My last support group didn't go as planned...
How surrender brings new opportunities, living without pain, departing royalty, and exploring life in rural China
|Steven Wakabayashi||Jan 14|| 1|
This weekend, I hosted my second queer Asian support group in NYC. When I arrived at the studio to open my event up, I found the door locked. Due to logistical issues, the room was not booked.
I was not prepared to have a back-up and was at a loss of what to do. As my peers started gathering, I got extremely flustered and, in frustration, started spiraling into the blame game in my mind.
"It was someone else's fault."
"It was my fault."
"If only I did this."
Regardless of whose fault it was (and I take full responsibility for not having the space confirmed), the blaming was not doing anything constructive. It drove me further away from what needed to happen, which was to find a space to accommodate a group gathering immediately. As my support group members stood around patiently, I was running around in circles trying to make sense of what was happening.
And something else happened.
Somewhere between "omg they will never return" and "let's just give up," my maternal instincts kicked in. I realized that I just had to make something happen. It didn't need to be glamorous, spacious, or anything in particular. But there was one requirement my heart told me: warmth.
Coincidentally, I had been frequenting a nearby restaurant, and the staff had just started to remember my face. I vaguely remembered the large sitting area in the back, and I told myself that it was worth a shot. I brought my support group to my favorite vegan Chinese restaurant, and everything ended up falling together perfectly. We got seated during dinner rush hour, had a feast, and collectively dove into a deep discussion on queer Asian stereotypes. I really enjoyed this unconventional style of hosting a support group, and something worth exploring in the near future.
I left the event with a sigh of relief and satisfaction. Whatever happens, things will always work out. In myself and the world around me, I trust.
The lesson this week?
Creating connections in unexpected places will yield superheroes in the most unlikely circumstances.
In surrender, we open ourselves up to opportunities that we would never have thought to explore.
If you are a queer Asian in town for our next support group happening February 9, please come join. Our topic is love and relationships. I promise to have the space sorted out by then. Or at least roll with the flow and partake in another spontaneous field trip. 😏
My next event will be for everyone to attend. I'm looking for large spaces to host a talk/panel. If you know of any affordable space in New York City that can host 50 people during weekday evenings or weekend afternoons, please let me know! 🙏 (You can reply to these emails directly to get in touch with me)
For future note, my events will never be inaccessible to those who may not have the financial resources. If there is ever a price tag on anything I create, please reach out to me to talk about sliding scale payments or scholarships. But as of now, the only event I host is Yellow Glitter Sparkles, which is entirely free and will stay free. No donations. No subscription. Just attendance and attention.
A World Without Pain
What would life be like if we could never feel pain? For Joanne Cameron, that is her reality.
"Because of a combination of genetic quirks, Cameron’s negative emotional range is limited to the kinds of bearable suffering one sees in a Nora Ephron movie. If someone tells Cameron a sad story, she cries—“easily! Oh, I’m such a softie.” When she reads about the latest transgression by Boris Johnson or Donald Trump, she feels righteous indignation. “But then you just go to a protest march, don’t you? And that’s all you can do.” When something bad happens, Cameron’s brain immediately searches for a way to ameliorate the situation, but it does not dwell on unhappiness. She inadvertently follows the creed of the Stoics (and of every twelve-step recovery program): Accept the things you cannot change."
Megxit from Racism
If you haven’t heard already, Meaghan Markle and Prince Harry have departed from the royal family. The Atlantic did a stunning piece on the royal couple’s exit.
"Harry has always been a royal rebel: smoking cannabis, partying in Las Vegas, admitting how close he came to a breakdown. With his wife by his side, he may now be making his most significant contribution to the royal family—by walking away from it."
But even more than that, Buzzfeed News recently published an article showcasing the differences in headlines between Kate Middleton and Meaghan Markle based on almost the same exact news. This is what people of color face every single day.
Traditional Life in China
I first discovered Li Ziqi when she published a video of makeup she had created from scratch. In just a few years, she has grown to over 8.4M followers on YouTube, and over 50M on Chinese social media. She builds furniture out of fresh bamboo, makes a comforter out of silk from silkworms she raised herself and creates traditional desserts and cuisines I've never seen before.
As always, thanks for reading!
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Have a beautiful day!