Bri’s Story

A little bit about Bri:

My name is Bri, and I’m a 17 year old Asian/White American. I’m from the small state of Iowa (if any of you know where that is, it’s midwest). Anyways, I grew up in a regular size town then moved to a very small rural school when I was 9 and stayed there until I was 15. During the summer after my freshman year of high school I moved again, but this time it was to a populated, suburban (mostly wealthy and white) town. Right now, I’m about to start my senior year of high school.

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Growing up biracial:

My name is Bri, and I’m a 17 year old Asian/White American. I’m from the small state of Iowa (if any of you know where that is, it’s midwest). Anyways, I grew up in a regular size town then moved to a very small rural school when I was 9 and stayed there until I was 15. During the summer after my freshman year of high school I moved again, but this time it was to a populated, suburban (mostly wealthy and white) town. Right now, I’m about to start my senior year of high school.
I want to touch a little on the environment I’m currently in before I launch into my history and life. The town I live in currently is near 60,000 people who live here (pretty big for the state of Iowa if you don’t live directly in a city). As a suburban area, compared to the diversity of cities, the people who live here are generally on the higher end of the middle class and mostly white (my high school is 90% white with 1,200 students). This is just to show you all how much diversity I am actually exposed to.
Anyways, my background. My mom originally hails from Thailand, she moved here when she was about 13 years old or so. She grew up in a big family of 10 kids, so big that an older brother of hers passed away when she was just an infant. Her family fled to the United States during the Vietnam War. My grandfather worked for the U.S. government, and being targeted for giving the U.S. intelligence, the whole family was forced to move overnight to seek refuge. My mother and her family then began their lives as refugees of war now given a home in the state of Iowa. My father, on the other hand, was born and raised in Iowa and a brother to 4 sisters. So, I’m half Thai and half white.
Now, back to my life. The small rural school I used to attend was very, if not completely, conservative. The town was surrounded by miles of cornfields and soybean fields, many guys I knew planned on being farmers when they grew older and many of the girls were content with being a farmer’s wife. I’ve never been a small town girl, I always craved the hustle and bustle of cities. For the most part, I tolerated everyone’s conservative views because I figured there was nothing I could do to sway their minds, which is sometimes true. Now that I live in a much bigger town with a lot more people in my school, more share my liberal views, but it’s still not great. There’s always going to be conservative people I know, but there are many more liberals out there that I see. There’s still “discreet” racism, as I like to call it, from many around me and even a few of my friends at some times. People I see daily aren’t familiar with other races or different sexual orientations or genders that aren’t the “norm” around here. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard slurs about people of color (including myself) or the LGBTQ+ community. My friends have openly said things to me like “I just can’t picture your parents together” not trying insult me or mentioning/seeing ANYTHING Asian and immediately connecting it to me (which is so annoying). If people have to look at someone in fears that what they’ve said or done has been even slightly offensive, maybe it shouldn’t be said. The moral of the story here is, people are still uneducated and not willing to understand anything about diversity. As “progressive” a nation we are, we’ve barely made any gains.

What diversity means to Bri:

Diversity, to me, is just understanding and appreciating lifestyles and cultures and customs of those who are different from you. I will forever be grateful for the United States accepting my mother’s family here and giving them a safe place to call their home, but I would be ignorant to believe that this country doesn’t have problems that need to be fixed. I owe my life to this country accepting refugees, I wouldn’t be here (nor would my mother’s whole family) if they hadn’t. It’s precisely this that we should continue to accept refugees from war torn countries. America has the opportunity to change and save so many lives, yet we aren’t, we’re turning people away based on race and religion.
I’ve had the luxury of being raised in a household with loving, liberal parents and where I could learn the issues with diversity in this country. There’s still a lot of people, so many people, who haven’t been opened up to anything other than their small, white communities. Like there’s people who will never change their views, there’s also people who change and grow if they’re just exposed to things. I knew a guy who used to be one of my closest friends that was homophobic and “discreetly” racist when we were growing up, but he’s changed his views based on the people he surrounded himself with and the information he was exposed to. I used to tell myself when I was younger in the couple years before starting high school that there was nothing I could do to sway people’s minds, but I was wrong. Some people will never change, but it’s our job as humans to stand our ground and call out injustices we see in the world.
I was a quiet, relatively reserved person who just dealt with what people said, but I shouldn’t have been. I could’ve, and should’ve, said a lot more when I’d been given the chance but I didn’t. I used to hate when people called me “triggered” or “overdramatic” when I’d get worked up about things, but I don’t care anymore. There are serious issues in our society, starting with diversity is just the beginning. How can we expect to grow as a nation if we aren’t willing to accept the people who live in it? If I’m angry about what’s going on in society, I have a right to be angry. If I’m angry about what’s happening on the news, there’s most definitely a justifiable reason as to why I am. Diversity is so important to me, half of my history is Asian. I’m tired of Asians, along with other races, being pushed aside and not acknowledged as if we don’t exist in this nation. Diversity doesn’t make a country bad, it’s those who aren’t willing to understand it that make it bad. It’s time minorities are given the recognition they deserve. Just because they make up a smaller part of the whole doesn’t mean they aren’t there. It’s our duty to keep growing as people and keep our minds open so we can change the prejudices that still carry on and fix them.

I decided to start a guest blog series in an effort to expose the diverse and beautiful people out there in the world. “Our Stories” is a guest blog series where I give writers a chance to share a unique story, experience, etc. that has made them into the person they are today. These unique stories can range from topics like sexuality or race to being a hospice nurse or growing up with a single mom- anything that has the power to shape a person’s life.

What experiences have you had that makes you who you are? If you are interested in participating in this guest blogger series, send me an email at brandibrendle@gmail.com so we can discuss. I am looking for multiple stories that  show how wonderfully contrast this world is. 

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Jessica’s Story

A Little Bit About Jessica:

Hi I’m Jess from rosiejess.blogspot.co.uk! I’m a sixteen year old beauty lover from Liverpool with a passion for writing. I also love reading, pizza and pugs (all the good stuff). I started my blog to meet new people and share my thoughts with the world. I hope you enjoy! 😊


How Jessica Conquered Anxiety & Depression:

Anxiety is an awful emotion to feel. It creeps up on you when you least expect and turns your life upside down. People feel anxiety in different ways, and the way it affects us is totally different too. I’ve been suffering with anxiety for over a year now, so I wanted to give some advice and remind those of you who suffer that you are not alone and it is not permanent.

At first, my anxiety was not as noticeable, as I was always a nervous and shy child in social situations. But as I got older, I noticed that this nervous feeling was happening a lot more frequently and randomly; soon, I was having panic attacks on a daily basis, which was so frustrating as it disrupted my life and stopped me from doing stuff I wanted to do.

For those of you who don’t understand what a panic attack is, it is basically a sudden feeling of dread, as if everyone is staring at you and smothering you as the room shrinks around you. Then our body releases adrenaline, which causes our muscles to tense and breathing to quicken. We also feel light-headed and dizzy as blood rushes to the muscles. This causes us to feel nauseous too.

For me, panic attacks could occur anywhere and everywhere, but a lot of the time it was in school, which was where I had my first major panic attack. I was sitting in maths on the front row with my classmates when all of sudden I felt this tightening in my throat and this horrible dizziness. My heart then rapidly started to pound. I felt incredibly claustrophobic and as if everyone was looking at me as the room starts to close in on me. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe, and I had to rush out of the room immediately. At this point I didn’t care what my classmates were thinking, I just needed to get out. Afterwards I remember thinking “Why is this happening to me?” and I feared this was going to be my life forever now. Well I want to tell those who are thinking this that it is definitely not permanent and will go away with time and determination.

Here are some tips that have really helped me when I ever feel anxious or feel a panic attack coming on:

  • Slow, deep breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth
  • Fresh Air – Walking away from the situation

Long Term:

  • Therapy- Talking to a professional about your anxiety can really help you get to grips with it.
  • Listening to relaxing music or mediation apps before going somewhere you may panic in: I recommend the apps Mind and Headspace. I also find that drawing or doodling help me to relax too.
  • Writing down your thoughts and feelings whenever you feel anxious
  • Taking it easy- Try not to rush to places or stress about deadlines, as this can trigger your anxiety. Taking a break can help gain perspective and think clearly again.

This goes for depression too. At the start of this year, I was at a really low point. I felt worthless and hopeless and didn’t have motivation for anything. But I got through it, and so can you. I thought I would never be happy again, but soon I realised that I deserve to be happy, and I have a place on this Earth. And so do you reading this right now. YOU are loved and YOU deserve happiness. You just have to believe it.

“The important thing to remember when trying to feel better is to make reasonable goals. Anything has the possibility of making you feel more depressed if you set an unrealistic goal. For example, exercising is positive, but setting the goal for yourself to run five miles a day might make you feel more depressed if that’s not something you’re able to accomplish. Small goals and small steps forward work best.”

So here are my tips for a happy and healthier mind. I am no therapist or doctor but these are the methods that I found really helped me get back on my feet, and I hope these can help someone in some way too.

  • Start a new hobby, it can be anything from football to photography, as long as it is something you enjoy. For me, it was blogging.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Pamper yourself- Evenings I would de-stress by running myself a bubble bath, using a face mask (I recommend the Lush ones!) and then getting a good nights sleep.
  • Talk about how you’re feeling with a loved one. You don’t have to suffer alone.
  • Surround yourself with the people who love you and avoid spending long periods of time alone.
  • Yoga and Meditation
  • Exercising to release endorphins.
  • Remember that feeling better takes time, but those bad feelings will not last forever.

I am now a much more positive person. I can control my anxiety as I will not let it defeat me and get in the way of my life anymore. By developing this positive mindset, I have not only got a hold on my anxiety, but also gained understanding of my depression and how to not let it control me anymore.I hope this post has helped in some way, and has provided some motivation for those who are going through a rough time right now. Things will get better.

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I decided to start a guest blog series in an effort to expose the diverse and beautiful people out there in the world. “Our Stories” is a guest blog series where I give writers a chance to share a unique story, experience, etc. that has made them into the person they are today. These unique stories can range from topics like sexuality or race to being a hospice nurse or growing up with a single mom- anything that has the power to shape a person’s life.

What experiences have you had that makes you who you are? If you are interested in participating in this guest blogger series, send me an email at brandibrendle@gmail.com so we can discuss. I am looking for multiple stories that  show how wonderfully contrast this world is.