"You are the key to your happiness,
cast aside the Mask that weighs you down"
For many of us, we put on a mask to conform to cultural and societal norms, desperately in hopes of fitting in and finding our place of belonging. Some of us even look like a hero. Unfortunately, this constant pressure can be extremely exhausting and isolating. Eventually, we lose sight of who we are and become burdened by the growing fear of not meeting expectations.
But there is hope.
ACC | CPC | ELI-MP
From frustration and shame to self-confidence and self-acceptance.
As an immigrant in America, I experienced the profound impact of feeling like an outsider from a young age. Not being able to speak English fluently until much later, I found myself unable to fit in with Caucasian peers. Simultaneously, I struggled with not feeling "Asian enough" as my native language slipped away under the pressure from teachers who urged me to speak only English. Desperate to conform and be accepted, I believed that blending in with everyone else would bring me love and belonging.
However, when I was just 12 years old, my world shattered when my father tragically took his own life. In an instant, I felt yet another label of difference forcefully slapped onto me. Now, I carried the weight of being from a single-parent family with a heartbreaking story. Around the same time, as I grappled with my own sexual orientation, the already existing disparity in my sense of identity was further fueled by shame and the anguish of being different. I felt utterly adrift, without a place to truly belong.
To cope, I resorted to choosing a side: that of the filial Chinese daughter. I couldn't bear to inflict further pain on my mother, who had already endured so much. I poured all my efforts into fitting into the "right" mold, conforming to societal and cultural expectations. Yet, as I grew older, the emotional toll of this facade became increasingly apparent. Suppressing my authentic self gradually eroded my identity, self-confidence, and the joy that should have been mine.
Four years after my father's devastating suicide, I started self-mutilating, overwhelmed by a turbulent mix of anger, grief, guilt, and an overwhelming sense of shame tied to my sexual orientation. This turmoil culminated in a dark moment at 18 when I attempted to take my own life.
Upon graduating from university, a sense of impending breakdown loomed over me as the meticulously crafted persona I had constructed began slipping out of my control. Overwhelmed by the fear of disappointing my family and crushed beneath the weight of the facade I carried, I made a desperate decision to seek a fresh start in Japan. Drawn to its strict discipline, harmonious blend of tradition and creativity, and deep sense of values and collectivism, I believed it would be the ideal place to confront and reconcile my internal contradictions.
At the age of 23, I experienced what I thought was the long-awaited breakthrough of finding my place of belonging when I fell deeply in love for the first time. Believing I had found "the one", I made the difficult decision to come out to my disapproving mother, causing a rift between us that persisted for several years. However, my partner's refusal to acknowledge the queer nature of our relationship only intensified my profound sense of being an outsider, further deepening my shame and loneliness. Ironically, the painful breakup that followed served as a catalyst for mending my relationship with my mother. Overwhelmed by a sense of indebtedness and guilt for putting my mother through so much, I vowed to uphold traditional Asian values and once again retreated into the familiar pattern of hiding my struggles behind a façade of "everything is fine." This time, I channeled my pain into workaholism, further perpetuating the cycle of self-harm.
By the time I reached 32, my life had spiraled out of control, and the haunting whispers of suicidal thoughts returned.
It was at this critical juncture that I discovered coaching—a lifeline that offered a breath of fresh air I had never before experienced. Coaching opened the door for me to embark on a journey of rediscovery, enabling me to rebuild the shattered fragments of my childhood traumas and come to terms with the deeply ingrained sense of not belonging that had plagued me for far too long. Through this transformative process, I realized the high price I had paid for my relentless people-pleasing behavior, sacrificing my authenticity and voice in the process. Coaching became the vehicle that allowed me to realign my actions and life with a mindset that I consciously chose for myself.
Today, I am finally living the life I always dreamed of—a life liberated from the burden of expectations, surrounded by friends and peers who have helped me embrace my true self. My journey has taught me the immeasurable value of self-discovery and self-acceptance, and I am committed to using my experience to guide and support others on their own path towards a lifetime of fresh air and freedom.
As an Asian American queer woman, I am acutely attuned to the challenges faced by individuals within the LGBTQIA+ and Asian American communities when it comes to finding a sense of belonging. I offer tailored guidance and unwavering support to those who navigate these unique struggles.
Together, we will navigate the hurdles and celebrate the triumphs.
Topics that we may explore together include:
Understanding and accepting your own unique identity
Building self-esteem and cultivating self-acceptance
Overcoming internalized biases or prejudices
Navigating relationships and dating
Discovering purpose and joy in life
Cultivating a balance of all your identities
Developing healthy coping mechanisms for stress and emotional well-being
Remember, you deserve to live a life that is true to who you are.
You are not alone on this journey.
Let's work together to create a life that feels authentic and fulfilling for you.
"We are meant to live, not just survive."
Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
Certified Professional Coach (CPC)
Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP)
Positive Discipline Association:
Certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator
Certified Encouragement Consultant
B.A. in Psychology
B.A. in Sociology
Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)