in-conversation

...with Tiffany Cheung 😍

Arya Badia

Born and raised in the Bay Area (San Francisco) and she wouldn't have it any other way! Growing up in the Bay Area, although not perfect, allowed her to experience a variety of cultures, diverse people and ideals, and opened her eyes to the varying differences in socioeconomic needs, family relationships and Asian cultures such as her own. It helped her understand the oppressive ideals of minority communities and communities of colour that she loved and was a part of.

When I read she was about to submit a film on cultural dysphoria into the Sundance festival and that the story was based in her personal experiences I could't wait to invite her to share a bit of her story with all of us. 

"My sister and I are producing a short film on identity, and dissecting the roots of internalised homophobia. The film centres around a single mom at the brink of her early-twenties who explores her sexuality. As her young daughter and traditional Asian parents grapple with her coming out, their polar opposite reactions beg a re-evaluation on how internalised homophobia is rooted. In the story, it feels almost as if the child and parent have swapped roles for the day -- the child is the one who's immediately open & accepting and, without being tainted by society's biases yet, strongly believes that love has no bounds. The film explores cultural expression and navigates the acceptance journey of one's sexuality. The film will be submitted into the Sundance film festival, and will be completed before Fall 2019. It is based on my personal experiences as a LGBT mother, and my sister is a filmmaker attending UC Berkeley. We are so excited to bring this story to the screen."

 

And I am excited and honoured to have her featured in the blog. I'm sure her insights will inspire you to, quoting her:

 "Find what makes you feel beautiful. You are worthy, loved, and beautiful."

Inspired by icons such as Michelle Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Malala, and other powerful women who don't take no for an answer, and keep pushing forward with strength and grace: "I hope to embody that same perseverance, passion, and influence to others as I pursue my dreams."

 

 

At the moment she's single and loving her busy, crazy life. "I don't intend on settling down anytime soon or even thinking about having more kids. I want to fall in love completely with who I am, focus on raising my daughter, finishing school, and establishing my career. As far as my love life and connections, I am proud to be fluid in who I connect with - regardless of gender, and exploring my own sexuality."

Read on and enjoy! 😍 And make sure to scroll all the way down where she is sharing her best resetting routine for fearless women like us and a book to wind down! 

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  • When did you know you wanted to explore other alternatives to heterosexual relationships? 

I've known I wasn't straight my entire life, I was attracted to women before I was attracted to men, but for years I had kept that part of my life hidden and secret, afraid of what my family and peers would say. As I grew older, I knew it wasn't just a "phase" and wasn't something that would magically go away. I wasn't questioning or curious, I was bisexual.

 

  • What was the hardest part of that decision? 

I think an extremely hard part was having conversations regarding the LGBT community with my family, but even more difficult was truly loving and accepting myself. Growing up in a religious private school and going to church every Sunday affected my ability to truly love who I was- queer and all. I had to step away from judgmental circles (religious or not), and surround myself with people who were unapologetically queer. It helped me to start the journey of loving who I was, and sharing that with others.

 

  • How long did it take you to come out and how did you share it with your closer circle? 

I came out during pride month this year, I went to both LA and SF pride. It wasn't my first time going, but it was my first time accepting myself and being surrounded by nothing but love, acceptance, and true pride. It was so beautiful. Most of my close friends knew prior to my public coming out, but my parents were the last to know.

 

 

  • How do you explain it to your daughter? 

The conversations I've had with my daughter are limited as she's still extremely young and I want to explain it to her little by little as she grows up, in words and examples that she is able to comprehend. I always make corrections in her own thoughts, such as to comments like "Why is that boy wearing a dress?" responding with, "You can wear whatever you want! It seems to make him happy, and it's his body, so he gets to make that choice. If you want to wear anything that makes you feel more like yourself, you do it." My response is the same when it comes to love.

If you love somebody, or have a connection with them, you shouldn't feel the need to put barriers or on it due to gender.

 

 

  • What does she say about it? Kids are teachers and I’d love to know a bit more of this relationship you two have :) 

She's very loving and open-minded, and that's the way I want to raise her. That there are a million possibilities and opportunities, and she should love who she is at all times. She is proudly herself, and I hope she stays unapologetic and learns to stand her ground as she grows. I never had an open communication with my parents, or a close relationship and it's still a struggle. I want her to know I will always love and accept her regardless.

 

  • How do you cope with the stress of finding resistance from your family? 

I focus myself on truths. Most Asian American families don't talk openly about sex, relationships, addiction, abuse, trauma, or politics. Such topics are dubbed "taboo" and therefore not open for discussion. My sex ed from my parents could be summed up in one word: don't. We all know how that went, I was pregnant not long after at 18. So these chain of events forced us to communicate- and it began with raised voices, and transitioned into more pauses, listening, and finding conflict resolution. It's not anywhere near perfect, but it's a start. It's also part of the reason I chose Communication as my major.

 

 

  • What’s your self talk and what are the tools you have available to thrive?

I try to meditate, but it's hard for me to stay still. I would recommend it, however, but most of my self talk comes from things I know I want to improve on or achieve. I can have self doubt or feel let down, and I let myself experience those emotions firsthand because they are real and valid, but I don't let myself dwell and drown in self-pity. I remind myself what my goals are for any specific task, and to continue powering through.

I rely a lot on myself and my relationship with myself, seeing how far I have come from my low points, and keeping a strong circle of friends who will lift me up. 

 

  • What was your lowest point and how did you raise back up? 

My lowest point was years ago when I was suffering from postpartum depression and my daughter's dad and I were splitting up. He had just moved out, and I lost my job and had to put a pause on finishing college. I was certain that every dream I had was falling apart, and I was terrified of being a single mother, thinking I couldn't possibly do it and provide at the age of 19. Fast forward 5 years and I am about to get my Bachelors in Communications, I have been working since my daughter was born and am now the Marketing and Communications Manager for a health tech company and started my side business through social media. My daughter is starting Kindergarten this Fall and is happy, healthy, and intelligent. I rent a spot in the Bay Area and I am providing for us both.

 

 

I rose back up with the art of asking for help. In many cultures it is seen as a weakness to ask others for help, but I view it as a strength. Without the help of others around me and being generous in donating baby supplies, food, furniture, and referrals for work, and school, I wouldn't be where I am today.

I am also a big advocate for therapy, which I received for postpartum depression and started again this year for anxiety and to improve my personal relationships.

 

  • You have built a huge community on Instagram, how do you balance parenting, the community and your job?  

I am really grateful for the people who have supported my journey for so many years now. I have worked hard on time management, and it helps that my daughter's dad and I coparent, so I have her half the week and he gets the remaining half. I work from home a few days out of the week to manage going to classes to finish my degree.

 

In my spare time, I make time for myself and self-care rituals that include wine, Netflix, seeing my friends, and curling up with a great book.

 

Quoting John Green's Looking for Alaska, a book she loves and that inspired her daughter's name: 

 

“When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.” 

I hope you find the same inner power and remember that you cannot fail at being genuinely you, your journey will inspire others to step up and own their own beautiful. 

 

Thank you for keeping it real, Tiffany! 

xoxo

Arya 

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You can connect with Tiffany (and by all means, should) via Instagram, YouTube and her blog Stay Beautifful.

 

 

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21 comments

  • Absolutely inspiring and thought-provoking, coming from a minority community and traditions

    Anosa

  • Tiffany sounds like an amazing women and it’s great she’s found herself and living her best life now. What a wonderful career and we wish her all the best for the future x

    Bella at Dear Mummy Blog

  • Quite an inspiring feature. I love Tiffany’s philosophy on decision making. Thanks for sharing!

    Catherine

  • Time for yourself is so essential to our wellbeing. I think this was a Very thorough, enlightening and great article!

    Mimi

  • So amazing that you got to hear her perspective. I’ll have to check out the film. Sundance festival always provides some enlightening and interesting films.

    Jamie Tutson


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