Acting, Advice, Love

The LA Diaries: Ho Ho Ho! Ghosting, Naked Sushi, and Polyamory. Oh my!

Dear Reader,

Someone special reminded me to write. Let’s rain some truth on this betch ❤

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When someone compliments my blog

GHOSTS OF ROOMMATES PAST

Ever get that skin-crawly, goose-bumpey feeling like you’re not alone? Like in the movies when the white girl comes home all like, “Hello? Is anyone there?”

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Yeah that happened to me last week. After returning home from a glorious day of being covered in sushi(scroll down), I asked Alexa to pay ocean sounds. When music box wifey didn’t answer, I noticed someone had taken her AND rifled through my stuff.

Instinctively, I took out my baseball bat(obvi) and knocked on my roommate’s door. 3 weeks earlier, she’d left all her stuff, took her cat, and skipped out on rent. Just when you thought ghosting only applied to dating.

Back to the baseball bat. I whipped open her door to find the room empty except for the bed…and the two people sleeping in it. Voila ex roomie + her mom. After hugging it out, we proceeded to negotiate a fair and amicable agreement…jk jk. Think less Amal Clooney, more Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail.” I stuttered something about “lack of communication” and “being a decent human being.” Ex-roomie barely responded. Her mom said, “We didn’t ask you to cover our portion. You’re not being nice right now.” Exsqueeeeze me while my brain falls out of my vadge. Oh hellz nah. I asked them to leave and didn’t put the bat down till they left.

Lesson? When life screws you up the a$$(and not in a pleasurable way), all you can do is wait out the storm and ASK for help. Incredible souls will answer. Gratitude for every kindness received. Cheers to all the lovely uber drivers who listened to me vent. 5 stars.

For anyone who’s used to the “what you see is what you get”(East Coasters), LA can prove challenging. You’ve got to dig deep to find the unicorns. Check IDs and intentions from the get-go. Welcome to the city of angels.

P.S. Live alone if you can afford it. Peace of mind is worth every penny.

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WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT ACTING(the Asian 1%)

You know those feelings most of us keep locked away in the “Inner-Demon-Child-Highly-Flammable” box? Well acting requires you to release them. I’ve played a mom who’s lost her daughter, a war widow, and a schizophrenic homeless woman. No wonder performers feel like jumping out of buildings. (This isn’t a joke about suicide, but rather an observation about how intense acting feels.) We’re taught to separate ourselves from the “character”. Tis a very thin line. While emotional exhaustion isn’t exactly the topic du jour at awards shows, I have immense respect for anyone who survives(and thrives) in the arts.

Highlight? Thanks to Stella Adler, I booked as a naked sushi girl, or Nyotaimori, for a sci fi flick called The Fusion. Four elite members of society dine off my body while peddling the elixir of youth. Before shooting, we were given an anti-Harvey Weinstein pep talk. (SO NECESSARY.) Reassured my coochie would be tastefully hidden by banana leaves, it took some major deep breaths to unsheath. I’m all about close ups but hey now!

As three women dressed yours truly in flowers and raw fish, I imagined myself as Khaleesi, mother of dragons, breaker of maki rolls, all while chatting up cast and crew so we’d feel more comfortable.

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Did I mention Eric Roberts(Julia Robert’s brother) was sitting next to me? He tried to tickle me with chopsticks. He also saw the sound guy and announced “HEY! HE’S ASIAN!” Oh boy. I teased him a bit, “Do you even know what kind of asian he is? Do you even care?” His smirk said it all. During break, I asked him, “Do people treat you different?”

“They all kiss my a$$,” he shrugged before make a whistling trumpet sound and burping repeatedly in my ear. My reaction, “I’ve gotta fart…but I’m holding it.” Correct, that’s what I said to the man who’s had brunch with Putin. (Truth: I was about to poop myself but waited till we finished takes. Where’s my bloody Oscar?!)

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Very cool to meet big name stars but at the end of the day, they’re still people. How you treat your waiter shows the most about you, know-what-I-mean?

Ever the optimist, let’s face the fact that Asians are largely invisible in Hollywood and represent less than 1% of lead roles. The lack of opportunities given can no longer excuse Hollywood’s history of exclusion and white-washing. Let’s celebrate the success of films like Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther. Let’s keep supporting change so that people of color are allowed to make mediocre movies. Representation matters. Diversity should be the norm, not the exception. Our ticket dollars matter. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see our beautiful world mirrored on-screen? THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ❤

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PITCHFORKS AND POLYAMORY

pol·y·am·o·ry
/ˌpälēˈamərē/
noun
  1. the philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time.

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In a world of 7.4 billion people, only 1 romantic partner will make you happy. Fact or fiction? As a little girl, I’d say fact. As a grown a$$ woman, I’m skeptical. After all, a woman’s worth is measured by who she marries and her virginity is an unbreakable bond with the gods( pardon my acid reflux). Ladies, we’ve been raised with entirely unrealistic expectations of princesses awaiting their one true prince. Instead of Disney movies, we should’ve been enrolled in free-therapy-whenever-we-want. Throw in sex toy groupons and we golden.

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anyone else think Sleeping Beauty got roofied? ok, just me

Cue relationship goddess Esther Perel and her viral TED Talk, “For anyone who’s ever loved… We may love sushi, but we don’t necessarily want to eat it every day. We have diverse interests, hobbies, friends, careers. Yet, when it comes to romantic partners, we’re supposed to put every egg into one basket? That’s a LOT of pressure. It takes hard work to sustain desire in a long term relationship. How can we fan the flames and be honest with our partners? Remember, cheating is based on secrecy and lying. Open relationships/polyamory are built upon communication. How can we build bonds of honesty and trust, even when they involve other people? Time to read The Ethical Slut.

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Before anyone takes out their pitchforks, note I respect monogamy and see it as a CHOICE. Like any choice in life, what works for you doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. I’m more of a serial monogamist but am open to exploring. Freedom within commitment is possible. Sexuality is a spectrum. CONSENT IS HAWT. Mad love for the LGBTQ community.

(disclaimer: Dating multiple people will lead to a renewed interest in monogamy. Side effects include ghosting, emotional unavailability, and STDs)

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when he doesn’t have a hairy chest/sweater vest underneath

As a crazy woke asian, I started dating asian men in my late 20’s. There were no hot asian guys to lust after in my mostly-white high school. Add on Hollywood’s white man savior complex, sprinkle a few daddy issues, and VOILA! A recipe for stereotyping asian men as weak, effeminate, geeky, unsexy. Change starts here.

(Based on in-depth, albeit small quantity of data, I’m happy to announce that asian men are equipped with…erm…full stockings. Henry Golding, call me)

ALL WE NEED IS LOVE (Less Social Media)

“How long can someone go without love?” my acting teacher asked.

Now replace “love” with “social media”. HA! Ever feel the pressure to keep up and be our best selves, constantly? We measure our success by number of followers or likes. You’ll hear casting directors say “I won’t even look at someone who has less than 5,000 followers.” DAMN, that’s scary. I understand the profit margin and marketing element of social media, but let’s not forget insta-famous is a recent occurrence. Life needs to be LIVED in the present (OMG,  but look at this cute puppy meme!)  Sigh, I have A.D.D.

Point is, it’s great to share, but it’s even more important to self care. Take time offline to recharge our batteries. The world will keep spinning. Ask loved ones AND the universe for what you need. Some of us are sunflowers: we bloom best when watered daily (oodles of tlc + compliments pls).

We all have sh*tty days. Let me be the first to say I wake up some days with crippling anxiety where I can’t breathe. There’s no “quick fix” but daily management. Yoga, yoga, yoga. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Find your tribe. Take your time. Hollywood’s not going anywhere.

Shout out to all my bad ass ladies(and gents!): we can be independent and love being with a supportive partner. We can be intelligent and sexual. We can be productive members of society AND enjoy recreational weed. Gots to love Cali 😉

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thank u S

Remember: people will judge regardless. Might as well be true to yourself and connect with kindred spirits.

Happy Holidays my sweet darlings! Sending you patience and strength to survive our dysfunctional families!

LOVE IS ALL WE NEED(Santa slide some C notes in my stocking pls)

Ho Ho Ho,

CeCe Chic

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Acting, Advice, Comedy, Family, Mental Health

The LA Diaries: Crazy Struggling Asian

Dear reader,

Anyone else on the struggle bus? Let’s rain some truth on this b*tch. It’s fabulous to pursue what you love, but it’s also f@$#ng hard to be an artist. Instagram @cecechic shows the highlights of my life(OMG! I’m, like, amaze!), but it’s called an image for a reason. My life is not perfect and I never want alienate anyone who may feel like their lives are “less so”. So this post is KIRA: keepin’ it real always. (I only use facebook to share blog posts. Too much social media makes me gassy)

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Makin It Rain…or Drought

Acting is a huge investment. Classes, headshots, networking, you name it. “Uh, isn’t someone, just gonna, like, discover me?” Nice try Cindy Crawford(dating myself here), but most of us will be hustling for years. My biggest priority right now is paying RENT. LA is expensive. I live in a cozy, converted living room in Ktown with an adorable roomie. When you love what you do, you need less stuff (except cute shoes, bags, and clothes. fashion whore, loud and proud). Sure, it’d be amazing to own a sweet a$$ home with a pool/hot tub/balcony someday, but that’s not why I’m doing this. Materialism can be the death of art.

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor(not)

According to Google, the average unemployment rate for actors hovers around 90 percent. So when some people say: OMG YOU’RE GONNA BE FAMOUS! I want to punch them in the face. They have the best intentions but really don’t get how challenging and time consuming this path can be. Can you imagine any other job where the extent of experience does NOT match the role you’re in? Wrap your mind around that. So like my teacher at Stella Adler says: “if there’s any other job you like to do, do it.” Acting is tough af and I love it.

Did you know auditions require you to be available at any moment? Keeping a 9-5 job is simply not possible if you have any plans for success. I dog walk and teach, but mostly my loved ones support me. Blessed with unconditional love and that’s all I’m going to say here 😉 Everyday, I manifest abundance and believe someday this will all pay off.

Fresh Off The Boat

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Constance Wu is #BAE. Her show FOTB is the first Asian American family on TV in 21 years. Crazy Rich Asians is LIT. It’s a double edged milestone that’s empowering and shows us HOW MUCH WORK we’ve still got. Let’s see it as the tip of an invisible iceberg. C.R.A. represents a sliver of our stories. Good news? Audiences want diversity. We can sell the big bucks. In Hollywood, green speaks (cue Awkwafina’af on SNL).

Quick brain-gasm: think about the last show you watched and how many of the LEAD characters were minorities. How many do you count? Check out billboards with diverse characters(not just extras per remake of Beauty and the Beast). I bet you can count them on one hand and that’s generous. Like Maggie Q says, I don’t want to be up for “asian” roles, I want to play interesting characters. P.S. ASIAN PEOPLE: let’s be more outspoken about our invisibility and demand opportunity. Regardless of whether you’re Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Thai, Laotian, Mixed, etc. Support each other and other minorities. United we stand, b*tches. (anyone who denies whitewashing is real probably has similar views on global warming. like, the earth is flat, duh)

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Daddy Issues

Relationships with men are never easy, but they’re MUCH better than low self esteem 20’s. I set healthy boundaries with anyone who is toxic. This applies to my family. My dad still sends me texts me about how I should invest in a better, stable, long term career plan. I delete them cuz it just brings me down. Thankfully, my mom is far more supportive. It’s the hardest thing in the world to accept your loved ones for who they are. Only then can we stop expecting validation. Free yourself, loves. Forgive them and open your heart to the people who will embrace you wholeheartedly.(my Oscars speech will include shoutouts to my therapists. No shame in the mental health game!)

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Dear reader, like any good parking spot, we’ve got to validate ourselves. Detach from the negative thoughts and watch them float away like leaves in the breeze. Lean In to positive energy. This is the path to become a Mental Samurai (title of FOX game show hosted by Rob Lowe. We froze our asses of in the audience while watching people try to to be “perfect” by answering trivia in 30 seconds. Nobody won the 10 grand. Quel surprise)

Blessed to building a community in LA. Our faces are different, but are hearts are the same. (p.s. be careful in LA cuz many mofos fake) Whatever you’re passionate about, NOW is the time to start. Next time someone asks me about my 5 year plan, respond…”To be happy. To find fulfilment in the process, rather than the result. Clapping back at the hater-ade, SUP.

Remember: challenges suck balls, but they also offer an opportunity to THRIVE.

Thanks SO much for reading about my pits and peaks. I hope you feel a little bit more inspired and a little less alone. HAPPY MATHA FAHCKIN FRIDAY!

Love and peace,

CeCe Chic

 

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Advice, Current Events, healing

That time I almost got kidnapped by Korean Mafia Gangsters (true story)

Dear Reader,

2 days ago, I interviewed for a karaoke hostess job on craigslist. At a boba tea place, I met 2 Korean guys in their early 20’s to 40’s (can’t tell with asians) who described the job as someone who sings and entertains the guys at the bar. They told me to join a ‘password protected’ chat on kakaotalk, a texting app popular in Korea. Found it weird but just chalked it up to LA. Sure, I knew there would be less than pleasant drunken disorderly behavior to deal with, but hey, at $120+ per 2 hours plus tip, this hustling artist smelled RENT.

Since the schedule was flexible, I decided to start Tuesday. Around 5:30 pm that day, I rushed to acting class at Stella Adler. In the labryinth of the hallway, I happened to run into my friend who reminded me class was canceled. She invited me to a creative/artist community house party, so DUH, I went. BOOM UNIVERSE SIGN: I canceled the karaoke gig just in case it went late. However, a few hours later, around 8:30 pm, I felt guilty for slacking off so decided to commit to the original plan of working.

I went home to get ready and texted Karaoke guys I’d be coming. One of the guys, a blonde haired Korean, asked if I could meet them at Denny’s, or if they could pick me up. In my blur of getting ready/thinking I could get a free ride, I texted them my address, followed with “what’s the address of the karaoke bar?” They ignored me the first time and the second time I asked, he sent me a random list of karaoke bars. So I wrote back, half jokingly, “Don’t try to kidnap me, I know karate.”

Silence. Then “Hyoon” responded : “You can’t work for us.”

!*@&$)&*(!#&)$ SKETCHY. May we be reminded that the #metoo movement is NOTHING NEW. There is a cultural and spiritual perversion that’s happening within our world, especially in the entertainment industry. The trafficking of innocent men, women and children occurs all the time. It’s not about how smart, careful, or “pious” you are….THIS SHIT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE. *pious, ew, hate that word. It reminds me of slut shaming, another abhorrent past time of society. Slut’s my word. Empowerment b*tches!

Remember: there’s a lot of good people in the world, but there’s also a fuckload of evil.

The highest echelons of our society from our politicians to musicians commit horrors for money and fame. Don’t let this dissuade you from your calling. Fortify. Strengthen. Be the spiritual warrior in the world and go forth with fierceness and love. Feel your fears and face them.

To any woman who is new to LA, it is beyond important to NEVER TAKE THINGS AT FACE VALUE AND ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS. TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY YOUR WHEREABOUTS. VET VET VET.

Positivity should not equal STUPIDITY. Learn from my mistakes, loves. Please.

My carelessness could’ve led to a grave mistake. THANK YOU LIFE FOR TEACHING ME A HUGE LESSON. Na-MAH-stay!

We are all ephemeral. Our words, truth, purpose for GOOD is all we have when fighting against forces who have far more foothold in the public sphere.

Only light can drive out the darkness.

Wholeheartedly,

CeCe Chic

 

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Advice, Comedy

The LA Diaries: How To Deal With Deportation

Dear Dope AF Readers,

Forgive me for not writing, I blame the Eat Pray Love(diarrhea) journey and A.D.D. I’ll start a post and wind up making a smoothie. Anywhoo, I’m aiming to publish one post a month 🙂 *cringes from fear of commitment*

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What was I saying? Oh, let’s imagine I’m on The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah.

Trevor: Welcome to the show! When did you get to LA?

Me: Um…I’m not sure. They put some CBD in my coffee…

Trevor: Well, you look GRRR-eat. Not like someone who spilled cup noodles all over their air mattress while apartment hunting on Skid Row. In fact, you remind me of Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell…as intended. 

Me: What can I say? Dry shampoo does wonders!

Trevor: Where were you before LA?

Me: Singapore! Filming Crazy Rich Asians with Awkwafina, Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh. We’re a cast of dope queens.

Trevor: An ALL ASIAN cast??? This is unprecedented news. We haven’t seen that since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.* Is this 2018?

Me: Oh, I don’t see color.

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Trevor: So tell us, what led you to acting?

Me: I did every other job. I traveled beyond my means. Questioned my existence. Made love to intense anxiety. Life long learner, baby!

Trevor: Please be the mother of MY babies…

Me: If you’re looking for a sugar mommy…TOTES JK! I’m broke.

Trevor: On that note, I hear Singapore’s a strict country. They’ll throw you in jail for chewing gum. How did someone like you survive?

Me: Don’t EVEN get me started…

Trevor: Fascinating. I gotta ask: What do you hope to achieve in LA?

Me: I would like to avoid getting stabbed, raped or killed. 

Trevor: AMEEERRRRICA! F*CK YAH!!!

Me: Just the other day I saw a DEA agent pulled a semiautomatic on 2 guys across the street. Where’s my release form, eh?  

Trevor: So what’s your job here, really?

Me: Entertainers have a responsibility to brighten lives and start tough conversations. We HATE being role models…but maybe that’s what people need.

Trevor: So you’re not here to get rich and famous?

Me: SHOW ME THE MONEY! I’m talkin’ bout that FRIENDS money! Tyler Perry island money! Like Oprah always says…I’M RICH B*TCH! 

Trevor: Thatta girl! I love your honesty. Anything else? 

Me: I want my vagina to light up the darkness. Power to da pussy! Can I say that on air? (producer shakes head vigorously) Shout out to Ali Wong, Amy Schumer, Tiffany Haddish, Mindy Kaling! 

Trevor: (Leans in and whispers) By the way, um…you have lipstick on your teeth.aligif.gif

CUT! So maybe my LA plans were moved up a biiiiit early. Maybe I entered Singapore too many times on a tourist visa, or maybe it was just bad luck.  Deportation can happen to anybody. I’m so LUCKY to have support financially and emotionally. Remember: happiness is a practice that starts from within. SO IS THE HUSTLE.

All my love,

cecechic

P.S. Help a sistah get a job by supporting diverse shows, movies, TV 🙂 When the demand for diversity increases, so will roles ❤

P.S.S. Humor is my antidote. Love+peace to Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and anyone who’s struggling. 

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Advice, Current Events, Mental Health

How To Mic Drop: The Privileged Perspective

Dear Reader,

Shall we begin?

Last week, a Korean co-worker visited NYC for the first time. “OMG how was it?” I asked, expecting pornographic descriptions of food. “It was scary,” he stammered. He’d run into gun-strapping gangsters late at night. One yelled, “Mother f*cka! Gimme your money!” My co-worker threatened to call the police so they left him alone eventually, but not before his first, distinct impression of black people had been formed.

The good news? My co-worker felt comfortable enough to talk about his fear openly. It gave me the opportunity to console him and to remind him that not all black people carry guns and steal your money. Now, more than ever, facts like these need to be spelled out. Conversations must be held with compassion. What if my co-worker had spoken to someone who reinforced his nascent stereotype? What if this continued over the years? Could he end up agreeing with the Charlottesville Nazis?

Anything is possible. But before trying to understand where someone else could be misled, let’s start with ourselves. How does racism begin? If we can’t identify it, how can we fight it?

Fresh Off The Boat

I grew up with mildly racist parents. Exsqueeeeze me…mildly?

When my parents first arrived in America, they bought the ugliest house they could find and tried to rent it. Most people didn’t want to live in a scene from The Shining, so they attracted prospects with low cost + cash only. Many of the tenants were black or latinos who ended up not paying their rent. My parents developed a prejudice based on their limited experiences. They weren’t painting KKK on my bedroom ceiling, but they weren’t eager for me to date a black guy either. Thankfully, the same parents gave me the chance to see more of the world and make my own informed decisions. Nowadays, I’m all about affirmative action. 😉

My first memory of meeting someone black was in the 3rd grade. His name was Tyrell Brown. I remember his scrumptiously thick lips, resting on his choco-caramel skin, forever pouted. The boys loved his playground skills and the girls, everything else.

One day, he happened to tie his shoes next to me. I bore a hole into the back of his skull, willing him to notice me. When he looked up, I blushed, all cheeks. “Girl, your eyes are tiny!” he shook his head and laughed. Though rejection’s a b*tch, I didn’t have the sense that “all people who look like Tyrell are jerks.” Maybe all boys in general are jerks, but that’s another story. The point is, had I gone home and told my parents what had happened, had they said some racist things, this belief might have taken root and spread into my adulthood.

We all have varying degrees of prejudice based on nature and nurture. For example, many Koreans believe all Indians and Africans are poor and starving. My dark skinned friend gets stopped in the street by ajummas (old ladies) who give him food, regardless of how nicely he’s dressed or how many shopping bags he’s carrying. I also have a model-esque friend from Cameroon whose students call her “Black Monster”. She reported this to her school, but little has been done to rectify the situation. Whether it’s misplaced pity or outright violence, racism comes in many degrees, all of which undermine human dignity and common decency.

Have you ever met a racist baby? No, of course not. All they do is cry, poop, eat.  They’re not plotting Charlottesvilles. So if we’re not born racist, then we must be taught such things. Hate, anger, and negativity are acquired. I struggle with all three. It takes conscious effort to grow into a decent human being.  

Let’s not forget about mental health. To hate anyone so much you’d drive a car into a crowd…would an emotionally stable person do such a thing?  Mental illness can be hidden in plain sight. Sometimes it manifests as racism. Check out the Oompa Loompa defecating the Iron Throne.

I Am Privileged

Interestingly, I met my first “All Lives Matter” proponent outside the US.  She argued the Black Lives Matter movement was counterproductive and based largely on emotion, not facts. She and I could not reach any middle ground during our discussion and we ended the conversation quickly. “I’m angry now,” she shook her head, frustrated. I stayed silent, knowing any further response would fuel the fire.

Yet all was not lost. I asked if she’d be interested in speaking with someone from an African American perspective. She agreed. I connected her with a friend from the States who kindly offered to chat. “Listen with your hearts,” I encouraged them both. Sadly, that conversation didn’t last long as well and both parties felt defeated. When asked what went wrong, my friend from the States hit me with a powerful sentence, “She doesn’t recognize white privilege.”

BOOMSHAKALAKA!

Thuurrrr it is. How can we prevent events like Charlottesville, if we can’t even recognize our own bias?

So allow me to declare now for the record: I AM PRIVILEGED.

I’m writing about racism from the safety of my home. I don’t need to worry about my life or liberty being threatened on a daily basis. If I have kids (unlikely), I don’t have to give them talks about the dangers of hoodies. I don’t lose loved ones based on how they look on a regular basis. I don’t have to ‘educate’ people who hate people like me.  I don’t have to control my temper when these crimes continue to occur. I can post on social media about how f*cked up the world is, and then go about my day.

THIS IS PRIVILEGE.

It’s OK to be privileged. What’s NOT OK is staying silent. As long as as our hearts beat, we have a moral responsibility to say something. If we don’t understand why something is happening, let’s google the sh*t out of it. Let’s speak to people face to face. It will be challenging and sometimes downright nasty. But standing up for what’s right is one of the only things remaining between us and integrity.

What can we do? We can teach each other about MLK, Katherine Johnson, Nelson Mandela. We can empathize with the suffering of our neighbors and offer support. We can try to understand how systemic racism is, fail, try again, and keep trying until one day, future generations will shake their heads and say “ Wow, how could they have been so mean?”

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Black is beautiful!

Remember: we are not our fathers nor do their teachings define us.

Like Heather Heyer’s mom said at her eulogy, “you tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what, you just magnified her.”

Mic drop.

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Advice, Career

How To Speak In Public When Nakedness Doesn’t Work

Dear Reader,

When did you first realize your talents? Deep breaths if you haven’t yet:  discovering diamonds takes time.

In 4th grade, I swept Fur Elise off her feet in front of 200 strangers. My teacher sent me to all-expense paid music camp. I don’t reminisce about prom, but that week of American-food-my-mom-never-made was life changing. I burped hot dogs for a month.

In high school, my drugs of choice were slow-release pesticide capsules. It’s every nerd’s wet dream to finish first at the science finals. My parents prayed harder for Harvard.

13 years later, this BU grad and struggling pescetarian had to present for Teachers Teaching Teachers. Mouthful, much?

When imagining everyone’s naked doesn’t work, here are 6 steps that do.

Step 1 Talk To Yourself

Whether you’re preparing for an interview or TED talk, talking to yourself “relieves loneliness, helps you clarify your thoughts, and tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you are contemplating.”

I tend to pace in my room while yelling AHA! at my world map. Practice what you’ll say while walking your dog or hugging your body pillow. Adding gestures give oomph! to your key points. Muscle memory will help if you freeze up.

Science agrees. Repeat after me: I’m not crazy. I’m GENIUS.

Step 2 Spin The Bottle and K.I.S.S

Remember that game spin the bottle and how quickly you learned braces suck?

“Rapid learning goes with play like pie goes with ice cream,” notes life coach Martha Beck. She’s rolling in 7 figure clients so best trust. Whether it’s a board meeting or a classroom, adding a well-placed joke goes miles. These 2 games transition well from day to night(adult beverages):

  • To introduce multiple intelligences, I had 3 people come up. Each held a name card to their forehead and asked the audience Yes/No questions till they guessed correctly. Ex: Am I alive? Am I a woman? Do I have a unibrow? Frida!
  • To emphasize Listening skills, I drew inspiration from body diversity she-ro Ashley Graham. 2 people to play. Person A asks rapid fire q’s. Person B answers. Test memory of Person A at the end. Excellent icebreaker.

Death to learning is boredom so  K.I.S.S: Keep It Short and Sweet.

Step 3 What’s your AWESOMESAUCE? 

Feeding cats popsicles = awesomesauce

Think of yourself as a barista making the special-of-the-day. How can you bring your unique approach, or awesomesauce, to your customers?

First, understand their needs. With sleep-deprived entrepreneurs, it’s all about the espresso. You’d serve mint tea to quell anxiety whereas spinners love anything green. For teachers, add wind surfing with Obama in the Maldives. Seriously. Though education is the backbone of society, we don’t get much credit. We’d like a Venti of purpose + positivity + a raise. Cue my Hunger Games monologue:

In penance for their uprising against Korean moms, each district shall offer up an educator. These honored individuals will be recorded as a warning to future employees about the dangers of PROCRASTINATION. Management will heavily edit any expletives they drop. Henceforth and forevermore this shall be known as 75th Annual Teacher Games.  

Conclude with 3 finger salute and Katniss whistle. You know how I do, baby boo.

Step 4 I Am A Mistake Maker! P.O.P

Nobody’s perfect

Perfection is a disease of our nations. It sets people up to fail and fosters shame for anything less. I prefer P.O.P. or Progress Over Perfection. Try this exercise alone or with your peers to encourage learning from our mistakes. Answer the following:

  • What is my mistake?
  • Why did I make it?
  • What actions have I taken to change?
  • I am a mistake maker! Loud and proud!

Question #3 provides a moment for reflection. We may recognize our destructive behavior but do little to create healthier habits. Start somewhere. How about today?

Step 5 Make It Clap By Busta Rhymes

Do you clap for co-workers/students/strangers before or after they do a good job? Try both. Building support from the get-go is golden.

Even at small organizations, we’re either too busy to mingle or just don’t gel. That’s OK. It’s important to hold space for each other. Don’t hover. Learn to read body language.

While respecting boundaries, a true leader knows how to unite. I began with a hearty round of applause. I ended the presentation with compliments. We lined up single-file and paid it forward. Where some were awkward, others got teary. Given the chance, genuine outshines skepticism.

I took May 9 as an opportunity to say: we all get there together or we don’t get there at all. Coincidentally, Korea voted in a new president the same waking hours.

Step 6 Affirmations: I Can Handle It

When it comes to food, I am not beyond bribery. Had things gone south, I’d planned to go Forrest Gump and whip out a Costco-sized box of chocolates.

Naturally, I forgot the sugar at home. Freud would call this subconscious in action: my desire to excel eliminated the need for a back-up plan. Riiiiight.

To assuage any panic attacks, I turned to affirmations. These are daily life-savers for reaching a calmer state:

  • I can handle it.
  • I’ve got this.
  • I am pure love.

The thoughts we think have everything to do with how we feel.

The presentation went beautifully. My boss even said, “you’re extremely talented. I enjoyed that more than I could’ve imagined.”

The best part? I didn’t need his validation to know my self worth.

writinginsoysauce

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Advice, healing, Mental Health, therapy

How To Deal With Duality: A Teacher’s Take

Dear Reader,

Have you ever felt on top of the world one minute just to fall on your face the next? You master 3 inch heels…PIGEON. You find the one…ICEBERG. You can have the best day ever and feel like sh*t the moment you walk home. Short of plugging back into The Matrix, how do we deal with duality?

Exhibit A: last weekend.

1. Ying: Love Sucks

The ex clearly cares. He started therapy, sends letters, shared my betrayal blog, and publicly apologized on facebook. However, rebuilding trust is a slow grind. The happy memories are rudely interrupted by his hands on some other girl’s hips. Cue rage dialing and f*ck yous.  Sacred incense burned. ‘Love is a lie’ chanted.

Come Sunday, anxiety drove auto-pilot.  ‘I can handle it’ affirmations morphed into ‘WHY MEEEE?!’ The hummus-avocado baguette from my favorite cafe tasted like nothing. Speed walking got me stuck behind  a guy caressing the back of his girlfriend’s neck like Noah from The Notebook. OH GAWD. I barreled through oncoming traffic to cross. Naturally, I ended up behind another couple.

Preach

2. Yang: Thank Universe 

The spirits heard my pain and answered. Outside my photography class, a woman oozing euro-hippie-chic dangled a cigarette in the sun. Her pale-green pashmina, flowing black dress, free people boots stood out in a sea of conformity. She smiled: the kind that emanates from the soul. Hello Teacher!

In open-book fashion, I blurted out my 3 month elephant internship news, expressing jitters about living in a remote village 5 hours from Pai, Thailand. The village is untouched by tourism, which means I’ll need to embrace being alone. I’d never heard of Pai till now: she lived there for 2 years.  “Such an artist town,” her doe-eyes lit up.

Since the other students were a no show, we shared an intimate session commenting on her favorite works. Ever wonder about your perception on life? Try this revealing exercise at home. Mine is ‘exuberant-optimism-pulverized-by-reality.’

Airbnb Busan

I felt embarrassed by my dreamer tendencies. “Please don’t change,” she encouraged. I told her about sharing my abortion on this blog. “I have goosebumps,” she wrapped her pashmina closer. I apologized for talking too much. “I’m just listening…you’re so beautiful,” her meditation voice soothed. Cue tears over pad thai.

3. Peace Be With You

Come sunset, we landed upon the inspiration behind this post. My philosophy: “Just as I’m starting to get my life together…BAM! D*ck-slapped.” Hers: “Wow, well said. You know, we all have ugly days. I just let myself feel it.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. In our world of Get-Over-It-Faster-On-Instagram, how do we allow ourselves to feel low? Do we give ourselves enough time to do so? Why is there so much pressure to be high performing when we really should be taking a break?  So how do we deal with duality? DON’T.

Don’t resist. Don’t force energizer bunny when you’re feeling ramen-for-days. Don’t tell your loved ones you’re OK, when you can’t remember the last time you showered. Don’t hide your demons in the closet. They won’t stay there for long.

DO allow crappy days to free up room for better ones. Do vocalize your monster so you can manage it. Do seek a professional healer for any unanswered questions.

Do take a mental health weekend where you only nurture yourself: that means saying no to other people. Let me know how it goes.

Remember: JUST DO IT! made Nike rich, but it’s a poor coping habit.

It’s OK to have bad days, too.

Teacher,

writinginsoysauce

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