Disclaimer: This blog post is being sponsored by Zappos, but all opinions are my own.
We grow up in a world where society creates this idea, a cookie-cutter mold of what we should be, and immediately we are defined by and against it. It’s unfair and it puts such a high amount of unnecessary stress on all of us – so much so that we sometimes forget that we’re all just human. Just like Zappos and Puma, I dare you to defy the standard. #DoYou
I’ve been labeled all different types of things.
I’ve been stereotyped into cookie-cutter ideas that society created.
I’ve been judged against them.
And I’ve been told that I am not enough.
I want to share a bit of my story with you all as I was growing up. I was adopted at birth by my Taiwanese mother and American, Caucasian father. When I was five years old, I visited my hometown in Taiwan. I spoke English, meanwhile my cousins all spoke Mandarin. I was blatantly ignored based on my inability to speak the language and they refused to play with me.
When I was six years old, I was told by a group of kids that my name was “Pork Fried Rice” based on my appearance alone. I was called this so many times, that I nearly believed that my name changed.
When I was eight years old, the kids at school would pull their eyes back to make them look squinty and they would say, “Ching, chong, ching, chong.” To fit in, I followed suit. They laughed, I laughed. The difference was I laughed to laugh with them, but they laughed to laugh at me.
Up until I was twelve years old, I hung out with American, Caucasian classmates. Once I got into Junior High School, I discovered a group of Asians whom I became close friends with. I was able to relate to them and admired their pride. I began watching Taiwanese dramas, attempted to learn Mandarin, and desired to be more in touch with my heritage. In response, I was told anonymously, “I liked you better when you were white.”
When I was sixteen years old, I was told by a family member, “You don’t ever deserve happiness.”
Other words that have been said to me:
- “Why would I want to be with her? She’s ugly and disgusting.”
- “You can’t do that because you’re a girl.”
- “You call yourself Chinese? You’re a disgrace. Your parents should be ashamed.”
- “I wouldn’t trust you with a license. Asian women can’t drive.”
Words hurt. And while labels and standards that we created shouldn’t define us, we let them get to us – under our skin and into our heads. I’ve been through so many rough patches, hit my lowest low, and got caught up in all the nonsense. But I got through it all and I’m stronger for it. Everyday, I move forward.
It may be a hard process, but I dare you to defy it all. Focus on you and your growth. Don’t give words the ability to phase you. And for all of those people who drag and put you down, cut them loose and prove them wrong. You are enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise… even yourself.
Bold. Confident. Determined. Unapologetic.
That is what defines #PUMAWomen.
I am so proud to be a part of the #DareToDefy movement and I want to encourage all of you to join and embark on your own path to self-empowerment. Do things that make you happy and make you feel good. For the Asian community, Crazy Rich Asians has been a huge milestone that I’m so happy to bear witness to it and see it’s impact. For myself, I worked hard to get a black belt in Taekwondo, even though I was told I can’t. I pushed myself to chase dreams that I was told I’d never find recognition in. I fought thoughts and feelings for the longest time and finally stepped out of my own way enough to believe that I do deserve happiness. Now no one will ever take that away from me.
Please continue to push yourself to new limits, break boundaries and do you. Defy, defy, defy and never look back. A huge thing that has given me a new found confidence and strength is working out. I work out to feel strong and to push myself further than I thought I was capable. The muscle definition, energy, and burst of excitement that comes along with it is all just a bonus. The mind is a powerful thing and once you start looking at things differently, you can achieve so much more.