WHEN YOU TRY TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF MORE
I was born already put in categorized boxes that defined who I was supposed to be: third/youngest child = the outgoing loud one; Asian American = type-A who must get the best grades while maintaining 6-10 extracurriculars; Californian = laid-back and should be able to go with the flow; woman = must be beautiful/skinny, act "lady-like" and be soft-spoken & graceful. For the most part, I tried balancing all these weird contradictory terms, and they still play a major part of my personality. BUT, it was never the full story.
I felt the need to use my boisterous traits to shy away from the fact that I was very lonely deep down and had depression from an early age, but I was never allowed to diagnose or even acknowledge it because "it's not something Asians get; we're better than that. So shake it off." Or, even when I did enjoy using my bigger, theatrical antics to make others smile and laugh, I was considered to be "too much" or "over the top," and needed to dial back everything that I was. I wasn't laid back and calm about everything; I had 8 million things on my mind that I had to do, and they all had to be of utmost perfect standard, otherwise I was a complete failure as a daughter or a human being. I ended up being incredibly curvy, with girls and boys comparing my body--along with my ideals in life--to what other Asian girls looked like and pursued. Too tall. Too fat. Big feet. Big eyes. Darker skin. Loud laugh. Too outspoken. Can’t speak “her language”. Put that together with me wanting to pursue a career in the dramatic arts? I wasn't considered "Asian" enough. And, of course, I wasn't white, model thin, or going to parties & doing "cool" things with a boyfriend like everyone else, therefore I wasn't "American" enough either.
I became so insecure about who I was and what I should be for everyone else that, no matter what I did or how much I "succeeded" at one thing, I was considered a failure because of another circumstance. So, I therefore saw my entire self as a failure. Not good enough, Not pretty enough. Not worthy enough to be loved. But then I moved to New York for NYU, and after getting a hard hit from living in Manhattan (and by experiencing my first real heartbreak, and also a bike literally hit me), reality screamed in my face: "YOU AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU. SCREW WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS OF YOU BECAUSE YOU MADE IT THIS FAR WITH WHAT LITTLE AMOUNT YOU FOUND IN YOU TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. SO MAYBE TRY THAT MORE!!" It was through all my experiences of living in the city and amongst its people--both of which are the harshest but most honest & vital critics an artist can come across--that I realized my diversity is what makes me special. My ability to love wholeheartedly and go head-first is what helped build my tribe of the best people in the world as my support system. My being curvy, mixed Asian, and continuing to fight for representation through every obstacle the beauty industry throws my way is what makes me stand out. My voice (which I refuse to quiet) and my personality (which I refuse to hold back) are what give me the strength to stand up and destigmatize mental health through my art, and bring joy to others while also educating and informing.
What I'm insecure about still affects me on the daily, but the ability to breathe, say to myself AND to others that "it's okay to not be okay," and show people they are worthy of all the love and joys life has to offer even just by having singular moments in a day where I do the same for myself...that's progress. That's worth celebrating. And that is enough.
INSECURE: A DEEP-ROOTED FEELING OF BELIEVING YOU, SOMETHING ABOUT YOU, OR SOME ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE IS INADEQUATE, LACKING, OR LESS-THAN. MOST OFTEN IT’S BECAUSE OF SOMETHING SOMEONE ELSE OR SOCIETY HAS TOLD YOU TO MAKE YOU FEEL/BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE “WRONG” IN SOME WAY.
I celebrate: the uncomfortability, the uncertainty, the fear that this moment right now and this stage of my life brings me and where it (& I) will take myself.
Resources: Ohhhh my god, so many!! I follow so many accounts on Instagram, listen to certain songs, or read specific books--because of my own curiosity/discovery, required text for my child psychology classes, or from therapy--that’ve led me to some amazing resources I keep going back to.
IG Accounts: That have very relatable posts, artwork, & reminders that you’re a superstar}
IG Accounts: artists, organizations, or influencers who inspire/remind me to own what makes you you, which includes your insecurities!}
@i_weigh (run by the amazing Jameela Jamil)
Books I Love That’ve Helped Shift My Perspective:
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love & Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Both of Rupi Kaur’s poetry books (Milk & Honey, and The Sun & Her Flowers)
Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth (which The Confetti Project’s very own Jelena suggest to me!)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
How To Breathe Underwater by Julia Orringer (one of my dear friends Teresa suggested this book to me)
My Playlist of Self Love/Self Care Anthems or Songs That Just “Get Me”:
“Here Comes a Thought” - Estelle & AJ Michalka (from Steven Universe)
“You Say” - Lauren Daigle
“She Used to Be Mine” - Sara Bareilles (from Waitress the musical)
Still” - Seinabo Sey
“The Way I Am” - Charlie Puth
“Many the Miles” - Sara Bareilles
“Juice” - Lizzo
“Keep Breathing” - Ingrid Michaelson
“Different Colors” - Walk the Moon
“Like to Be You” - Shawn Mendes & Julia Michaels
“Yellow” - Coldplay
“Clean” - Taylor Swift
“Save Myself” - Ed Sheeran
“Change Your Mind” - Zach Callison (from Steven Universe)
“Left Right Left” - Charlie Puth
“The World Is Yours” - Andy Grammer
“Put Your Records On” - Corinne Bailey Rae
“This Is Me” - Keala Seattle & The Greatest Showman Cast (from The Greatest Showman)
“Watch Me Do” - Meghan Trainor
“Fake Smile” - Ariana Grande
“Scars To Your Beautiful” - Aleesia Cara
“Human” - Christina Perri
“Try” - Colbie Caillat
“Roots Before Branches” - Lea Michele (GLEE cover)
“It’s Time” - Imagine Dragons
“I Got The Juice” - Janelle Monae