5 Things Every Asian American Knows to Be True About the Holidays

5 Things Every Asian American Knows to Be True About the Holidays

My front door is a sea of shoes.

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Fall and Winter are my absolute favorite times of the year- not just because of the weather or the comfy clothes it permits, but the Holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, or something else, the holidays are a time of relaxation, good food, and a Hallmark atmosphere. However, growing up Asian-American, Christmas to us was often double-sided. Sure we had the tree, the stockings, and the turkeys, but we also had loud uncles, karaoke that shook the neighbor's house, and the one or two scraggly family dogs that vacuumed the floor of scraps. If you're Asian American and happen to celebrate the Holidays with a large-ish family, here are 5 things you probably know to be true.

1. The entryway of the house probably looks like this: 

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But like, 110% messier and 78% more dress shoes, heels, and Adidas runners.

2. Comments about your weight are unwanted but expected

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"Wow, you've gotten so fat." "Did you lose weight?" "You're so skinny now." "You need to eat more." "You need to eat less!" SMH.

3. Copious amounts of alcohol consumption

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Heineken, Sapporo, Hennessy, Soju, Assorted Wine- for many of us that Asian holiday party was our first introduction to alcohol.

4. There is always some sort of music or talent performance

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Dread it, run from it, it was still going to happen.

5. (Awkwardly?) talking to your grandparents

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Kudos to you if you know enough of your language to communicate comfortably, but for most of us it was just good intentions and English mixed with the few words you knew.

The holidays are a wondrous time. It's a break from school, responsibilities, and general worries. You've got all the warm and fuzzy decorations, and the added plus of seeing friends and cousins you haven't seen in a while. As an Asian American, my holidays were a little bit more hectic with all of the preparation and insane banquets of food, coupled with the many responsibilities and judgment from extended family, but I wouldn't trade that for the world. So, this holiday season, if you find yourself at an Asian household for Christmas, kick your shoes into the pile, enjoy a bottle of beer, and gorge yourself silly (while ignoring the increasingly drunk uncle) because if there's anything better than celebrating the holidays, it's doubling the holidays!

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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An Incurable Disease Doesn't Change The Love I Have For You

Because one day the one you love the most is fine and the next day they're not, it causes devastation you never truly recover from.

nadoty
nadoty
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Loving someone with an incurable disease is the most emotionally straining thing I have ever experienced.

My significant other and I have been together for almost six years. During the summer of 2018, we all noticed the significant changes he was going through. He had lost around fifty pounds and had a lack of appetite. We had figured something was going on, however, we didn't realize it was anything serious.

Fast forward to the Fall semester of 2018. I had visited my boyfriend and we had expressed certain concerns, such as, through the night I would try and get him to stop uncontrollably itching his legs to the point of bleeding, or that he was looking a little yellow and was exhausted all the time. After seeing his sister in November, while I was at school, she pleaded with him to go to urgent care because he did not look good. He was yellow, exhausted, and very sickly looking. We didn't realize that the urgent care visit would be the precedent of the rest of our lives.

After coming home for Thanksgiving and spending a week straight in the hospital with him, it finally set in that something was not right. Between all the vomit, getting moved for testing, the weakness, the constant calling for medications because the pain was so severe, and the almost month-long stay in the hospital, it hit me full force that something was really wrong. Words will never truly describe the emotions I was feeling, or the burden of my thoughts that I felt were too selfish to pass on anyone, so I kept them to myself.

When we finally got the diagnosis, we were surprised. PSC, otherwise known as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, is an incurable liver disease that affects the bile ducts which become scarred and inflamed, more likely than not lead to cirrhosis and an inevitable transplant. There was no cure, rather the only solution was a liver transplant, and even then the disease can be recurring.

I was thinking selfishly. I was torn in two. What would our future look like? Could we have children? Could we ever do the things we used to?

Loving someone with an incurable disease is a mix of emotions. There is a constant fear in the back of my mind that he is going to wake up in intense pain and have to be rushed to the hospital. There is a constant fear of every time waiting for the bi-weekly blood test results to come back, in fear that his Bilirubin spiked again or he is undergoing a flare up and needs to be hospitalized. There is a constant anxiety that one day he's going to be fine, and the next day he won't be. Even the simple things, such as laying beside one another, was a constant fear I had, due to the pain he was in every day. What if I hit him in my sleep on accident? What if I accidentally hugged a little too tightly and caused him pain?

Loving someone with an incurable disease can be a fluctuation of emotions, however, he makes it worth it.

nadoty
nadoty

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