I am from a HUGE family. My immediate family consists only of Me, Mom, Dad, Two brothers, Sister-in-Law, and now triplet girls born 2 months ago. These girls are 3 months premature, but they are fighters, and so far are doing well. Even in their incubators, you can already get a sense of their personalities. One is feisty like my brother (their Dad), one is mellow, and the other is comedic. The funny one likes to position herself in these dramatic poses. If she doesn't grow up to be an actress, I'd be surprised.
My mom is one of 10, and Dad is one of 6. Between their two families, I am one of 60 grandchildren. Yes, that is right SIXTY grand kids. And, as of count, there are about 40 great grandchildren. Yes, FORTY. My parents both immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines in the early 60's. Amongst the grand kids, I am the first to go to high school in the U.S. and the first to go to college in the U.S. Coming from a Catholic, Asian immigrant family, being the first grandchild to be educated in the US is a HUGE deal. LOTS and TONS of pressure. Those of you who are first generation and the oldest like me, know exactly what I'm talking about.
My Mom comes from a tree of doctors, and all my cousins who are older than me became doctors. Therefore, I was pressured to go into medicine. The problem with that plan though is I faint at the sight of blood, pills make me sick, and hospitals freak me out. I didn't want to be a doctor. No, I wanted to do something creative, something that involved design, colors, and my hands. Can I tell you that when I made that announcement, my parents, no I should say my Mom, freaked out. To her, design=artist=poor.
I had already disappointed my folks by not going to some haughty prestigious university. I could have gotten into one of those schools because I had the grades, barely the SAT scores, all the extra curricular activities, and let's face the fact, being a minority female was to my advantage. Ever since I was a kid, I have never really been enamored by status especially titles from snobbish institutions. It just seems so fake to me. I never believed that having a piece of paper from a top 10 school made you better than everyone else. To the contrary, I felt those big schools made people into clones and sheep rather than creative individuals. I never realized how deep I was for someone so young.
Fast forward to today. I have always followed my heart when it comes to my career choices, and despite the ups and downs I have had in my career, I have always been where I wanted to be. I set out goals and I achieved them. It's ironic. In my career, I could make anything I wanted happen. I even landed a sweet job at a start-up that was a goldmine during the boom. And even though I was able to make lots of money, I could never get back into my skinny pants, and getting back into those pants was a bigger deal to me. It is so incredibly stupid as I say this out loud, but that is how powerful that illusion was to me. No matter what I do, if I can't be thin, I haven't made it. Women are not judged by their accomplishments. They are judged by our appearance. Ugly truth indeed, but it is a reality. Let's take a look.
When Bill Gates does something great, no one mentions that he looks like a dweeb. When Oprah does something great, we talk about the 30 pounds she gained. Even when women are doing bad, the focus is still on her looks. When Martha Stewart was on trial, we focused on her hair, her designer duds, and the weight she gained. No one talked about that stuff with the Enron guys. Captain Kirk gains 60 lbs but he can still be the hot Boston Legal lawyer Denny Crane. Janet Jackson gains 30 pounds, and she goes from vampy to mammy.
Someone tell me how we change this.