Friendzoning my Asian Heritage, journey, self-esteem, Uncategorized

Friendzoning my Asian Heritage Part 3:  Asians…they really do look the same

10900121_10206171513272886_6090044855332663958_oI had walked past the stores many times before. I was fresh off my LDS mission, feeling like an alien in the endless cityscape of Gangnam. Huge buildings blocked out the hazy sky, orange taxis ran red lights and millions of South Koreans were folding away receipts and selfie-stick-ing. What I wore in Korea a year and half earlier was now horribly outdated and needed to be mourned, cremated and scattered in the River Han. Shops were endless and if you wanted to find authentic, true love you would, in the form of deep fried swirly donuts and ttokbukki spicy rice cakes. Love at first sight it was.

Mina and I’s lunch date had turned into a shopping trip, and after an attempt to try a discount outlet store, we headed to the main street where the real shopping could begin. There was no guilt, because this was Korea! Swipe your credit card, breathe in. Grab your purchases, breathe out. Phew.

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“How do we get to those shops up there?” I asked Mina, pointing over to the multi-storey shops with flashing signs. I thought I had visited every store in Gangnam, but had failed to open my eyes just a little bit wider and see that most of the buildings had several levels.

“They aren’t shops, I’m pretty sure most of them are plastic surgery clinics. Do you want to get it Kelly? Maybe for your eyes?”

As a 21 year old this question was getting quite old. But at 10 years old it made me want to projectile vomit at whoever was talking to me. Volunteering to have a middle-aged man in a white coat snip my eye lids and sew them up like it’s Year Seven soft tech?  I can see quite fine, thank you very much.  My eyes do not need any kind of correcting.

However, that didn’t mean I was void of insecurities. And at 4 years old these seemed to bubble to the surface. My peers ensured that I was aware of how different my face was by pulling their eyes, (or for a redundant effect, pulling mine) and blurting out incoherent supposed Chinese.  “I spy with my little eye” had snarky, under-the-breath connotations whenever we played it. But I had looked at myself in a mirror, told myself I was a solid 5 and eventually they got used to seeing a face that didn’t look like theirs.

But it wasn’t just the eyes that were different.

I could see that some people were like Coco Pops, some like the color of my cereal milk Pre-Coco Pops and some like speckled sandpaper. Examining my own body, I looked like my unvarnished wooden fence. A little yellow, a little white, a little dry and flaky. Probably suitable for burning.

But this would not do. No way. I needed to research this more and find out why my looks had so impacted on the quality of my 4 years of life.

My go-to source of all truth and knowledge was my kindergarten teacher. If anyone knew whether chocolate chips or chocolate buttons would taste better in cookies, if there really was a God or whether the universe’s expansion was accelerating… it would be Cris. I studied her face, wondering how in the world did Cris’ nose connect to her eye brows and if this was necessary, why didn’t I have it? No matter how hard I tried to tell lies to all my friends my nose wouldn’t grow and I had to revert back to my honest, God-fearing self.

Eventually my fascination with the differences between my facial features and their facial features became deeply rooted in the ventricles of my heart. It accompanied the thousands of comments I received the next years of growing up about how my body didn’t meet people’s expectations:

 

Age: 4-10 Theme : weight

“You face is too chubby. You look like an onion. You have to eat less if you want to peel those layers off.” (props to whichever Korean person said this to me, it is both rhetorically sound and cutting edge)

Age 12-15 Theme: the woes of puberty

“Those pimples are there because you touch your face. See?” *old woman touches the pimple*

Age 15-16 Theme: weight

“I’m on a plastic cup diet. You should try it. Basically you fill this little cup half with rice, half with something else and that’s what you can eat in one day.”

Age 16-17 Theme: eyes

“If you stretch your left eye with your left hand, and stick your tongue in the side of your right cheek, your eyes will get bigger.”

Age 18 Theme: weight

“I’m sending you a video with a 10 minute daily routine that gets your legs in the ratio of 5:3:2, thigh: calf: ankle. Tiffany from Girls Generation does it.”

It wasn’t too long before I was poking plastic rods into the crevices of my eyes and carefully patting down double-sided strips of tape that increased my eye size by 1 meagre millimeter. Only an all-seeing eye, a fellow Asian eye would notice the tiny sliver of tape holding together two folds of eye lid skin like its life depended on it.

But I got tired of that pretty quick. Purposefully forming an over glorified wrinkle on a face is a lot harder than you think.

And the exercise, all of the space-age routines just weren’t giving me the shape of legs that I was supposed to have by now.

And the weight, it just didn’t seem to budge no matter how hard I restricted my diet and counted my calories.

Maybe, a permanent solution didn’t seem that extreme.

“So what do you think? Are you going to get it?”

 

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Mormonism, op-ed

LGBT+ issues: How will you react on Facebook?

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Welcome to the comment section on Facebook. This section has the ability to bring out of obscurity the most intelligent, passionate arguments seen in modern media but also doubles as a breeding ground for the uneducated and unethical. Opposites attract, after all. It’s a wonderland of ideas from the edgeless confines of the internet, equipped with emotive language and no shortage of expletives.

A fair warning, I’m going to be talking about LGBT+ issues. Kindly hang your carefully curated biases on the coat rack- you can collect them later when you’re finished reading. Don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you what side of the white picket fence you should sit. But if you’re sitting on the fence itself I am telling you that it’s splintering and you aren’t going to be able to sit on it comfortably much longer. The world is calling you out to react. In particular, on Facebook. And we could definitely do a better job at it.

You’ve probably heard the news already. It’s the first Sunday of May and that means it’s fast and testimony meeting. 12 year old Savannah gets up to the pulpit before anyone else and lets the words that she’s rehearsed finally Come Out and echo into her chapel in Eagle Mountain, Utah.

She gives her testimony, her belief in God, her attraction to other girls and a desire for normal romantic interactions that should be supported by a loving God.

But before she can finish, Savannah’s Stake President turns off the mic and asks her to take a seat.

When the news got out, friends and ‘phobes from all corners of the internet metaphorically congregated in that chapel. Some covered their eyes, some stood up in uproar as they watched the events unfold through a low quality video on their Retina screens.  Now again, I’m not concerned about whether you support Savannah’s testimony or not but what really makes my fingers itch with keyboard warrior-itis (yes, it’s contagious) is the plethora of unfair comments to issues like this.

To illustrate let’s look at the following comments I’ve grabbed from the CNN Facebook comment section in their July post about Savannah. 

 

Micheal Mills gives an emotive Christian view but there’s nothing too extreme about it:

“We can’t force God to accept what He dislikes. We should be the ones to obey His word and not us trying to force our beliefs on Him.”

 

Jacob Robinson’s comment however, the second most popular comment, contains more intense language:

Here we are, fake gay. Kids are now so in tune with what their parents complain about that they think it is “cool” to be gay when they have no idea or shouldn’t have any idea of what being gay is. When I was 12 I just wanted the new GI Joe stuff.”

 

And Rod Allen’s comment leaves little to the imagination:

“Only cnn would report this trash! All you care about is ratings and this proves it! Cnn reporters are all scum! #fcnn #cnn=fake news #trashreporters

 

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing in the last 2 comments that resembles Christ in any way and this would be a problem if said commenters were indeed Latter-day Saints or other Christians.

More and more media is published which challenges Christian standards and protocol and we will have to eventually respond to the call to “write a comment…”. But the manner in which we respond is so important, if not vital to our call to “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.”

And I understand that it can be difficult to respond to controversial left leaning issues. (By the way, I’m not disclosing my political stance, but if you wanna talk about it, just flick me a message). I know, because I was called out to the Facebook Hot Seat last week. A long time friend of mine wanted my opinion on The Savannah Incident.  Add a spin on this, this friend used to go to church with me, and I have always felt in a small part personally responsible for her departure. So you can imagine my predicament when she simply asked if I had any thoughts on the subject. Whilst she probably meant it in a nonchalant way, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking she might as well have asked, “Are you all just old-fashioned bigots?!”

In all things, my suggestion is to simply look at your green CTR ring or your friend’s What Would Jesus Do bracelet. What would Jesus do? What would our loving Savior really say?

Most of you reading this are students and I assume despite the academic integrity you possess, majority of you are on social media for at least a little while when you say that you’re studying. You have the power to represent the Savior in everything that you do online, so why not rise up to the challenge and speak with the power, authority, love, kindness and fairness that Christ embodies?

I want to see Latter-day Saint comments in the comment section Liked, Wow’d and respected, not Angry’d or proliferated by a dozen of replies that debate incessantly about errors in judgment, discrepancies in language and are ignorant of other perspectives present in society.

The comment section is not a playground for the faint-hearted. If you want to stand up for truth and righteousness, you’re going to have to think twice, thrice or ten fold if you want to make an impact and thus be seen as different and distinct in the happiest of ways.”  

 

 

This post was originally my op-ed assignment for my BYU writing class. It was tailored for a Mormon audience, hence the jargon that might not make sense if you aren’t a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All views are my own personal opinions, and not representative of the Church. 

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