A Love Letter to Southern California

Dear Southern California,

Like I would an old friend with whom I have shared many a laugh that rose from deep within my belly, I miss you. Quite a few years have passed since we have shared the same space. The last time I saw you, I was still focused on growing apart from you. On claiming my own space for you were all I had ever known. I would not have believed then that I would one day ache for your teal white-capped ocean tides that cleanse one’s spirit or the tartness of your açaí bowls that taste best after a dip in the sea. I spent 22 years basking in your golden sun rays, breathing in your warm Mediterranean breezes…and taking you deeply for granted. But that is how it seems to go with one’s hometown, right?

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How Society Tricks Women Into Shaming Each Other

Rules for a modern woman:

Be sexy but not too sexy. Cover up but not too much. Be educated but don’t make men feel inadequate or stupid. Work like you don’t have children and raise your children like you don’t work. Be proud of your postpartum body, just make sure you cover up those stretch marks and extra weight. Breastfeed your children exclusively but do so only in private so that you won’t offend anyone. Don’t be a prude but don’t sleep with too many men. Have opinions but don’t offer them unless asked.

The list goes on and on. These are impossible to follow. They are misogynistic, contradicting, oppressive, and hateful. Yes, these standards are held by men, but they are dutifully enforced by other women. We refer to this today as “shaming”, or the humiliation and judgment of other women and the choices they make.

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How Almost Dying Made Me Give Up Meat

No one ever wakes up thinking that they might not live to see another morning.

One of my favorite movies, The Wood, was playing in the background when a terrible wave of abdominal cramps ripped through my lower right side. My immediate gut reaction was to blame it on PMS. I started shifting on the couch to try to get into a more comfortable position — I couldn’t. Was it the cheesy nachos I had eaten earlier at The Montage? Within seconds, another flash of white hot pain cut through me. I ran to the bathroom.

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Too White, Too Black and Not Enough Asian

In 2013, an article by National Geographic was published featuring a visual portfolio of what they expected humans to look like by 2050. I remember the awe I felt in the pit of my stomach when I realized that a lot of those future humans — looked like me.

I am “mixed”. White, black, and Asian with a sprinkle of Native American. When I was a little girl with tightly coiled curls and large almond eyes I was called a “mutt” by other kids, and yes, sometimes their parents.

If you’re mixed too, you’ve probably heard a few, if not all, the following:

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Why I Didn’t Share My Pregnancy on Social Media

On a balmy summer night last August, Dan Kim and I found out that we were going to be parents. Those two little pink lines didn’t take more than a second to appear. It was real and this was happening.

I simultaneously and instantaneously felt a sense of excitement and terror. This would continue for the rest of pregnancy (and beyond!). It is true that my being 24-years-old made the odds of miscarriage or genetic abnormality very low. But pregnancy doesn’t exactly encourage rational train of thought. I was endlessly cognizant of my own fragility, both physically and emotionally, for those 40 weeks and 2 days.

Microwaves. Caffeine. X-ray machines. Traveling by airplane. Pants that were too tight. Stress. Sleeping on my back. Secondhand smoke. Sashimi. Toxic people. These were all my worst enemies but none more so than social media.

If you didn’t post it, did it really happen?” seems to be the theme of my generation. Bought a car? Post it. Traveling to a new place? Post it. Getting engaged? Married? Find out the gender of your baby? At the gym? POST IT! Unlike most, my first instinct upon finding out I was pregnant, was to keep this information private. The custom of telling people at 12 weeks came and went with little to no announcement. I would be towards the end of my second trimester before even some of my closest friends would be told.

I didn’t want to be a piece of gossip swirling around my high school alumni. I didn’t want those who I barely fraternized with to know the intimate details of my life. I was a fragile pregnant woman. I wanted zero negativity, nosiness, and unsolicited advice regarding myself and my baby. So I opted out of the clever graphic t-shirts that say “bun in the oven”. The gender reveal posts. The monthly photo updates of my growing bare belly. The birth announcement with my baby’s full name, weight, and height.

Conversations often went like this:


Friend: “Is your pregnancy a secret?”

Me: No.

Friend: “Then why aren’t you posting it?”

Me: Because I only want close friends and family to know.

Friend: “So it is a secret then.”

Me: *sigh*……………………..


These conversations only validated my desire to keep this special time in my life close to my heart. I’m a strong opponent of oversharing. Social media isn’t entitled to my life. My details. My intimate moments. Out of the 1,000+ measly followers on my Instagram, only a handful of them would truly care about my pregnancy. For the rest of them, I would simply be a post that they scrolled past at 11 p.m. while in bed dreading work the next day. The most beautiful time in my life deserved more than that.

This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy people’s pregnancy announcements, maternity photo shoots (I am a photographer after all), and pictures of their little peanuts fresh out the womb. I find a lot of joy viewing these beautiful moments of people’s lives. I get it. But for me, the right answer was privacy. This privacy allowed me to have a stress-free, “good vibes only”, and intimate experience. One that strengthened me to bring my beautiful son into this world with psychological and spiritual ease.

TLDR; Sharing my pregnancy on social media wasn’t for me personally. Keeping it intimate allowed me to remain peaceful, at ease, and enjoy it more with those who truly cared.