Because I think to myself, even today, how can the world in all its chaos come up with so many coincidences, so many similarities and exact opposites?
I was six when my mother taught me the art of invisible strength. It was a strategy for winning arguments, respect for others, and eventually thought neither of us knew it at the time, chess games... Come from the South, blow from the wind -- poom!-- North will follow. Strongest wind cannot be seen.
When you lose your face..., it is like dropping your necklace down a well. The only way you can get it back is to fall in after it.
But he was so attuned to my every movement I was sure he was reading my mind. HE had no inhibitions, and whatever ones he discovered I had he'd pry away from me like little treasures.
If I look upon my whole life, I cannot think of another time when I felt more comfortable: when I had no worries, fears, or desires, when my life seemed as soft and lovely as lying inside a cocoon of rose silk.
Yet part of me also thinks the whole idea makes perfect sense. The three of us, leaving our differences behind, stepping on the plane together, sitting side by side, lifting off, moving West to reach the East.
But later that day, the streets of Kweilin were strewn with newspapers reporting great Kuomintang victories, and on top of these papers, like fresh fish from a butcher, lay rows of people - men, women and children who had never lost hope, but had lost their lives instead.
If I now recognize evil in other people, is it not because I have become evil too?
Ying-ying, you have tiger eyes. They gather fire in the day. At night they shine golden.
But you can't stay in the dark for so long. Something inside of you starts to fade and you become like a starving person, crazy-hungry for light.
If you are greedy, what is inside you is what makes you always hungry.
All night long I worried, not about myself but about Jimmy. I imagined him looking for me, running through the park, looking in the movie theatres. He was a good man, considerate and kind, but he was not strong. He had never been through any kind of bad hardship before. So I worried.
Fate is shaped half by expectation, half by inattention.
In It's Only Temporary, Evan Handler confronts the ambiguities of life backward, forward, and in between. With hilarious honesty he reflects on the realization that we can start over again. It's Only Temporary is a heartfelt book for all of us who are getting younger and older at the same time.
And now I have to stop. Because every time I remember this, I have to cry a little by myself. I don't know why something that made me so happy then feels so sad now. Maybe that is the way it is with the best memories.
For unlike my mother, I did not believe I could be anything I wanted to be. I could only be me.
Isn't hate merely the result of wounded love?
Her education only made her unhappy thinking about it - that no matter how much she changed her life, she could not change the world that surrounded her.
I discovered that maybe it was fate all along, that faith was just an illusion that somehow you're in control.
It means we're looking one way, while following another. We're for one side and also the other. We mean what we say, but our intentions are different.
How can you blame a person for his fears and weaknesses unless you have felt the same and done differently?
I felt foolish and tired, as if I had been running to escape someone chasing me, only to look behind to discover there was no one there.
My mother and I never really understood one another. We translated each other's meanings and I seemed to hear less than what was said, while my mother heard more.
If you asked me how I felt when they told me I would marry Wen Fu, I can say only this: It was like being told I had won a big prize. And it was also like being told my head was going to be chopped off. Something between those two feelings.
I had always assumed we had an unspoken understanding about these things: that she didn't really mean I was a failure, and I really meant I would try to respect her opinions more. But listening to Auntie Lin tonight reminds me once agian: My mother and I never really understood one another. We translated each other's meanings and I seemed to hear less than what was said, while my mother heard more. No doubt she told Auntie Lin I was going back to school to get a doctorate.
Only two kinds of daughters, she shouted in Chinese. Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind!
In this matter,you should not concern yourself for my sake.
I let one thing result from another. Of course, all of it could have been just loosely connected coincidences. And whether that's true or not, I know the intention was there. Becasue when I want something to happen-or not happen- I begin to look at all events and all things as relevant, an opportunity to take or avoid.
Only you pick that crab. Nobody else take it. I already know this. Everyone else want best quality. You thinking different.
Isn't that how it is when you must decide with your heart? You are not just choosing one thing over another. You are choosing what you want. And you are also choosing what somebody else does not want, and all the consequences that follow. You can tell yourself, That's not my problem, but those words do not wash the trouble away. Maybe it is no longer a problem in your life. But it is always a problem in your heart.
I saw a girl complaining that the pain of not being seen was unbearable... Now I have perfect understanding. I have already experienced the worst. After this, there is no worse possible thing.
People there only dream that it is China, because if you are Chinese you can never let go of China in your mind.
My sister Kwan believes she has yin eyes.
A girl is like a young tree, she said. You must stand tall and listen to your mother standing next to you. That is the only way to grow strong and straight. But if you bend to listen to other people, you will grow crooked and weak. You will fall to the ground with the first strong wind. And then you will be like a weed, growing wild in any direction, running along the ground until someone pulls you out and throws you away.
I think now that fate is half shaped by expectation, half by inattention. But somehow, when you lose something you love, faith takes over. You have to pay attention to what you lost. You have to undo the expectation.
Seeing her this last time, I threw myself on her body. And she opened her eyes slowly. I was not scared. I knew she could see me and what she had finally done. So i shut her eyes with my fingers and told her with my heart: I cah see the truth, too. I am strong, too.
That is the saddest part when you lose someone you love - that person keeps changing. And later you wonder, Is this the same person I lost? Maybe you lost more maybe less, then thousand different things that come from your memory or imagination - and you do not know which is which, which was true, which is false.
And after I played them both a few times, I realized they were two halves of the same song.
I thought about things, the pros and cons. But in the end I would be so confused, because I never believed there was ever any one right answer, yet there were many wrong ones.
Then she told me why a tiger is gold and black. It has two ways. The gold side leaps with its fierce heart. The black side stands still with cunning, hiding its gold between the trees, seeing and not being seen, waiting patiently for things to come. I did not learn to use my black side until after the bad man left me.
We are living in a world where everything is false. The society is like bright paint applied on top of rotten wood.
And for all those years, we never talked about the disaster at the recital or my terrible accusations afterward at the piano bench. All that remained unchecked, like a betrayal that was now unbreakable. So I never found a way to ask her why she had hoped something so large that failure was inevitable. And even worse, I never asked her what frightened me the most: Why had she given up hope?
I thought this man had long ago drained everything from my heart. But now something strong and bitter flowed and made me feel another emptiness in a place I didn't know was there. I cursed this man aloud so he could hear. You had dog eyes. You jumped and followed whoever called you. Now you chase your own tail.
Too many good things all seem the same after a while.
When I returned home that day, I saw my life as if I already knew the happy ending of a story. I looked around the house and thought, soon I will no longer have to see these walls and all the unhappiness they keep inside.
And then she had to fill out so many forms she forgot why she had come and what she had left behind.
I tried to keep very still, but my heart felt like crickets scratching to get out of the cage.
What is true about a person? Would I change in the same way the river changes color but still be the same person?... And then I realized it was the first time I could see the power of the wind. I couldn't see the wind itself, but I could see it carried water that filled the rivers and shaped the countryside.
When Jesus was born, he was already the son of God. I was the daughter of someone who ran away, a big disgrace. And when Jesus suffered, everyone worshipped him. Nobody worshipped me for living with Wen Fu. I was like that wife of Kitchen God. Nobody worshipped me either. He got all the excuses. He got all the credit. She was forgotten.
At first, I thought it was because I was raised with all this Chinese humility... Or maybe it was because when you're Chinese you're supposed to accept everything, flow with the Tao and not make waves. But my therapist said, Why do you blamd your culture, your ethnicity? And I remembered reading an article about baby boomers, how we expect the best and when we get it we worry that maybe we shoudl have expected more, because it's all diminishing returns after a certain age.
More Amy Tan Quotations (Based on Topics)
Life - People - Mind - Time - Mothers - Success - Fate & Destiny - Art - Hope - Money & Wealth - Failure - World - Intention - Age - Pain - Memory - Family - Light - Belief & Faith - View All Amy Tan Quotations
More Amy Tan Quotations (By Book Titles)
- The Joy Luck Club
- The Kitchen God's Wife
Franz Kafka - Pearl S. Buck - Naguib Mahfouz - Miguel de Cervantes - Mario Puzo - James Clavell - Fyodor Dostoevsky - Emily Bronte - Arthur Herzog - Anne Rice