Just a Black Girl in Asia

Hey y’all, long time, no writing! I’ve been in Bangkok, Thailand for the past for months for my semester abroad, and the complete shift in pace and experiences in my daily life has stoked a creative fire in me–so here I am!

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My experience in South East Asia has been memorable to say the least; I’ve snorkeled with sharks, bathed elephants, got my personal belongings snatched by monkeys, and have eaten the tastiest food I could have ever imagined. But, like many experiences in my daily life, I was made conscious of my race (in a surprising way).

As you can probably imagine, the presence of Black foreigners (or farang in Thai) in Asia is few and far in-between. I have often been on the receiving end of long stares of surprise, wonder, and confusion from locals as I wandered the bustling streets of Bangkok, adjusting to the organized, fascinating chaos of the city. But every once in a while, I would get asked a question that my spidey senses can now sense even before it’s asked– “Can I take a picture with you?”

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I’m sweating balls from the SE Asian heat. No pictures PLEASE!!

The first time I was asked this in Thailand, I was wandering through a local food court, hungry and desperate for Pad Thai (the only Thai dish I could pronounce). All the menus were in Thai, and the communication barrier seemed impenetrable. But by the grace of God, a Thai man named Burt swooped in and save the day.

I would describe Burt as the Thai version of your pushy uncle with a heart of gold. I was skeptical of his help at first; I really was not used to help from strangers. But he ordered my food for me, set my table, and asked to join me for my meal. Burt’s friends talked amongst themselves behind us, listening into our conversation and smiling. As I prepared to leave, Burt asked to take a picture with me:

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“I hope you come visit, don’t forget me!” – Papa Burt

Overall, I have received nothing but kindness from locals in the countries I have visited. I’ve been complimented on the shade of my skin, my smile, the uniqueness of my dreads (I’ve had multiple people touch them without my consent, but I’ve grown too tired to resist), and my overall appearance. Sometimes I truly felt like a KWEEN.

For your enjoyment, I’ve created a video and collage of one of the most crazy encounters, when my friends and I took pictures and selfies with over TWENTY Asian tourists in Vietnam. They quite literally stood in line to take pictures with us. A mother even urged her toddler to sit with us and take picture! I gagged.

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I’ve truly found it interesting the overall curiosity and fascination with Westerners and western culture that I’ve experienced in Asia. However, I do appreciate and welcome it– I’ve never said no to a picture!

 

“Aye Ma, Want Some D*ck?”

This phrase was shouted at me, behind my back, as I went into my local Ralph’s the other night to buy groceries. You see, I had nothing to my name to eat other than stale protein powder. As such, I was forced to exit the sanctuary that is my apartment and venture in the tumultuous surroundings of every day life. With a chunk of my dignity yet again chipped off, other shoppers witnessed the encounter, and carried on.

I’ve experienced men of all ages catcalling me, no, verbally assaulting me, since I was 12 years old.

“What?” you may ask yourself, “How is that still a thing? 12?” Yes, ’tis true. As a 12-year-old girl on the verge of “womanhood” I’ve felt stares from men three times my age complimenting my long legs, saying I should show more, and my favorite– “to smile more.”

Within the scope of Resting B*tch Face that ills thousands of unhappy and unfulfilled women everywhere, various parts of my face have been subject to some form of ownership of the male gaze:

1.) My Smile

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To smile or not to smile, that is the question

Throughout high school, I distinctly remember the male administrators that passed me in the hallway, friendly questioning why I wasn’t smiling. “Because I take 4 AP’s and slowly decay from the lack of arts in this administration” I wanted to reply. But nay, I showed my pearly whites in response. They smiled back from creating one more smiling girl in this dreadful world, and carried on. Subsequently, the weight of the patriarchy brought the curves of my mouth to a neutral plane, and I also carried on.

2.) My Eyes

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“Eyes are the windows of the soul.”

As a young woman, you will begin to learn that the number one defense mechanism against the abrasive male gaze is to avoid eye contact at all costs. “Are you scared? Do I scare you mama?” Of course not sir, I just do not feel like having a conversation with a man who yells at me and calls me out of my name!

Even though I may not see the various men that commit these acts, people around me do see, but choose to say nothing. As such, my future daughter, my niece, my girlfriends, and so on will be restrained to a life of not looking.

zhi1awu2gjujg“That’s what happens when you’re pretty.” That was said to me by another female associate (I’m not calling her a friend because what kind of friend says that), as she witnessed me getting verbally assaulted.


In conclusion, I don’t “want some d*ck”, I’m not “trying to suck your d*ck,” I don’t want to help you with your “sexual frustrations,” and I’m not trying to “smile more” for you. What I want is for you to educate yourself and other young men in your life to respect women, so I don’t have to comfort the women I care for in my life when they don’t.

The Internship: Grown-Up High School

Hey all my college aged friends, do you remember High School? A.k.a. the soul sucking, 5 days a week institution that’s necessary for us to go into the world (college + beyond) as sociable, knowledgable human beings?

Well, at my first ever internship, I’m slowly starting to realize how High School has groomed me to be the A+++ intern I am today! Here’s the 5 ways Interning is just like High School.

1. ) Doing more than you’re asked

Are you an overachiever? When the teacher asked for a two page minimum, were you feeling extra bold, spicy, with a touch of academic sauce and did FOUR PAGES?! That’s the kind of attitude that gets you noticed at your internship. Show your boss and other employees (who are watching you like a hawk) that you go above and beyond, and are an intuitive , indispensable human being.

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Do yourself a favor and take the advice of a BOSS

2.) Know How to Follow Directions

This may seem like a no brainer, but if you have been accustomed to glossing over directions in class to get to the point–This. Will. Not. Fly. Hang on to every word of your supervisor when you get a project. Don’t quite understand what they told you? Ask! You won’t be bothering them, and it will prevent you from making any silly mistakes.

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3.) Be Social

It’s high school, you see the same people every day. You get accustomed to different personalities, habits, hobbies, and likes of people in the office. Bond with them! I’m not going to lie, when I first started my internship I was the most awkward little sh*t. But it’s important to note that they are people too! Be genuine and open with them, and above all else be nice! They will remember you, love you, and help your career for it. These are people you (hopefully) want to be in the shoes of. Bond with them and absorb their knowledge and glory.

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4.) Ask good questions

Like high school, you will learn about your respective field, and have assignments applicable to said topics. Don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor (and people in the office you have built a rapport with) about their job function, the industry, or something interesting that happened. With this magical dialogue, you’ll elevate from “They staple the papers nicely” to “That kid has great things to say!” As a youngin’, people at the company are interested to hear about your youthful take on things.

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Your supervisor when you say some mess

5.) Be positive

Don’t walk around with a stank attitude. Don’t be weird. Don’t let the (numerous) mistakes you make visibly affect you. They. Will. Spill. Tea. About. YOU.

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“I’ve barley slept in two weeks, I need a shower right?? Haha. Ha.”

Well, that’s all I had to say about my moment of revelation as an intern. I love this process so much, and honestly lucked out at where I landed. My major key to you is to remember that they hired you because you showed potential–prove them right!

Sincerely,

Anngelica, Always

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How To Make Everyone Love You

Getting the respect and admiration of every person you cross may seem like a difficult task, but follow these three simple rules to find success.

 

 

And there you have it! Everything you need to know to become perfect.

How to Get Fit (Or Die Trying)!

With Victoria’s Secret models and smartphones getting thinner by the minute, you might be searching for a way to keep with the ever-so-thin times. So, I’m going to give you several tips to help get the body that everyone else will admire for a short amount of time before they find something else about you that they choose to not like (because, ya know, that’s human nature!)

Step 1: Find Your(Their) Problem Areas

As we naturally grow and progress through life, certain features and/or parts of our bodies will change. You will also notice that the opinions of others about your body will also change– that’s nature for ya! So, to fit in with the times, you should completely ignore the fact that your body is supposed to look like this, it’s ok to have stretch marks here or there, and that your lovely caterpillar behind will become a butterfly. In doing so, a whole new world of s(their)elf acceptance will open up to you! IMG_5987 Step 2:  Stay on Track

Okay, so you’ve discovered your problem areas, and found workout plans to help you achieve your goals! Sadly, negative people in your life and various sources of media tell you that you have to lose the weight fast! If it ain’t fast, it ain’t right.

“I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”-Marilyn Monroe

“Sometimes I’m very impatient. I also feel the need to please everyone, which is unnecessary and impossible.”-Steve Nash

Solution? Scour the internet for fat burning pills and crash course diets that will get you in shape while simultaneously harming your body (instead of adjusting your palate to healthier foods that will make you feel and look great). But hey, Beyonce did the Master Cleanse Diet so it must be holy.

She immediately gained her weight back and then some
(She immediately gained her weight back and then some)

Step 3:  Drop Everything

In order to drop those pounds, you must drop everything and everyone you love in the process. Why? Because all these little indulgences culminate in a HUGE distraction from your ultimate goal: getting your dream body. Instead of finding a healthy balance with all things in your life, thus decreasing stress in the process, (stress creates something called cortisol which then creates belly fat) devote all of your time, energy, and happiness towards your outward appearance. IMG_6409 Disclaimer: Following said advice may lead to temporary satisfaction and ultimate dissatisfaction due to the fluctuating approval of society. Also,the immediate praise from peers at the completion of this program will be short lasting, and will not be as it appears (hater syndrome). Surrounding self with a supportive and uplifting network of people before using this program is advised.

Heck, this program is bull crap. DO YOU BOO PEOPLE GUNNA HATE ANYWAY. You know what this program can’t give you? True peace and love of self. Gotta blast before I get fired. 

Always Me, Anngelica-Marie

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