The Longer Ones

Saturday, September 3, 2016

What kind of narwhal am I?

I'm brown. Well technically brownish-yellow. It's neat. I remember in my AP Government class last year, the teacher liked me especially because of my unique background. I am born a Filipino and I moved to Minnesota when I was nine. Then moved to California when I was 16. It wasn't until I moved to California that I realized I was extremely white-washed.

In my culture, though Filipinos are generally a very happy people, we're affected by some Confucian belief that we should keep our heads down, that we should blend in and that we should always regard our elders in the highest respect. And these values are great, I am not arguing against Confucianism or anything of the sort, but it wasn't until I moved to an Asian predominated area, that I realized I was astray from these traditional ethics.

I tear myself apart constantly.

My testimony in my religion is based on a specific talk I listened to when I was 13 years old. This talk (speech) was called "Dare to Stand Alone," by President Thomas S. Monson. In this talk, I was told to speak up and be proud of myself and to value my beliefs and my individualism and to not be afraid to share it with the rest of the world.  Now of course, his actual talk is about more religious topics, but to me it became a part of my personality rather than just a simple advice.

My teacher has never met a liberal Mormon, and he thought I was unique in my own beliefs, but in all honesty I tear myself apart arguing about what I perceive as right or wrong. Whenever I look at a new topic, I do my best not to fall back on past prejudice and rather I focus on the eccentricities of each new situation and seeing it as something new. Every time a new topic or issue arises, I look at myself and it ends up just me arguing with myself with such conviction that when a part of me eventually admits defeat, I am blown back by the realization of the consequences of my decisions.

I can't make up my mind. While my individualism sets up my ego, my pride is thrusted down by my confucian culture. In California, I remember people looking at me as if I was white-washed and strange that I kept talking in English and not my native language. They didn't accept me as part of their culture anymore. I guess that's one way to become an American.

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