The other day one of my best friends found out that if you google my full name and the word “blog,” this blog shows up as the first search result. When she messaged me this, I freaked out a little bit. Though I feel confident and secure in myself and in what I share on this blog, I still got shaken up by the notion of someone within my “professional” circle stumbling upon these posts
especially my posts that involve strikethroughs and mentions of railings, anyway.
When I sat down and started to process my slight fear, I recognized that I felt concerned about people judging my competencies as an academic based on this blog. I want to challenge that fear because this blog increases the quality of my work in at least a couple of ways. First, I use it as a hobby and as an artistic outlet so I do not focus too much on my academic work, which makes my relationship with work more healthful. Second, I often blog about mental health and processing internal and interpersonal issues, which increases my self-awareness and sensitivity, which benefits how I interact with students and mentees. Despite these benefits, I still feel the stigma about mental illness that pervades academia and perhaps the working world broadly, even the field of Psychology.
I also sit with how as a queer person of color, I face higher expectations when it comes to the research I produce. One of my research advisors and I talked about how oftentimes, scholarship by people of color receives increased scrutiny and criticism, especially if it challenges dominant power structures like white supremacy, amatonormativity, patriarchy, etc. While I will intentionally not go into detail about it in this post, I have already experienced racist bias against some of my research publications and grant submissions. I suppose a part of me wonders if this blog may serve as further ammunition for haters to use against me at some point too.
While on my daily jog yesterday, I reflected on this blog and my values while listening to “Stereotype” by STAYC. I thought about how awhile ago, I talked with my current therapist about what would happen if one of my clients found this blog, and she said they would see how I incorporate what I say in the therapy room into my own life. This insight resonates with me because one key purpose of this blog includes to destigmatize mental illness, specifically PTSD and disordered eating. I want to show people, including myself, that you can live a joyful and authentic life no matter what you have experienced in your past.
I want to carve out my own voice as a queer femme Asian American, too. I have seen so many stereotypes of people with my identities – that we prefer to stay submissive, that we want to date white people and chase after their approval, that we only care about upward class mobility and educational achievement. Through my writing on this blog, I want to show how I challenge those stereotypes and expectations in my daily life. Just like how feminist writers Caroline Knapp, Audre Lorde, and bell hooks guided my own process of self-empowerment, I hope my writing can help others challenge the status quo too.
At the end of the day, I am a real person with dreams and desires, who experiences moments of distress and delight and feelings in between. My humanity does not detract from my skill as a researcher, clinician, or teacher. Regardless, I think many of us could benefit from self-aware, intentional vulnerability, to reach beyond the images of perfection so often falsely projected to us.
How do you feel about this post especially as a reader of this blog, or at least this post? How do you manage vulnerability either online or in general (I’m assuming most folks reading this are not as vulnerable as I am lol)? How do we create a more healthfully vulnerable society, not like everyone sharing everything necessarily because that could also be problematic but so marginalized folks with stigmatized identities feel empowered? Thanks for reading and until next post!