Showing posts from March, 2019

An Immigration Story

Seventeen years ago today, I moved to the United States; an immigrant filled with hope and uncertainty! I feel grateful that in these times of political turmoil over immigration that I am a libertarian and uncommitted to the staunch political ideals of Democrats and Republicans on the immigration issue. We discuss immigration often in terms of statues, laws, permits and authorizations and we forget the humanity that lives behind those documents, sometimes in fear.  I may not necessarily look the part of a struggling immigrant, but I too have felt that fear. From a theoretical perspective, I believe in an ordered method for documenting who is in the country.  We should know who is here.  I also believe many of the laws we have in place, even those in place to show compassion to those who came here as children, fail to provide a final solution to the immigration problem.  This leaves many people feeling like they have no other home, and yet no path to citizenship in this country wh

My Father's Father - The Influence of Other Generations

I was born in the early 1980s, making me an early millennial (or perhaps a Xennial if you subscribe to this theory of a subjoining micro generation between generation X and the millennials).  I don't demonstrate many of the characteristics associated with millenials, and sometimes I wonder how I came by some of the positions that I currently hold - a modern woman in a modern world, but with some very traditional ideas.  Many millennials were born to generation Xers, but my parents are both baby boomers. My father was born immediately after WWII.  His dad was a laborer throughout the war, possibly as a civilian in the armed forces.  As soon as the chaos of the war period died down, in the enthusiasm of peacetime, he celebrated with his wife and she conceived, probably rather unexpectedly, as she was 41 years old when my dad was born. My dad's father and mother were born in 1904 and 1905, respectively.  They were married in 1930 and had a few children through the the thirties

Spotlighting the Strong Women in My Life - Part Four

Any acknowledgement of the strong women in my life would be incomplete without mentioning the strongest influence I have had in this: my mom. Growing up, I think I felt like everyone had a life and parents like mine.  We didn't have a lot of money, I figured no one did.  My parents were fairly strict but also easy going, I thought everyone's were.  My family faced a lot of hardships with my dad's health, but my mom always remained so calm that I thought this was just normal.  It wasn't until I was in my pre-teens I think that I started realizing that my family was odd! My mom had a difficult upbringing, to understate it.  She did not grow up the way I did, in a secure and loving home, having some degree of certainty.  As a little girl when my mom would challenge me to try things I remember thinking to myself, "my mom would never let anything bad happen to me."  I don't believe my mom grew up with this same confidence. Of course, the woman I know as m

Spotlighting the Strong Women in My Life - Part Three

Continuing in my series about strong women, I am focusing on a woman today that I have only recently been blessed to know.  I actually hired this woman six months ago, and I sometimes wonder if in my long working life to come if I will always look back on hiring her as one of my wisest choices. She is a young woman, newly married, an expectant mother.  Like me, she is also an immigrant to this country.  Like me, she was raised to be a contributor.  Not even yet six months with the company, she has long been independent and rising to the expectations.  She takes on new tasks and challenges, she figures out who she needs to talk to, she communicates effectively, closes the loop.  She makes my life easier when I don't have to worry about things being handled correctly. I think of many women I have known that are my age and younger, many of whom have a certain millennial sense of entitlement.  I have seen many women in this age group whine (literally) that they are "too young&

Spotlighting the Strong Women in My Life - Part Two

I continue to reflect on the strong women that I know and who have influenced and inspired me.  As I examine these women they share certain traits but in other ways they are dramatically different. Today I am reflecting on my best friend.  In some ways, she is a feisty, opinionated, outspoken woman who isn't afraid to express herself.  In others, she is soft, compassionate and serves others. She is a hard worker and a provider for her family, but not in a traditional sense.  She takes care of others, though she is a single woman with no children.  She has chosen this freely, empowered not to feel burdened to live up to someone else's expectation of womanhood.  She takes pleasure in being an aunt - a cool and indulgent aunt, helping influence the children she is around to grow up to be funny, capable, confident adults. She excels at what she does in her career, being sought for promotions rather than seeking them.  She isn't afraid of early mornings or long hours, and

Spotlighting the Strong Women in My Life - Part One

I have been reflecting how fortunate I have been to know and be influenced by so many strong women in my life - and men that support and empower those women as well.  As a woman, I am very supportive of true female equality.  I do not tend to embrace all of the modern aspects of the feminist movement, but I am aligned with the traditional tenets of female equality.  I believe men and women are different in many ways, in necessary ways, that in teams and friendships and families those differences complement one another. Strong women are not always the same, but they share certain traits.  Resiliency, adaptability, personal accountability, true kindness (and not superficial 'sweetness') are some of those threads that seem to be common throughout the strong women I know. I want to shine a light on those women, as they have inspired me and influenced me, and continue daily to make an impact on my life. The first woman I thought of when thinking about this series of posts was

Today I Became an American Citizen

On March 30, 2002 - almost 17 years ago - my family and I disembarked from an airplane in Houston, Texas.  Our new home. I had long dreamed of moving to America, Texas specifically.  As a fifteen year old in high school, I remember telling a classmate, "before I am 21, I will be living in Texas."  I had absolutely no line of sight as to how I would accomplish this but I was willing to talk a pretty big game. My dream came true two months before my 19th birthday. Even though it was a dream come true, it took a while before I began to view Texas as my true home.  One summer in 2005 I had gone out of state for a week, and as we crossed back into Texas I experienced for the first time that I was coming home. Today, after many years, I became an American citizen. It is sort of a surreal experience.  For ten years, I have carried a green card in my wallet.  For years before that, some other type of paper documentation to support my existence here.  I have stood in internati

Functioning as an Introvert in an Extrovert World!

Most people who know me only from workplace or social situations are surprised to learn that I am an introvert.  I am never afraid to chime in with an opinion, lead a discussion or run a meeting.  I dislike small talk but I am not afraid to open up conversations with strangers or make them feel comfortable.  I have been given feedback that I come across as cheerful and enthusiastic. However, this all comes at a cost to me.  I am a high functioning introvert in these situations, but it requires me to be outside of my comfort zone.  After a full day of this, I find myself exhausted.  Just speaking at length makes me so tired. I have learned to find ways to cope with this.  We can't really change who we are or how we are wired, but we can find ways to adapt to the pressures of our environments.  Being aware of our needs makes it easier to strategize ways to function while not causing too much suffering to ourselves (sometimes a small amount of suffering is unavoidable!). This we

A Plea for Women to Stop Judging Other Women In Their Reproductive Journeys!

One thing I wish, as we continue to reflect on women and our empowerment, is that we would stop passing our opinions down on other women as to when or if they should be mothers, how long they should breast feed, how to parent their kids, or any number of "none of your business" topics that come with reproduction. I have been down this road for a long time.  I have written before about my struggle with infertility.  In my twenties I tried for years and years to conceive without success.  During this time, a lot of female coworkers made comments to me like, "by the time I was your age I had two kids, don't you like children?"  Saying this to a woman struggling with infertility is just the most absolutely ignorant thing you can do. Never shy and always feisty, I started cracking back at them with the journey I was on and would say, "But thank you for so rudely drawing attention to my struggle."  Unkind perhaps, but sometimes this is the only way peopl

Women Helping Women Succeed

Today is International Women's Day and as I reflect upon that I wanted to share a recent conversation I had with a female leader in my life.   Over the course of my working life, I have had a lot of interaction with both men and women but in every role that I have had I have reported directly to a woman.  I like dealing with women, I like working with women and over the years I have better learned to manage how I am managed by women, but even still, there are struggles. I was telling this leader how in the past I have been told by my female management that I have no leadership ability, or worse, they stick me into roles where I am disengaged from people, getting no visibility, hidden away.  I described it as feeling like someone is always trying to put a lid on me. She stated that for some women, seeing confident and capable women makes them feel insecure or threatened.  I asked why they wouldn't just leverage that strength for the benefit of the team rather than try