I stand on the shoulders of the many generations of women that surrounded me, laying every brick in the foundation of who I am. They are artists, creating with their hands my clothes and curtains with the same care they wove and stitched the fibers of my being. They are comforters, using the language of home-cooked Korean meals and affectionate embraces to translate their love in a way that words would fail. They are silent leaders, quiet and subdued but unwaveringly clear in their convictions of compassion and kindness toward others. I hope to be the shoulder for others to stand on because the women before me survived through it all to ensure that I stand tall.
I draw my strength from my children and my clients. My children’s unconditional love gave me the courage to stand up against domestic violence and fight back. When I left my abusive marriage while I was 8 months pregnant and with a 2 year old daughter, she never once complained about any of the hardships we were going through. Instead, she always smiled and reassured me saying, “Mommy, everything will be fine."As I navigated my new life as a single mom, I was also blessed with unconditional support from the organization where I was receiving services, too. Eventually, I became a staff member at that organization: Womankind, then known as the New York Asian Women’s Center. When I pick up the helpline and hear my clients’ voice, it reminds me that I should never stop fighting for my and their right to live a violence-free life. My clients’ courage inspires me every day.
I draw my strength from the amazing individuals of the LGBT+ community who have done more for me than I’ll ever be able to fully appreciate. I draw my strength from my desire to emulate these individuals and continue to tread new paths. I draw my strength from those around me who encourage me to be best that I can be. I draw my strength from my loved ones, who have been there for me at every corner of my life. I draw my strength from the other women in my life, who have welcomed me with open arms. Lastly, I draw my strength from myself, as these positive figures in my life have taught me that I am worthy of doing so.
I draw my strength from love that is patient and kind. Love that does not boast and is not proud. Love that does not dishonor others and is not self-seeking. Love that is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. Love that does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. I draw my strength from love, that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.