Hot take, I know. I get that it's catchy or whatever. but in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing...it had to be said.
No, this isn't some misogynistic, right-wing person saying this to try and once again devalue women and their future accomplishments. This is me, a leftist, "woke", young woman, tired of hearing a phrase that devalues women of the past and the present.
Every time I hear someone say "The Future is Female", I think about how it neglects to acknowledge the extraordinary women of our past, and present that have often hidden in the shadow of their male counterparts.
Women have for too long been silenced.
Need we not forget that so many accomplishments have been led, created and driven by females. Back to the Apollo thing.
I hope the next time you hear,"The Future is Female", you think of often overlooked, incredible women from the past like Margaret Hamilton. The woman who wrote code as tall as herself- by hand- for the Apollo Project.
Yesterday, I was driving on the I-5 freeway from West Seattle heading home after a company softball game. We had just lost the game in the bottom of the last inning, 11-12. Regardless, during and after that game I was the happiest I had been in weeks.
As I let my mind wander listening to my favorite (self-shoutout) me-crafted, Spotify playlist for driving, I had a few realizations that drove me to write this post. (p.s. dropping the link to that playlist here -->)
Vibey Music For a Long Drive- Spotify Playlist
I consider myself politically active. During campaign seasons, I volunteer canvassing and phone banking for candidates in my spare time. When asked about the issues that I find closest to my heart, one that always comes to mind is mental health. The importance of mental health could never be overstated in my opinion. How you are mentally will shape how you view the world around you, how you treat your neighbors and loved ones, and ultimately how you sleep with your thoughts at night.
For many people, mental illness is a deeply personal issue, one that needs drastic support and recognition from the American government. Now, back to driving down I-5.
As I drove down the freeway, my mind wandering post softball game loss, I realized I'm depressed. No, I didn't self-diagnose myself in a fury of feelings due to losing in the last inning (although I wish it were that simple), I realized once again, that I am still depressed. From my last two years attending University, it's become abundantly clear to me how quiet I truly have been about my clinical depression. My closest friends tell me that I used to be the bubbliest person in the world, but somewhere along the way things changed. For someone who deeply cares about fighting the stigma around mental illness, I've been awfully quiet about my own experiences living with it.
Now at this point, if you struggle with depression you may understand the feeling I'm getting at here. The feeling of having a wonderful day, life, career, family, or relationship and still not physically be able to produce enough happy to meet other people's energy. Or, the feeling of going from being extremely happy, to extremely sad in a matter of seconds. For me, having both depression & anxiety feels as though I'm never doing enough or constantly imagining worst case scenarios. Whereas depression often feels like a muted, toned down version of the person I am. A shell of the bubbly person my friends recall from our younger years.
I was officially diagnosed with depression when I was in my mid-teens. Thinking back on those years, I spent a lot of time trying to fit a mold I thought was expected of me and I was scared of being noticed for falling out of a universal path. Maybe it was my academically rigorous public high school, but the pressure became overwhelming. I think it's difficult for people who don't have any form of mental illness to fully understand something they've physically never felt before. Constantly feeling like a piece of your energy and desire to live are both missing.
Now, this has been a long blog post and it's the first of more honest truths and stories dealing with mental illness I'll be sharing here. I'll talk about my experiences dealing with mental illness in the "real" working world, medications and therapies I've tried, and the ways I find time for my own self care.
Thank you for being here and for reading part of my story.
If you read this and know me, please let me know: was I really that bubbly?
Political Side Note: Also, I'll be talking about just how true the image below is. Many groups - low income, people of color, people with physical disabilities, etc.- dealing with mental illness are at even greater risk to commit suicide due to undiagnosed or untreated mental illness.
Born to a Japanese Mother and American father, Seattle, Washington has for almost entirety been my home. Seattle is known as being pretty openly progressive politically, and I guess sort of racially diverse. Seattle was one of the first States to legalize recreational marijuana, and has two female Democratic Senators.
However, I grew up in the suburbs which lacked Latinx/ African American representation. Look to the left for the racial makeup of my hometown.
Growing up, I didn't really know where I fit in. I didn't really care about what I wore until I was probably in midle School. I had a solid few friends when I was young and in middle school came across a problem.
I didn't really know anyone besides my core elementary friends, and they faded out of my life. As new friends appeared I started to notice a trend that my family members began to notice as well, all of my friends with the exclusion of a handful are Asian Americans. The spaces I would occupy and feel most comfortable were the ones where I was surrounded by other Asian Americans.
One of my close friends, Masaaki, who was a study abroad student here in Washington from Japan for a year asked me once for my thoughts. He said, "Sara, I don't understand why Japanese Americans don't really speak the language here." I explained to him the history of World War II and the Pacific Northwest' s incarceration of Japanese Americans following the Pearl Harbor attacks. Many people believe that much of the language was lost during that time period for Japanese Americans, due to fear of being suspected of spying on the U.S. My family immigrated here long after World War II, so this particular historical aspect didn't affect my family's language. That conversation with Masa really stuck with me, and I think about how detrimental government officials and laws can ultimately be to shaping history. The law isn't always right. In fact, from the past we've learned that it's in great part been wrong. If laws were always perfectly made, we wouldn't ever have to create new ones or make adjustments. Just something to thing about.
As mentioned previously, I grew up in the suburbs where everyone knew everyone to an extent, and I still find myself making hometown connections all over the world to this day. Let me say however, to be fair, the majority of my graduating class attends the University of Washington, where I am as well.
P.S. Here are just some of the craziest times I've used the words, "Small World" :
- When my dad was in the hospital downtown and had scan done by a woman who was my friend's mother.
- Nearly six years later, at a different hospital when one of my classmates was doing rounds as a hospital intern and waltzed into my father's room.
- My Congressional Representative? Kim Schrier. Also known as my pediatrician for more than 16 years.
Overall? I would be lying if I said I know 100% who I am, since I think it's largely dependent on the space I'm in. Growing up with two parents both in sales, you learn how to overcome objections and talk to essentially everyone. Confidence is often associated with being an extrovert, but that's not me anymore.
When I was younger, I would say hi to everyone and anyone, because I genuinely wanted to. I think that's the biggest difference between between introverted/ or extroverted (I consider, "ambivert" to be a valid middle-ground, however I still think everyone identifies more with one or the other).Anyways, my point is, that when I was younger I wanted to run into people, to engage and socialize and be that person. Nowadays, I still talk to just about everyone, but often I do it for the sake of others to almost solidify who they see- and if they've known me a long time, who they've grown to expect- me to be, rather than my own desire to often keep to myself.
Check up on my blog to read as I attempt to figure this roller-coaster of a thing called life.
So, here's to moving forward.