Through elementary school and over several moves, I've always had both Asian and non friends, and where we were, it never seemed to be an issue. I lived in NYC then, and everyone was pretty much from somewhere else, so no one batted an eye if some of my Indian friends broke out into Hindi or some of my Jewish friends had to go home early for Shabbat dinner or if I had dumplings or noodles packed for my lunch.
However, as it always seems to be the case, during the years - junior and high school - when I was becoming more aware, all it seemed that I wanted to do was to fit in. Which meant I felt embarrassed about sitting next to my Asian friends when we were on the subway because we were clique-y. And of course I crushed on the cute popular white guys and wished I was the perky blonde soccer gals they hung out with. I felt self-conscious about speaking Chinese to my parents out loud when we were in public because that was weird. Going outside of the city meant that sometimes we got stared at. I felt strange about going out and eating at Chinese restaurants. Wearing something with a mandarin collar or cherry blossoms or whatever else that could be deemed even vaguely "Oriental." Doing anything that was not absolutely fit-me-in All-American.
Silly as this may sound - because, duh, there's no escaping the fact that I am very Asian - but it has actually taken me years to be completely comfortable with myself as who I am and where I came from. Consciously or not, most of my friends through college and my early 20s were not Asian, as schools and jobs scattered my close childhood Asian friends all over the country. And for me at least, it took me now suddenly being the ONLY Asian person in most settings to be able to go back myself when I was that teeny tiny Lisa - hey, I can speak Chinese and you can't, I know the right things to order from Ming Dynasty restaurant, I'll show you how to use chopsticks, what not to do when you travel to Asia, being different is kind of cool.
Growing up, were there parts of your heritage that you were embarrassed by? What do you feel about those things in your adulthood? What are you proud of about your heritage now?
Jacket: Zara bleached denim (sim, sim)
Dress: c/o StyleMint (worn here - sim, sim, sim)
Belt: J.Crew (sim, sim)
Necklace: Anthropologie ampay
Shoes: LifeStride utopia (sim, sim)
Bag: Brahmin sadie (worn here - sim, sim)
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
There's still time to submit some pics for the next Respect the Outfits reader feature! Remember we're doing our "stylish" outtakes. Many thanks to you ladies who have already submitted your pics - and for those of you who are still interested, you can check out the details here!