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"Shit's gonna be okay."
Actually, fuck that. If I told myself this, and subsequently believed it, at that point in my life, I probably never would have embarked on the series of substantial events that led me from a place I really didn’t want to be—and shouldn’t have been—to where I am now.
I took those steps because I legitimately thought that shit was not going to be okay, and would never be okay unless I actively worked to make it okay.
I think that’s a pretty good general motto, actually. Shit is not okay. It might one day be okay, but it’s not just passively “going to be okay.” You have to make it that way. It involves taking risks. It involves hard work. It involves difficult decisions and high levels of discomfort.
I would tell my 22 year old self to adopt a politics of discomfort and never settle for thinking things will just work out.
Everything I’ve read about living in China has been all “you need a Chinese name.” And I’m resistant to the idea because it feels like cultural appropriation. And I know people are going to try to use their “English” names around me which I don’t want them to do. But if they want to I’m not going to stop them and I feel like it would be too hard to explain why I’m against the idea of taking other culture’s names.
On the other hand, my name is too hard to pronounce. My last name is bastardized German and 99% of English speakers have too much difficulty. For my students I’m going to simplify my name but in general it seems like it would be kinder to tell strangers a name that they could maybe remember and that would be familiar and comforting to them.
So I have figured out a Chinese name that I could maybe use. It’s not based off the sounds of my name but it’s
Or Shao Guan/Kuan Ti. It’s very simple which means I can write it easily and Kuan Ti is the Chinese god of war, like my name. I’m hoping it’s not super offensive, to take the name of a historical figure/Buddhist god. I picked Shao because it’s common and has a good sound that’s easier for me to make.