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“We’re not faking it” — A Modern Woman Mantra

Stop worrying about what others are thinking of you, because they’re not. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves.

Lately, I’ve become fatigued by the same cliché narratives everywhere about women in the modern world. Especially as I’ve just finished working on an engineering project with a mixed gender team and I know we never once stopped to second-guess ourselves because of gender. We were just doing our thing. Another goal achieved in our mission to reduce wasteful spending in the medical industry. We worked on a team with smart people of both genders, who had great values. This was how it should be. (By the way, come work with me!)

Yet I still see stories expanding beyond the original TEDTalk on the effect of body language, ruminating over how women should be “faking it until we’re making it” and listing all the different reasons why we should stop saying apologizing for ourselves. These articles, while honest, are so prevalent that they make it sound as if modern women everywhere are just suffering from a continuous lack of confidence while operating in a constant state of overcompensation. But I know it’s not true because these issues are not just for women. They are present for everyone at different points of our lives, especially when we’re trying to grow.

Yes, these courageous and honest voices played a big part in helping us let our guards down in order to trust one another. And I know the intent of these stories is to encourage people — namely women — to trust themselves. But we are not in a police state, we have the chance for higher education and we have most of our basic rights. We’ve done a fantastic job shedding many inequalities to light, and describing this uneven playing field. And I’m tiring of some of the emerging dialogue that seem to be using this chip in our shoulder as a crutch for a lack of confidence. When are we going to stop giving ourselves excuses for acting insecure? When are we going to start saying, “Oh yeah? Just look at me now!”? Why are we looking for inspiration from a narrative that relies on pointing out what we’re doing wrong? I really think we need to highlight some of the things we’ve always done right and stop apologizing for saying sorry.

For example, there are more women in male-dominated fields such as STEM than ever was in the past! Let’s keep going! And what about having more men in female-dominated fields? What’s stopping them there eh? Just as the men in the field are getting used to women, the women are getting used to men. The rules are changing, and if they’re not… let’s start trying new ones.

First let’s start to believe that we’re not just faking it.
Because we are not phonies. We are real and we ARE making it.
And we’re always going to look foolish trying to do better than we were before.
It’s just like learning how to bike.
It’s hard to step outside of your comfort zone.
So don’t let looking foolish hold you back! Stop worrying what others think about you, because they’re not. Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves. Stop making excuses for yourself, because you know better. Deep down you’re just exhausted and afraid, but you know you need to do what you gotta do. And stop the humble brag. It’s up to you to get off your bum and just do what you want to do.
Remember:
There will always be more than 30 under 30.
There will always be more than 40 under 40.
For men and women both.
And the ones giving the prizes are just as great as the ones receiving them.

And I agree that no one should feel the need to apologize for ourselves unnecessarily, especially when he or she has done nothing wrong. But it’s quite okay to say “Sorry” if one really means it! Also, why aren’t we asking people to say and sincerely mean “Sorry” MORE of the time? Great courage and integrity is involved in issuing a sincere apology – you have to be able to put down your pride for a moment in order to demonstrate your empathy, admit fault and express your willingness to improve. And for the receiver of an apology, he or she has the responsibility to exhibit the wisdom and maturity needed to avoid taking advantage of the apology to achieve greater status or power at the cost of trust. A successful exchange from both parties is what creates trust and therefore progress. And we’re so bad at it. We let our insecurities take control most of the time.

So we end up playing this stupid game with each other, acting all grand because we’re faking it so hard. Apply that to people, families, countries across history…and you’ll see we still haven’t changed much.

So tell me, ladies and gentlemen, what do we do now? How can we start redefining the rules of trust? What is our endgame? What do we want to do?

Me? I want to be free to be myself.
And with this poem, I want you to know that I have been doing exactly that.
Recite it with me!

Modern Woman Mantra

I do what I want, I do what I want.
I think what I want. I want what I want.

I dance if I want, I code if I want.
I smile if I want, I cry if I want.
I agree if I want, I refuse if I want.
And I’ll wear whoever, whatever, however I want.

I say what, when and how that I want.
Softly if I want, harshly if I want.
I repeat if I want, I repeat if I want.
I try again if I want, I change if I want.

And you know what? I apologize if I want.
For whatever I want, whenever I want.
I vote if I want, or I run if I want.
I work if I want, I stay home if I want.
I ask, answer or keep quiet if I want.

So go ahead and tell me what I want.
Judge me if you want, love me if you want.
Because I do what I want, I do what I want.

Signed,
A lady or girl or woman if I want.

– by Yin Mei

P.S. My intent of this blog is simply to add another voice. I believe that every story is important, and every voice has a role.

Just because something doesn’t seem to be making a difference for you, doesn’t mean it’s not making a difference for someone else.

“Shades of Light” Yacht Party 2015

Invitation only private event
Tickets mandatory to board
To purchase tickets, please click below on the image to a password protected page
(for password please contact organizers)

newsfeed_image (1)

Event Artwork by the talented Marie Feld

MarieFeld_Logo

Acknowledgements:
BIG thank you to DJ GoWhere and Kutral for conducting our jams onboard!

&

Kutral

Special thanks to Steve Liu, Founder of Sparxo for providing our event platform!


Awesome yacht deal provided by the New York Health & Racquet Club Member’s Yacht:

Finished with Coding School: myself, my gut and New York City again

Can you believe it? I can’t.

I can’t believe that only three months ago I was selling off all of my furniture in New York in order to deliberately move back to San Francisco for this intensive training program to which I had somehow made a commitment. Now we’re done. Proud, humbled, excited and determined at the same time, I just want to keep going. I’m not finished yet. Last week may have been the final week of the program, but in two weeks I will be back in New York again.

*note, I moved back to San Francisco because I needed to be closer to family too…not just for the program 😉 

“What? But you just got here!” said everyone.

Well, I’ve given a lot of thought about what shaped my decision.

In short, my journey has been one of finding self-respect through identity and direction:

Awareness and identity

This may have all started when I was four. While growing up, I often pondered who I was and who I would become. (Fortunately and unfortunately, I was a highly philosophical child.)

What parts of me are me and what parts of me are just what everyone else has told me to be? My first encounter with this dilemma was when one of my kindergarten teachers (in China) came up to me one day and shocked me with a statement: “Your best friend Zhang Yan is a bad girl, do not play with her anymore. 张燕是个坏孩子,不要和她一起玩儿了” Of course, my gut told me that Zhang Yan is not a bad girl so I took heed of the teachers recommendations to observe my friend for a day in order to decide if our teacher was speaking the truth. I assimilated this to a story that I had read not long before with my grandmother about a little pony trying to test the depth of the water before he crossed the river. In the end, the pony just had to experience the truth for himself. And the truth for me was that Zhang Yan was not a bad girl. Or if she was, she was just as bad of a girl as she was a good girl. Also, if the teacher was right then I would also be just as bad if not worse since I made most of the decisions about which games we played throughout the day. As it turns out, there were some petty politics involved with my best friend’s family and the teachers (sadly) and since my familys’ relations were excellent, the teacher wanted to pry Zhang Yan away from benefiting from my friendship (and therefore social protection). In the end I forgave the teacher for being such an idiot, but henceforth, I always felt better when I could think for myself. And as a side effect of that experience, I also developed a protective inclination for my close friends.

Dissatisfaction and fulfillment

Now twenty something years later, most of you know me as a social butterfly who did most of her work in public relations and media. To some, I seemed to hold a promising and successful career, and to others…probably silly or lost. For those of you who knew me well, you knew I was panicked and worried. Some of you suggested I should find the color of my parachute, and others pointed me in the direction of quarter-life crisis literature. You didn’t seem as worried, but I’m glad I was…extremely worried.

Because I realize now what it was that held me back from moving forward: dissatisfaction.

My decision to learn how to code, was driven by a need for fulfillment. There was no real crisis, just a problem I needed to face. I had to get over my denial and my gut was telling me that there was an urgency to catch up with the times in order to be prepared to face the industry I want to be a part of…while I still can. Growing up, my parents were both in the science and technology industry and I was always trying to prove that I could pave success down a different path. But why must I feel the need to cripple myself in order to prove that I am strong?

Indeed, I also got a lot of:
“Why are you studying how to code? You’re social enough, that’s all you need!”

But in the pursuit of fulfillment, I had to pursue this path because I know I can be more than that.
I am the daughter of engineers, the granddaughter of a general, a female opthamologist, and two architects, the great-granddaughter of a female business tycoon, a descendent of a line of ancient scholars. We all came from somewhere, and we’re all here today. The fact that we’re alive now proves that we are standing on the shoulders of giants, some who have given up their luxuries for a meaningful future and some of them, their lives for the pursuit of truth in order to serve justice and compassion for what’s right.
I, too, want to be a builder in the modern world. I want to participate, as a pioneer.
I ultimately want to understand and pursue potential solutions for media & technology.
Social isn’t enough. I need to get my hands dirty.

I need to be able to test how deep the water is, for myself.

New York? New York! 

Embracing a light-hearted attitude towards failure or discouragement, and a serious determination towards overcoming challenges, I saw a different side of myself emerge over the past 3 months. I focused. I was hesitant to sacrifice my own learning and intrinsic growth for a few moments of petty pleasure. I took better care of myself, and developed a routine for growth. I took more time to be introspective about life, and listen more carefully to myself.

And a big question was coming up for me as well: how did I feel about San Francisco? Is this where I wanted to be?Maybe, but somehow I had a gut feeling that I needed to go back to New York again. I knew that I would regret not taking this opportunity to move back. I also really enjoyed New York’s tech potential. Besides…New York’s standing as an epicenter of the media industry is a crucial advantage for understanding what problems we face on the convergence of media & tech. Everything else just made sense. I also had a certain craving for a certain cultural depth that I wanted to continue to fulfill while in New York…which will drive me to be who I want to be. There was a vibe I needed from New York that San Francisco couldn’t provide, and the transportation in New York is such a crucial component of life especially when time is so precious during youth! I mostly just felt unhappy thinking about not being back in New York.

So I have secured an apartment in Manhattan (thanks to a truly resourceful friend in the real estate business!!)
I have booked a flight to arrive in New York on the morning of January 5th.
I am preparing for my technical interviews, and will start reaching out soon in this colossal effort once again,
because I am coming back to find employment in New York City.

Check out some of my projects! I’ll have more coming soon:
http://www.msyinmei.com.com/projects/

Take a look at my profile:
https://profiles.generalassemb.ly/msyinmei

And finally…
Claim a spot on my calendar if you want to see me in person!

*Cue Robert Frost’s “Road Not Taken” (which, by the way, is NOT about a road less traveled).

 

Coding Craze…

In life and all things one thing is true. Unless you take action to make and to do...ideas are worth nothing and talk is cheap, too.

In life and all things one thing is true. Unless you take action to make and to do…ideas are worth nothing and talk is cheap, too.

Hey! I have a new profile up on General Assembly!
https://profiles.generalassemb.ly/msyinmei

What a week! Besides making up my mind about several crucial career decisions, I’ve been learning to work with AngularJS and exploring how to use Jekyll, MeteorJS and Parse in my attempt to create a new website for my portfolio. In the end, I decided I would stick with my current website (which works nicely for the time being) and focus on producing more sample products that can better demonstrate my familiarity with certain libraries and frameworks.

I also had some fun this weekend playing around with Jekyll,  Parse and MeteorJS. Check out this mini to-do app I deployed the Meteor tutorial using MongoDB! checkyinout.meteor.com

And thanks to my research, I’ve got a couple other toolboxes to add to my to-do list as well:

  • EmberJS
  • ReactJS
  • Sinatra

At this point, I’m dreaming about code. The rest of tonight, I’m going to go through all of the easy challenges on Coderbyte:
http://coderbyte.com/CodingArea/Challenges/

I’m also going to take a hit at creating a hangman app with AngularJS and Rails. We’ll see how far we get! (I’d love to try and make a mini Wheel of Fortune app to piggyback on top of this…)

XOXO

Yin

My first app

It has been approximately six weeks since I began my 12-week intensive program at the General Assembly. On week 5, I created this little app:

The Media Monitor App by Yin Mei

Basically, you can search a keyword and my app will go through The Guardian and NYTimes APIs to pull out the latest articles. If you register/login you can also save your keywords to produce a report. And as long as you don’t log out, you can just access your report every day and tweet your favorite articles via my app. Inspired by my previous work in PR, this app is just an experiment. I made it in 4 days, and I felt extremely nervous about sharing it publicly until about 2 weeks later. (Mostly I felt like I needed to revamp my blog design again!)

Within the past 4 weeks I learned and applied: HTML, CSS, JQuery (minimal), Bootstrap, Masonry, JavaScript (aka Node.js & Express.js), Sequelize, Postgres, Async, Bcrypt, cookie-parser, cookie-session, Passport and two APIs: The Guardian , The New York Times Article Search API. 

This weekend, I’m supposed to create a simple project… and I’m at a temporary loss for ideas. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out Kimono, Nokogiri and D3 for constructing new APIs and hopefully configuring data visuals. Ambitious, as I am…I’d also like to also figure out how to use OAuth with Twitter & Facebook. And no wait, I’m not done! I also need to understand the Sina Weibo and Twitter APIs. Now, React.js is on the list too (thanks Jeff!) Phew. It’s a lot. One at a time.

 

Quiet Time

My last few months in New York were spectacular, a whirlwind. Friends were always passing through, and people always meeting up. There was always something glamorous going on. Always an excuse for champagne.

Now I am in San Francisco, spending 12 hours a day learning how to work with code at the General Assembly. I miss my friends dearly, especially a few who I felt I really got to know better during my last few days in New York.

But for now, I am here. It has been a wonderful journey so far. And San Francisco has been good to me. The air is pure, the produce fresh, the ocean close…and even some of the nightlife here can spark your curiosity. Everyday I feel as if I am a cloud growing roots towards the ground beneath.

I call this quiet time. I am very lucky to blessed with so much energy, and for the past 4 years I have poured that energy out on everyone else. I’m thrilled now to be able to focus and redirect that energy on myself.

Ms. Yin Mei’s Virtual Garage Sale

Hello friends!

It’s been a really amazing past year in New York City and as some of you know, I am moving to San Francisco (on September 14th, to be exact) for a 3 month web development training program at General Assembly, after which I will be working in either SF, NY or possibly even overseas. Now appropriately, I need to selling the things that I cannot bring with me! Prices negotiable, see if there is anything you’d like!

Please follow this button to a Google Form
for a complete list of prices & purchase requests:

Request to Purchase Here!

Ms. Yin Mei’s Virtual Garage Sale


FEATURED ITEMS

My fancy hand mixer: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/app/4636919341.html
My fancy baking stuff: http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/hsh/4636920816.html

 

 

School Library Journal: Reporting the loss of librarians

In my recent article on the School Library Journal, I reported on the Pennridge School District budget cut involving the loss of another elementary school librarian position in the district.

What wasn’t mentioned in the article, was that in fact the budget also created another position for a school counselor in the district to deal with teenage suicide. Is it worth it? Some also speculated that the addition may have been as a result of heavy petitioning from the counselor group. Furthermore, I also heard some incredible stories to demonstrate the incredible commitment and compassion of teachers and librarians while I was reporting.

I think this is indicative that every story we read is only a part of the whole truth. I really wish I could have heard the superintendent’s point of view but she was unreachable.

Either way, every decision that we make and implement will hold undeniable consequences.

See my latest article at the following link:

http://www.slj.com/2014/07/schools/pennridge-school-district-loses-elementary-school-librarian-for-upcoming-school-year/

Pennridge School District Loses Elementary School Librarian for Upcoming School Year

Pennridge School District Loses Elementary School Librarian for Upcoming School Year

 

 

 

 

 

My Doppleganger: @Phoney_Yin

Recently, Hubert Lee, one of the co-creators of the Phoney Girlfriend app (bit.ly/phoney_girlfriend_app) created a Twitter bot modeled after my writing voice according to my twitter and my blog content. What a curious result!

Her odd obsession about green algae aside, @Phoney_Yin seems to quite enjoy going to mixers and meeting people. However I’d have to admit…she is rather the fauxialite, this one. She actually had the nerve to claim that we met at a mixer event recently. I recall no such thing!

Check her out for yourself: 

So if you ever wondered what would have happened if you were slightly more daring with your flirting, the Phoney Girlfriends app offers users a first-hand experience on getting virtually slapped so that he (or she) can satisfy his (or her) curiosity before making a (complete) fool of of himself (or herself) in the real world. 

Hubert Lee (@HubertKLee) and Angus Cheng (@BallerIndustry) of Hong Kong-based Baller Industries released the Android app to help young men (and sometimes women) confront boredom and loneliness by offering a selection of virtual conversations with interactive storylines (written by both guys and girls!). These “Phoney” Girlfriends are pre-programmed like a choose your own adventure game.

Since launching in January 2014, Phoney Girlfriend has seen over 50,000 downloads and thousands of purchases of new conversations that can be unlocked through in-app purchases.

And apparently this is just the beginning. They recently launched their first version of a Phoney Boyfriend – Angus himself! (Not a cheap phoney date, this one. He’s 133.70 HKD or $13.37 USD in the US store)

And uh oh, recently someone asked @Phoney_Yin why he couldn’t find her anywhere on the app. Hmmm…does that mean…

BONUS:
Guess which of the following three phoney girls are actually based on another “real girl”
a) @Phoney_Brenda
b) @Phoney_Starr
c) @Phoney_Nichole