I sit here at a local Starbuck's Coffee shop with an childhood friend, writing my first blog. Need I say more?
I live in a peaceful country (no, it's not perfect but I still love it), I have a laptop I can write on, I have delicious food everyday, wonderful friends who support and challenge me everyday, who love me for who I am, family who pushes me to reach my potential, a brilliant little brother (I call him my little genius brother)... I live in abundance.
Now here's my situation...
I grew up at Jane and Finch, Toronto. This neighbourhood is known for drugs, gangs and shootings. I left to study theatre and acting at Concordia University and stayed in Montreal there for 8 years, mainly to continue to work on my one-woman show, but undoubtedly, to avoid moving back home and looking like a big loser to the rest of my community there. I wasn't about to hear the "I told you so" from my parents and have the elders in my community look at me with judgement. I am Asian. Khmer-Krom to be specific. We are the indigenous peoples of the Mekong Delta, what is now known as the South of Vietnam. So community is extremely important in my mind, whether I like it or not.
Then after having exerted almost all my finances living on my own and realizing I am not getting any younger, I decided to make the "adult" choice and move back home. WITH MY PARENTS! I know a lot of people do that. But I have to admit, I am a very proud person. (Must be an Asian pride thing.) It hurts my ego to move back and it took me awhile to suck it up and not be ashamed of it, to embrace it as an opportunity to get to know my family on a different level, as Chantria now, not Chantria then. And I see them also adjusting to the new me. I have always rejected the idea of confining myself in a "perfect Cambodian girl" image. That is NOT me. I grew up feeling guilty about it, ashamed I couldn't speak my language, wondered why I was more attracted to Black men and not Asian men, hated cooking and washing the dishes because according to my mother, "It is practice for when you get married and you must serve your husband." I have always said this and will still say it now.... That is a load of crap. But I am no longer angry about it. My beliefs have not changed, just my understanding and approach to things. I am grateful for those moments now, because I understand my mother and my culture a little bit more for it.
So here I am. Back at Jane and Finch, Toronto.
I have to admit, I love seeing people's reactions when I say I live there. Most try to stay reserved and pretend they are not afraid of the area but I can see right through that. I can hear what they really think in their voices. Others, the ones I really admire, are straight up and say "Holy shit! You live there? Aren't you scared?" It makes me laugh. And the answer is no. I am not scared. It is my neighbourhood as much as it is others who live here.
In fact, I will go as far as to say I am grateful for it. It has made me who I am today. And you know what? I love me! Think what you will. But I love me. That's right! I said it!
This is all to say that I am extremely grateful for my life, for LIFE!
People!!! We are alive! Let's make the most of it. Let's live it the way WE want to. There is so much beauty in the world, so much opportunity. It is a matter of what perspective with which you CHOOSE to walk upon this precious Earth.
I am grateful for this blog, where I am express my most deepest thoughts without persecution or judgement. And I thank you, whoever you are, for reading this :)
And those are my thoughts right now...
Until next time.