Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin
cswallow

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Justina Chen Headley

Last night I went to hear a speaker for my chinese class, Justina Chen Headley, who was a chinese women who had just written a book called "Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies)." It was inspiring, and definitely helpful in terms of where I am in my career path right now. She apparently was an amazing writer as a young adult, but then a professor at Stanford told her she sucked and.. she believed him and went into economics. After graduating and working in marketing and PR for Microsoft (this was back when people were still amazed by Excel's "sum all" function), she moved to Australia for a while with her husband and upon returning and having kids, decided she wanted to re-pursue her dream of becoming an author. So now she writes books for young adults about the experience of growing up chinese or hapa, and.. it was neat to hear about where she gets her ideas. And also to hear some encouragement from her toward me about pursuing my own writing interests.

In the past, I always thought "oh, I'm a 3rd generation chinese, what could I possibly have to write about?" And while I still don't know, I kind of think that I probably have SOMETHING. At any rate it made me start to look over some of my past discomfort with my Chinese identity. I've become so much more comfortable with it in just the past year, but often still feel very much a stranger when sitting in a group of all-Chinese people. It's still something I struggle to overcome, and am aware of in many ways. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to be a 3rd generation who can still speak Mandarin, but I know I've often shut off the entire issue of identifying Chinese, or belonging to that group.

Malena cheered me when I told her I might be interested in dating someone asian, saying, "it's so hard to reach across that boundary of color to find someone you work well with - it's easier when you can just skip that step." In some ways I definitely agree - there are automatically cultural qualities that you can identify with each other, and it really is a relief to be able to do that. At the same time, I don't think it makes it any easier, because you can't chalk some differences up to culture, you have to deal with them head-on. Anyway, these are all evolving thoughts.

On to dinner.. and Milton :o)
Tags: about cs, relationships, women in business, writing
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