When I dreamed about this blog, I didn’t have any true aspirations except to shed light on mental health in the Filipino community. I had more anxiety around how my family – nuclear and distant – would view how I was airing my, and inadvertently our families, dirty laundry all over the interwebs. As you may, or may not, know people of color specifically of Asian decent, don’t talk about their struggles or feelings of any kind. Everyone, in my community and culture hid behind unhealthy communication styles: sarcasm, passive-aggressive commentary, gossip, narcissistic invalidation, minimizing of feelings and shaming others for being open about their feelings. Yes, I am guilty of all of these unhealthy behaviors too. I knew I wanted healthier communication skills for my kids. So I began some really hard work.
Was I ashamed of my depression and anxiety? Not anymore
I understand what was at stake when I began to write about my true raw dark feelings but my yearning to heal myself. Giving my kids a fighting chance for healthy conversations around struggle was worth more than the inauthentic persona I portrayed in the past. I wanted to stand in my truth even if it showed all of my imperfections and dispelled every positive but false characteristic people had of me.
I knew something had to change even if I had to go first. That meant possibly standing alone in my truth even if no one stood beside me. I was tired of hiding my depression and anxiety. Talking in secret about my struggles with other family members brought so much shame to something that I knew other’s very close to me struggled with too. The whispers of aunties, cousins, and other relatives were deafening. Yes, I heard the chismis! I understand enough Tagalog to know that some looked down upon my struggles even if they also didn’t face their own mental health issue.
Now that I committed to creating a more transparent persona and the reason why I was embarking on this journey, I wanted a logo that truly encapsulates my purpose. So I set out to a very talented family friend who had her own graphic design business. I sent her my why, colors I gravitated towards and to ensure to spotlight that I am Filipino.
Growing up in a predominately Filipino and Vietnamese community, I spent the first eighteen years of my life not seeing the importance of embracing my culture because it was all around me. When I graduated high school and moved all around the Bay Area, I, again, didn’t see the importance of embracing my heritage because it was all around me. I lived in Daly City for a few years, yes lots of Filipinos there. I lived in Redwood City for a several years, not as many Filipinos but the community was diverse. Once we moved farther east to Antioch, I realized that there weren’t as many people of Asian decent. After a couple years, more and more Filipinos migrated to Antioch and the diversity grew. When we decided to move to Arizona, I knew it would be a culture shock because we would be a minority. I never understood what it meant to be a person of color until we moved to the East Valley. (Yes another blog post unpacking this in the near future.) So once I began this blog journey, I knew I had to highlight my Filipino heritage.
In my early years of managing my depression and anxiety, I never found someone that looked like me and had similar cultural nuances. I had found a therapist of color but they still didn’t get the cultural shame that came with talking about my dark feelings. So I decided to be the person I needed years ago and that is how the logo for The Filipino Mom blog was born.
With the ever talented Michelle supporting me through this logo process, I knew that whatever she brought to me was going to be amazing. She had given me three proposed logo but this one really stood out to me because it encapsulated everything I was attempting to accomplish with this platform.
With this blog, I want to:
- help those in the Filipino community find courage in their struggles.
- know that they are not alone.
- dispel the stigma around mental health in our community.
- support those who suffer in silence and to give them hope that there is so much strength in asking for help.
- begin to change the narrative around the mental health even if it was a difficult subject to talk about.
- transform the image around the Filipino mom because moms mean well even if they don’t act like it.
Now a year and a half into creating this blog, I have experienced more support from my Filipino community more than ever. I’ve had extremely hard conversations with others in this community who needed someone to validate their feelings. I believe that’s all we want as human beings, is to be seen, understood, and unconditionally supported.
With the need enormous need of support for our community, I know that the work is never going to be finished but I pray that the narrative that I have started has a lasting effect through the future generations. There is so much in store for The Filipino Mom blog! One of the ventures in the immediate future is the official launch of Maryann Clark Coaching and The Filipino Momcast Podcast. Please look out for more information to come. I can’t even believe I’m writing this!!!
Again, thank you for being here to help change the narrative. Not only will you heal yourself but your bravery will heal the future generations.
And remember – it’s ok to NOT be ok. Tomorrow is a new day!