20 years later and the emotions and visuals of what happened that day, and the days following still feel so vivid in my memory and my body. I was 13 years-old, and thankfully my family members in New York were safe, but I cried for days as if I was mourning my own flesh and blood every time we watched the news and I saw the pictures the kids drew of what they witnessed, and the walls of thousands of missing faces.
Just yesterday, I was reminded how close to danger some of my family members really were. So, I thought I'd take a few moments to reflect on that day and it's impact...
By the second week of May I was considered fully vaxxed, and something I will never forget is my first post-vaccine hug. One of my best friends had stopped by, and as she was leaving, I suddenly remembered I could hug her. As we hugged, it was a little weird, but also the most amazing feeling. One thing this pandemic has taught me is to never take for granted the cuddles and hugs we can give and receive from our loved ones.
The funny part is 5 months later, and it's still a little awkward to hug someone I've seen for the first time since the pandemic started. It makes me laugh. Am I the only one who feels like I'm now practicing consent more often? Like, "can I hug you?" "Oh great, thank you."
A couple weeks ago, I attended a Zoom holiday party, in which we were asked to "go around the room," introduce ourselves, say what we're working on, and let everyone know what we might need help with. I knew exactly what I needed help with, but for some reason I was afraid to ask, and I made the excuse that it wasn't entertainment related and this was an entertainment industry event. Of the 60-80 people in attendance, I think maybe only 1-2 people actually asked for help. So, when I was asked to help with a friend's annual tea party, I planned a few tea trivia questions, and fun conversational questions. As I put together the conversational questions, I knew the perfect question to close out the event--"What do you need help with?" This annual tea party is always a small group of talented entertainment industry women, and who are better at helping other people than women? Not to mention, we as women, need to support each other. The reactions and responses to this question, in this group, were incredible.
I feel a little weird saying this, because there are a number of other countries that are well ahead of us in electing female leaders. Still, as an American, this is a momentous win for numerous reasons. In fact, even for non-Americans, this is a momentous win. Perhaps it's arrogant and bias of me to say that The United States of America has always been a beacon of hope in the world, and that that's what has been restored, but that is how this moment in history feels. I'm filled with so many emotions, but especially with hope, because of what this means for my son's future.
I feel hopeful that our country will make the appropriate steps forward to address climate change so my son and future generations have a livable earth to inherit.
I feel hopeful that no matter who my son chooses to love in the future, that love will be honored and celebrated as all love should be honored.
I feel hopeful that we will actually and carefully examine and reform social justice issues.
I feel hopeful that while racism won't just go away, it will no longer be tolerated and incited by the leader of our country.
I feel hopeful that little girls everywhere will shatter all the glass ceilings until there are no more glass ceilings.
I feel hopeful that our place and influence on the international and global stage will become a positive and collaborative one.
I feel hopeful that we have a leader who will lead with honor and integrity, who will surround himself with a diverse team and will lean on them to provide expertise in their respective areas.
I feel hopeful that we have a leader who will do his best to unite our country, though he has a tough road ahead of him.
And with all due respect to President-Elect Joe Biden, I feel hopeful that #47 will not be an old, straight, white male.
As many of us celebrate this victory, we must remember that there is A LOT of work to do now. 70 million Americans do not feel the same way, and we need to find a way to build the necessary bridges. I feel in my heart that everyone needs and deserves to be seen and heard. Then I think of those who are truly White Supremacists, and I think, except them. However, I remind myself of Daryl Davis, who befriended 200 KKK members and convinced them to shed their robes. So yes, let's please heal our wounds together and listen to each other. Perhaps then we will see each other as the neighbors, and brothers and sisters, that we are.
Last night, my brother came home in quite the mood and was so rude. My initial inclination was to yell at him for his uncalled for behavior, but I held my tongue. I was really annoyed, but after a little time passed, I reminded myself of what I oft remind others of--that is, to check in with him to see if there was a reason for his foul mood. While it doesn't make it right, we just don't know what causes someone to snap. Maybe something happened in their day to put them in a foul mood.
I checked in with my brother, and of course he didn't say much to me. Still, I think sometimes the simple act of checking in with someone, whether or not you get a response, makes a difference. When you ask "How are you doing?" or "Hey, are you okay?" it makes the other person feel seen, and that can turn their mood back to the brighter side. So, this is just a little reminder to ask "How are you doing?" and mean it.
And with that, I ask YOU, how are you doing? Whatever is going on, feel it, breathe, and chose joy.
Thankfully I've had a number of friends who had kids before me and who were honest about some of the challenges of breastfeeding. It's interesting how something so natural isn't always natural in practice. Even more interesting to me is that I have never heard anyone say that they love breastfeeding. In fact, if anything, most of my friends have not enjoyed breastfeeding. So, I was prepared to potentially face some challenges and sure enough I did. Furthermore, my mother had always told me that when she was pregnant with my brother and I, her doctor told her that formula was now the same as breast milk (this was back in the late 80's and early 90's). When I got pregnant, my only motivation for breastfeeding was free milk. But then I learned how incredible breast milk really is and once I started nursing, I learned so much more. Here are a few of the unexpected things I learned about breastfeeding.
First, I hope that you and your family are staying safe and healthy (physically and mentally) during this insane time. And thank you to all those on the frontlines taking care of us and making sure essential parts of our lives are still serviced and accessible. An important part of living the jawesome life is to live on the bright side. There are always positive takeaways from any situation life throws at us, and I wanted to throw some light your way during this difficult and uncertain time. So, here are just a few positives that Covid-19 has brought us thus far:
Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season. Those who don't observe Lent usually know it as the time that Catholics and certain other Christian denominations give up something like a vice for 40 days. This year, I asked my dad if he wanted to go to mass with me to get our ashes in church, and I was surprised when he said yes. Although, part of me wonders if it's because now that I'm a few weeks away from our due date he'll take up any chance to drive me somewhere since he thinks I shouldn't drive myself anymore. Then when I thanked my dad for joining me and told him I really enjoyed it, I was further delighted when he also expressed a genuine enjoyment for attending mass today. He refused to get ashes or communion though, because he's worried about coronavirus. (I don't blame him, because one woman in South Korea spread the virus to 37 people at her church after twice refusing to be tested for the virus, and it spread from there to cause a large outbreak.) Still, I was just happy he came along with me, because keeping faith in the family these days can prove challenging; but today gave me some visible hope. Not to mention, it was a nice father-daughter outing. So how do we keep faith in the family in a time when many have or are straying from their faith?
If my 20's taught me anything, it's that life rarely ever goes as planned or envisioned, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Over the holidays, my husband and I moved in with my parents as we prepare to bring our son into the world, and it's certainly not how I ever envisioned growing my family. However, when we found out we were pregnant, we had a lot of discussions about a lot of things, and eventually moving in with my parents made the most sense, not only financially, but also because of the strong support I will have, not just from my parents but friends in the area. I certainly had my reservations and discussed my concerns with friends and my therapist, and the number one thing everyone told me was to set boundaries. Boundaries, in general, are important in every relationship, but how does one set boundaries in a family that knows no boundaries? Asian families, or at least my Asian family, don't have boundaries!
The most important and powerful statement made at the Golden Globes last night came from Parasite director, Bong Joon Ho. In his thank you speech for Best Foreign Language Film, he started by saying, "Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films." But the truth of his statement goes beyond the number of amazing films you will be introduced to "once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier subtitles."