Did You Really Choose Your Life?
I was born in Calgary, Alberta up in the great country of Canada. For those unaware, it’s the third or forth most known city outside of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. It’s a relatively clean city that runs on the oil and gas industry. It’s fairly quiet and tame. The most exciting thing about it seems to be the rivalry with the other major provincial city of Edmonton just a brisk three hour drive to the north. It’s also where the HBO show The Last of Us was partially shot (I got to see some of the sets they did in episode 2!).
I was also born into a family of Vietnam War refugees who fled their homeland as one of the ‘boat people’. I am the middle child of three siblings, an older brother, and a younger sister. Of course, the other brother got along better with my father, and my sister, the only girl, with my mother. Other than the usual parental provisions of money, food, shelter, and clothing, I mainly took care of myself. I did well in school with minimal help from anyone, biked across the city just because, or go visit my friends whenever I could.
I was also physically abused and beat often ever since I was a little boy. I would hide in my room and draw, or endlessly play video games and watch movies. Looking back, I think it was my way of escaping. It’s the same reason why I tried not to be home as often as possible, preferring to be out alone or at the homes of my friends. It wasn’t until I went to therapy recently that I realized that I was always afraid at home, because my family caused me, and still causes me, the most pain.
None of us are able to choose our parents, our siblings, our bloodline. We are born into a world and into the kinds of situations and circumstances beyond our control. I didn’t choose to be Asian, male, heterosexual, poor, or Canadian. I didn’t choose to be hurt and traumatized. I also didn’t choose the good things in my life. Great movies, good music, my friends, my first love. These were all things that I, honestly, stumbled onto as most of us do. My one girlfriend that I loved and spent over a decade together with was someone I ran into in my last year of university, and somehow it became what it was. She was also the reason I made my first move away from home to Edmonton because…