Check out the article here: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/article/2188019/fat-shaming-asia-has-stop-its-time-parents-teachers
I recently wrote an article on SCMP about why various aspects of Chinese culture, such as obedience towards authority figures and cultural associations between body shape and morality, can make body shaming particularly harmful for children and adolescents growing up in these contexts.
Check out the article here: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/article/2188019/fat-shaming-asia-has-stop-its-time-parents-teachers
5 years ago, paddling furiously on the last lap of my torturous swimming routine, fighting back the hunger pangs and the blackness that was starting to creep into my vision, I questioned why and what I was suffering for - and realized I had absolutely no answer. Before that moment I had always justified my pain by promising myself that the outcome, a perfect body, would be worth it - but at that moment I realized that even that was not enough. I was hungry, exhausted and miserable, and I knew I had had enough. At the same time, I had absolutely no clue how to reverse my steps - how would I begin eating again? How could I escape this suffocating mindset? How would I be able to find “normal” again, when I had all but forgotten what that meant?
Admittedly, the path to my present self has not been simple. Pursuing happiness is a choice that I actively made, but this is not to say that persistence in making this choice has been obstacle-free. Of course all of us want to be happy, all of the time. But we so often tell ourselves that we can postpone happiness for a little while, if it means that we can be happy later on. We are willing to put ourselves in periods of suffering, for the anticipated increases in happiness that we might later be rewarded with.
This is not to say that we don't sometimes have to make sacrifices, for ourselves and others. There are inevitably cases where we must sit in discomfort for future benefit. But there are also conditions that we must set. Firstly, the goal we are pursuing must be clearly defined. If your goal is as abstract as mine was ("thin enough"), you will find yourself in perpetual discomfort, forever anticipating future happiness that never arrives. Setting a concrete goal is the only way that you can objectively evaluate the costs and benefits of putting yourself in temporary discomfort. Secondly, the level of discomfort should not have long-term mental or physical implications. No future reward is worth compromising your mental or physical health to the point that it scars you in the long run, or leaves you with problematic habits or thought patterns that will continue to hurt you in the future.
Choosing happiness is not easy, nor is it always fun. Letting go of harmful habits is harder than you think, because we have spent so much time believing that they are beneficial to our long-term goals, and because we have become so emotionally invested in those goals, no matter how misinformed they were. Even though I knew that blindly pursuing a thin body did not serve me and engaging myself in disordered behaviors made me and my body absolutely miserable, it still took a marked, conscious effort to retract myself from slipping into these belief systems again. Choosing happiness is about making your subjective state of happiness your end goal - being less concerned about the "shoulds" and focusing on the "haves". In other words, asking yourself what truly makes you happy, rather than trying to conform to what others expect and want, and in doing so, reflecting that social approval into feelings of happiness. Only you truly know what makes your heart sing. Trust that gut feeling.
So it all boils down to this. What makes me happy? What has choosing happiness meant for me? I know that I am truly happy when someone or something fills me up with so much joy that I feel like a tea kettle ready to boil over, where the excited butterflies in my stomach rise all the way up to my throat. That feeling happens whenever I am given the opportunity to share my story with others who are willing to listen, when I start a new project or campaign for Body Banter, when I am actively working towards my mission of making a difference in others' lives with my experiences and my passions. The feeling happens when I land in Hong Kong after a semester away, and when I land in Durham after a holiday. Both times, I am filled with anticipation to strengthen existing bonds with loved ones, and to build new ones.
Happiness is yours to define - no one's approval in the present or in the future can ever measure up to setting your own standards for happiness.
I challenge you to choose happiness :)
End of year celebrations are a bittersweet, haunting time for me. This year especially so, as it marks the 6th year since the “darkest day” of my eating disorder - the day that I arrived at the doctor’s office and he told me that he couldn’t find my pulse. These 6 years have been a period of immense growth and change for me, and much of this internal change has honestly been quite uncomfortable and difficult. But I can honestly also say that I wouldn’t have had it any other way, because I know that I am stronger for it. More grateful for what I have today. More focused on the things that truly matter.
I remember being so “out of it” during my grandmother’s annual birthday bash on December 31st - I was beyond the point of counting calories, even - I was just completely exhausted. Exhausted with struggling against my mind and against family members who wanted the best for me, whose well intentions I deeply felt but was completely unable to reciprocate. I look into my own eyes in the photo above, and I see emptiness and exhaustion - someone who just wants the day to be over, but who is also dreading the next.
She’s still there, that exhausted soul, and I can’t pretend that the big social gatherings that come at the end of the year don’t still scare me a little. The food, the idea of losing control, and having to eat amongst large groups of people sometimes is still too much, and there are moments where all I want to do is to crawl into my onesie and eat oatmeal at home. Sometimes I take a mental health day, and that’s exactly what I do.
But there are also moments this holiday season that I have been so proud of - when I have been able to be so present in the moment, where I have fed off the energy of those around me and have been able to just enjoy my time eating, laughing and just being. Complimenting the pudding at my grandmother’s birthday banquet because I actually tasted it without worrying how many calories there were inside. Baking a cake for my mom’s birthday and not hesitating to give the crust a taste test. Hearing the familiar voice in my head trying to tell me to “resist temptation”, and being able to tell it to shut the heck up while I enjoy whatever it is that I have always wanted to taste. I see light and true joy in my eyes again, and for that I am truly grateful.
My resolution for this year is to keep growing, but to also appreciate how far I’ve come. To chase opportunities for improvement but also understand when I’ve pushed my limits and perhaps need to take a step back. To look forward, but also be present in every moment.
Thank you to the friends and family who have been in my life thus far - thank you for being part of a life that I am so excited to live! Much love to you all! :* <3
Yesterday during my taxi ride from home to work, my taxi driver struck up a conversation with me. “Wow, are you a swimmer?” He asked, glancing at me through his mirror. “No,” I replied, “I’m a weightlifter.” He looked visibly shocked, “A weightlifter?? What a waste of a perfectly good body!” Well that’s new, I thought. “Aren’t you afraid of becoming super bulky? You’d better find a boyfriend that also weight lifts, or he won’t be able to tolerate you.” He proceeded. Ah, I’ve heard that one before, I grimace-smiled.
There was a time in my life when I would face these scenarios with silent anger, where I would just swallow my frustration and hold a grudge against whoever might have spewed these stereotypical statements in my face. But I soon realized that not only were these feelings were toxic towards my relationships (often times, these words were said by well-intentioned people who I respected and loved!), but that by just letting them happen, I was actively contributing to the perpetuation of these stereotypical assumptions.
So recently I’ve been making an effort to inject a little of my own words and thoughts into the conversation. “Actually,” I smiled back at the taxi driver, “it takes an immense amount of effort to put on muscle, especially for women, as we don’t have the same hormones as men. It is physically impossible to become “too big” unless you try really, really hard. And no, I’m not afraid of getting “too big.” I really enjoy feeling strong!”
And if you’re thinking, “HA! Do you think the taxi driver was really listening? Do you really think you can make a change?” - You’re right. The taxi driver just chuckled under his breath, sort of a slightly nicer way of saying, “yeah right.” But as pointless as it might have been with this one taxi driver, who knows? My words might one day hit home for some other taxi driver, or some other person who holds these stereotypical assumptions. I may be talking at a wall for 99 out of 100 people I meet, but hey! That one person that I manage to convince will hopefully consider his or her assumptions, and inject these thoughts into his or her conversations with others. Moreover, saying these words out loud has the added effect of acting as a positive affirmation for me - I have found that verbally affirming what I love to do is so, so empowering.
The main takeaway from this experience: Never underestimate the few words you share with strangers - they can make all the difference. It may seem like no one is listening or that no one cares about the message you are trying to get across (and sadly, a lot of times this is true!), but trust and hope that you will reach someone at some point.
Another positive push to finish off this bloggy post - just think: if negativity and stereotypes can spread, so can positivity and acceptance! :)
This post is dedicated to all the women I know and love, with special mentions to Mama Irene, who always has a smile for me, Aunt June, who wins in both success and failure because she finds a path in every maze, and Aunt Jessica, whose fiery pink hair is nothing in comparison to her fiery soul. Kudos to them and all the wonderful women in my life :) HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!! <3
After a SOOOPAH long hiatus, I am reZOOMing this blog in honour of this fine day that has a special place in my heart - INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY!! :) Without further ado, I shall dive straight into an amalgamation of my thoughts that will hopefully be interesting, or at least entertaining! :)
The other day, I was reading a piece from one of my favourite classes this semester, "Women and modern Chinese culture" and I came across a few key ideas in Ding Ling's "Thoughts on March 8" that particularly resonated with me: Women must find their strength - specifically, be healthy and happy when pursuing their revolutionary aims. While I don't agree with all her ideas and proposals, I did strongly connect to these ideas - that every woman become involved in the process of self-strengthening - of feeling healthy and happy regardless of what society tells us.
There are two different ways to pursue happiness - changing others to fit our agendas, or changing ourselves to fit our own. It's easy to lean towards the former option - changing society's glaring faults and building a shining new home is everyone's dream. Unfortunately, the sheer number of divergent opinions, goals and desires of the bajazillion people around us make this a faraway goal - not impossible, but one that often results in a buildup of unhappiness and hatred.
I'm not here to tell you to give up the fight because it is hard - in fact, I'm telling you to do something that's potentially even harder. I'm suggesting that we save the fire we possess to light our own hearts, rather than desperately try to light the hearts of everyone we know with a one-person serving of fire. It is only with our personal flames alight that we can create change that is motivated by and that involves everyone.
So what does finding your flame mean? It's not just learning what makes you happy, but about learning what makes you happy AMIDST ADVERSITY. On the days that the mirror sneers at you, where the media mocks you, when the world around you is unforgiving - what keeps your flame alive? What is your way of saying, "I am more than a victim of your judgments, and I AM ENOUGH"?
I've learned time and time again that the world will never stop trying to get us down, and that this is especially the case for women living in a society that incessantly tries to dictate how we should look, that never stops finding new ways to limit how we can be. There will inevitably be someone or something that tells us that we are imperfect, that happiness can only come when we have changed something about ourselves. The key is not to get angry and tell them that they're wrong - it is to SHOW THEM that they're wrong with our proudly lit flames and our happiness. Fighting towards a better world doesn't need to involve any form of fighting - not with others or yourself. On this beautiful March 8, join me in finding our flame, in celebrating the energies of women who fight back by building up within.
According to an annual alert that I set on my calendar, the Facebook memory reminder system and of course, my VIE (very important events) system situated in my very own brain, yesterday marked my second Crossfit anniversary aka a cause to reminisce and celebrate!!! <3 :D
Last year was very much the "giddy honeymoon stage" - I was excited by the progress that I had made in a year’s time, enamoured by the possibilities of the future, and overwhelmed by the amount of mutual love and understanding that permeated throughout the entire Crossfit community. I had developed a sense of appreciation and awe for my friends and coaches, and could feel exciting things coming my way - but had no solid expectations as to its essence or its scale.
This year's anniversary marks what I view as a consolidation stage. The trembling transfer student who was simply relieved to fit in with a host family last year now feels safely at home with a loving family that she is proud to call her own. The starry-eyed appreciation that I had felt for my community has now become a comfortable feeling of belonging, and the relatively distant awe that I felt for my incredible coaches and friends has now become an intimate and heartfelt respect that only continues to grow. The complete disbelief that certain Crossfit movements were even humanly possible has been mollified by a deeper understanding that under every superhero cape is a uniform of hard work and determination.
The one thing that has not changed from day 1 to day 730 is a deep gratefulness. Another year of experience means another year's worth of challenges, and some training days were so discouraging that I know that if I didn't love the sport so much and that if I didn't have such a supportive coaching team and community at my back I would never have been able to persevere. It is because I can’t help but break into a wide grin when I enter the doors to the box, because I can program my mind to count reps and not worries when I train, because training reminds me that I have goals to reach for, because I know that if I’m strong enough to do weighted pull-ups it is impossible that I’m not strong enough to beat down a tiny voice in my head - it is because of these things that I have been able to leap over rough patches much more quickly and completely. Crossfit quite literally saved my life in so many ways - the “never settle” mentality and the knowledge that strength is only limited by how much you are willing to give are factors which often help light a bulb in the dark room that I can’t find the door to walk out of.
One can say that my life has become dominated by Crossfit, and I’ll be the first to admit that this is totally true. It is totally true that I still get unreasonably excited to train, totally true that my coach cares about more than just my training and makes sure that my lifestyle is on point as well, totally true that my friends care beyond the box to hang out after a gruelling workout, to support me at a singing performance, or just to check on me when I am buried in school work. My life is indeed dominated by Crossfit, because my community cares enough to reach into my life and be there during the moments outside the box that matter to me.
Just like any journey, each day brings a piece to the puzzle - some good, some bad, some exceptional, and some absolutely mediocre. I recount the tears that pooled in my eyes when I completely failed my first attempt at the first workout of the 2015 Crossfit Open, the ecstatic disbelief that filled me when I actually placed in a Crossfit competition, the frustration at the end of a seemingly fruitless training session where even endless repetitions and drills didn’t do the trick, and the everyday excitement of cheering others on at the gym - I look back at all these moments with a knowing smile. I smile as I do at the completion of any puzzle - knowing that every moment spent finding the position of a puzzle piece, whether they are the ones that fit in immediately, or the ones that make you wonder if the production company has accidentally slipped a faulty piece into the box by mistake - every piece is a worthwhile one.
As some of you might know, I recently had the honor of representing Hong Kong in the Asian Powerlifting Championships. It was an educational experience not only because I got to experience and learn from the power and grit of unbelievably strong athletes all around Asia, but also because I was able to push myself to achieve personal milestones. This moment that I will share with you now occurred before the competition and directly impacted various aspects of it, but luckily, in no way tarnished the stunning experience that I had. This is a moment that I deem significant to myself as a growing and learning individual, and that hopefully you’ll see a certain value in as well. It is also relatively recent, so I am very much walking with you through this process of self-reflection. I tell you this story not to seek pity, sympathy or even concern - I simply wish for you to walk alongside me as I continue on my journey and hopefully, learn with me. Below captures my very wordy (as usual ;D) thought process...
Several months ago, I was filling in a form to apply for my very first powerlifting competition and was asked to specify whether I wanted to belong in the <47kg weight class or the <52kg weight class. I thought nothing of it. I felt that I had established what I considered to be friendly relations with the scale, proved by the many times I had faced it, trigger and flinch free - at the doctor's for check-ups, or at the gym to see how much weight I would be carrying during a pull-up. I told myself that I had preached on this blog, to my friends, to my family about how my eating disorder was already in my past and how its effects had no power over me any more. Being able to watch my weight and restrict myself - all behaviors that I took to unhealthy extremes during my eating disorder and which I felt I had detached myself from - without relapsing was what would truly prove my words, and I felt confident that I would be able to do it.
I knew that choosing the 47kg category would put me at the top end of the weight range and put me at an increased advantage in the competition - considerations that strongly appealed to my competitive instincts. However, I also realized that these conditions meant that I had absolutely no leeway to put on any weight at all, muscle or fat, for several months, or even have to lose from a size that I was still struggling to add to. Somewhere, deep in the crevices of my heart, I knew that once I could convince myself that losing weight was a requirement for something, anything, I could potentially be dragged backwards in my recovery. So I decided to sleep on it before I ticked the boxes and submitted the form.
A FAMILIAR VOICE
It wasn't until I felt a familiar obsessive nag at the back of my brain that evening that I realised that something was wrong. "Better be safe and drop more weight," the voice told me, "if you drop JUST below 47kg, you never know whether you'll surpass it on competition day." At first, it was easy to ignore the voice - I had dealt with the voices successfully time and time again and had acquired adequate practice over the past few years.
But what I hadn't realized was that the circumstances were different this time. Maintaining a weight for several months meant constant rather than occasional checking - a behavior that served to cultivate that dangerous obsession for numerical satisfaction that once fueled my eating disorder. Additionally, my weight in the previous circumstances did not determine anything in my future - my weight in this case however, would decide whether or not I qualified for that category and therefore for the competition.
Over the past two years, I had thrived on my goal of putting on muscle - I enjoyed that I could set myself in the mindset that I NEEDED to eat in order to achieve my goal, that eating more directly contributed to making me stronger and that most importantly, food was not the enemy. This goal put me not only in the correct physical, but also mental environment. Reversing this goal and aiming for weight control spelled disaster - it would take away the reassurance and throw me back into a dieting world where food often is the enemy.
The deadline to the decision neared, the pressure was built, and slowly, I felt myself slip. I felt myself begin to believe the voice, felt myself beginning to feel that teeth-clenching conviction, felt that dangerous hunger for an unstable goal, felt the blind obsession. The familiarity was frightening, but what scared me even more was that I was excited by it - I was filled with that same adrenaline that had once urged me to reach further and further into the depths of danger.
COMPROMISES, NOT DISADVANTAGES
Fortunately, having experienced quite a lengthy recovery process means that I have acquired somewhat of a heightened self-awareness that allows me to “exit myself” and examine myself from a distance when I feel that I am at risk of falling off track. “What will this decision do for me in the long term?”, “Is it worth it?” were amongst the questions that I asked myself. It was then and there that I realized that this was a short term goal that would most likely leave me with long term consequences - consequences that were most definitely NOT worth it.
I held my breath, closed my eyes, ticked the 52kg weight class, and didn't open the sheet of paper again. And...I'm happy to report that it not only worked out, but worked out well. The release of my mental constrictions in turn, liberated the physical ones, and I was once again, free and allowed to grow. Plus the unexpected little bonus? I would actually be at an advantage if I lifted the same weight as a heavier individual in the same category as me! ;D
SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BEND TO GROW
Don't get me wrong - I am NOT against the idea of people losing weight for competition purposes. This is simply a personal reflection of a moment where I recognised and accepted the need to bend in order to protect myself. To some, having to make decisions like this seems to be a weakness, a disadvantage, an unfortunate situation - I view it as a temporary but necessary compromise.
As I have stated in a previous blog post ("The meaning of recovery"), my past is in the past, but the traits that I have developed from that period of time very much remain a part of my present. They are harmless and even beneficial for the most part, but can become triggered suddenly by unexpected circumstances. The procedures of this incident simply proved too similar to the path that had led to my past pitfall - the obsession with weight and the consequent desire for an even bigger loss would inevitably bring me straight back to the road I had once tripped and fallen on. I had initially considered the possibility that I had learned to “tone down” the extremes to which I took these obsessive characteristics, but unfortunately I have found that the momentum of the rolling stone is far greater than what I can defend myself against at the moment.
Was it pride-crushing? Did I feel betrayed and ashamed? Initially, yes. I hated the feeling that I had just let the influences of my eating disorder limit me, hated that I had told everyone that I had “conquered the scale”, but yet cowered at a time when these numbers really confronted me.
But I have since realized my error in this judgment of myself. Yes, I have learned to defend myself against most circumstances successfully at this point, but does that mean that I can dismiss the idea of still meeting one that will challenge me? Can I dispel the possibility that two years down the road from recovery that I might still encounter difficulties? I indeed had to go out of my way to remove this trigger, but that one decision potentially saved me from much larger pitfalls. Pitfalls that I believe I owe to my loved ones and to myself to shield myself from.
There is only so much one can do to avoid any situation, good or bad, so I have always believed that the solution lies in developing an immunity, rather than relying on denial. Admittedly, the problem of the accessible scale is a slightly more difficult challenge due to the fact that it is based on the circumstance rather than the object itself - that is to say it is more about whether or not I can control myself from obsessing over my weight if I have easy access to a scale, and less about facing the scale as an object. To those of you who may be worrying that I am “going backwards”, I would like to assure you that this is the exact opposite of that. It is only through experiencing the stages of initial shock, acclimatization and finally, integration that I will be able to learn and improve.
There are no dead ends. There are only walls that you must learn to climb over.
A friend of mine asked me a curious question the other day: "Do you wear happy colors because you're happy, or does wearing happy colors make you happy?" It was somewhat of a joke question, but it got my thinking juices going...
Now that it has been two years since the start of my recovery journey, I feel like it is due time for me to reflect (something that I always LOVE to do!! :P) and rejoice. Today, as the title suggests, I will be going over what recovery is, and is not, to me.
As my family and friends began to see that I was starting to make some significant progress in my recovery, that the possibility of me overcoming my demons was a concrete event rather than a desperate illusion, they became impatient. Just as the finish line is a waving hand for runners to accelerate, notable milestones of improvement were sources of motivation for my friends and family, who soon began prodding me with questions - "Will you ever eat ice-cream again?", "When will you attend a party without bringing your own food?" and other similar questions that were basically housed under the vast umbrella of the unspoken question: "When will you be normal again?"
It is not: A stable and smooth path
And so my head became clouded with all these notions of things and deeds that recovery should be, but no practical plan as of how I would achieve it. I knew that mental progress was gradual and immeasurable - horrific for someone climbing out from an illness characterised by a thirst for quick fixes and a compulsion to quantify everything. Having concrete goals to reach for was more comforting, but it was also limiting in that I became convinced that they were the only things that defined recovery, and failed to acknowledge that other steps in the right direction counted as well.
Many times, I found myself doubting that I was getting anywhere at all. How was I so sure that I was headed towards success rather than failure? How did I know whether I was heading for paved ground rather than quicksand and potholes? But then I asked myself: why did I have to be sure? What was the problem with being unsure about what was coming? Uncertainty means certain pitfalls along the way, but it also means pleasant surprises popping up here and there. Sometimes you just have to invest some faith in the magic of possibility - give it your best shot, and then let it be what it will be.
It is: A tea party
After one year of eating beforehand, then refusing food completely during her party, then another year of making it through the dinner but not making the cake, I made a promise last year to my best friend that I would eat the cake this year. Sure, I could have eaten the cake last year, but it would have resulted in high levels of anxiety and perhaps even some tears. And I think I owed it to someone that beloved to me to be able to not only physically eat the cake, but also truly enjoy it.
I fulfilled my promise this year, and I think that I can finally explain what recovery means to me. Recovery is not a moment to pinpoint, nor a concrete goal that you can aim for. It is a gradual change of perspective and priorities, and learning to put spiritual well-being at the same level or at certain times, over pure physical well-being. What I ate, how many calories I burned - that used to be the center of my world, and I strived to maintain the highest levels of these factors in my life, although they never became full, at the price of my relationships and my happiness. Unlike exercising and eating, these things weren’t quantifiable, and I instinctively assumed that these bottles would keep themselves filled. I didn't realize that they had drained themselves dry until they were parched.
Today, I still care about what I eat and how I train - but there is no obsessively quantifying component in it, and I seek quality rather than quantity. I can fill the bottles with more to spare, using much less effort than it did to fill half a bottle a few years ago. Being able to fulfil my "duties" and not worry about refilling them 24/7 means that I can afford to give more time to my loved ones, and in turn, feed my spiritual well-being. Recovery is not filling your own cup, but filling other cups too, so that you can have a tea party.
It is: A falling rock
I will never forget about my eating disorder, and it will never be completely gone from me. Part of me will always be more careful about food and calories and exercise than the average person, but I also now know how to control these voices and cover them with my own when they get unreasonable. There are still days when the voices are loud and it is a struggle to decide whether I should eat, whether I should keep exercising for 10 minutes more...but I am much more aware of what my triggers are and the fastest way to shut the voices up. If I know that if I postpone eating for 10 minutes it will become an hour, that after 10 minutes of extended working out I'll be tempted once again to go for another 10, I make myself stop. The stone is always going to be more tilted over the edge of my mountain than that of others, but what matters is that at least it hasn’t fallen off. It may take more effort to keep it from rolling off, but at least I now have the ability and strength to pull it back just in time, and prevent as many avalanches as possible.
It is: A closed wound, and a proud scar
Recovery is being okay with my eating disorder being a part of me, and using what I learned from it to make me more conscious of life's possibilities. More grateful for the good times. More tolerant of the not so good. And more determined for what is to come.
I am not ashamed of my eating disorder, and neither am I ashamed to speak about it. I am touched that many continue to shy away from this topic or are reluctant to enter into a conversation about my experiences with me in fear that it will release a torrent of painful memories, but please know that today my past is a closed wound - it leaves a mark, but poking it makes me flinch no more than does a pinch on unmarred skin. I will never deny it being part of my past, but I will not let it define me - I am not the person that I was, but it has made me the person who I am. Living with it was by no means pleasant, but it is a part of me, and I am at peace with that.
It is a common instinct to try and forget about painful experiences. But I think it is crucial that they stay with you, as a warning and a lesson. No one should have to hide their scars for fear of judgment - scars are what make us human, what show that we have been wounded once but that we have survived it, grown from it, and live to tell the tale.
Born a female in Hong Kong, I was always under the impression that women reigned (must have been an impression that I learned from the power dynamics between my parents - my dad would agree! :P) So it wasn’t until I was exposed to gender inequality at school that I realized that I was lucky. I realized all of a sudden that the fact that my mom cried with joy rather than disdain when she found out that I was a girl, that my father didn’t worry in the least about having a son to "pass on his legacy", that the fact that I was even at school was nothing short of a miracle. A stroke of luck. A rarity.
Hello world! I'm Steph, and I'm a 22 year old who recently graduated from Duke University with a BA degree in Psychology.