Megan Lau

Asian Enough

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‘Asian enough’: a sentiment that elicits an outpouring of thoughts.  What do those two words mean exactly?  How does one person determine what is enough?  Since I’m only half Asian, does that mean I’m only sort of proud of my heritage?  Do people who are fully Asian have some sort of power over me?  And the same for people who are full white?  Am I only entitled to know half of the Chinese language, like half of Chinese foods?  Movies?  Songs?  TV shows?

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People often ask me, ‘Do you feel more Asian or more white?’  I have a Chinese dad and a white mom with European ancestry, so I don't feel more connected to one over the other.  I’ve grown up with both cultures surrounding me from both of my parents, from my grandparents, and from my school.  I never feel ‘more’ like one ethnicity over the other.  Being Chinese is something I’m proud of; being a mix of European ethnicities is something I’m also proud of.  As someone who is biracial, I get the best of both worlds.  I experience dim sum on Sundays and lasagna on Fridays.  

Learning about both cultures is valuable, as well.  Studying Chinese in high school made me feel connected to my heritage, and learning how to make Italian desserts from my grandmother brings me a lot of joy.  Recently, I had a school assignment where I had to interview my grandparents, and hearing how different both of their stories were was eye opening to me.  One grandparent told me about his journey coming to America from China and the difficulties that came with that.  The other talked about the difficulties of growing up in Baltimore, Maryland.  I appreciate both stories because they lead to who I am as a person.  Without my grandparents’ sacrifices and triumphs, I wouldn’t be here today.  And thanks to them, I’m always me; an individual who doesn’t want to be defined by others.

Comparing yourself to other people’s standards will only hold you back.

Sometimes I doubt if I’m smart enough, pretty enough, confident enough... but I think therein lies the problem of thinking that I need to be enough for someone else.  Using the word ‘enough’ implies a comparison to someone’s idea of what is ‘good enough’ or reaches some ‘standard.’  Comparing yourself to other people’s standards will only hold you back.  As someone who’s been told that they aren’t Asian enough or that a woman can’t enjoy basketball because I’m not ‘man enough’, I understand the pressures to be what someone else wants you to be.  But the only person that should dictate how you feel about yourself is you.  And I’m just the right amount of ‘me’ for me. 

 

I'm a 19 year old girl from Honolulu, Hawai’i studying in California.  Trying to be more creative and artistic through my writing and photography.  Obsessed with all sports, youtubers, and Gilmore Girls and consider myself an extroverted introvert. 

 

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