As this week and this month comes to a close, I have to say, I think it’s ending on a pretty high note! Last week was filled with so much turmoil and stress that it basically feels like this week took a total 180. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence but the inner (and outer) super duper SHINee fan in me partly believes that it’s all because of SHINee’s comeback this week! They returned with their 7th album and boy has it been an amazing one! I tried to stay up for their premiere, but since I don’t have the same energy I had back when I was in high school, I decided just to go to sleep and set an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night for the drop. It was such an indescribable feeling to see them performing again, and I immediately got sucked into the variety show/performance binging black hole that I get into when my obsession for them gets reinvigorated. And what made it all even better was that Spotify finally has their whole discography! So now I can listen to all their old songs and their new songs in one place! So basically, SHINee has been the playlist of my week, and it just feels so nice and so nostalgic to hear all of my favorite songs of theirs. And I truly do think that having them in the background of my days this whole week has made my mood all the more better!
But fangirl gushing aside, I also had some objectively good things happen this week, on the same exact day no less. On Wednesday, my interview with Women in 3D Printing came out! I did this interview a while back in 2020, but because of scheduling and because of the organization’s conference that was coming up, the publication date was a bit delayed, which was totally fine with me! But it was so cool to see it up online, and I got a lot of good reactions to it. (If you’re interested in reading it, check it out here!) I hope that it can give CLP some decent exposure since we kind of need it right now, but more importantly I’m just glad to contribute to the conversation of women in male-dominated fields. So if any young woman can come across it and feel inspired or feel understood, that’s all I could really hope for.
And on top of that wonderful news, I also got a raise at work! I honestly wasn’t expecting anything this time around because I know the pandemic has been rough on people and on businesses so I figured there wouldn’t be a desire to be giving people more, and right now I’m just glad I have a stable job. But it was a really pleasant surprise to know that my manager worked to give me more, and it really does make me feel more appreciated at work.
Around this time last year (pre-lockdown), I had a compensation talk with my manager and for the first time I felt disappointed. I’m usually the type of person to take what I’m given no questions asked; even if I feel a bit jilted I usually won’t complain. I know that for a lot of people who grew up in Asian households they tell a similar story of growing up with the “keep your head down” mentality. But last year, I really felt like I grew a lot in my job and in my role. I felt like I really took ownership of a lot of responsibilities because one of our sharpest and wisest teammates had left the company and I tried really hard to fill his role along with my other colleagues. I saw this undeniable growth in my abilities, and for the first time that I could recall, I felt that I did deserve more. And I actually asked for it. I couldn’t even believe it myself, as I was telling my manager that no, I wasn’t that satisfied with my compensation. And I do feel like he really took my concerns seriously and has applied it to all of these conversations since then. It was really tough, and as an Asian and a woman, both of whom’s identities emphasize subservience, I really felt almost like a bad person for standing up for myself. But I’m glad I did, because I do think that that first conversation where I seriously addressed the qualms I had about my compensation set the stage for today’s and beyond’s. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the guts to do it again, but I’m glad I gave negotiation a shot, and I’m glad that something good came out of it. More importantly though, I’m just immensely relieved because I’ve been feeling so stressed about how I will be able to afford everything with the house, so having this raise will really help me just stay afloat.
I also recently got this idea in my head that won’t seem to go away about a new project that I’m thinking of pursuing. It’s highly dependent on if the partners I’m looking to work with are willing to as well, but just thinking about the potential and the envisioning what that work might look like has just been really exciting! It’s not a full-fledged thought yet, and I don’t even know if it’s something I really want to commit to, but it’s just been on my mind lately. Hopefully this does work out and I can share more about it, but if not then it was at least cool to conceptualize for a while!
The biggest pall over this entire week, and even this entire month and year, has been the unrelenting attacks on Asian Americans across the country. I just can’t get myself to understand (and maybe I don’t even want to) why people have to behave this way. My brain knows that racism is at the core of this issue, but my heart can’t grasp how powerful racism can be in erasing an entire population’s humanity. The people who can hurt random innocent bystanders for no other reason than their appearance are absolutely despicable. The one bright light in all of this though is that I am glad that there are more Asian Americans speaking out about these issues, shedding light on the problems, and organizing to address them. Our culture is one of very little resistance, in that once again being raised in the “keep your head down” mentality, we were raised to accept things as they are and not be the ones to fight it. We were told if we just did what was expected of us and didn’t rock the boat, then we would be fine. And if someone did hurt us, well no one cares anyway so all we can do is move on. But I like that the mentality is shifting, that more Asian Americans are standing up for our community, and that there are motivated and willing allies to lend a hand. It’s so inspiring to see how more of this generation’s Asian Americans are really trying to shed the “Asians vs. Blacks” mentality that many immigrant parents had believed because of the model minority myth and racist propaganda that they subconsciously accepted in their efforts to assimilate into American society. Because our communities are so much more alike than those in power would want us to believe. I just hope that this momentum can continue, and that the existing marginalized communities can find our way to power of our own.
The month of March is going to be a busy one for me for sure, with all the house plans kicking into gear, the Disneybound March bounding challenge coming up, and the latest Blogilates ab challenge also! I hope I’ll be able to keep up with the whirlwind of activity while also keeping a level head!