“To Chhuon”


It’s a rare and beautiful thing to come across a human being who can influence your entire life without even being around to see it; a person who can give you the encouragement to take risks without being able to be there to give you the push; a person who presents an endless series of stories without being able to tell you a single one.

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We speak of him often. His siblings and family share his stories of growing up, of traveling, of living life. His beautiful endeavours of raising his children, taking care of his wife, and planning ahead for our lives well beyond his. His selfless love provided in his profession and his home.

Although I continue to search for the words, there hasn’t been one that fully encapsulates his presence and affect. A fighter, a traveler, a dreamer, a creator, a hero, a friend, a doctor, a brother, a son, a husband, a father. I carry his heart, his dreams, his story. His name. There is no greater role that I have been given the gift to carry out than that of being his daughter.

Dad, I love you now and always. And 24 years on, not a day goes by that we don’t miss you. So here’s to you.

Love, Me xo

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A New Post Redirected Back at Life


To You,

Seasons are usually a tell tale sign of time flying by, memories collected in the snow, on the sandy beaches, running through piles of leaves, and basking under the crisp reddening sun. This past year, seasons have been obsolete and time has  been difficult to trace and at times, appreciate. It’s hard to explain standing here in what to most is still considered my youth and watch time fly by and not even care. 

For what feels like ages, I have been sitting and waiting for U.S Immigration to process my visa papers in order for me to follow a life in the U.S with my husband. And I am exhausted, but I have to be in order to remain distracted and aloof as to how much time these days feel like to me. I work 6 days per week in order to lose track of the days. I have one day off per week which means my time off is merely there for me to rest, sleep up, clean up, and get back to the next day. I cannot give myself time to process that this is all taking so long. 

Honestly, I am a woose because this paperwork process has only been months, but having been in a long distance relationship for years, immigration is dragging out the final days of our distance due to the anticipation for this to be done and Part II to commence. I miss my husband, I want to create a steady local relationship with my step-daughter, and I am tired of having to wait to understand what home will feel like. 

In complete vulnerability, I am not doing well. Hence the lack of writing in the past few months. I have moved into my own flat and yet I am married. My belongings here are mine; there is no “ours” here. I’m feeling distant from a lot, and unenthusiastic about much. I’m mad and uninterested in many, and impatient towards most. I’m tired. Exhausted. I’m constantly kicking for emotional survival, and it’s becoming harder each day.

People tell me to wait, be patient, this isn’t forever. But it has been long enough, and although rationally I understand that this too shall pass, emotionally I am just plain tired.

It’s been a rough few months, and it just feels like that none of this will be alleviated soon. 

Breathing in and out,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Twinkle, twinkle little star…


To You,

Tonight I sit here with my eyelids falling heavy, something which indicates that this head will be falling equally as heavy onto a soft pillow in the coming hour or so. As my mind races, my inner being grows heavier and heavier, and so tonight I sit here wishing upon the many stars that sit in the countryside sky above me.

Tonight I wish for sleep, because I am so, so drawn out and tired. People ask how they can help me since I’m been miserably exhausted for so long now and the answer I wish to have given to me is the gift of time to sleep. When I sleep, my mind turns off, my soul goes back to dreaming and I lay in peace until my soul is rejuvenated to make life out of my dreams.

I also wish for space, space to muddle through my thoughts and come to grips with all of the changes I’m left dealing with. I wish for open skies and wide open paths to walk along, and I wish for the whispy freedom to do as I choose.

I wish for days when I’m not under pressure to meet the expectations of others, for the release to do for me what I need right now.

If nothing else, I wish for people asking me how they can help me to understand my need for the above. It may not be what others want from me, but for me, it’s what I need after neglecting what I’ve needed in place for doing as others have requested.

Sweet dreams and peaceful sleeps.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Flickering Eyelids


To You,

I haven’t written in while and that’s because I’m truly just tired lately. I’ve been trying to find inspiration – to finding me, in all honesty – and right now I’m just lacking in the energy or the perspective to do just this. My life is feeling.. I don’t know. I don’t know the word that correctly sums up how I’ve been feeling other than just tired. I’m tired of always trying to get things together to formulate a decent equation as to what I want my life to be built up from and feeling like I’m constantly falling short. I want to travel to paint a fuller picture of the life my father had before mine. I want to learn languages so that I can talk to the people that reside in the places I travel. I want to build up a conceptual understanding of places and the human race so that I may become more inspired to create again. I want to have a home that I can feel at ease and settled and a job where I feel at rest and fulfilled.

I have felt stuck for so long now, for years. Stuck and tired. Immigration is taking it’s course, and its a predictable slow one at that, and in the mean time I am to sit, and wait, and put my life on hold. No building upon my life with the travels I have put on hold for the past few years. I don’t feel like me, and I’m exhausted from having to push forth a front that’s not me.

People tell me that my exhaustion, my frustrations, my stresses – that they’re all just life. But whose life? Life is filled with troubles, stresses, obstacles, but what these are defined by are what make me unfulfilled right now. These stresses are due to things that aren’t me. I’ve had financial issues before, but they were because I’d landed in a new country and needed to dig up a job to help me buy food and pay for accommodation. I found whatever job I could find, just like right now, but it was to help me live the life I wanted to live, not one I feel stuck living. I’ve been stressed with communication issues, but because I didn’t speak the same language and not because people were too lazy to merely vocalize an issue in a familiar language.

I’m just tired. Really tired. I cry too often, my eyes twitch out of exhaustion for weeks. I can predict almost every move and word spoken by people everyday. Some days I wonder who really knows who I am out of the people I interact with daily, and it makes me feel alone. I don’t recall the last full day that I felt like myself, and whoever I’ve become lately has made me knocked down tired. My spirit is not enlightened, and my soul is feeling emptied out – and in the end, it’s all my fault.

Sleepy now, sweet dreams.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Let Me Explain Why I’m Not Laughing


To You,

I’ve never been the smartest person in the classroom, the most eloquent or the most influential. I’ve always found myself taking a little bit longer than others to at times comprehend theories that I’m reading, literature that I’m perusing, or equations that I’m calculating. I’m a slow reader in that I usually have to re-read texts a few times over to actually take in what I’m reading. I don’t consider myself to be a natural learner, since my traits as a dreamer typically override my attention span in lecture halls or classroom discussions. However, when people scoff at the notion of textbooks, academic readings, or institutional learning, it truly frustrates me because I feel like people are blinded to one of the most wonderful and powerful truths that lie within the air of knowledge: the beauty of new knowledge.

It is human nature to make fun of things we don’t understand, to laugh and poke at things that somehow don’t lie within our understanding of ‘normal’. I’ve been made fun most of my life for various reasons: from the age of 8 through to my early twenties I was a strong tomboy, wearing my brother’s hand-me-downs proudly and a sweet ball cap on my head; I don’t drink or do drugs, never have beyond a sip of wine when I was a child, and it goes without saying that this is neither ‘cool’ in highschool (or in my adult years, oddly enough) nor part of the social norm; I’m a third culture kid, meaning not only are my parents from two different continents raising me and my siblings in a third first-generation country, but also I am mixed race born to a British-Caucasian mother and a Chinese father. I have been ridiculed, poked at, mocked, and intentionally hurt out of humour not by people who are necessarily cruel, but who are socially and culturally intolerant. They are intolerant of something or someone outside of what their current mindset is capable of understanding. If you were brought up in a predominantly Caucasian setting, the onset of an immigrant family is easy to mock – their accent, their inability to pronounce the English language, their clothes, their skin tone. It’s easier as the observer to laugh and mock than it is to recognize and respect. A joke with the acknowledgment of mutual respect is one thing – laughter and light-heartedness is not wrong, but mockery with the lack of civility and comprehension is bullying.

Not by any means stating that the formal institution of academia is a place for everyone or that it is the only place that one can learn, but for me it is a place where people can broaden their minds to allow previous comprehension to expand to new measures. Although you may not read a philosophical text and use it (or understand it) for exactly what the classroom is requiring of you, but you may grasp onto a concept which allows you to think outside of your traditional thought patterns; it allows your mind to associate certain social happenings with analogies from a variant of sources.

People who have ridiculed me, belittled me, bullied me, undermined me, disrespected me, racially dehumanized me, and critically devalued me have all ranged from smarty-pants to the generalized uneducated. And so intellect isn’t what I’m getting at here, because the one thing all of these individuals have in common has nothing to do with the intellectual size of their brain but rather their incapability to utilize said mass.

I am 29-years-old and to this day am made fun of for my cultural descent, my appearance, my nationality, my [fill in the blank]. I have a pretty awesome sense of humour, if I do say so myself, and I’m not a ‘stick in the mud’. But no offense, if my eyes are a funny ‘squinty’ shape to you, or my Chinese familial names are so funny because you know, they’re Asian sounding, or my kind of people can’t pronounce English without an accent – the only people laughing with you are those who hold the same profound stupidity as you.

Words do hurt me. They’ve hurt me for many years and they will continue to hurt me, but rather than me hide my emotions from your verbal actions, I can’t and I won’t. I’m perhaps ‘overly sensitive’ to the mockery of my various joke-worthy traits that make up my identity, but only because you – the incapable of using your brains – have poked the bear for most of my life. I’ve done nothing wrong. And if it takes the same discomfort that you’ve pinned on me for me to fully use my brain and pin on you in explaining why I’m pissed off, then I’m happy to do so. And maybe it will take the same discomfort that you’ve made me feel for so long for your brains to open up to new knowledge…

And make you realize that you’re kind of an ignoramus douche.

Peace & love,

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

A Toronto Event on Immigration, Identity, and Race


To You,

Oh hey, look! It’s time for a little self-promotion! ;o)

On Sunday, June 2nd I will be speaking at Toronto’s F-You Project‘s event, “You Don’t Know Where You’re Going Unless You Know Where You’ve Been” on immigration, race and identity.

As a Third Culture Kid, and having lost my father at a young age with whom represented not only a huge portion of my identity but also the minority characteristics with which I was questioned upon throughout my childhood and into my adult years, I hold an interesting perspective on the lives of an immigrant family. A first generation Canadian, I am looking forward to touching upon my experiences of my family’s story and the first hand education I have been privy to as a mixed race individual, a child of immigrant parents, and citizen of the world.

F-You: The Forgiveness Project

You Don’t Know Where You’re Going Unless You Know Where You’ve Been
Sunday, June 2nd 2013,
6:00PM @ The Remix Project, Toronto, ON

To check out the event’s Facebook page, please click on the following link 🙂 CLICKITY CLICK CLICK!

I am very excited (and yes, nervous). Wish me luck and if you can, come and check it out!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

This Is Who I Be.


To you,

Currently sitting in my living room with soft sunlight peering through my curtains as it starts to lower itself from its daily resting post above the housing roof tops, I’ve been thinking about everything that’s been circulating my life as of late. All tidbits from postgraduate work and studies, employment opportunities post-uni, creative projects to pursue, and life altering aspirations. I’m feeling an odd equilibrium of cool, calm, collected with a growing urge to organize and clean. I think that sums up my thought process as of late.

Its funny, but I’ve finally been finding strange inspiration through some of my readings within the past week. The most odd was surrounding a German geographer’s theory on the study of Geography within the theory of human rights and natural rights. The most random inspiration as of late for my creative artistically driven mindset! Somehow jumped from Lebensraum to the teapot song. I won’t go into that one any further, because I’m actually still playing around with it in my head! Also, I’m within a module right now that studies identity within varying contexts, which is always something I’ve battled with and have discussed heavily in my art work. Just being able to discuss this topic again has been refreshing, and is opening my mind to looking more into my insecurities amidst the identifying characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, and nationality. These are things as a mixed race, Asian female, dual nationality, third culture kid and immigrant existence that I have battled with for a couple decades at this point. I’ve always known that I was the minority of minorities – half Caucasian, half Asian; deceased parent; two immigrant parents from different countries; first generation North American born; British and Canadian; bouncing immigrant, etc. – but I feel that within my adult years an uncomfortable realization that the term ‘exotic’ was being attached to my characteristics emerged and I’m not sure how to deal with it.

'Tea Time' - a book I made on a Universal III letterpress discussing British and Chinese identity

'Tea Time'

I am not comfortable with people identifying me by my ‘exotic’ blend of ethnicity, or by my association with the minority component (Asian). Don’t get my wrong – I am proud to be a dual equation of cultural history, and I think culturally and conceptually there is much beauty in mine and my siblings existence since we do have rich stories. What I am uncomfortable with is the pure fascination with what I am, rather than who I am. People characterize me through an attraction to the exotic, but I hate to break it to you – I am 5ft 8″ and could snap you in half if I wanted to ;). I don’t do Asian stereotypes, and so I don’t understand where the attraction builds from my association to that culture. Of course, I proudly embody my attachment to my Asian history, but characteristics which fit with those of other Asians (mixed or full) can be viewed as cultural attachment, but should not be responded to with the notion that such is an obvious trait because I’m Asian. I do not take racial and ethnic assimilation lightly – in one reading by Maalouf he states that once you have been picked on or characterized and pinpointed by your race in an observation of being an Other, one doesn’t forget that experience. I certainly haven’t. From when I was very little to now – I don’t forget. And I won’t forget.

'On Identity' Amin Maalouf

I suppose the difference between my appreciation and my distaste towards topics contained within my identity and its questioning is that I am a proud individual based on my parents’ history of being immigrants, of being a mixed race couple in the 1980’s, on the traditions that I embody and hold dear within our cultures, and my strong, personal association with both the British and Chinese cultures. However, the associations made because I’m Asian (typically the exoticism lies with the minority characterization) are uncomfortable, demeaning, and not appreciated.

You’re Chinese, so then you’re fluent in Chinese, right?

You’re really tall for being Asian.

You must be good at Math and Science – help me with this!

[I won’t even include the questions I’ve been asked regarding Asian pornography].

Yes, I’m tall. No, I am not fluent in Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese). I love the sciences and math, but no it’s not my strong suit. Some may view these as harmless inquiries (with the exception of the porn questions, and at times even the language assumptions), but they are assumptions based on what I am, a purely objectified being situated within association with a culture.

During my trip to China and Hong Kong a couple years ago with my childhood friend Stephanie, I deciphered some of my discomfort surrounding the subject matter. My father, the Asian component of my racial identity, died when I was 7 years old, and being the only members of our family that resided in Canada I was never surrounded with the Asian familial presence of my history. Therefore, my only physical connection to my Chinese identifying factors was my father – biologically, he was the connection. With him gone, associations and assumptions based on my racial features hurt deeply. My only association assumed by others to my father’s history was that I was supposed to speak Chinese. I was supposed to be short and slim. I was supposed to excel at maths and sciences. As pop culture and media portray, I was supposed to be exotic – to assume attraction based on what I am is complex, and I feel a little less because of it. This was the only affiliation assumed by others that I had with his history, and in turn my growing history. And it still burns. To this day, the assumed associated characteristics of what I am still upset me and make me uncomfortable. I am who I am because I am my father and mother’s daughter – no assumptions nor observations should be concluded upon because biologically it is also what I am.

Anyways, enough about that – I started to think about all of this after my first lecture within that course. Its something I’m hoping to explore further within my creative and academic studies, because I feel like I truly need to. Being mixed race in this global phenomenon is truly a gift, but one that deserves understanding and not fantasizing about.

Until next time, peace, love, and smiley faced emoticons! 🙂

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo