A Future Outside My Parents' Imagination
In elementary school I wanted to be a doctor.
I dreamt I would go to Stanford, cure asthma, and make my parents proud with an approved career path. Signed, sealed, delivered, an American dream realized. My parents’ would experience their return on investment.
Cut to high school, it’s 7pm after dinner and I’m sitting at our dinner table covered in lace and my dad has this grim look on his face, he stopped eating the meal in front of him and just stared at me.
My mom yelled at me, “look what you did to him! You see how upset you made him?!” The crime? Wanting to go to music school.
Cut to college, in my heart I knew I wanted to grow up playing the guitar and singing my songs, but I let my mind convince me that software engineering would be a safer path. How could I devalue my parents' sacrifices by making less money than my dad makes? How could I bastardize their American dream? So I didn’t.
It's December in New York City, it’s cold in the Uber coming home from Williamsburg at 5am. I drank too much again, cigarettes and alcohol satiating my appetite for self destruction. I think maybe jumping into icy water under the Williamsburg bridge wouldn’t be so bad.
I pause. I realize I need to change.
So I quit that job. Not right away, but in 6 months, looking to show my parents that being a musician, singer-songwriter, producer is a “real” career. That it’s not just the stars who make a living but normal people who look like you and me.
My parents, as much foresight as they had to see how moving to America would make the lives of their children better, don’t see beyond the steady paycheck of a 9-5 forty hour work week. They don’t see the real gift they’ve given to me by moving to this country.
I am who I am because, unlike them, I am able to imagine myself in more ways than they ever could. I am more than a good Vietnamese man who gets married, finds a stable job, raises a family, and continues the legacy given to them.
I get to make my own legacy. To me, this imagination is their greatest gift.
Tmrw (feat. Saenabi, Vyzta & Wind Meets West) - Single
Wind Meets West is Tony Nguyen, a LA-born Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and producer who writes music defined by its emotional vulnerability. His music has garnered over 40k streams on Spotify and has been featured on playlists such as Spotify’s “New From NYC: Pop”. He seeks to write music that helps people feel less alone and can resonate with on a personal level.