Bok Bok Bitch
“Chickens are bitches, dude.”- Peik Lin
“And I am not a chicken.”- Rachel Chu
Okay, if you haven’t seen the movie Crazy Rich Asians, this may take a little explaining. In one of the film’s most iconic scenes, Rachel Chu talks to her best friend, Peik Lin, about her difficult relationship with her boyfriend’s mother, Eleanor. Rachel and her boyfriend, Nick, are in Nick’s hometown of Singapore to attend the wedding of Nick’s best friend. One day before the wedding, Eleanor pulls Rachel aside and tells her that she will never be good enough for her son, which, for good reason, devastates Rachel.
After hearing these cruel words, a part of Rachel begins to believe this, in fact, might be true. In this particular scene, Rachel tells her good friend, Peik Lin, that she is going to sit out the upcoming wedding. She doesn’t want to cause problems on her boyfriend’s BFF’s special day, so she decides to come down with a fake case of food poisoning. And this is the moment Peil Lin shows us her infinite wisdom by comparing Rachel’s situation with Eleanor to a banana and a chicken. Their conversation goes a little something like this…
Peik Lin: “That’s bullshit. You’re just scared. Here’s what you need to understand. It’s not about getting Eleanor to like you; it’s about getting her to respect you. Right now, she just thinks you’re a banana- yellow on the outside, white on the outside.
Rachel: “You’re right.”
Peik Lin: “Damn straight I’m right. It’s Peik Lin. I’m always right.”
Rachel: “Yea, she’s like trying to play a game of chicken with me. She’s coming at me and thinking I’m going to swerve like a chicken.”
Peik Lin: “But ya can’t swerve.”
Rachel: “I’m not going to swerve. Not for her.”
Peik Lin: “Yea, chickens are bitches, dude.”
Rachel: “And I’m not a chicken.”
Peik Lin: “You’re not a chicken. You’re going to roll up to that wedding and be like, bok bok bitch.”
Rachel: “Bok, bok bitch.”
As comical as this scene is, it’s also incredibly relatable. We all have an Eleanor. Everyone has that person who tries to make us feel less than. Maybe it’s a relative, or a friend, or a co-worker. Maybe it’s a spouse or a parent. Or…maybe…the person we are playing the game of chicken with is actually ourselves.
A few months ago, my daughter, Ellie, turned thirteen. I think back to when I was thirteen and remember all the insecurities that came with being a young teenager. I questioned everything and felt confident about nothing. Over the years, I’ve come to understand more and more of who I actually am, but that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle daily with my confidence.
Often times I wonder, what would I be capable of if I were able to silence all the negative doubts in my head? What could I achieve if I truly believed in myself? And who could I be if I were not so scared of failure? But, so far, I can’t silence the doubts, and I can’t fully believe in myself, and I am still scared of failure. And that’s where, after all these years, I have landed.
This past weekend, when my kids picked Crazy Rich Asians as our Saturday night movie, I found myself watching the scene with Rachel and Peik Lin and, instead of joining in with the loud, laughs, I silently smiled as my ah-ha light bulb illuminated a part of my unrealized self. I understood that for all these years, one half of me had been Rachel, and the other half has been Eleanor. And Peik Lin is the newfound bridge between my two opposing sides.
You see, when I thought about the banana and the temptation to swerve, I realized that I was living in a constant game of chicken with myself. I keep coming at myself, daring myself to do whatever it is I want to do, need to do, can do, and my other self, my doubting self, my negative self, keeps waiting for me to swerve. The closer I get, the louder the fear. So, ultimately, I swerve. And I let my Eleanor voice win, again and again.
But what if I didn’t swerve? What if I loved myself and believed in myself and respected myself enough to call my own bluff? What if I stayed the course and called those chicken voices what they are- bitches. And, when the doubt creeps back in, what if I were to remind myself that I’m not a chicken. And that I’m not going to swerve. And that, no matter what, I am always going to take the courageous route and that I am always going to show up.
Because how great would it be to roll through life with our heads held high and our negative voices nothing more than silenced memories- all because we had the courage to avoid the swerve.
And how much fun would it be to then look behind us and tell all of our flattened fears and insecurities and doubts- bok bok bitch.
And how incredible would it be to know that we are always enough and how brave would it be of all of us to take the straight, non-swerving, direct path to a life fully realized?
I may say it would be a damn straight, always right, never-yellow, nothing like a banana way to live. And I do suggest it’s a way of living that’s absolutely worth a try.
Who’s with me?
In love and hope,