For my 39th Birthday today; and because I have very few friends to celebrate it locally; I decided to do something a little different. Instead of honoring ourselves, how about we honor our parents?
**knock, knock, knock**
I opened the door and there is my friend, Emily.
Emily: Happy Birthday!
Peter: Thank you, what's up?
Emily: Hey, about that birthday dinner...
Peter: What about it? We decided it won't work out for a while for us to do that.
Emily: Well, lets do it today.
Peter: I thought you were working tonight?
Emily: How about now?
Peter: Its almost 2am... well, I **am** hungry... my previous meal was not that satisfying.
Emily: Great! So am I. Let's go!
Peter: I am gonna get ready, be down in a few minutes...
And so, we ended up at Denny's (A USA based 24/7 diner chain). Another reason why I sometimes wonder if I am really in Mexico, or the USA...
Despite my objections, Emily was insistent about taking me out to a birthday dinner, or in this case, and early breakfast. I interpreted this an an invitation to spend some quality time, which for us isn't that often between our separate activities and schedules.
Different people have so many different reasons for celebrating birthdays and what they mean to them. I have certainly gone through the whole gamut of opinions, thoughts, emotions about my birthday.
* Enjoy being the center of attention, receiving gifts, cards, well wishes, celebrate with good food and good company.
* Feeling self conscious about being too self-centered and going back and forth about desiring attention on my birthday.
* Enjoying being one of the birthday person's guests at their celebration; and not drawing attention to my own birthday.
* Feeling like it is foolish to have specific holidays, special days to celebrate; and instead strive to celebrate each day and each person we care about in our lives instead.
* Going back and forth on desiring attention and solitude; close friends or the entire set of friends and acquaintances.
This year, because I am in a different country with very few friends to celebrate with; and still struggling with the language barrier; I decided that I wanted to do something completely different. Instead of honoring myself; I was going to honor my parents for my birthday.
I first heard this from the idea that the Elves did this on their birthdays. I was really intrigued. Then what came rushing in was shock, dismay, and the feeling of being horrified - why would I want to honor my **parents** of all people? I did not have such a great childhood and did not really get along with both sets of parents!
I went back into my memories of them, and how things came to be in the present; and I realized that; how I felt 16 years ago was vastly different from how I presently feel. I asked myself what changed? Time, perception, and awareness on my part. I actually felt grateful for everything that had happened between my parents and I. I still would not have made the same decisions as they did; but at the same time, I understood, reasoned and empathized with their choices.
This isn't about what was the moral right or wrong; ideal or non-ideal way to raise one's children. It was about making choices and living with the results; and the child living those results from their end; wittingly or unwittingly. I realized that often times; I was only one choice away in my own "re-parenting" aspect of my Inner Child work from choosing the same decisions as my parents.
I often think of Don Miguel Ruiz's Four Agreements; and one stood out in particular "Always do Your Best" - where at any given time, we are making the best decisions we can make given our awareness, circumstances, options, and emotions at any given time. As I thought back to the choices my parents' have made; I could not help but to feel that they made the best choices they could at the time.
The perfect parents raising their child as perfectly as they can often faces a different set of struggles in their life. I think of "first world problems"; and a movie called The Gambler; where the protagonist, an anti-hero who had everything ends up seeking adversity and challenges by betting everything and purposefully getting into trouble as a gambler; just to stymie his ultra successful businesswoman mother; who worked tirelessly and aggressively to build her empire; all for him.
Looking back with hindsight, I look at each of my hardships that I had previously blamed on my parents; and realize how fortunate I was to have gone though it - not as a suffering; but as a matter-of-fact that actually prepared me for my experiences of the past five years of my life - when I started my pilgrimage; or as some would say "doing the hippie thing". I am going to go through each thing I can remember and retell the story; then iterate the story with my current hindsight.
Here we go:
1) I was born with a vision and hearing impairment; and my parents were very insistent that I act as "normal" as I could to society. Each time I would show the slightest sign of less than perfect behaviour or mannerism; I would get beaten, slapped, yelled at or otherwise disciplined; sometimes in public; and be made to correct it impeccably. Oftentimes the discipline would loop until I got if absolutely perfect. For example, if I stuttered, my mother would slap me silly until I stopped stuttering. In hindsight; they prepared me to adapt and stretch my capabilities beyond what any normal human would be capable of to adapt and be reasonably self sufficient and product in human society. I learned to always strive to surpass my limitations, insistently, persistently, and sometimes precociously until I could impeccably adapt. For example, to compensate for my lack of "functional vision" in my day-to-day life; I would case an area out ahead of time and create sensory maps so that when the time came, I would navigate to, from, and within an area or engagement impeccably.
2) I was born left handed and lactose intolerant. My father desired for me to be as mainstream American as possible - he would discipline and beat me senseless until I could become right handed; and he would force me to drink more than a liter of milk everyday; and suffer through the gastrointestinal distress; until my body was able to tolerate lactose; and I could drink that liter of milk daily without consequence. In hindsight; by allowing me to adapt and blend into mainstream society; I gained an unparalleled versatility and flexibility to do what I desired without limitation.
3) I faced early hardships with my biological father passing on when I was 8 years old; being kicked out of my home by my step-mother wearing nothing more than rags; having to search for my biological mother on my own at that time; not being loved by my step-father because of I was not of his blood. In hindsight; I feel I developed a more flexible sense of beliefs on what family should be; and I vowed that I would not act abusive towards loved ones; nor not love a child that was not of my own blood; and care for and seek a sense of family amongst friends and strangers instead. I also desire to adopt children someday, when I am able; because there are plenty of children around already who need to be loved. In other words, I am grateful that these hardships and experiences help forged my mindset as it is today.
4) I was repeatedly physically and emotionally abused through my childhood and until I left for college. The result was I felt I had both "daddy" and "mommy" issues that greatly affected my friendship and relationship potential and behaviour. I also was moved around frequently during this time period; so I never developed deep nor lasting friendships. In hindsight; I developed a taste and desire to travel; and to open up to new environments and circumstances. I was always thinking outside of the box; which dovetails into my aforementioned mindset. I acquired a taste for constant adventure; and to face adversity sometimes head on and persistently until I could get past it. I never developed any deep attachments that would otherwise limit me.
It took me a very long time, over 16 years to get to this point in my life. It is not that I have a better attitude towards it. It is not that I am better than anybody else. It was because in the past; I would be suffering and go into a downward spiral deep into an energetic well and depression; feeling and being a victim.
That shit gets old after a while; especially since I would cycle up and down. I would get to a nice high; and reach some sort of ceiling; then crash down when I could not get past something; or encounter one of my undesired emotions: anger, jealousy, sadness, rage, wanting to withdraw, fight-or-flight; and an intense and insane need for solitude; and the feeling of shutting myself down for a myriad of reasons.
I finally got tired of it; and wanted something different but had no idea how to proceed; or even know **what** I wanted in my life that would be different. I just knew that I wanted my own baggage to simply stop sabotaging me. I wanted to stop being a victim. I wanted to become more - surpass my human limitations; than what I am. I wanted to be super-human. I wanted to become an immortal and live that Immortality Formula already; and achieve the purpose I was tasked with as a child who tried to commit suicide at age 13.
Nothing noble, nothing awe-inspiring from on-high. Raw and straight desire is all I have; at high cost and hard work. I am not a saint; or someone worthy of noted attention. I am a person that simply likes to share my struggles; even if it is partially out of ego.
If an imperfect and intensely flawed being like myself could reach this point; then anybody can. If I can surpass my limitations as a human being; then anybody can and go on to fulfill their highest potential.
I am only here at this present moment; celebrating my 39th year in this incarnation; because of my parents. I am very grateful for them for all that they have done for me; even if it was indirect. I am nowhere near ready to re-integrate my mother back into my life. I have come to understand the choices she has made in her life; her reasons; her circumstances; and her awareness. But unlike her; I am simply me and I would not make the same decisions, bar none. We are simply two different people with two different sets of values and experiences. In a way; she has sacrificed everything to help me reach this present moment; and my present identity as a being.
Mother, where-ever you are in this existence. I honor you today for all you have done; for all the sacrifices you have made for me; and although I would never do the same things as you; nor condone your actions; I am closer to understanding you; than 16 years ago when I disappeared from your life; your most feared scenario that you foresaw.
Father, where-ever you are in the afterlife(s). I honor you today for all you have done; for all of your suffering you endured as a youngster that you have passed onto me as epigenics in my DNA; and for what you thought was best to prepare me for this existence as an adult. Without you, I would not be half the person I feel like today; nor would I have half the awareness that I posses at this present moment.
To my step-parents; where-ever you are in this existence; I honor you two today; for all that you have indirectly done to shape my identity; my mindset at present; and for the possibilities that I could create in the future at any time.
Happy Birthday to Peter Trinh, indeed. Thank you everyone for reading. This is for both sets of parents; and for everyone else out there who might find this read interesting for them.
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