Honoring My Red Hair, Doing Science While Valuing Compassion, and Other Bloggy Updates

This blog turns nine years old in December, wow! Who knew I would transform from a weird, dark-haired, not-yet-aware-of-his-gayness high school student into a weird, red-haired, very queer and femme grad school student? Time sure flies when you spend hours processing and healing from your trauma, breaking the hearts of thirsty men, and over-disclosing about your life on the internet have fun! I will now share some blog and life updates because I love the readers of this blog, all 2.5 of you, and I want to keep you in the loop.

First, I updated my “About Me” page to include a photo of me with my red hair! I got my hair colored red in about November of 2017. I colored my hair for many reasons, one of which includes that as an Asian American man, people have certain expectations of me, such that I conform to valuing achievement and rationality or that I adhere to traditional masculinity. But as anyone who reads this blog knows, I love being weird and emotionally open and vulnerable and outgoing and soft, and I feel like my red hair captures this defiance of traditional Asian American masculinity. I also updated the written content of my “About Me” page and updated my Twitter and Goodreads accounts to include red-haired pictures.

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One of the pictures from my recent photo shoot that I like but didn’t make the professional or social media cut. Two of my friends say I look like a nine or ten-year-old in this photo. Asians don’t raisin I guess. I love my queer red-haired Asian aesthetic, it’s radical to be self-confident in a society that associates beauty with whiteness, masculinity, etc.!

I also updated my “Publications Elsewhere” page to include a link to my Research Gate profile, where I keep a list of my published peer-reviewed academic articles. I have spent the past few years developing my research and scientific skill set, and yet it feels weird to call myself a researcher or a scientist. I hesitate to identify as a scientist because of how we often associate science with valuing intelligence and rationality over feelings and emotions, such as how science often prioritizes “objectivity” and wants its followers to conform to a white male template. Yet, I figure that as long as I “define myself for myself”, as Audre Lorde once wrote, I can do my best to bring a more compassionate, gentle, and social justice-oriented approach to research and science. Like, one of my undergrad research assistants just submitted her first first-authored manuscript to peer-review and the study is about LGBTQ+ Asian Americans negotiating their identities through Kpop. I honestly think we have no choice but to stan.

Finally, I added a PayPal to this blog in case anyone wants to support my writing pursuits! I feel a little gross about including this because I always want to have non-monetized hobbies in my life, which I recognize is a privilege. However, just in case an affluent white man stumbles upon this blog and wants to rechannel his funds from his property on Martha’s Vineyard to my bank account, I want to include the link. At the same time, I recognize that most of the readers of this blog, all 2.5 of you, most likely hold marginalized social identities so I really have no expectation for anyone to send me money aside from the multiple men who’ve taken advantage of my emotional labor and also people who unironically stan Charlie Puth.

How do you all stay true to your values in workplaces or an overall society that tries to make you conform? How do you feel about this blog’s survival, other than tired of my weirdness because I’m already distinctly aware of that emotion? If you’re reading this, I hope you’re well, and I’ll catch you next time.

13 Comments

Filed under Personal, Society

13 responses to “Honoring My Red Hair, Doing Science While Valuing Compassion, and Other Bloggy Updates

  1. Love the photo – it captures both your strength and sensitivity. I never thought of monetizing my blog. I hope the money will be rolling in and you’ll have to figure out how to use tax shelters, off shore accounts etc… . I follow some photography blogs who specialize in reviewing gear or providing tips. They do include a Paypal link and referral links to Amazon and other retailers.

    I’m really glad to have found your blog and I hope you’ll continue blogging.

    • Thank you for your support of the photo. (: And hahaha yeah I still have mixed feelings about monetizing, but I’m not trying to incorporate ads and am not gonna push the PayPal stuff, it’s just in case a rich white man feels like redistributing some of his wealth (kinda joking but also not really). I’m so glad you found my blog too, your reading and commenting means a lot to me.

  2. Love your photo and I do not tire of your weirdness, I think you’re special and great.

    I thought I was doing well retaining my own self in these hegemonic times but now I’ve had a breakdown and it wasn’t all about the cat I’m not so sure. I’m struggling with my husband’s and some friends’ attitudes to me having a mental as opposed to physical health issue but I’m trying to still be the good I want to see in the world, keep planning nice things to look forward to, etc..

    I’m a bit bombarded with vets’ bills and also worrying about my work and Brexit (tax issues, how super-fun) but will note your PayPal is there.

    • Thank you so much Liz for supporting my writing, vulnerability, and weirdness, it means so much to me. (: Please do not note my PayPal’s absence, your continued and compassionate reading is more than enough!

      I’m sorry to hear about your breakdown, anxiety, and your husband and friends’ attitudes. What are their attitudes? Sounds like it’s stressful. I hope you’re able to find some form of support that is nonjudgmental and caring (e.g., other friends, online friends, a therapist)? I’ve been thinking of you and am thinking of you.

      • Well husband has shown his support a bit more now – he came to a gig with me that I was worried about attending on my own (a socialist ranting poet called Attila the Stockbroker who I adore) and also he took the cat to the vet about his breathing (we are all good: he has hyperthyroidism, this is something we can treat) and also picked up his meds from the vet, and will take a day working from home to take him to his next appointment. He’d announced he’d not thought my pills were working but did listen to what I had to say about my own experience of them, eventually. Two long-standing friends have been either arranging things with other friends without including me or “giving me space” by keeping away: both times I would prefer to have been consulted for my opinon: I’m trying to keep up my regular routines so I have structure in my life. Good news though: running friends are being superb, adjusting when I had to run slower tor a bit (meds have changed my heart rate and blood pressure a bit and I had to adjust) and just accepting me for who I am, rubbish memory or crying jags, whatever. This has been incredibly helpful. So not as bad as it looked then. And the SLEEP my god, 8 hours a night, straight down the line. That makes up for a lot of things. And thank you!

  3. Kevin

    How do you maintain the red color, especially having gone with red for 2 years? I’m also Asian and tried red for the very same reason, and it faded in 2 weeks, so I decided never to go with that again.

    “How do you all stay true to your values in workplaces or an overall society that tries to make you conform?”

    I don’t work for a workplace that doesn’t conform to my values. It’s one of the greatest joys of working in the social work profession…(to offset being underpaid for the value I bring to the community). It’s also a privilege of working in one of the more affluent areas of the country- Manhattan. I commute into the city for work, and there is a stark contrast between the rural-where I live-and the cosmopolitan openness. I’ve definitely felt the sense of “toning it down” at home, while being more myself at work. It’s ironic and tragic, but I can’t afford to live in the city on a social work salary.

    • Hi Kevin! So cool that you’ve also tried red but sorry it doesn’t last! So a secret I learned from a grad school classmate is using OverTone conditioner. It’s a bit on the pricey side but does a fantastic job of maintaining the color. I’d def recommend it if you ever want to commit to maintaining any color.

      I’m glad you work for a workplace that aligns with your values! Toning it down at home while being more yourself at work – that sounds complex. I’d be curious to hear more about what specifically you have to tone down, as well as what it means to be more yourself. And ugh yeah I feel like the undervaluing of social work and therapy and related professions is so tragic.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and to comment.

  4. This is so wonderful. A breeze of fresh air, from all that concrete science jargon and associated ideologies!

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