By Misfortune Cookies
Misfortune CookiesMar 04, 2022
Not Your Healthcare Heroes
Tom & Steph talk about what it was like to work as Asian American nurses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They describe the fear, trauma, and exhaustion they experienced at the frontlines. Nevertheless, Tom and Steph also share how they found resilience and hope by learning to lean on each other - and their dog, Remy.
Note: This episode was recorded in August 2021.
Dance for the Back Row: Finding my Confidence and Learning to Take Up Space in the Gap of Three Cultures
Joyce talks to Erin about her journey growing up as a Chinese American girl in a middle eastern country before moving to the US for college. Our discussion includes:
- The role of women in the Middle East vs in the West/United States
- Being a "Third Culture Kid"
- Dancing as a way to reclaim your space, feel at home in your body, and find your confidence/voice
- American individualism vs Eastern collectivism
Healing in My Home: Lessons from Community, Social Justice, and Youth Work
Karl talks to Vi about her journey as the daughter of Vietnamese refugees. Vi shares about:
- The difference between healing and the mental health "industry"
- Intergenerational trauma and relating to her parents using the youth development model
- The Asian American identity model
- Experiencing the 2016 election: tension at home and why protests or political action are triggering to family members
- How COVID-19 and being home became a turning point in her relationship with family
- On intergenerational trauma: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-me-in-we/201205/how-trauma-is-carried-across-generations
- On Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95ovIJ3dsNk
"Growing up I’d say I was Mexican": A Vietnamese-American journey
[CW: Mention of self harm] Linde talks to Alex about his complex racial identity journey as the son of Vietnamese refugees. Alex shares about:
- Being pushed away from Vietnamese community, finding a home in the Chicano community instead and wanting to be a gang member
- Coping with his mom’s cancer diagnosis and a breakup in college
- Finding healing through ethnic studies and becoming curious about the Vietnam war, which his dad fought in
- Reconnecting with the Vietnamese community, and some of the difficult political dynamics involved
- Feeling disconnected from the umbrella Asian American story, which typically draws from upper-middle class and East Asian narratives
Immigrating from Meritocracy: A Black Sheep’s Education
Rachel chats with our guest, Albert, as he shares his educational upbringing as a first generation Taiwanese American raised in the Silicon Valley. As the “black sheep” of the family, he offers his story as a counter-narrative to the typical East Asian American experience in the Bay Area. His story includes:
- Growing up overweight, getting terrible grades, and struggling with both ADD (attention deficit disorder) and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
- How his family came to terms with his academic struggle and learning differences
- Pursuing a career in the humanities rather than STEM
- Navigating an academically toxic schooling environment
- The relationship between meritocracy and privilege
- How his upbringing informs his pedagogy as a teacher today
Not-so-Subtle Asian Dating: Real Talk About Asian-American Dating
We talk to guests Ernest and Joyce about the ups and downs of their dating experiences. We cover a lot of ground, but some highlights include:
- The dating narratives they grew up with (e.g. “kissing dating goodbye”)
- Racial dynamics in dating - Is it okay to have racial preferences? Stereotypes that Asians have to deal with?
- Swiping, ghosting, dating fatigue, and mental health
- How to be a good friend to single friends
Season 2 Trailer (+ exciting announcement!)
We're finally back with Season 2 of the Misfortune Cookies Podcast...and with an announcement!
Follow us on Instagram for updates: https://www.instagram.com/misfortunecookiespodcast/.
2020 WRAP-UP: Existential Questions with Karl & Rachel
What happened to the intro audio? What is the podcast's real origin story? Has it helped or harmed our marriage? What's going to happen in 2021? Who and what do we mean by Asian American? (hint: not Rachel). And what does the term mental health even mean, anyway? We answer all these questions and more in our final episode of the inaugural season of the Misfortune Cookies podcast!
Resource mentioned - Racial & Cultural Identity Development Model:
Boba Shop Breakthrough: Busting the Myth of Transactional Relationships
[CW: Sexual assault, suicidal thoughts/attempts] As a child, James experienced a series of traumatic events, but was forbidden to speak about them due to the stigma involved. He describes how he came to develop a rigid, transactional understanding of relationships, and how this framework ultimately failed him as an adult. Today, James is grateful and proud to be a bicultural Asian American, and works hard to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Lonely, But Not Alone: Overcoming Self-Hatred and Feelings of Worthlessness
Growing up in a body considered unattractive by others, Mary Ann internalized feelings of unworthiness at a very young age. These messages led her to develop an unsustainable identity rooted in self-erasure, yet her self-denial was celebrated in Asian evangelical culture. We discuss the cultural glorification of romantic relationships: how it intensified her loneliness, and how it continues to alienate those who do not participate in the church's relational hierarchy.
"Your Life Is Worth Less Than Roast Pork"
[CW: Suicidal thoughts] Anthony describes his depression as the build-up of several difficult events: being bullied as a kid in NYC, being unemployed for a year, and breaking up with his girlfriend. In 2019, Anthony was taken to the ER for having suicidal ideation. He shares how he's been moving forward and offers some thoughts on how to support others going through depression.
Follow Anthony's Art on Instagram: @dengmanarts.
If you are in a crisis, you can text a trained crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line (https://www.crisistextline.org/). For more resources, check out the list at https://themighty.com/suicide-prevention-resources/.
You are not alone!
When My Dad Suddenly Died: Grieving the loss of a relationship cut short
Karl interviews Jarren who shares his story of waking up to find out that his dad had suddenly passed. We talk about the painful logistics of planning a funeral during COVID-19, what it's like to grieve a complicated relationship, and the inter-generational trauma that runs in Chinese immigrant families.
Burning Out Teaching for America (TFA)
Rachel and Karl chat with Karl’s sister Joyce.
Joyce shares how she met every criteria for burnout as a middle school science teacher while working at Teach For America. We talk about the conditions that caused her burnout and how her Chinese American identity shaped her experience.
Accompanying playlist by Joyce: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/46ZODGuyATacnow2iXfqiW?si=9i37i--zRtORAuVkuFeeUw
Accompanying playlist notes by Joyce: https://tinyurl.com/MCPburnout
Asian American Achievement Complex: Navigating career, success, and identity
Rachel chats with our guest about the success narrative she inherited as the daughter of Chinese immigrants. We unpack what it was like to have it all on the outside but feel miserable on the inside. She tells the story of her tumultuous transition from college into young adulthood, what it took for her to quit her prestigious tech job, and how her relationship with her mom has evolved throughout.
- Brené Brown interview on Skavlan: How to cope with grief, fear and anxiety during Corona [link]
- Marina Keegan essay: Even Artichokes Have Doubts [link]
- William Deresiewicz book: Excellent Sheep [link]
- Ruth Chang TED Talk: How to make hard choices [link]
Anorexia Under the Radar
Rachel shares her recovery journey from anorexia, the impact it had her body and how it's affected her relationship with food. She reflects on how she almost didn't get diagnosed, and what it was like to get professional help. We also talk about the toxicity of diet culture, Asian vs American beauty standards, and confusing messages shared within Asian family food culture.
Some of the resources mentioned during the podcast (and some extras!):
- Minnesota Starvation Experiment explained by Tabitha Farrar
- Book: Sick Enough by Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani
- Book: 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder by Carolyn Costin
- Health at Every Size community
- Book: Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
- Book: Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison
To learn more about eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website.
If you'd like to reach out, we would absolutely love to hear from you. You can reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Infertility and Pregnancy Loss: An Asian Dude's Perspective
In our very first episode, Karl shares what it's been like for him to navigate infertility and three pregnancy losses over the past two years. In particular, he reflects on what he's learned about sitting with difficult emotions, and how friends can be supportive through that process (hint: not by problem-solving). We talk about how parts of his Asian American identity have shaped this experience, bemoan the financial burden of it all, and make an attempt to ponder the meaning in our suffering.
To learn more about infertility, you can start at RESOLVE's website, https://resolve.org/. If you'd like to reach out, we would absolutely love to hear from you. You can reach us at: email@example.com.
You’re listening to the Misfortune Cookies podcast. A homemade podcast where Asian Americans share their mental health stories. My name is Rachel. My name is Karl. We’re a married couple living in Philly and we’re so glad you’re here.