doing the same of me. While you totally deserved the right to vent about me, what can I say, you raised an American kid in a lot of ways and some of my American ways were kinda shitty and the more I see how American Children behave, the more I can embarrassingly reflect on my moments behaved and spoken like a spoiled little brat. In retrospect, sometimes I do think you should have spanked me more, but I think seeing what I don’t like in myself reflected in some of those I thought to be friends is a good enough pay back and the kind of lesson I need to learn from. Sometimes you need to be shown your ugliest reflection in others to learn how to face yourself to be better.
My Confessional today is about how much I took my father and his devotion to my fighting for granted. I shake my head as I write this and I’ve been shaking my head at myself for the past couple of years when I think about this. Although dad did at times suffocated me, it was all from a love nobody cold ever find anywhere ever and being a stupid American kid I would run away from him and say the all too American phrase “I need some space”. God I’m so disgusted with my younger self. Thank goodness I get to become 40 to understand how much I have to be so grateful for, with time to try to make-up for what an ungrateful asshole I have been, not just to dad, but to mom too.
Let me just vent about what has been replaying in my mind as I watch people from all over the world travel to listen to every single word my father has to share.
While people travel from all over the world to pay my father respect I used to try to escape having to listen to him at all costs. It’s so stupid. Dad didn’t get so involved with my life until I started fighting, so maybe I was also used to being a bit ignored by him for a long time while my mother never seemed to get off my back. The funny thing here is that mom now would intervene and tell dad to leave me alone. My parents are both such passionate people and I see why I am such a nut case and tireless when I truly love something and someone. When I am engrossed with anything or someone I love, I don’t seem to need sleep, air to breath or food to eat, well, this is how it seems until I get a miserable headache or feel like I’m about to faint, or just find myself waking up because I needed to just rest my eyes for 30 seconds. I love to love, because I love to feel driven and there is no greater driving force than to be loved and loving something or someone so completely. LOVE, this is something I have inherited from both my parents, so I am crazy, squared.
I find myself reflecting on my years of actively fighting and I laugh, smile and feel bad about literally running away from my dad when he wanted to drill my punches. What felt like punishment was the deepest love I’ve ever experienced from another human being and I ran from it. How stupid?!?! I know some of you will read this and laugh, some will agree with what a spoiled American Brat I had become, maybe some of you would sympathize and I also know some of you may just understand all the of the stupidity but still have rooms in your heart to empathize with me. Regardless, I feel so guilty for my early years of stupidity, but I can at least give us all a laugh, well, maybe not all, but I know some of you will.
When I started full contact fighting, which came about 10 years after I was competing in Push-Hands and dominating that scene to boredom. It wasn’t even interesting to compete in Push-Hands for me anymore and I think people on the martial arts circuit felt the same too. So I moved on and decided to tackle the full contact world.
My father literally did laugh at me when I said I was going to start full contact, but not in that way where I found him to be funny. I did feel disrespected, but the way I was raised was to just earn the respect I wanted, so this was a good challenge and I love to be challenged. Well, longer story short, I’ll save that for another blog, I literally blew my dad away the first time he saw me gloved up and it had NOTHING to do with my slick technique, I had ZERO. I couldn’t even figure out how to get my hands to throw the punches I drilled while I was getting beaten up, but MY TALENT, which I attribute to my mother spanking quite regularly, is my incredible ability to take a full on beating and never back down. My talent is that I am really hard to kill and no matter how hard you come at me I do not know how to back down, I keep coming in and there was some really bizarre satisfaction I got out of the ability to take endless shots without even having the desire to land much of anything of my own. This is where I definitely know I am my father’s daughter, the endless stories he has about loving the ability he has to take shots and watching him take crazy blows when I was growing up as part of the classes he was teaching always were calming for me to watch, I would become hypnotized and inside I think I knew I was that indestructible too and I couldn’t wait to develop that kind of elegant toughness, it was so beautiful to me and it was the kind of beauty I wanted to be. Dad and I share the same kind of crazy and the more I can see our insane similarities, the more I adore him and love being some much like him. Dad was literally completely inlove with my ability to take shots he talked about it endlessly and would look in a daze as he would sit at the dinner table, inwardly replaying my sparring, which, at the beginning was all about my ability to take a beating and keep on coming. What he was actually marveling at was the fact that I didn’t get emotional when I got hit, I remember him saying, it doesn’t even bother you, you have no fear. Of course, at the time, this never registered as meaning much, because my goal was to have my dad marvel at my knock-outs and beatings I was so eager to learn how to give, not in a malicious way, but in a respectfully loving way, as a test of skill in the ring. I did love that I was finally so adored by my father, even though all I could do was take a beating at the moment.
Fast forward to when I started competing. Training was everyday and it was more than just once a day. You have to do as much roadwork as you do ring work, if not more. I’m a hard worker, but when I started to come home and my life at this time was on such a strict schedule, my dad would conveniently place himself at his computer in the living room. I can sense intention the way animals sense fear and dad was not working at his computer, he was using his work station as a prop, waiting for me to come home like an eager puppy. His external calm couldn’t hide his internal frenzied excitement of wanting to work on his new ideas and techniques with his daughter. What did I do? I would run and hide, but usually I was so hungry and needed to replenish my nutrition, I couldn’t hide and would get bombarded with ideas from dad. I look back now and even feel like I was such an ungrateful shit, but I also do have a very crisp memory of how dad seemed like the insanely enthusiastic child and I was the exhausted parent in a way.
But you know what, The Art of Mastery is the byproduct of that ability to exist in our childlike state and I was young and stupid and dad has always been the Greatest Grandmaster of them all.