Finding Healing at Rina Sawayama’s Mother’s Day Show
, 2022-05-16 17:45:00,
I was born on Mother’s Day. It was a cruel twist of fate, being that it was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my mother. Whatever higher power existed up above expelled me a bit too early so as to save me the grief, and as soon as I was born, I was trapped inside the incubator. The glass walls separated the two of us. We could see each other, but that motherly touch came too late.
My mother was the opposite of a Tiger parent—the authoritative Asian stereotype that all my friends had. Instead, she was the “cool” mom. We’d spend nights watching R-rated movies while eating hard-boiled eggs dipped in salt until my grandmother beckoned me into her room. My mother was only a parent at night, disappearing by morning until she felt the itch to spend time with me again. Sometimes it would be days between our interactions. Then, it became weeks. Those weeks turned into months. I never expected it would soon be years.
Normally, young women look to their mothers as their first glimpse of female strength. The years I spent yearning for her love and approval made me hesitant to give any other woman the coveted spot of “idol.” Instead, I invested that energy into the tragic male heroes I loved so deeply, like the Kurt Cobains and Anthony Kiedises. This internalized hatred of myself and anyone who looked like me or my mother engulfed me, drowning me in guilt. I forced myself to engage with the pop stars of my childhood such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and the closest I ever got to representation was seeing Gwen Stefani’s parade of Harajuku Girls. While I still hold these women close to my heart, I was always unconsciously in search of a woman I could look up to. Of course I had my grandmothers, but I wanted that…
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