I think that it is fair to say that we spend most of our lives trying to blend in: whether it is within our friend groups, our local communities, online, or in our families, we feel compelled to blend in in order to feel accepted as a member of a group.
But what if we weren’t meant to blend in?This issue we had the opportunity to work with Wendy Kim, a #1 International Best-Selling Author of the book, Beyond Blending In: An Immigrant Daughter’s Guide to Overcoming Cultural Bonds For A Life of Authenticity and Abundance.
Wendy is a Paid Public Speaker and Empowerment Coach, yet like many of us, has spent the majority of her life trying to blend in. Being bi-racial and living in a predominantly white community, Wendy tried hard to be “white” and to blend in even though, really, that wasn’t possible. Later on, she moved to a primarily “Asian” community and discovered that she really didn’t fit in there either. This pattern continued into college and the corporate world until she finally broke through to live her best life.
When Wendy was 11, she moved to Hawaii. One day she was in Mrs. Iwase’s 6th grade math class. When Mrs. Iwase would ask her a question, Wendy would raise her hand. Over time, however, Wendy noticed that she was the only raising her hand. She looked around and all the other kids had their arms crossed and were giving her “stink eye.” At that point, Wendy knew something was wrong. After class, a girl came up to Wendy and said “You’re such a showoff. Everybody else knows the answers.”
That’s when Wendy stopped participating, showing up and focused on blending in.Alongside Culture and Entrepreneurship, in her book, Beyond Blending In, Wendy discusses the way her upbringing in an immigrant family and as an Asian-American woman has reverberated in not only her personal life and relationship with her heritage, but with her professional career. Growing up, Wendy went along with what she thought she had to do: fulfill the expectations of what a “good Asian-American girl” should be and make her family happy.
Wendy ticked off all of the metaphorical-society-pleasing-boxes, but it wasn’t until she was in her mid-thirties when she realized that following other expectations of her would not fulfill her drive and passion, and more importantly, would not make her happy. For the first time in her life she began to ask herself what she really wanted: which was to make a difference in other people’s lives. After finally breaking free from the cultural expectations that she abided by for most of her life, Wendy is finally living a life where her desires and passions take centre stage.
Wendy has committed herself to empower women of color to step out from the shadows and to fully own their power and leadership, going beyond blending in. She is empowering women to take charge of their story and to make a difference in the world. Although Wendy managed to break free from societal and cultural expectations, that is not to say that she has stepped away from her culture and heritage.
In fact, this experience has only allowed Wendy to grow as an individual and member of her community as she exercises the practice of embracing one’s culture, but letting go of what no longer serves them. Wendy also explores other ways being an Asian-American women can impact an individual’s life in Beyond Blending In: family drama within the Asian-American community, cultural bonds of fear and anxiety within Asian-American community, being an empowered Asian-American woman while owning your heritage, and powerful communication vs. avoidant communication.
Wendy masterfully explores the art of going beyond blending in, leaving her audience with one main message: “You weren’t meant to blend in. You have a unique background, thoughts and perspectives that can make a difference in the world. All it takes is getting past yourself to share them.”
Look for Wendy in 2020! She will be launching the Culture and Confidence collective group coaching program this January to empower more women of color to honor their culture, let go of what no longer serves, love themselves and own their power in 2020. If you are interested in being a part of a powerful group of women of color, honoring your culture, while letting go of what no longer serves, to make a difference in the world, checkout the program page here: https://yourdreamrealized.lpages.co/cultureandconfidencecollective/.
Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.
Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.
We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.
You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!
We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.