Tearing Up When You Have One Thing Left to Represent Your Parent

Friday, April 28, 2023

As I'm listening to Japanese Breakfest's recent record "Jubilee" I'm here thinking about Michelle Zauner's book "Crying in H Mart" that I had just finished. It certainly inspired me to think about the loss I experienced of my late father who in 2003 passed away due to cancer. And through it all it made me realize the message of relationships with your parents can/will always be complicated. They'll never live through the experiences you've experienced no matter what they say.

It's funny you know? Reading somebody's memoir that's almost near to what I experienced as a kid was validating. When you grew up not fitting in because of your enthnicity, your taste in music, your viewpoints in life, the kind of clothes you wear and how non-white you are it gets you thinking to adhere to their standards. Though that much of my interests in art and music has been influenced by white culture my filipino-ness (and asian-ness in general) has been realized more and more as I get older and to discover more of those artists everyday.

And still I feel I don't fit in the world of photography, the world of music, the world that I so happened to be deep in and that I'm unrecognizable in all fronts. I could certainly give up and just keep my 9-5 track for the rest of my life. But reading the book made me feel like I was on the right track of everything. The experiences with Michelle's mother were certainly deep and the regrets were real. This is her telling her mother that she misses her very much and that she's gonna do her best to keep her memories alive.

Maybe that's why I play the music I play. Maybe that's why I photograph the images I photograph. Maybe these are things that allow my father know that I'm still practicing and that I'll never be as good as a guitar player as he was when he was still alive. Maybe that living this life was to help him stay alive with the kinds of messages I try to deploy to everyone. I still think about him everytime I write songs. And everytime I do it I remember him well.

Thank you Michelle for the reminder that we are ourselves and no one else. It was validating to here your taste in music relate to mine, how our emo-ness is still a factor to our everyday lives and that asian cuisine nurtures our need to be hugged by a relative that we will never be hugged or see again.

- Arthur