Rage can be so common it turns ambient.
Growing up, I had a face that people wanted to tell things to, and I grew up with adults who had so much to say. They had lived through decades of unbelievable poverty, starvation, political upheaval, chaos.
My mother had two unshakable beliefs that she tried to drill into me. The first was that I had to study and work twice as hard as my white peers if I wanted to survive in America, and the second was that it was delusional and dangerous to believe I possessed the same freedom white people had to pursue my dreams.
I'm always interested in what is seen as obscene or profane or unfit.
Chinese people of my parents' generation who lived through the Cultural Revolution knew so much of death at such a young age, and the psychic toll those experiences left was immense. I knew the stories of the Cultural Revolution before knowing what the Cultural Revolution was.
While I was growing up in Flushing, Queens, we socialized exclusively with other Chinese immigrants. I was forbidden to make contact with nonapproved, non-Chinese peers outside school. That was fine with me.