Before I reached my thirties, it was inconceivable that those words could be written into the same sentence. Looking back, it’s crazy how I went from total ignorance to hidden curiosity and from absolute shame to rebellious pride mixed with feelings of exclusion. Exactly what is the reason for my pride? The shared heritage of which I cannot relate? My experiences and story seem absent from this video that asks, “Are you Vietnamese American?” and then ends with “You might be Vietnamese American when…” I want to add my own to reflect my experiences.
You might be Vietnamese American adoptee if…
you feel uncomfortable around other Vietnamese.
you grew up thinking Phúc was a dirty word.
you ate phở before you could properly pronounce it.
you thought you were white before other kids called you “gook”.
dumbshits ever suggested your Vietnamese mom might have been a prostitute.
other Vietnamese looked at you funny when you tried to speak Vietnamese.
neighbors looked accusingly at you when their dogs went missing.
I could go on and on. Of course, there are places where lines of experience cross but most of my experiences as a TRA-first-generation-immigrant veer off into the realm of the weird and sadly humorous. It’s so frustrating and alienating because there are just some places into which my fluid identity can never flow. Over the years, I’ve slowly begun to come to terms with this but have yet to find true consolation despite finding those who do share my experiences as an adoptee. Ahhh, I’m never satisfied.