Moments of Pride

As a person who is constantly overwhelmed by self-doubt and lack of confidence, I spend so much time as an INFJ also meditating how to make the world a better place- how can I impact the world and leave it a bit better than I found it?  I don’t have ambitions as high as becoming the first female president, but there are subtle moments in our day-to-day that we can change and influence others, that become a wave of a bigger movement with one small decision.

It’s okay if you’re not perfect and live in a zero-waste house, for example, as long as you are at least conscious and working on improving lessening your wasteful contribution to the garbage landfills.

After researching a lot about environmental waste, particularly about non-biodegradeable products that are incredibly harmful in mass doses, I came across this website that discussed a movement in Berkeley, California encouraging restaurants and other cities to become straw-free.  Of course, there are always people who might dismiss the idea with the thought that we are those annoying hipster tree-huggers.  But I don’t consider myself one, in that I don’t censor and become super paranoid about using a plastic bottle for example.  However, it is a simple solution that makes a lot of sense to me in persuading restaurants to become straw-free, cutting costs down for them as well as benefitting the environment.  Straws are a superfluous product, one that we might enjoy using, but definitely do not need.  It was surprising to me to find out that straws are one of the top 10 items contributing to total garbage littering our natural environment.  So I thought, where can I make the biggest impact in as short and efficient of a time as possible?  I looked up Applebee’s, a place that my fellowship and I frequent with up to 20 people if not over, almost weekly.  I sent an email complimenting their staff, but also suggesting how cutting down on offering straws would make a huge difference.

Today, the manager called me and talked to me about it!!  He said he never thought about it, but it was a pretty good idea and he would talk to upper management about it.  The issue was that they used it as a difference between straws used for alcohol so that they could catch underage kids drinking.  We talked for a couple minutes and he said his name was Jesse and I should flag him down next time I’m there so we could meet.  I just thought it was so awesome of him to reach out and seem to actually CARE.  YAY HUMANITY IS NOT LOST.

The second moment was when I wanted to join a bunch of dudes in watching  basketball, and when I went to watch, one of the guys jokingly said, “get outta here, we’re tryna watch the game.”  At first, my instinct was to laugh since they were laughing too, and I knew they were joking.  One of the guys next to him was like yo that’s sexist.  However, somehow I found the courage to speak up and ask him to apologize, in which he did, twice, the second time sincerely.  I don’t know, maybe it wasn’t worth writing a long post about, but I felt empowered and proud of myself for these small moments of hopefully contributing to a bigger wave of change in our thinking and our choices that we make.

Why “Aw” Responses are Unacceptable | On Racism in the Workplace

I’ve met up with a few friendquaintances from the past just cause, why not?  Most of my high school phase left me with friendquaintances, and I felt I never had the chance to properly get to know people and who they really were, although I had a vague idea by the way they treated me or handled my extenuating circumstances… I used to think they were just all jerks, but then the more forgiving part of me knew it was sometimes due more to immaturity and ignorance.  To be honest,  I wasn’t sure if it was due more to my willingness to be as spontaneous as I could be when possible, or whether it was my insecurities that questioned why people would ask to meet up out of the blue when they had never bothered to get to know me before.  Sometimes, my inklings were correct and I felt there were ulterior motives, but who really knows at the end of the day.  My paranoia has I suppose, in many ways been both a blessing and a hindrance to what could’ve been.

That said, some people, four years later, may still not have had the chance to learn how to handle with respect more dark matters.  When one hears of the passing of someone’s father or mother, for example, one automatically says “I’m sorry.”  I always feel awkward getting those words out of my mouth, because it feels so utterly futile in what pain they must be going through, but it’s the least I can offer in the moment.  But at least it’s a consistent fallback to what people say to display their empathy.

The other day, I met up with a friendquaintance who asked me to chill and catch up, and I thought why not.  Suddenly, out of the blue from small conversation of “What have you been up to,” he followed up with, “Weren’t you always sick or something?  What is that?” It caught me off guard because I hadn’t realized he was one of the people who were even vaguely aware of what I had gone through back then, and I awkwardly tried to give an elevator explanation of what I had.  In response, he stared at me and gave me a pouty face.  How the fuck was I supposed to answer a pouty face?

Let me go on a momentary rant here, and tell you why I get so fired up by people’s responses sometimes.  Let’s put aside for a couple minutes the goal to forgive, and understanding that they don’t know shit about your life so you have to let it go.  When someone tries to explain to you an illness or a condition that wreaks havoc in their lives on a daily basis, from the minuscule to the grander schemes in life, it takes bravery just to try to bother telling you about it.  If someone asks you for some assistance sometimes as simple as a lack of judgment when they use the elevator or ask you to wait with them, you do it.  People of chronic conditions in society are marginalized, disregarded, and misunderstood just as people of color or ethnicity or gender are.  At least have the decency to study or look up on situations that you yourself don’t experience so that you don’t go spouting ignorant things.  So the next time you happen to interact with someone who has an illness or struggle with issues you don’t have, particularly ones you can’t see, don’t go pitying them, particularly slapping them in the face with an “Aww,” or saying something like “At least you don’t live in a third world country.”

Listen, if someone blind were trying to explain to you what they deal with as a blind man, would you respond to that with any of this?  Then why is it so difficult to apply that to other varying conditions as well?  

Do:  Ask them more questions to understand if they seem willing, or just be there for them and be chill about it without making them feel like they owe you a favor or that it’s a big deal.  They are people, just like you.  We are people, just like you.

I think part of me is a quiet Asian girl, and that’s okay that that is part of my personality and identity.  But it’s really frustrating when people seem to pigeonhole you into expecting you to act a certain way, submissively, for example, when you aren’t meant to just roll over for them.


This leads to my second point of discussion, and I wanted to share this story my best friend told me today about racism in her workplace.  Besides tolerating her co-workers’ often inappropriate comments that are borderline, or far past borderline sexist, she has a double whammy in which she also has to endure racist comments, particularly from white co-workers.  Today, she told me that her and another co-worker were talking to one of the company’s managers,  trying to remember what some Asian guy’s name was that they had met.  When they were at a loss, the manager actually said,  “Well, maybe it was something like Ching Chong Ding Dong eh?”  When my friend failed to laugh, he pressed on,”Well, I think it’s hilarious.”  My friend finally snapped and said, “I think you should leave before you make a bigger fool of yourself.”  Apparently, he just left after she said that.  Zero tolerance for that kind of behavior is right, even if it means standing up to someone of a greater authority than you, but I don’t know if I’d have the cajones to do it.