AN OBSTINATE WOMAN, FAR ABOVE RUBIES
It isn't always about having my own soapbox and screaming mad nonsense into the void.
Today a reader added her comment underneath something I posted a while back, showing a completely different point of view; one which I myself have not particularly stressed - it is somewhat outside of my own perspective, as you will understand - but which needs to be given a place in the spotlight.
[Underneath this post: http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2010/10/cantonese-daughters-and-their-moms.html In which I explain certain things about Cantonese women that have also been detailed by many other writers - an entire passel of Chinese-American female authors in particular.]
"I'm a Cantonese-American raised by Mainlanders and thankfully, my parents were and are loving people. My mother is one of those crazy bitches but unfortunately for her, I inherited her obstinance. No one could ever convince her she couldn't do something and it's more or less the same for me.
I consider myself extremely lucky b/c my mother found a man that is willing to put up with her shit and she held onto him for dear life. My father found a woman who would be fiercely protective of her family and extremely driven to succeed despite her odds. Together, they are the cutest old Chinese couple you'll ever meet. Many times, I wonder if in the case of immigrant wives, that they spend so much time and effort trying to live out the lives their circumstances could not afford them b/c they are so unfulfilled in both their working and personal lives.
Out of all of my aunts and uncles (blood related and otherwise), I can say with certainty that my parents are the most well-adjusted and consequently, my brother and I, while not particularly financially or even academically successful, are as my mother said, "good, decent people." It is the highest compliment she could have ever given us and she has told us this repeatedly. They helped put us through college and never demanded that we study something we didn't want (although we were not so subtly pushed toward it), just that we could find work and lead stable lives after we graduated. And isn't that the whole point of going to college anyway? They loved us SO much, they didn't hold it against us that we BOTH got our degrees in political science and we both decided to abort the path to law school. I'm getting ready to go into a physician's assistant program (on my own accord) and my brother is on his way to getting a MSW (Masters in Social Work).
I hope that my story cheers you up. My mother may have done some of those terrible things that Cantonese mothers do and I will NEVER agree that those methods are anything less than abuse (this really gets my mother's goat, not being able to tell me "I told you so!") but I know she loves her kids and she has definitely mellowed out with age. She raised two very independent-minded, responsible, kind, happy kids.
P.S. I also played piano when I was a kid and I was never forced. My mother agreed to pay for lessons when I asked for them."
RESPONSIBLE & STABLE
It's good to see the other side. Especially because it normally doesn't claim centre-stage - happy people are often not noticed, whereas misery and frustration are immensely attractive.
Or at least entertaining and eye-catching.
[We like dramas with weeping, wailing, and epic teeth-gnashing, or comedies in which no one gets along with each other, even drives the other characters up the wall. That's why 'The Odd Couple' was such fun, and that's why we watch Woody Allen's later movies, despite knowing that at the end we'll feel cheated by his over-use of art-galleries and bookstores as backdrops, despite knowing that he simply projected his own shallow neuroticism on his actors, despite the hollowness of his message, and the ostentatious narcissism in his work.]
Becoming good and decent is a monumental accomplishment.
People who can say that about themselves or their children have achieved victory.
"They are the cutest old Chinese couple you'll ever meet"
I've seen folks like that. Their basic fibre was so compatible that despite each one of them being a fully flavoured ingredient by themself, they melded over time to a remarkable unity.
All facing facets ended up matched.
I suspect that both of Ninjarina's parents were obstinate, and respected precisely that quality in each other.
Which is probably what, without either of them even being particularly conscious of it, they encouraged in their children.
It is an admirable achievement
Thank you for writing, Ninjarina. It brightened my morning.
About the title of this post? Some of you will recognize a malformation of "eishes chayil, mi yimtsa, verachok mi-pninim michra" from the brachus ha mishpoche, ultimately from Mishlei ('Proverbs'), verse 31:10 'A woman of valour who can find? for her price is far above rubies'.
Which seems quite the apposite reference.
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Labels: Cantonese Women