“People who’ve endured horrible things can laugh at anything”
Our childhood shapes much of who we become as adults, so what happens if you had a really traumatic childhood?
Lindsay Wong is the author of “The Woo Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family”, a memoir about her unusual childhood growing up with a mercurial and unreliable mother who’s obsessed with ghosts and once lit her foot on fire in the name of exorcising demons. Her father was away working most of her childhood, and called her terrible names as a way to motivate her to achieve in life.
Lindsay's parents immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong, and much of the dysfunctional family dynamic came from their Asian immigrant experience and her mother’s mental illness arising from generations of trauma. It was a super strange childhood growing up in the suburbs of Vancouver next to Chinese drug millionaires and her “crazy” family, where her aunt once held the City of Vancouver hostage on Canada Day for eight hours after threatening to jump off a bridge. Given her family’s history of mental illness, Lindsay began questioning her own sanity once she became an adult. Her childhood experience had also left her maladjusted to face the real world. She had anger issues, and wherever she went, trouble always seemed to follow. It took her many years to unlearn her early conditioning and find peace within herself.
Working on the memoir had helped her heal and forgive her parents, Lindsay told me. When I interviewed her, she looked happy and content with her current life. She said it’s resilience that helped her through it all; her difficult experiences had also given her a wicked sense of humor, which grips you as soon as you open “The Woo Woo.” For our interview, I wanted to know how Lindsay managed to rise above her traumatic childhood and went on to thrive and create a life for herself that she loved. I was also curious what insights she had to offer on navigating the difficult patches of our relationship with our parents that we all experience from time to time.
Along the way, we also chatted about how she accidentally became an author | How she’s a magnet for bad luck | The friction between immigrant parents and their children | How writing helped her heal | How she forgave her parents | What her current relationship is like with her parents | Whether we can truly escape intergenerational trauma | How to get along with difficult parents
Lindsay Wong (Twitter): @lindsaymwong
Lindsay Wong (Instagram): @lindsaywong.m
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