Life Transitions | Lace Crop and High Waisted Jeans
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I know I'm all smiles in this first photo but to be honest, I've been going through a lot of life transitions. I tend to be pretty private about my life outside of the blog but in the interest of transparency, I thought I'd talk about some of the things on my mind. I hope you have your reading glasses on because this is going to be a long post.
changes in family life
I've been dealing with a lot of anxiety lately. Nothing in my life is going all that wrong, per se, but a major change took place that negatively impacted my relationship with certain people in my life. My parents finally retired and moved from their home in Maryland to South Carolina. Going from living close by to them to farther away made me feel rather bittersweet - on one hand, I'm really going to miss them. On the other hand they seemed pretty excited about this new phase in their life so I'm happy for them. Unfortunately, the stress of the move took a toll on my family which lead to a lot of unhealthy behaviors including from me.
mental health as a person of color
I think this is a good time to mention something that I try to avoid - as a child of Korean immigrants, mental health was not something that was talked about in my family or community. I don't want to sit here and claim to speak on behalf of all Koreans, Korean-Americans, or even all Asians. I just want to talk about my experiences. I've avoided talking about how my race and background plays a part in the way I live my life because I don't want people to see my community of people and pity them or think poorly of them, but frankly, this is an issue that needs to be talked about. Growing up, I had to balance this weird line of conforming to my parents' expectations of what a "good Korean kid" is supposed to be, while also trying to fit in with American culture. I often found myself compartmentalizing what I liked to call my "Korean personality" and my "American personality" - my Korean personality was more formal, quiet, and polite, especially around those older than me, while my American personality was more fun and casual. Growing up, I knew a lot of kids who went to therapy and had positive experiences with it, but my parents' Korean friends would talk about therapy with derision, often making statements about keeping personal problems inside or that seeing a psychologist is only for those with severe mental illnesses. It was hard for me at times to acknowledge that therapy obviously worked for most of my friends when I was refusing to go for a variety of reasons - I didn't think it was worth it for me; my parents moved a lot, often leaving a few gaps in my insurance coverage so I didn't want my parents to have to spend money on something I could probably figure out myself; and I didn't want my parents' friends to think there was something wrong with me, and by extension, my family. It sounds so silly but these were real anxieties I had about going to therapy...which, ironically, going to see a therapist would have actually helped!
Related post: On Mental Health
therapy while asian american
I did some research and found that only 17% of Asian Americans with a psychological problem sought professional help and less than 6% sought this help from a mental health treatment provider. Why is that? Well, cultural attitudes are definitely a contributing factor. I was talking to a friend who's parents are from Sierra Leone who told me his parents have a similar attitude towards therapy and mental health so perhaps it may also be a minority thing (or maybe it's just our parents and communities - like I said, I don't claim to speak for anyone other than myself).
seeing a therapist
It was years before I finally went to therapy for my anxiety attacks and the big life transition my parents and I are going through triggered them again. I've actually been unable to keep food down for a while and I haven't been getting much sleep. After (reluctantly) mentioning some of my worries to my friend, she suggested I see a therapist again and I thought it would do me some good. I've always advocated seeing a therapist for other people and the first time I went to see a mental health counselor after college was the first time I put my money where my mouth is. I had my first session with my new therapist two weeks ago and while I was feeling anxious about even going, I found myself feeling a lot better as soon as I sat down on my therapist's couch and talking with her. I had built it up so much in my head, even though I had gone before, years ago - it's funny how that was. To be fair, I was less anxious this time around than I was my first time. While I knew sort of what to expect, I think a lot of my anxieties about therapy still stemmed from my childhood memories of my parents' friends saying therapy was just "for crazy people" and it made me question my decision to go, even though I know that it's not true. I imagine that's why a lot of people don't go to therapy - because of the nervousness that comes before that initial session, and I'm sure it's an even greater set of nerves that people of color have to deal with because of the stigma around it. To my parents' credit, they were glad when I told them I was seeing a therapist. My mom even told me that she wants to get counseling too, but as her English is somewhat limited, she's worried that she wouldn't be able to accurately convey her feelings on certain things, which is completely understandable. I'm also wondering if language barriers are what causes reluctance to seek help. A lot of the Korean parents I know don't encourage their children to go into psychology because they themselves don't really believe in it. I think it's a shame because if there were more Korean-speaking therapists, people like my mom would be able to go talk to someone about her struggles.
Like I said, several times, these are just my experiences around mental health - I totally understand if you're also a person of color and have had completely different experiences (in fact, if you did, please talk about it in the comments because I'd love to know!).
therapy and privilege
I also realize that my being able to see a therapist makes me quite privileged. I'm lucky that my employer provided me with great insurance because my copay for these therapy sessions is $0. I know that not everyone has this and with the government defunding mental health programs, it's even harder for people to seek help. I don't have a solution for those who can't afford mental health services and it's heartbreaking to me. That said, I do want to ask all of you to reach out to your friends and lend an ear to your friends who are struggling. You have no idea how far that can go! I've said this before but the burden of seeking help shouldn't be placed solely on those who are struggling with mental health issues. Check on your strong friends and know that not everyone can afford to get the help that they need.
Related post: Sundress | Little White Dress and Perforated Sneakers
Now, in completely unrelated news, I wore this outfit during one of the muggy days after the rain. It was a bit damp out and there were a few puddles so I broke out my Blondo booties I got from the Nordstrom sale. These were seriously the best investment ever! They look like suede booties but they're waterproof! They are full priced now but I personally think they're worth every penny, especially if you live somewhere where it rains a lot, or somewhere the weather changes at the drop of a hat. Honestly, I've avoided buying suede shoes for the longest time because I'm always worried about ruining them if it starts to rain suddenly but no worries with these.