Stop the Hate

This New York Times article about recent hate crimes in Long Island disturbed me on many levels. Yes, I experienced the common emotions of sympathy for the victim’s family and anger towards the aggressors. But as a parent who believes in the family systems approach (i.e., kids aren’t simply born with a set of traits; parents also contribute to how kids function in the world), I have attempted to move beyond simplistic anger and think about (and lament) what in the aggressors’ growing up fostered this behavior. This article also brought back troubling images from my own childhood. I grew up in Belmont, an affluent suburb of Boston (believe me, I have no idea what the hell we were doing there… we were a shopkeeper family amidst lawyers and doctors) and Belmont kids in the 70’s and 80’s did not check their cruelty at the picket white fence, as it were. I remember being out for a walk with my mother and sister and having a group of teens throw soda cans (and nasty comments) out their car window at us. My brother also recently shared memories of being a little kid surrounded by teens that threw racial slurs and lit matches at him.

My chest tightens at the mere thoughts of Laurel ever holding such vitriol in her heart, or being the target of an attack due to her bi-racial status.

She Puts Me To Shame

I’m starting to wonder whether I’m surrounded by aliens. Ridiculously multitasking, impervious-to-exhaustion aliens. In the blog world, I’ve met some truly amazing women who basically put me to shame…multiple kids, multiple websites, and smart, funny, and cool to boot. I’d like to hate them, but I can only stand back and admire. I’ll shout out these women periodically as inspiration strikes, and today I tip my hat to Kristen Chase. I totally don’t get how this chick operates. Not only is she a fellow recovering academic like me, but she’s a mother of three, runs multiple thriving websites (Cool Mom Picks, Parent Bloggers Network, and Motherhood Uncensored are the ones I know about...maybe there are more), and apparently has a knack for creating hilarious spoof videos. She co-produced a “My Boobs?” video in the wake of the Motrin Moms PR disaster. Go have a look.

New Day, New Blog

I find that inspiration – and an intense, irrepressible need to act – often comes when I’m at-the-end-of-my-rope-busy. Like this week when - eyeballs deep in projects and deadlines - I decided to start this blog.

My history is this: I’m a lifelong Bostonian, first generation Korean, and the sixth of seven (intentionally conceived) children. I used to be a semi-professional violinist, but I knew that I wasn’t good enough to be fully professional, so I forged a related career in music psychology. (I later learned that this field was a gathering place for other former semi-professional musicians.) I spent 10 years honing my expertise in music and brain processes, won prestigious grants from the NIH, and made it to the hallowed halls of Harvard and MIT for my postdoctoral fellowship.

Then in 2006, I decided to jump academic ship in pursuit of more creative pastures. I founded Boston Mamas (a stylish resource portal for families in Boston and beyond) and, shortly thereafter, gave my design work an official place in the world by launching Posh Peacock. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, serving as the managing editor for a music psychology journal, and writing on kiddo issues for Care.com and Shoestring Magazine.

Last but not least, I’m mother to an amazing 4-year-old daughter and have a really spectacular husband. But I won’t bore you with those happy details.

So now you’re wondering, why Pop Discourse? Why now, when I already grumble about being short on hours, sleep, and time to enjoy cocktails with my girlfriends?

Well, I’ve always been a person who relies heavily on gut instinct, from the trivial (should I buy that pair of black pumps even though I already have 5 pairs in the closet?) to the maternal (is my baby really sick or is this just run of the mill daycare-inspired boogers?) to the major (should I flush my Ph.D. down the toilet?). And as I’ve become more immersed in social media, I’ve strangely found that there’s been no space for my personal discourse on pop culture, either contextually (given that Boston Mamas is resource driven and the Posh Peacock blog is for my design work) or literally (the personal voice I share on Twitter is limited to 140 characters per thought).

So here I arrived at Pop Discourse. A place where I can give voice to my fascination with the intersecting streams of pop culture, the intellectually interesting or absurd, motherhood, and trying to “make it work” (I heart you, Tim Gunn) as a modern woman. I hope you’ll stop by, tell your friends, and share in the discourse.