As the youngest daughter of Chinese immigrants, being obedient, loyal, and successful at what you do is highly valued. My mother once told me, “If you’re the best at something, then others will come to you”, but for many of us finding that “something” – that thing you’re supposed to do with the rest of your life, the thing that’s your life’s calling – is fairy dust. It’s something we can’t grasp but dances in our periphery, mocking us from afar (think of a crossbreed between eye floaters and the seagulls from Finding Nemo).
Without a concrete “something”, it’s easy for others to impose that unto you, and then you’re left feeling unheard and unseen. However, it doesn’t always have to be that way.
The characters I play have been told to be a certain way or follow a certain path, but within them there is a burning curiosity and desire for freedom. There’s that little fire that burns at the bottom of each one of our souls and refuses to let itself be extinguished, no matter how much we try to smother it down (à la dramatic hospital pillow smothering scene).
They have the need to be seen for themselves rather than what they’ve been told to be or do with their lives. They do the best with what they have, using their resourcefulness, intelligence, compassion, wit, and ambition to transform into the type of person who is present and puts themselves first. They might be the protagonist, but they aren’t opposed to going from protagonist to antagonist, or from obedient assistant to badass assassin.
Hard work leads the way, but the challenge for them is opening up and speaking up so that they’re finally seen and heard for who they truly are.
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