The Cut-Off Defence

Through all this, I’ve come to real­ize that I cut peo­ple out of my life as a defence mech­a­nism.

When some­one hurts me, I dis­tance myself from them so they mean noth­ing to me.

And if some­one means noth­ing to me, they can’t hurt me.

Often it’s an easy choice — just one wrong word or action — but not all the time. Cutting off my mom was by no means a rash deci­sion; it took years of con­sid­er­a­tion and plen­ty of chances before she final­ly went too far.

What sur­pris­es me the most is that even though I now know that I have this defence mech­a­nism, I don’t see a prob­lem with it.

I’ve been hurt by enough peo­ple, and I don’t want to be hurt any more.


  1. If you’ve seen the movie, the book is pret­ty sim­i­lar. The Kitchen God’s Wife and Hundred Secret Senses were good too, but are pret­ty for­mu­la­ic. (If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t want to spoil it for you) I think Amy Tan tends to focus on ances­try and redis­cov­er­ing roots, deal­ing most­ly with issues of first gen­er­a­tion immi­grants and iden­ti­ty issues of sec­ond gen­er­a­tion chil­dren. Stuff like try­ing to fig­ure out which side of the line they fall on, Chinese or North American? While some of the stuff res­onates, there is a cer­tain ele­vat­ed and noble tone to the entire thing. While I’m inter­est­ed in the past I nev­er knew, I’m not sure it occu­pies that large a space in my life.

    I tried read­ing a book called the Jade Peony by Wayson Choy, but I could­n’t get past the first cou­ple of chap­ters. I’m work­ing through anoth­er book right now by Terry Woo that I just bought called Banana Boys (yeah, white on the inside, yel­low on the out­side) which is sort of like Douglas Coupland meets Amy Tan with vignettes of a few dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters who are stu­dents at UWaterloo. It’s a fun read and so far, I find I can relate to it pret­ty well, but I’ll hope­ful­ly post some­thing about it on my now-decrepit blog when I fin­ish read­ing it.

  2. Your real­iza­tion about how much impor­tance your his­to­ry weighs in your life is exact­ly the way I feel. Even with a renewed inter­est in my cul­ture in the last year, I know it’s not THAT sig­nif­i­cant.

    Maybe these movies/books are for the par­ents (first gen­er­a­tion immi­grants), not the kids. I remem­ber a bunch of my aunts going with my mom to see it in the the­ater and they were bawl­ing when they came out.

    And I read about Banana Boys just a cou­ple of months ago! I think I’ll have to pick that up some time. There’s some­thing about books that are based on local areas, and I knew a bunch of peo­ple who went to UWaterloo for uni­ver­si­ty.

    By the way, you have to (re)enable com­ments on your blog!

Leave a Reply