Vulnerability and Power on Medium

Recently wrote about sharing personal experiences at work and how that ties into Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and so many more. 


Vulnerability and Power

I feel my heart beating faster as my mind rummages through various childhood memories.

Just a minute ago, everyone at my team offsite was asked by the facilitator to share one childhood story that’s significant. As people went around the room, I tried hard to concentrate in the moment so I could listen to what others had to say. However, different scenes rotated past me, waiting to be picked, as if I were standing in front of a luggage carousel.

Even though I am a relatively new addition to this team and one of the few people of color, this group has made me feel at home. Our desks sit in close proximity to each other in a typical tech work space. We chit chat, sometimes about the weather, sometimes about our weekends. Yet, I understand the power of storytelling. I know that moments like these are valuable, and rare, because you can really learn about someone. In my line of work as an equal rights advocate in corporate America, intimate learnings can pull you significantly closer to the other person. If the moment’s used right, acquaintances can become friends; friends can become allies.

What should I share? What can I share? Most importantly, what do I want my coworkers to see about me?

Do I share that growing up, in typical immigrant fashion, my brother and I lived apart from my parents for many years? The main method of communication with my parents was through pages of fax that we would exchange. Despite the demanding small business that my parents ran, my mother poured her heart into these faxes long past midnight because they were her way of communicating, to the best of her ability, that I am her daughter and that I am loved from far away.

Do I talk about when I was catcalled on the street as a young blossoming woman? When I told my parents about the incident, they (over)reacted by silently handing me an oversized brown vest and suggested breast reduction as a solution rather than teaching me that the men’s behavior was unacceptable. Even though years later I cofounded, an online community space that addresses body image issues and eating disorders within the Asian American community, I still feel ashamed about my own body today.

Read the full post here.

I’m still a work in progress and in order to grow, I have to continue challenging myself by making tough choices. Tough choices might not always be comfortable. In fact, most of the time they’re not, and hence why they’re tough. But it’s in those moments that we grow, and help others grow with us. 

- Lisa

Lisa Leevulnerability, power