Categories
Belief and Philosophy Blog Divorce Reading & Writing Self-help

grateful, I am

I don’t always fill out the ole Panda Journal, but I like to kick off my day with a bit of thinking about the good stuff. I got these Panda journals for myself and The Kid. For a minute we both did them. I’d say, “Hey, let’s Panda this morning.” But now, alas, it’s just me. Anyway, I realize I had done self-talk like this on and off during my life. But what divorce taught me was that there’s a lot to be grateful for. I will always remember the ways that people helped out and remain very grateful for this.

You are burning to the ground when you divorce–your entire life turns to ash. You cannot do anything about this destruction emotionally, in the sense that you have to accept this death of who you were.

What I learned is that you can rebuild and you do this by thinking about what’s great in life. I’ll be honest. It’s pretty easy to be thankful where I live now, even if I am aware that yes, this is the place with the highest cost of living and the lowest wages.

Because I wake up thinking the air I breathe is CLEAN. The water is CLEAN. If you think that’s ridiculous you never lived in a polluted place before! Those two things are enough to get me started. Be grateful and thankful. It can shift your mood. Try it!

 

Categories
Belief and Philosophy Blog Educators Reading & Writing Teachers Woman. Warrior. Writer.

Woman. Warrior. Writer. Anne Liu Kellor

In the spirit of Maxine Hong Kingston, our WOMAN WARRIOR tribute presents women writers, creators, and leaders. Here we can learn, better our own lives, and change our communities. For API Month 2021 I would like you to meet Anne Liu Kellor.

How did you come to author your life?

The process of coming into my power is ongoing. I first learned to claim what I want when I traveled alone to China, my mother’s birthplace, in my twenties. Then, for many years, I stubbornly held onto my trust that I am meant to be a writer and teacher. I submitted my memoir to over 100 presses and agents, while juggling motherhood, a rocky marriage, and self-doubt. During the pandemic, I finally divorced, which forced me to take entrepreneurial leaps of faith with my career and work harder than ever.  This September, my memoir will finally launch—a book I’ve been incubating for over twenty years. This feels like only the beginning.

Anne Liu Kellor is a Seattle-based writer, editor, coach, and workshop facilitator. Her memoir, Heart Radical: A Search for Language, Love, and Belonging, was praised by Cheryl Strayed as “insightful, riveting and beautifully written.” Heart Radical traces Anne’s three-year sojourn in China and her struggle to claim her voice as a mixed-race, bilingual Chinese American woman.

Pre-orders are available now: www.anneliukellor.com

Categories
Belief and Philosophy Blog Divorce Educators Reading & Writing Self-help

Write Your Divorce Story and Stand Up Now

Aloha,

This is me three years ago. I had boarded a plane from Hong Kong utterly shattered. In fact, I had missed my layover flight from Seoul to the US despite being right at the gate — they were calling my name over and over on the loudspeaker (I found out later) and I was on the phone completely thrashed and talking to a friend and didn’t hear anything. I had to spend the night in the airport. Everything was shut. I finally found the overnite hotel there and checked in for about 5 hours. I took this picture when I got on the plane and sent it to my mom saying, “Mom, I deserve more out of life.”

I landed in Hawai’i, called around and talked to a few lawyers and my ex was served papers when he stepped off the plane about a month later.

FLASH FORWARD

This is me a few weeks ago. I just got out of the water near Waikiki. Three years is a lifetime.

If you would have told me I would feel this good back then, I would never have believed you. I am not the same person. I went through a massive transition. One of my old friends said that obviously, my entire system got rewired when I divorced and she was right. I really do like my life so very much.

Life is not problem free, but the big problem (the ex) is GONE. And I came to see that he was, in fact, the physical real-life manifestation of my doubt, fear, insecurity, and anxiety. I had married my nemesis. Yep.

Worries do come up. Like about 3 months ago I was worried. OH no, the Kid XYZ. My business XYZ. My family XYZ. Will I…Should I…Will I…

You know once you start that train of doubt it gets really crazy.

SNAP OUT OF IT

Then I thought about it very deeply and said this: STEPH SNAP OUT OF IT.

And weirdly, I did within a day or two. Why?

Because the person who would keep Steph in that old zone of bad vibes and fear is no longer around!

YOU GOT THIS

So I said to myself: STEPH, YOU GOT THIS. No need to feel that doubt because why should you? The person who exemplified doubt and made you feel it every second of the day is no longer around.

I stopped doubting.

STAND UP NOW

This kind of bossing myself around worked really well when I went out surfing because I was just trying to stand up and hesitated and then I yelled out to myself: STAND UP NOW!

And then I stood up!

There are days when I am just thinking WOW. I feel awesome. Because for the most part, I do. I am not going back to that old picture ever again. EVER. I realized over the past year that what started this change was not simply the divorce itself legally, but it was rewriting my narrative and writing down the story of what I believed. When you write your truth to power you change your life.

Inserting my story in my legal file affected all aspects of my divorce process, most importantly, my emotional well-being.

#writeyourdivorce #drstephaniehan #womanwarriorwriter

Look out for announcements for FALL 2021 class. Sign up for my newsletter to find out further info.

Register @drstephaniehan.com

~empowering women through narrative~

Share this post with women you know who are divorcing.

Categories
Blog Passing in the Middle Kingdom Poetry Reading Reading & Writing Teachers

API Month 2021

This image in Tai Tei Tong, Mui Wo, Lantau, Hong Kong was taken in 2014 and made the Smithsonian Asian Pacific Island American Heritage Month Day-in-the-Life event that year! I had submitted it, but didn’t realize it was chosen until 2019. I thought I’d share it as it is May and APIA month!

If you were a kid, the village square in Mui Wo was where it all went down. Kids chased by grandpa with a stick. Light saber battles. Biking with your mates. Throwing stuff. Kicking balls. Dumpster diving. Food sharing. Dodging bikes and glass and barbed wire. Incense. Rotten oranges. Fresh dirt. Garbage. The heat of green grass. The scent of smog, always, thickening in your nose. Worms. Snakes. Concrete. Shouting. Crying. A feral childhood. Kids running around.

To be sure, it wasn’t like that for all kids. Many of the local or Chinese kids were inside with the TV upon their parents orders. Many of the expat kids tacitly encouraged not to socialize with Chinese kids. But if you were so lucky to have a situation where you could wander out, you would have had a lot of fun or at least some mischief before dusk.

Categories
Blog Reading & Writing

1982. Phillips Academy Andover. Barnard College. Vincent Chin. Asian America.

Aloha…Ye Olde Blog will begin again…

When I saw this #stopasianhate video I am reminded of where we are now, socially and politically as a society, but also, who I was at the time when I first became aware of how racism is systemic (Vincent Chin lived in the auto making industry area, people were anti-Asian and mired in Yellow Peril ideology about the auto industry, and so they killed him for being Japanese—he was Chinese).

1982 was the year I graduated from PA and headed to Barnard College was the year that Vincent Chin was killed. I took a semester off from Barnard and was interning at the Asian arts and lit magazine BRIDGE. It was in some ways, the beginning of an awareness of an AA identity, but it would take many years of struggle to understand the concept and what it meant.

As a cross between a 1st and 4th generation AA my narrative was never a neat one.

Most AA at college then, the two schools were both separate (Columbia/Barnard) back then, were 1st and 2nd generation. The vibe is very different generationally. I was introduced to AA as “this person who does not speak Korean” and was given circus freak show status. I half expected people to yell at me for betraying my ancestors. My mother, however, doesn’t speak, and what most young people then did not understand is the complexities of immigration patterns.

In retrospect, I should have gone West to university (where I ended up living) where there were entire Asian American Studies programs. But Andover was and probably still is East Coast centric and the idea of being in a student body of Asian Americans didn’t occur to college counseling. Even now, the first thing I tell most Asian Americans when I meet them who feel at a loss and are mired in private institution blues is this: go West. Numbers matter. If you’re in an environment where the Asian community has been entrenched for awhile, at the very rock bottom least, you are not a complete freak show. (Obviously, I was really scarred by it. I haven’t been in a non Asian majority environment in 15 years… I lived in HK and now in Hawai’i–hard choices for some, but for me it was a good decision).

Years later, I would meet up with a PA friend in HK, Chinese descent, who was naming all the racist girls in her dorm–as I recall the most popular and elite white pedigreed girls of our class, and I realized she had deep trauma from that time period she had carried with her. She unloaded. While we are not in touch too much, I realized that it was this weird time and space moment… she needed to tell someone. We compared notes and concluded the college counselor we both had was racist. She was a racist for sure! We both could see this as adults! It felt weird to hear that after decades and confirm my teenage self wasn’t wrong to feel so at odds and discouraged by this authority figure.

As I prepare a history lesson for the Council of Korean Americans, I am reminded how the collective idea of Asian America is what makes me who I am. It is the global as manifested within an American identity. And what is it that we share, truly across these groups? Not language, not food, not religion, not history.

What we share as Koreans, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Hmong, Chinese, Pakistanis, Indians, Japanese – people who are American but who can claim ancestry from Asia, is an awareness and experience of racism, discrimination, the yearning for a dream of self and the cruel understanding of Empire, Nation and Myth.

That’s what makes us, that common thread, in the end…Asian American.

Categories
Blog Listen and Watch Video

Deep Diving into My Year Abroad and the Asian American Experience with Chang-Rae Lee

Source: Council of Korean Americans Youtube

“Our second episode of season 3 of the Korean American Perspectives Podcast features Chang-Rae Lee, a celebrated Korean American novelist. To speak with him, we have guest host, Stephanie Han, Ph.D. who is an award-winning author, educator, and speaker.

In this episode, Chang-Rae Lee and Dr. Stephanie Han take a deep dive into his latest novel, My Year Abroad. They explore the novel’s themes, its colorful characters, and adventures, as well as how food plays a role in Chang-Rae’s writing. They also connect the novel with the Asian American experience and discuss how identity formation is very particular to each person as well as the myriad of complexities and questions it presents.

Chang-Rae Lee reminds us that it’s important to take risks, journey throughout the world, and ask questions, especially when discovering oneself. “

 

follow

Sign up with your email to receive notifcations for new posts.

[DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS]