LISTEN. PLEASE.

Chris Yim TCK

 “Never judge someone

By the way he looks

Or a book by the way it’s covered;

For inside those tattered pages,

There’s a lot to be discovered”

― Stephen Cosgrove

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Please Don’t Box Me In

Please Don't Box Me In
Please Don’t Box Me In

India. Michigan. Hong Kong.

Three places that I identify myself with

My mom, from Michigan

My dad, from Hong Kong

Yet my upbringing in India

You’d think with a background like this, I’d naturally have an understanding of diversity…

NOPE.

But I am still in the process of learning what diversity is and this is what I’ve learned so far.

EVERYONE has a story that is unique to them, making it different and distinguished from others which deserves to be listened to with compassion. I’ve discovered listening and hearing are different through conflict with one of my friends. He often told me “Chris, you’re not listening, you’re a bad listener”. I said, “I hear you”. That’s where I was wrong. By only hearing, I let his words words go right past me but by listening, I  enter into a process of understanding and sympathizing with what he was sharing. It’s taken me up till just a few weeks ago to realize this about myself.

Behind each individual lies a story from their upbringing that is a crucial part of their identity.

Your ethnic identity DOES MATTER and I am guilty into buying into the belief that we are all one big melting pot and placing that idea onto others. By doing this…

I’ve invalidated their upbringings and their cultures.  We’re not all the same. We’re actually quite different and I think recognizing that is a step closer to understanding what diversity means. It became personal when…

A few years ago, I met a guy who asked me where I was from. I told him my story of having 3 cultures a part of my upbringing and explained I was a Third Culture Kid. He said, how can you call yourself a Third Culture Kid, you’re monolingual”. That hurt because he invalidated 16 years in India which I cherish deeply,  he invalidated my experiences with my dads Chinese family and my mums American family which is a big part of making me who I am today. I do not meet the stereotype of all TCK’s or Asian’s,  because I am not trilingual neither am I good at math.

All I know is that I am Chris Yim. I love to dream big. I like taking risks, I am bad with details and I love experiencing all sorts of food and engaging with different kinds of people.

Boxing me into one category has invalidated the uniqueness of my story

I’ve discovered through of all this  I am just another piece in a puzzle set, I represent a small portion of a big picture. That picture is the kingdom of God.

I encourage you to see our diverse world and the diverse individuals in it.  I had to take off my“color blind” lenses and realize the process is ok! Recognizing it is the first step to understanding diversity.