|Me and Frenchie at a wedding this summer|
However, the New York Times' Modern Love article 'To Keep but Not Be Kept' by Deanna Fei really spoke to me today for several reasons. I, like Deanna, am Chinese and Frenchie, like her boyfriend, is white. I, like Deanna, have always thought of myself as independent and reliant on only myself. And Frenchie, like her boyfriend, is not trying to rob her of her personhood but supporting her to be who and what she really wants to be. In a brief two page article, Deanna is able to convey to us readers how she was finally able to shake the stereotypes of "yellow fever" and to handle the snide comments from her parents about financial autonomy (Deanna, I have those Asian parents too!). She felt like with increasing financial dependence on her boyfriend, she was becoming less of a person and less of herself. And in the end, Deanna admits to herself that what she had really been ignoring or forgetting was that her relationship is and was about the dependence of two people on each other, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. Mine is yours is ours.
I don't have the financial dependency issues like Deanna and I live in a cosmopolitan enough city where I don't have to worry about the racial stereotypes. But I do worry about myself as an individual and losing that 'me.' I am afraid that the more roles a person takes on (daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, mother, wife), the more that person gets lost in being a role player to those people instead of being his/herself. Does loving someone mean letting go of that fear or letting go of that sense of self?