Tagged: first generation

25 And I’m Still Afraid Of My Parents

Dev: His dad doesn’t know that we eat pork.
Navid: It’s against our religion.
Denise: Wait, aren’t y’all two grown ass men?!
Dev: Yeah! But we’re scared of our parents.

Master of None is a great show. Even though Aziz is Indian-American, as a fellow Asian-American I can relate so much. That’s something very uncommon.

I started Season 2 and this scene made me laugh like crazy. Aziz’s character, Dev, is 33-years-old. The episode touched on religion and how Dev is not a very religious person but had to put up a front for some relatives. It was all just too familiar.

The part that made me laugh, though, was that Dev was still afraid of his parents at 33. I’m 25, living across the ocean from my parents, seeing them at least once a year, and I’m still afraid of them!

I firmly believe this is an Asian thing, and a first generation thing. I don’t really know why that is, but if anyone could explain it to me, I’d love to hear it.

My husband is also a first generation FilAm, but his relationship with his parents is rare for our kind (lol). He can’t relate to my terrors, but I know a lot of others who could.

One example of being afraid of my parents involves tattoos. I’ve had them since 2012. My mom has told me over and over again that I better not get one, but of course, I got two. They’re both on my hip area, so they’re hidden under my clothes 90% of the time. I make sure not to wear anything that may show it around my parents. I can’t even imagine what I would do if they found out. I do want more tattoos but I spend a lot of time thinking of size and placement so that it fits somewhere hidden by my clothes. I daydream about having something on the back of my neck, on my ankle, somewhere on my forearm…but I know it’ll never happen. It’s been five years and I’m pretty sure they don’t know about my tattoos yet.

“Who cares?! Do what you want! You’re an adult!”
Nope. The guilt will eat at me and also my parents terrify me.

Another example? My relationship with my husband started off…well, it wasn’t supposed to start in the first place. It has a weird history that I may write about here someday. I avoided telling my parents about us for almost a year because I was terrified of their reaction. When they finally confronted me about it, I was right to be scared. So much yelling. So much CRYING. SO. MUCH. GUILT TRIPPING. It took them several months to accept us, and now he is the son they’ve always wanted (sorry to my two brothers, lol!). Trust me though, I will avoid that initial confrontation for as long as possible.

Disappointing my parents is just something I never want to do. I believe that most of my anxiety and depression stems from this. The reason why I can’t accept myself as I am currently is because it would disappoint them if they found out. Yup, they have no idea what I’m actually doing or where I am in my life because I am keeping it hidden from them as best as I can. This stresses me out. Every day that my life doesn’t change is another day of disappointment, and I can’t live with it.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to get over how my parents react to my life, but until further notice, the way they see me will always make or break my day.

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Link: 29 Shameful Things Pinoys Who Who Weren’t Born In The Philippines Understand

29 Shameful Things Pinoys Who Weren’t Born In The Philippines Understand

I looked forward to going through this list. My family is hella Filipino and I knew I would be able to relate and laugh at everything.

I definitely did relate to some of these, but some of them were just so unheard of to me, and I knew it was because living in Hawai’i made things different.

Here are some examples:

3) You keep your shoes on while in the house, much to your nanay’s dismay.
Nope. In Hawai’i, that’s what you do. Why would you track all that dirt into your home? Even living in the mainland now I still leave my footwear at the door.

13) You dare to eat meals without rice.
Hell to the no. I mean, to be honest, since leaving Hawai’i I haven’t had as much rice as I did growing up, but I made that decision for health reasons. My whole life was filled with rice multiple times and not just from Filipino food — Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Hawaiian plate lunches…rice for days.

18) You don’t like Filipino Food.
UM, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE FROM PHILIPPINES TO LOVE FILIPINO FOOD, EXCUSE ME?

20) You just can’t get used to the taste of ube ice cream.
Hawai’i has a pretty good amount of Filipino food areas, so getting some halo-halo is not a hard thing to do. Grew up with ube and all the Filipino goodies even if I’m not from Philippines, thanks to Hawai’i’s amazing diverse culture.

23) You use a Swiffer rather than a walis tambo.
Always have a walis tambo on us. My extended family who aren’t Filipino love to use them as well. They’ve seen them in markets all over the state and use it themselves. They’re just amazing brooms, OK?

28) And you don’t even like going to the beach.
Nope, not true at all. Hawai’i born and raised, I always have to be near an ocean.

Some other things I couldn’t relate to, for my own personal reasons not related to being from Hawai’i:

5) You don’t say “po” at the end of your sentences when you’re talking to elders.
I think this might be a Tagalog thing. My parents have never told me to do this. They did, however, always made sure I said, “Yes, Aunty/Uncle” or “No, Aunty/Uncle” whenever I talked to an elder.

7) And you don’t change into your pang-bahay clothes after going out.
My husband, who is also Filipino-American, doesn’t change into “house clothes” when he comes home. It makes me uncomfortable for him. My mom always made sure we did this, and to this day, I cannot be home in jeans or nice blouses because they are not my comfortable “house clothes.”

9) You rooted for Floyd Mayweather, not Manny Pacquiao, during the “Fight of the Century.”
I am ALL about representation of our people, and until my death I will root for the Pac-Man!

Actually, I couldn’t relate to a lot of this list, and it’s so off-putting to think that there are so many FilAms across the country that do relate to this. In a way, I’m lucky that I my parents decided that Hawai’i was going to be their new home. Hawai’i was basically another Philippines for them. Yes, I know it’s a huge difference, but Hawai’i already had a large Filipino population that allowed them to continue their normal way of raising a family. There’s a fairly large Filipino population here in California (and other states) but a lot of the FilAms I know here relate to this list more than I do. It’s a pretty interesting phenomenon, and I’m glad I can be a little more connected to my ethnicity because of where I grew up.