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!

Love,

Emma

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