"ONE MISSED CALL..." | A written piece by Lynh Vee
I heard about the shooting. The news caught my ear, but it was just in the background. We have heard about so many different shootings. It gave me emotions but, I knew it wasn’t going to last. What caught my attention, hearing the news after. “Grandma attacked, leaves assailant on a stretcher”. Soon after, I noticed a post on social media. A girl was questioning if it was safe to travel out to New York. I assumed it was because she was a girl traveling alone, reading closely on her post it was because she was Asian. WOW.
"Eight dead in an Atlanta spa shooting with fears of Anti-Asian bias"... It is the end of March, 2021.
Being a minority is tough--living and working twice as hard only to be half as good as the “elites” and to be a woman in man’s world. I was never going to be taken seriously unless it was to go out on a date, get a free meal, and entertain a man’s “fetish” -- pathetic I tell you.
This “man’s world” is the same world who makes excuses to those who hurt innocent people for the pure pleasure of “he had a sex addiction”? What kinda backwards world do we live in? These are just some of the thoughts that come to me.
People are excusing shootings as a mental health thing ... "this kid is actually a good kid!" Same thing we hear about when bad cops shoot innocent black people right? “Decorated hero, blah blah blah” I am so over this. These people cause harm on innocent people, but it has nothing to do with one’s character. How does this make sense?
I am now thinking about myself. Me.
My peers, my family. People who look like me.
I am getting messages from all over ( including overseas ) saying “ be careful” , “carry a weapon on you” , “always look behind you”, and “make sure you lock the door as soon as you get in”. I never thought this was something I should worry about in this "free world". Then, I am taken back and reminded of an incident in May of 2018.
"Hey, did you call me?"
"You need to come home, it's an emergency. You need to come home quick!!"
"What's wrong? Is this a joke?"
" No just come home, NOW"
Calling B... "B, I need you to go to my house right now. I'm on my way home"
B " You just got there, are you okay?"
Me- " Yeah, I'm fine but, something's wrong at home -- can you please go by there?"
B " Yeah, I'm on my way"
As I'm driving, B's calling me back " Hey, the police told me that there's nothing you can do here at the house and you should just go to the hospital"
Me- " Hospital? Why? My Mom and Dad speak English, they can translate"
B - " I don't think it's that" ...
Everything was a blur in the beginning --Nurses coming in and out. "Sign this," they said. "Sign that," they said. "The doctor will be with you shortly," one nurse said.
"What's going on?! Where's my family?!"
The doctors came in -- one from Neuro, ICU, Cardio all surrounded me. " There was a home invasion and your family has been hurt" The conversations around me came in and out of my ears. I didn't understand a word that came out of their mouth. I was on cruise control! I had to make sure everything was being taken care of, I didn't know who to call, or what to do. I was not prepared for this.
It turned out, it was home invasion. Two random guys walked into the house searching for guns, ammo, and drugs. Allegedly, they were high on meth.
This home invasion, was MY home. The home that my mother put all her blood, sweat, and tears into. Building it from the ground up. After a decade of nothing happening to us-- this was the most monstrous thing that has ever happened to us. I didn't even know if my family was alive that day. Thankfully, my Dad only had a concussion and my Brother was just tied up during the invasion. For my Grandfather and my Mom, it was going to be a long hard road of healing for both of them.
The cops told the doctors that my Grandfather and Mom fought hard against these two men. They were left with subdural hematoma and my Mom's arm was broken, her right arm. That right arm brought food to the table and paid for the bills. Our livelihood was taken from us. But, I knew this was only temporary.
It took almost a month or two for both Grandfather and Mom to truly heal from their wounds. Tensions have been high since the invasion. Curtains were closed. Windows and doors were locked and screwed shut. A home that was once bright with lots of sunlight, was darkened by frightened adults.
That day... that month, was the longest moment I can even remember. Even to this day, my Grandfather's mental health isn't what it used to be. He sits by the window looking at our camera. Holding a stick in his hand, he ensures no one will enter that he doesn't know. He always ready to defend. My Mom and Dad continue to work. "Someone up there, gave all of us a chance, and we must make the best of it", we all say to ourselves.
We are doing well now, living day by day to the fullest. My parents give to the local temples and people overseas who are in need as much as they can. My Mom made it her mission. She says, "we can not take what we made in this world, we should share it to the ones who need it the most".
See, this home invasion wasn’t believed to be targeted because we were Asian. I think it just really happened by chance. But, this story could have the same effect on other Asian-Americans if we had been targeted. Not the home invasion, but the aftermath of the home invasion. Paranoia was and still is high for my family. I can only imagine the feeling of what that Asian Grandma felt; to be left alive with only a black eye.
I thought to myself, how terrible it must have made her feel. It’ll be a while before she would be brave enough to step foot outside her front door again. Sometimes, I wonder, “do I have to watch my own back too?” Living alone, walking to my car alone, running errands alone. Am I even safe anymore?
Thoughts are always coming to my mind.
You know, since the 8th grade -- the beginning of sex ed. I’ve learned to always have safe sex, by using protection. Also, being taught the dangers of sexual violence or any violence for that matter. All for the reasoning of having tits and vagina. I already knew that I needed to protect myself in case I got kidnapped, sexually harassed, or randomly being hurt by something or someone. Now, I need to worry about protecting myself because I could be a potential mark... because I have yellow skin and "chinky" eyes!?
While talking to my cousin from overseas about current issues, she never realized it was such a hot topic. My cousin says, she is living her life just as normal. She does not have to worry about being targeted due to her race. She says it’s only happening to the places with the most diversity. She thinks it’s because people do not know how to handle the pandemic.
Is it so easy to excuse acts of violence and discrimination due to the pandemic? My cousin believes there would not be so much hate for our race if we had not experienced the pandemic. I don't agree with her on this. I feel we had a president in office who blatantly excused racism. Turning a blind eye to the Black Lives Matter movement, building a wall to stop immigrants, giving his followers and other believers the right to “speak up” on his behalf? I have so much to say about the last few years. What will be next after hating Asians?
I believe all humans have the commonality of being a decent human wanting good to act good upon each other. I feel like we can blame ignorance; and those not being educated on subject matters. I would like to believe that not ALL cops are bad, just like Asians are not the reasoning behind the pandemic. I believe in sharing love to others and our community. Strengthening our community. This will only help us succeed as a better people, as a community, and as a nation.
My own community... OUR community was the community that helped heal my Family’s accident. They gave us the strength to move forward with life and not take a step back.
All in all, I am STILL fed up. I keep thinking this too shall pass. Yeah, it will pass.. but, the punchlines still exist. More thoughts come to my mind.
We shouldn’t be sexualized, we aren’t some type of docile, high pitchy, orgasmic porno! Our food does not contain dogs and our names are rightfully ours, say it how it was given to us...
I am just going to put that all out there.
The people who struggle to speak to you in English, can damn cuss you out in others. Remember that. The world does not center around you, it revolves around others too. Last time I checked, half our shit was made in Asia? Am I wrong?
You like our food, and Panda Express isn’t even really Chinese food, by the way. You like our massage, nails and spa services too! As a person who grew up in the nail salon, I always said “we don’t judge you for your hairy legs, we judge you for your shitty attitude."
In actuality, I do feel lonely. Like, AM I the only one who’s going through this fear? I know this isn't true but, I feel like this because in most cases I had been the only minority around my peer group here in Northwest Arkansas. I sometimes do have to take a step back and realize that I am not going through this alone. I’m walking hand in hand with other people of color. We ALL are going through some type of social stigma. I encourage everyone to learn about each other— maybe some folks grew up without having cultural day, so they don’t know about our culture? Why does one wear a hijab? Why does one have box braids and an Afro? Why do some foods have weird smells that don't smell like flowers and gumdrops. I AM fed up with so many issues today. I feel like it is a fire that was fueled by uneducated bigots. I want to show my face... be hand and hand with my fellow sisters. I want to show you my food, my culture. I want to show you that Asians are not bad people. I want to show the world that together, we are one. We are UNITED States of America. We belong here too. Our families worked their asses to belong here. Besides, who wants chicken breast with just salt and pepper on it? Asians have all types of seasonings.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Hi, I’m Lynh. First Generation Immigrant. I am Vietnamese/Laotian American. Born in Washington D.C. Mostly raised in Fort Smith, AR. Currently residing in North West Arkansas. I have a beautiful 11 month old Corgi Mix "furbaby" named Suki. Fun fact, English is not my first language. I’m a polyglot; I also speak Vietnamese, Laotian, Spanish, and a little bit of French. I have a traveler’s heart; there’s not a place in the world I wouldn’t mind seeing. I am also a big foodie so there isn’t a food in the world I wouldn’t mind trying. I need ALL the food recommendations! I believe in a strong sense of community. I believe we are stronger together, than as individuals. When we support one another. Shout-out to NWA Girl Gang who has opened their arms out wide for me. I love to see and empower more strong and beautiful heroines in this world!
FOLLOW Lynh on Instagram HERE.