“Dreams of Disobedience”

by Audrey Low

My grandmother's story is one of defiance, and a search for some semblance of her own independence. It wasn't until after the death of her husband, when she assumed the male role in a traditionally Chinese home, and supported and saved her brothers and relatives, fleeing Communist China, that she obtained full-control of her own life. She never let class, or race, or gender, keep her from her goals. Her children would be educated, they would not work to produce money for the house, nor would they drop out of school to help out either. She would continuously be the only source of income, for a family which stretched the limits of 14 at a time. Her defiance was in her work ethic, a flexibility of mind, and will beyond breaking to migrate, mitigate the lives of those around her, and spin her own tale amidst it all, silent and viciously stable. All three children went to top universities in Canada. Time and time again, the world tried to force her into its fictional boxes, and each time, she spat in its face. She was not just Chinese, not simply a woman, not just a mother, not only an immigrant, she was a communist, a liberal, a rebel, and a dreamer. She was a person who lived in this world, told its tales, and through art, we defiantly fight the stream of Euro-Western narratives, and show the stories which live beneath the cracked, porcelain veneer. There is no fame, in her reality. There is triumph in what some would consider meagre amounts, but I consider it time-bending and era-challenging. She defied them all, and I will carry that torch on for others to see and be warmed by, too.

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