Different. That’s noticeable.
Is it skin color? Culture? Or simply because I am dating instead of marrying?
Rich doesn’t want to meet my parents because my dad doesn’t accept him. My mom tries very hard, but he doesn’t want to meet her either because he doesn’t trust that she won’t change her mind.
My dad won’t talk to me about my relationship. He watches TV shows in which female characters date, he knows my friends date, he has nieces who date, yet the idea of me dating is inconceivable.
Rich’s family accepts me, and I still feel shy around them. It would be insurmountably worse if they ignored me, talked behind my back, made it clear that I would never be one of them.
My dad is worried. If I were to get married to a non-brown man, what culture would our kids follow? Which community would they belong in? What if I am divorced – with three kids like my grandmother was?
I understand the discomfort. But if we don’t do things that scare us, how can we grow?
Alex, Inc. is a new TV show on ABC channel in which an interracial family’s life is turned inside out when Zach Braff, who plays the father, decides to quit his job to pursue having his own company. He struggles with finding a name for his company and is inspired by his mother-in-law. Anjana, is the name settled on, the unknown.
From a distance, the unknown is truly terrifying but wading deep in it you learn just how much resolve you have in enduring.
From the beginning, I was a ballerina on fractured ice starting a new relationship while my dad disapproved. I didn’t know if Rich and I would last, but I bandaged my toes and when the tips of flats wore down, I changed into my spares. It was worth it and I worked hard to get my own hardwood floors.
It didn’t mean I wasn’t scared. Every step of the way to earn independence and my right to date Rich, it could have been easier to be the quiet homebody my dad wanted rather than the girl sneaking out for love (mind you, this was at 21). After all, I wasn’t the ideal girlfriend for Rich because we couldn’t see each other whenever we wanted and I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I was bound to lose a relationship.
Thick in the unknown, I couldn’t afford to be a coward. Because then I would have lost all my self-worth. Resiliently, I got myself a car, a job and moved out.
My biggest lesson: it’s not about enduring the ambiguity at all, it’s about embracing the anjana.
With this knowledge, I want to bridge the distrust between the boy and the man. I don’t know who will be the man first, but I want to be a woman who doesn’t depend on a male figure to establish the kind of life she wants to live.
Some days I’ll see my parents, some days I’ll see Rich. It’s not a permanent situation and one day I may have to choose. But if neither are ready to jump in to give each other a chance, then neither can rise to the occasion of acceptance. So the best choice may be prioritizing myself and Indigo.