Friday, March 17, 2017

Embracing My Identity

American Eagle Outfitters | Spring #WeAllCan Campaign

Embracing my identity: I’ve been on a life long journey of discovering and creating who I am. I’ve taken on many roles to help me create an identity. I was a high school senior class president, a college TEDx organizer, and Victoria Secret PINK Rep. I’ve been an over achiever and a student of color whose faced imposter syndrome all my life. I am writer and American Eagle Outfitters Ambassador. Besides all of these roles, I think there are foundational pieces who truly make me who I am.
Today I’ll be sharing 3 layers of my identity who make me who I am.

Culturally: I am a first generation Filipino-American. 
I’ve bounced back and forth between a collectivist culture in my household and an individualist culture outside my family doors. I’ve balanced making decisions that were right for my family and decisions that were right for me. I grew up eating rice for breakfast, going to 2000 Hail Mary parties, and removing my shoes when I walked into my house. I’ve hidden many of my struggles growing up in two cultures. Many times in my life, my parents and I could not see eye to eye. They literally grew up in a third world country and I grew up in America. But I’m slowly learning that as I share the struggles I’ve faced, I can come to terms with accepting who I am.

Professionally: In my profession, I work in a technical environment. In my passions, I am a creative.
I work in the aerospace industry as a project manager/business operations analyst. Prior to this rotation, I also worked in two other roles in finance for the Boeing Company. For at least 40% of my time, I’m working on projects and in meetings about how we can improve processes and learning about what airplanes need to be repaired today. Outside of work, I’m constantly reflecting, writing, and editing. I’m also taking photos and working with brands like American Eagle.
I’ve been questioned by both the technical and creative community why I’m in either roles/industries. I’ve struggled with this answer… And I think the truth is because many of us have been conditioned with the idea that you’re either a technical person or a creative. But why can’t you be both? I see myself and take pride in being a business woman and a blogger. I believe I can be both a technical and creative person.
 I can work to understand complex systems of an airplane and style/direct/and model a photo shoot. I believe what I’ve learned in business has helped me in blogging. And what I’ve learned in blogging has helped me be more creative in my business roles. My passions are learning and connecting with people – both of the roles I’m in allow me to explore these two things. 

Perspective: My perspective/how I choose to see the world makes me who I am.
In many times in my life, I felt like I belonged to two separate opposing things. Filipino and American. Aerospace and fashion. Technical and creative.
I believe my experiences have given me an incredible perspective. I’ve learned to communicate and reach an audience both at work and on my blog who are different from me. I understand what it’s like to learn a second language. And I’m aware and conscious that people perceive the world in many different ways.
I am many things in my life; a blogger, a businesswoman, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. And beneath all that I am Filipino and American, technical and creative, and a woman with perspective. 
Photos: Holly Phan
This post is in collaboration with American Eagle Outfitters.

Thank you for reading!


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