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I'm the daughter of an immigrant, and my parents voted for trump (early midlife crisis or blessing in disguise?)

 

Back in 2016, I refused to acknowledge that the election would affect me. Every time mom and dad went on their rants I'd change the subject. As election day neared I turned off my TV. I avoided the radio. I didn't want to realize the ocean of emotions about to flood our world.

Fast forward to Tuesday, November 8th and I'm in tears. No reason why, I didn't even know where the numbers stood. I was just driving in my car in silence but somehow I had felt the hurt of the world. I felt sadness and anger and unrelenting anxiety that didn't even feel like my own. (Sometimes this happens to people they call empaths).  

Anyway, I was shocked as most of the world was when Trump won. 

My parents weren't though. And they were proud supporters. I'm very empathetic, never letting others' beliefs affect my own, or disrupt my happiness. But this time was different. 

It can be extremely hard to know that the people you love and care about, your family, your parents do not believe in equality. It pulls at the heart strings seeing them choose their faith over acceptance. I believed in love for all, and they did not. How could I be their daughter, and suffer silently?

How do I be who I want to be without dishonoring the hand that fed me, the blood inside me? Once again I refused to accept reality, hoping to rush past all the tweets and just move on. But the spark was ignited and America spoke up.

Women from all walks started speaking out. And that fear inside me that said sit down, arose.

But being a proud feminist is strangely disempowering when the women you're close to feel opposed. can feel like a Mom and sister"don't see the point in all the marches." Between that and my Vietnamese dad being all for border control, I retreated in my mind. 

My immigrant father voted for Trump. My parents believe in his policies. They've clung to cable news for the past 10 years, and somehow a tangible distance between us grew. No matter what I feel or say, Fox news is more right.

It was an interesting predicament. A few months ago I forced myself into solitude to reflect on everything going on. I was reminded that since an early age I've been acutely aware of my Asian-American heritage. Moving from the big city (where differences are celebrated, and in ways "unseen") to white suburbia (where my last name stood out) left some growing pains. I was approaching puberty when 9/11 hit, a distinct memory for us all.

And now, as I approach 30 I feel that same sense of anxiety, disbelief and some days, hopelessness. But I know it doesn't have to be like this. I know there are people out there like me. People who are facing the same challenges, right now, with me. There are countless immigrant-born millennials trying to cope with the divide. 

Are you one of them? Do you need to talk? Would you like to talk? I feel the only way to keep living with true intention and love is to connect. The only way to keep doing work that matters is talking about the hard things, it's opening up to others. It's opening up to others who share your worldview, and being open to those who don't.

As the inauguration approachedI refused to accept reality, hoping to rush past all the tweets and just move on with my life. But when the women's marches hit I knew this was bigger than me, and I was born in this era for a reason. I want to work on shedding my fear of walking proudly with my people. I want to do away with the conversations in my mind that say my mom and dad don't get me. I want to focus my energy on things I can change, and I want to be the change.

I don't want to live in anger. or fear. or idleness.

I want to connect with people who share my emotion.

What do you say? Email me at naturallyexpecting@gmail.com if you are like me, a bi-racial child of an immigrant whose parents support Trump. Let's connect. Sometimes the only way to truly work through something is laying it all out on the table. I'll set the table, please come with a meal.