Your Story is a series by WonderfulWomen where you will read inspiring Guest Posts from women around the world. Here they share their experiences, stories and things that matter most to all women.
Today’s guest post is by Emiko T. Rasmussen from bilingualworkingmom.com She is a full time working mom having two girls. Emiko wants to make other moms realize that they don’t have to choose “one over the other” for example Career vs. Motherhood; Japanese vs. English learning for kids and so on as she herself is managing it all! Read this awesome story of Emiko’s life which will make you feel you can achieve anything if you really want it!
How far I’ve come and how strong I became!
I often muse over how far I’ve come (literally moving from Japan to the US) … and how strong I became. Whenever I tell people that I was born in Japan and moved to the US when I was 20, the first reaction or a comment I receive is “wow you speak English really well”. I guess I was insecure about my English for my first several years of living in the US and I felt like people were looking down on me although I know people were telling me with a good intention I didn’t hear it that way. Yes, I know it was my own issue.
As a Japanese immigrant woman, there were so many barriers that I had to overcome, and I know that I will still face many challenges. When I run into these walls and I felt hurt or these walls made me feel discouraged but I am still standing strong… I am stronger as I overcome challenges.
#1 … Ouch!
I still remember the painful experience at the grocery store. It was my very first time shopping at the grocery store in the US. As I was about to pay, the cashier lady asked me if I wanted a plastic or a paper.
I clearly understand what she said but I was shocked because I was never asked to choose which bags I prefer to use. This was not part of my culture in Japan. I didn’t know which one is better or if it would cost extra money if I pick certain ones….
Then the cashier held both bags right in front of my face and said PLASTIC or PAPER in a really rude way. I felt really embarrassed and the way she treated me made me not want to go back to the grocery store. How would I react now if this happens to me again? If someone does this to me now, I have guts to say “Excuse me… you don’t have to be rude about it!”.
#2 … Ouch!
I am not making this story up…. Just so you know…
I was in a car with a group of girls. We were on the way to perform at the basketball game. (I was on a cheerleading team). One girl asked me a super random question. “Can you see well?”
My answer was… “Umm, Yes… why”. As she was answering my question, it was a dead silence… like on no she didn’t say this… She said, “You know you have chinky eyes so I wasn’t sure if you can see well with such small eyes.”
Wow… I didn’t even want to waste my time explaining how our vision works…
We continued a silent ride for a while until we got to our destination.
How would I react now if this happens to me again?
If I face a situation like this, I just feel sorry for the person and walk away thinking how smarter I am! Or if I want to invest the relationship, I will probably educate the person.
When I was in a management role, one of the responsibilities that I had was to receive escalated calls from our customers. One time I was told by this angry customer that I should not be in a role as a manager because I don’t even speak English. How would I react now if this happens to me again? I know I can be confident to serve our customer and focus on a solution and think that this is not about me. Or, I can simply say that this is who I am and I am proud of myself. I am sure that I have faced so many other painful experiences or received comments that would be brought down my self-confidence, it only helps me to become a stronger person.
How far I’ve come… and how strong I became
I definitely used to play small and tried not to stand out so that no one notice that I am different, or I have an accent or whatever that is, but that old me is gone!
I started to accept my limitations, my weakness and focus more on my strengths. I see a beauty in being unique and different.
I focus on my progress and stopped worrying too much about what the other people would think about me.
I finally see values in me and become more to my true self.
My Message to All Wonderful Women
If you are an immigrant woman who is experiencing a similar situation and losing your confidence, remember you are not alone! Trust me, these experiences will only make you a stronger person. Your first step is to be proud of who you are and know where you are from. Your uniqueness is your gem and it is your responsibility to let it shine.
Connect with Emiko
Her Blog bilingualworkingmom.com