Before we dive into a new season of Project Voice, I wanted to share with you a bonus mini episode that was prepared for an interview I had stumbled upon from last summer. For the interview, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Lisa Chin, a holistic mama to a happy two year old girl. We connected quickly over our love for creating content for communities that we care about and since then, have updated with each other on our current passion projects.
I think I was lucky to have met Lisa because I don't think you can put her in a box when it comes to what she does. From blogging at Lisa for Real to hosting an online summit dedicated to supporting in mothers in their postpartum period called The Fourth Trimester Summit (www.fourthtrimestersummit.com), she is on a roll!
In this episode, Lisa shares her thoughts on how motherhood has changed her perception on self-identity and the significance of reconnecting with one's roots. Why is exploring your cultural identity so important?
Bonus: If you're looking to be inspired to create as part of your 2017 journey, listen in for some of her own words of encouragement!
If you do get a chance, check out her blog at lisaforreal.com!:
"Lisa for Real is a catalouge (yup, I just got British on you) of my realest thoughts. It is me for real. My personal musings on feminine power in the areas of careers, relationships, motherhood, self identity, and whatever else I am drawn to.
I am also for real, as in authenticity, in wholeness, in being true to ourselves. This includes being for real health, food, relationships, hugs, connection, careers, business, identity and it goes on…"
- Lisa Chin
TRANSCRIBED BY LORENE ESPINELI
JESSICA NGUYEN, HOST: Today’s podcast is brought to you by Audible. Get a free audiobook download and 30 day free trial at audibletrial.com/projectvoice. Over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or MP3 player.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
NGUYEN: Last summer, I had the opportunity to meet Lisa Chin, a holistic individual who embarked on her self exploration journey in 2015, which she has documented on her blog Lisa for Real. She is also the founder and host of The Fourth Trimester Summit, a summit dedicated to supporting mothers in their postpartum period so that they can heal wholly and naturally after birth and nurture their new baby with confidence. Lisa and I quickly connected over our passion and drive and creating projects aimed at making a greater impact on communities that share our interests. So before we dive into how Lisa started her journey on her identity as an Asian American women, I wanted to share a tidbit from her that I think would really benefit Asian American women or anyone really, for inspiring entrepreneurs or creators to listen. Also, I should apologize ahead of time for the background noise since we were interviewing outdoors for a while.
LISA CHIN: I was thinking, you know, Asian American women, there’s all these stereotypes of what we should be and what, not what we could be but really what we should be. And that really goes against who I am. I mean I think as I have gone from... just throughout my life, especially when I made the transition to college I think that was where things have really shifted of when I was able to make a decision of where I was actually going to go to for four years. And… and I realized at this point in my life [that] I made a decision the only way I could know how and that was through process of elimination and I made a decision because it just felt like the right place for me. And we don’t actually get a lot of choices like that in our life. I was really lucky because my parents really weren’t meddling. They didn’t really… Not like they didn’t care where I went but they actually didn’t know enough to help me with the decision, so I had to make it myself. I went and visited all these colleges by myself and basically, I was like, I’m going to this school and I know all the financial aid behind it. I know all the details behind it and I’ll get here somehow. And I don’t know if that was the turning point for “to school” itself but learning all the things I learned in school about entrepreneurship, specifically; it really just made me think differently about business in the world and then being involved in different things, like the group that gives tours around campus and the theater crew and that… I don’t know… That really just gave me the confidence or maybe just the data to make decisions. (LAUGHS)
And then as I went into working I realized it didn’t have… It was kind of like I was flying blind into college. Up until college you pretty much have your life made out for you. And then you if follow a specific path to college you have your path made for you. And I don’t know if people live like that. I mean, I don’t know if people look for inspiration. I don’t know if they want to do things differently. I don’t know if they expect if things to come for them. I’m not really sure.
(BACKGROUND NOISE AND GIGGLES)
But I feel like we have such a passive way of living life and I really hate to hear that.
I always get really excited when I hear people say, “ Oh, I have this idea. I want to do this… ” and I’m the first person to go say, “Go do it!” Like, here are five ways to implement this. I really want people to live their life to the fullest and I don’t think we were just brought here on this earth to just... walk through the motions. I think we were meant come here and actually do something. To make change. Be happy. Be inspired to live a life that we want and that we create for ourselves and so that’s kind of what I want to talk about. It’s just that there’s no excuse for us, really.
NGUYEN: So after we relocate indoors for a much quieter setting, Lisa and I got to focusing more on her journey with self identity, more specifically what made her so determined to reconnect with her Chinese roots.
CHIN : So, the start of all that was really becoming a mom. And I had no idea how loaded it was by any means but when I became a mom two years ago, I realized that I had this little person that I was going to have to help mold into this world and she obviously has her own personality, but I felt the need to and I feel the need to and I am compelled to do it is to share my background with her because it’s half of who she is and half of the reason that she exists in this world and so when I realize that, oh my God, I have this person that I am responsible for, and that [she] is half-Chinese and she should know it. It just made me think more of it. And so I became more aware of like, how did having a Chinese mother impact me and how did living in my household with my family and their dynamics impact me, how did going to Chinatown every week on Sunday impact me and, you know, standing on the sidewalk while my mom got bag after bag of groceries. And being a mom, you know, you start making a bigger picture and it helped me really trying to reconnect to my past and trying to bring it forward. Because I don’t want it to be lost in just a generation. I want my daughter to know not just the foods we eat, but the customs we had growing up and just a little bit about the mentality that my parents had and my grandparents and how hard it was to come to this country and be really respectful of that, because I think that being able to connect to our past allows us to connect to something bigger than us. It connects to our whole community, a whole village that just isn’t about us. It’s about this broader picture of the world and so being a mom has helped me not just do that but knowing that she’s- you know, my daughter is depending on me to bring this to her and hopefully that brings a level of self awareness with her that I didn’t have until I had her and being able to share it with her. So, self awareness as an Asian American that’s a- it wasn’t until I… I guess I created a half Asian American that I realized that it was a bigger responsibility than just oh, we’re in America; this is how we live and that’s… that’s not all there is. There’s this whole other world and there’s this whole other… all these other factors that bring, that contribute to my daughter’s personality. I know that my work ethic and my aspirations are linked to my mother and so on and so forth. And I think that that’s just a way of connecting her to something bigger than herself.
NGUYEN: What I find so refreshing interviewing Lisa [is] that she encourages us to explore the bigger picture of our relationship with our self identity. She allows us to see how strongly connected our Asian American identity is to other identities, that we are not just these one dimensional characters that are only defined by our race, ethnicities and that our cultural background is intersectional with other roles that we take on as unique individuals - whether it’s being a mom, an entrepreneur, an activist, a student, and so on and so forth. In the next clip, she talks about exploring our self-identity as not just a chapter in our life but as an ongoing adventure with ourselves.
CHIN: So I knew all these bullet points. I had the title of being a child, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, you know, a wife, a mother. And well, that’s not who I am - I mean, yes, that makes up who I am but that’s not the running theme through my life. So, through a lot of the work I’ve done in the past, I basically just learn to take a lot of data and find themes through it and that’s basically what I did through my journey of self-identity. I basically just created and found as much data as I could and figured out and triangulated on being that “what’s my life.” But it all started with being a mom and just being kind of confused of who I am and not realizing it until that point. In fact, I have never had a solid self-identity until this point in my life or I’m like, oh, I know who I am and I know what I stand for. And I know this running theme through my life. But before then, I identified with my father. I identified with being a student and being a sister and all of that but not about what its purpose was. That’s actually how I identify self-identity. It’s what is your bigger purpose? What is it that you want to contribute and be here for? It’s not just about, “Oh, who am I?” And that’s it. but close. all done. It’s about “Oh, this is who I am.” Now, how do I do something about it? I mean, if you are… You can self-identify as a mother. That absolutely makes sense for a lot of people. And so if you are a mother, well then, you’re going to be an awesome mother. That’s going to be your identity. And that’s amazing. And then there’s other people who call to save the planet and they’re going to find their own path in doing that. But if you identify with something and then you don’t do something about it. I feel like it would cause a lot of angst than not knowing who I am. I always say sometimes that being oblivious is very blissful. If you don’t know, then you don’t know. It’s okay. You can totally walk around being totally happy and carefree but in actuality, knowing who you are is really - it’s a responsibility because that means you need to do something about it. You need to go out there and create and be and help people and just do something. Because knowing who you are isn’t… that’s not… that’s not the goal; that’s a step to it, but once we find out who we are, we to need figure out what we can do about it and how we can bring ourselves into this world to create impact.
NGUYEN: I hope you are able to take away a few motivational soundbites. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Thank you for listening and tune in next time.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)