Maui Adventures

Hawaii has always been a special place for me; nature, culture, beaches, adventures, food, and people. My first trip to Hawaii was when I was one year old, and I have traveled back several times after that. Growing up, I enjoyed going to luaus, watching Lilo & Stitch, and wearing florals. In college, I became best friends with three people from Hawaii, and they treat me like family.  Fun fact: I got hired at both of my current jobs after I arrived back from Hawaii. Hawaii is my lucky charm.

My trip to Maui in August was my first real vacation in three years. After months of staying home and working long hours, I went all out in Maui. It was different being in a crowded airport and flying. I do not like flying, and there was a lot of turbulence during the last 30 minutes of the flight. Sometimes you have to face your fears to land in paradise. There was so much to see; I walked 3-5 miles a day for a week. I ate so much meat and desserts. 

Hope this post gets you excited to plan your future vacation!!!!

Successes & Obstacles with Cerebral Palsy

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month and Cerebral Palsy (CP) comes with extraordinary gifts and challenges. I was diagnosed with CP at birth due to a delayed delivery and lack of oxygen in the brain. CP affects my balance, speech, spasticity, and fine motor functions. I was born on November 13. My birth was a traumatic experience where my mom and I almost did not survive. Even as a newborn, I was able to fight for my life. 13 is traditionally an unlucky number. However, I converted 13 to my lucky number because it is the day I survived the impossible. Throughout my life, I turned negatives into positives.

Featured Guest on a Podcast: Don’t Let The Disability Fool You

In December, I had the opportunity to be a guest on a podcast by Domo Jones called “Don’t Let The Disability Fool You.” The purpose of her podcast is to have people with disabilities tell their stories. For many years, I did not talk about my CP because people usually overlook it or did not take the time to learn how it affects me. They only knew me as someone with a physical disability. 

Click the link below to listen to the podcast episode!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dont-let-the-disability-fool-you/id1536304813?i=1000511257509

I started to talk about my CP openly early last year. I talked to one of my best friends about job interviews; he said to talk about how I overcame challenges with CP. I had two years of discrimination applying to jobs because I can’t speak clearly. The two great things that my best friend said about my CP are that I should not be embarrassed with him and he is not afraid to ask me hard questions. He created a safe place for me to tell him specific details. During this pandemic, I learned that I have to share my story with my CP. I can help people become comfortable with interacting with people who have disabilities. Domo Jones reached out to me to do her podcast; I was finally ready to speak about my CP and had another good friend speak on my behalf.

Being a Child with Cerebral Palsy 

You’re Invited to a Networking Mixer!

Networking can get you a job, you can connect friends and family to companies that might hire them, get advice from professionals in your field to advance your career, etc. Networking is the best tool for your career.

InHerShoes is partnering with an SFSU student organization called Management Organization for Business Students (MOBS) for a virtual networking mixer event. It is on Monday, March 8th from 6:00-8:00 PM PT.

Register for this event by clicking the link below! This eventbrite has five events listed; click the Tickets bottom for March 8th to register. Feel free to register for the other events you might be interested in attending as well.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womxns-week-march-8-12-tickets-142005924543

Two Wonderful InHerShoes Members Leading the Breakout Rooms 

Laurel Komos – Senior Experience Consultant @ Salesforce Media/Creative Breakout Room

“Networking ideally turns into an ongoing reciprocal relationship. Even after you meet for the first time, continue to reach out if you have an article that feels pertinent to their interests or expertise, consider them for opportunities, connect them with other people in their space, etc.” -Laurel

Syrena Bui – Associate Product Manager @ ServeNow – Business Breakout Room

 “Take a deep breath and ask yourself what you want to get out of the networking event. To learn new skills? Use skills you’ve learned in the past? Connect with people to have a meaningful relationship? Whatever it is, come prepared to actively listen, engage, and most importantly, have fun!” – Syrena

Attendees will listen to the speakers’ networking tips, their experiences from their early careers, and how they advanced in their careers. It is a mixer, you can ask personal questions that can lead you further in your career. The mixer will have speakers in industries in business, tech, and creative. After the panel of speakers finish their 30 minutes Q&A and discussion, the attendees will use the speakers’ networking tools to network with each other in breakout rooms.

My Personal Experience with Networking

Networking got me my first two jobs. My college career counselor connected with the CEO of a nonprofit and my aunt connected me to a tax manager at an accounting firm. I did both internships during college and that experience helped me get my job at SJSU three months after graduation. I also help others network too. One day I was attending a webinar about mentoring and the nonprofit hosted the event mentor kids. I thought it was a perfect place for my best friend to work because he works well with the youth and is an HR major. The nonprofit hired him and kept promoting him. I also do social media for a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities find jobs, so I post advice for job searching.

Networking is not only to find a job for yourself. It has many opportunities for you and others around you. InHerShoes Bay Area: Early Career Networking event will help you explore the many avenues of networking and meeting great professionals.

Finding Happiness During Transitions

Happiness is precious because if I do something every day that makes me happy, then situations will be easier to resolve. Being happy is the top priority because it gives me confidence and a positive outlook. When life gets busy, it is easy to forget about happiness. Reminding myself and taking action on what I truly want will bring me joy.

I recently went through transitions with my job and relationships with people. It was overwhelming because there were so many expectations and responsibilities. I thought opening up to everyone would be helpful, but it was draining. I listened to people’s opinions, but I did not set boundaries to protect my feelings. My friends and family tried to help, but some do not know the whole story because we do not talk regularly. 

Taking On New Responsibilities 

In December, I received a promotion at one of my jobs with a conversion from a temporary to permanent employee, more hours and responsibilities, and became an accounting associate. I was happy for this opportunity because it was my next step in my career, and I learned to manage a heavy workload. When I have job interviews in the future, if companies question whether I can handle the workload, I have the experience to answer their questions and concerns.

Before the promotion, I was only doing social media, and then I was designated to take on most of the accounting responsibilities. The six-week training for accounting tasks was an adjustment. I also work accounting 25 hours a week at SJSU, so working around 50 hours a week at both jobs was daunting. It means doing double the accounting work. With my disability, transitions take longer to get used to because I use more energy to control my muscles and spasticity. 

Thoughts of 2020

“In Her Shoes”

This year, I had to adapt to many new changes, take risks, and let people accept me. I found a group of impressive women who welcomed me with open arms and adjusted to the way I communicate naturally. In September, I became a member of an organization that empowers women called “In Her Shoes.” I finally found a sisterhood that shares similar values and aspirations as I do. I was able to open up and share my input right away because they are eager to hear my opinions. I hope my readers will attend In Her Shoes upcoming virtual events because I want you to experience an incredible organization. 

Click Here to Register to this Virtual Event! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/catalyze-the-new-normal-achieve-work-life-balance-tickets-129105358603

Before the Pandemic 

My life was hectic, and I was only going through the motions without reflecting and taking the proper actions. I was busy at work, always out after work, and I did not want to go home. Every day, I was either with co-workers, personal aides, coaches, personal trainers, and friends. The social life helped me cope with daily stresses and made me avoid facing conflict. I would have constant distractions, so I did not want to worry about not being in the place I expected to be.

I was going through job interviews, waiting to get a promotion for one of my jobs in July, was planning a big 21st birthday for my best friend, upcoming college alumni events, and traveling. These plans disappeared, and I struggled for the first few months of the pandemic. 

During the Pandemic 

Managing Multiple Situations at Once

The waiting game causes stress. I want to show that people with disabilities have to deal with tough situations when they are bombarded with many things at once like we all have to do.

Handling Expectations

Upbringing

My family is interracial; I am Filipino, Swiss, and Japanese. My dad is Swiss and Japanese, and he had a simple upbringing and was not close to his family. My mom grew up in the Philippines, and her family migrated to the U.S. My grandparents did not have much money raising five kids. Since being a low-income family, my mom and aunts became successful in healthcare to give their kids a better life. My extended family shows love and care by pointing out positives and negatives and highlighting my strengths. I am from a rich neighborhood that is safe and feels like a bubble. My peers only cared about status, intelligence, and money. My upbringing led to high expectations.

Proud of My Disabilities

By celebrating Disability Pride Month in July, I wanted to tell you why I am proud of my disabilities. I wouldn’t be who I am without my disabilities. I became fierce, brave, smart, curious, loving, outgoing, bold, and motivated. I am a well-balanced person because I enjoy helping others, working, spending time with friends and family, staying active, and doing self-care.

Lifestyle of Fitness

Benefits of Fitness

It is incredible to go to the gym and feel like an athlete. Gym members complement your hard work and how strong you are. Outside the gym, you have the strength to conquer your daily routines and unpredictable situations. Exercising helps you form endurance for a long day of working, doing chores, and having a social life. Fitness is the healthiest stress reliever because you can let it out on your workout while gaining muscle and maintaining or losing weight. It also gives you confidence because it feels good when you see the outcome.

Video of my workouts

Steps of my Fitness Journey 

People who evaluated my physical disabilities put limitations on me. In my past, I could not concentrate on my studies, got tired easily, and needed help on everything. I did not have the stamina to do many activities. I resolved this problem by making fitness part of my lifestyle.

I always had an athletic and competitive side in me. I like winning, cheering, and having fun. When I was younger, I watched my sister and cousins’ volleyball and soccer games. I enjoyed seeing their fire in their eyes and having great teamwork. I got along with people on sports teams. During college, I hung out with students in baseball, wrestling, volleyball, and soccer. They appreciate my physical uniqueness and strength of my disabilities. We currently motivate each other to stay fit and active.

Building Strong Relationships

Why is it hard to form relationships?

People with disabilities experience social barriers because people without disabilities are scared to communicate with them. It starts when children with disabilities get pulled away from their peers. Children with and without disabilities do not know how to connect. The barrier continues when they become adults. People feel uncomfortable being seen and impatient with people with disabilities because it affects their reputation. The solution is inclusion and embracing their strengths and social goals. 

As a child, I did not know how to form relationships. I got frustrated because people showed impatience with me. I became popular a few times, but it slowly faded away because people stopped talking to me. I am very social and needed a different approach to engage with people. I felt lost not having strong relationships. I had to do trial and error to find people who will accept and embrace me. I went through many people and had some disappointments. We did not form the foundation to build relationships and grew apart. It took a while to learn how to express myself and people did not let me in. I ended up finding people who naturally accepted me, and I could be myself with them.