Money and family — the two taboo subjects I absolutely despised and continue to attempt to ignore whenever it came to using them either as discussion topics or as an icebreaker. The two taboo subjects I’m not sure exactly when or if I’ll ever get over and will stop considering them as taboo.
In 2016–2017, I flew in and out of NYC to visit an ex-something and his parents in Austria. Since mid-2021, I’ve been spending time with my now current boyfriend and his parents. In both situations, I’ve been sulking and almost borderline crying whenever I’ll return to my parents’ roof, wishing the next time I would leave. And it started to make a lot of sense of why going to their homes has been so crucial within my life.
There’s this stereotype of Asian parents I started to realise when I first met this ex-someone in Austria.
These stereotypical Asian parents who work long hours and the mother’s cooking away whatever there is in the fridge and the father consistently asking when the food is ready as he stares at the screen. These stereotypical Asian parents who are too tired to show affection towards one another. These stereotypical Asian parents who might as well be considered ‘separated’ because the father is almost-never home and the mother’s waiting around for him to come home. These stereotypical Asian parents who take away this fantasy definition of parenting so becoming a parent is hard to imagine. Or my definition of what stereotypical Asian parents are because of what I’ve been witnessing my entire life.
So when I visited this ex-someone in Austria, where villages were an actual real-thing and his father showed so much patience towards his mother and my current boyfriend’s father doing small things like picking up his mother from work and going out and eating just as a couple, it’s difficult to have this willingness to stay with my own parents or even consider speaking about mine. I guess you can say that I’m envious, embarrassed, wanting to run away from this reality I’ve been witnessing for my entire life.
And I can also say that I can possibly be inconsiderate because my parents are the stereotypical Asian parents who immigrated from their home country, never received a proper education, work jobs that require long hours and hard labour. I can also say that I’m not being grateful enough to have both, my parents, alive.
It’s not a race thing being that both this ex-someone and my current boyfriend come from white families and mine is Asian so there’s this division and level of love that is higher. It’s also not a political thing about how unfair it is that immigrated couples don’t have the luxury and comfort of those who have ancestors from long ago (even though everything is considered political — eye roll).
This is personal.
This is my reason for not speaking about my parents or why parents, even family have become taboo for me.
Money’s another story.