Hi, I am Clover. A 1.5 generation Chinese Canadian who currently lives in Toronto.
Before I dive into my story, I want you to picture what kind of person I am by looking at my top picture. Got the image in your head? Awesome, let’s begin!
I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Canada with my family when I was 13. My childhood was smooth sailing. However, my life started to take a turn when I reached 16.
One fateful summer day, my mom announced that she was leaving our family for another man.
Bewildered and shocked, my dad lost his will to live. Being the responsible person that he is, he was going to finish his work that day, get drunk, slit his wrist and die in bed. Thank goodness for high school suicide seminars, we caught him in time, seeing all his clear signs and symptoms, called our aunt and she talked him out of it and saved his life.
This was actually not the most traumatic part. What was left of our family had a detrimental effect on my self esteem and self worth. Since my dad held so much resentment for my mom, I became the messenger and meditator. I grew up fiercely independent because my dad went into survival mode.
I became a lifeguard/swimming instructor at that age, earning my money to support my university tuition and expenses. I even went into the Canadian military for a year to challenge myself and make some good money at the same time. I later became a flight attendant and never looked back.
Fast forward to me turning 24, when online dating was still at its infancy, I met my prince charming. He was smart, good looking, reliable, and such a gentleman. After 2 years, we got married. I had a great stable life. I thought I finally got the unconditional love I deserved.
We then moved back to Hong Kong to advance his career. But spending all that time together, experiencing reverse culture shock, and the widening of our careers, we realized our marriage could not stand the test of time.
I moved back to Canada, defeated and feeling like a massive failure. Who would want a woman divorced at 30? So I tried to “fix” myself. I googled all types of self help. I thought fixing myself in every area of life would be the answer to me deserving love again. Turns out, I am not wrong. But I am not right either. Because I found that at the core of deservingness, it’s something that we cultivate from within. I don’t need others’ approval, or need a certain status, job or marital status to define my worthiness.
The divorce also taught me something. Impermanence. Nothing is ever guaranteed in life. The only antidote to that is to live it to the fullest. I started asking myself, how can I maximize my life right now? Since I am a flight attendant, I started travelling to all the places that I’d never have imagined. I started pushing myself outside of my comfort zone in every way.
I skydived, cage dived with crocodiles, hiked mount everest basecamp, machu picchu, went to 40 countries, solo travelled to a lot of them, talked to strangers, networked with people I used to find intimidating, went to all kinds of self development seminars and courses, and danced sober! You see, I used to only hang out with Asians, only went to Asia for vacations and loved all my cute and pretty things. Absolutely nothing wrong with that, but in contrast, I’ve since sold my condo to rent a room, handled my personal finance and got into the FIRE community, and started slow travelling on my days off.
Travelling is amazing. Learning about cultures, about myself and others is something I will never get sick of. However, there was still something missing. Somehow, I didn’t feel utterly fulfilled. Then, I started formulating ideas on building a youtube channel. I was in Bali with these digital nomads in the FIRE community and started dabbling with making videos and interviews. That was March. I flew home and then as we all know, COVID-19 hits.
Since then, the world is on fire. All these things are bubbling up to the surface. Almost every area of life has been affected. Emotionally, financially, physically, socially, mentally… These are the aspects I have been learning about for the last 6 years I was on my self development journey.
I know as Asians, we don’t like to show we are struggling. Because it’s ingrained in us, that we have to save face, we have to show off to our relatives and to the world that we have it all together. We keep our heads down, hustle, stay silent and compromise for the betterment of the collective.
Now my question for you is. Would you have guessed that this is my story and how I got all those beautiful instagram travelling pictures? (A lot of them are tripod selfies by the way!)
My guess is you didn’t.
We all have our own stories to tell and it’s easy for us to stereotype people to be a certain way by taking things at face value. It’s time we normalize vulnerability and show that it is ok to struggle. That we are all here to figure it out. And I know there are so many other beautiful souls out there who resonate and have the skillsets and talents in the wellness space to help elevate each other.
Since my path was not conventional, I started a platform called unconventional Asians. I imagine a world where we can all live our highest and most authentic selves, free of the limiting beliefs and stereotypes that are put on us. And when we can be truly happy, it will create a ripple effect of world change. But change starts with us.
If you also believe in this mission, and would like to join me and a community of Asians to share our struggles and rising above them, join our Facebook group at Asian Wellness Collective
Instagram @Unconventional Asians
YouTube video interviews @Unconventional Asians