Ten years of blogging. I can’t believe that, as of this Saturday, I will have been at this for a decade, ever since May 18, 2009.
To mark this special 10-year “blog-iversary” I’m running 10 photos of me and my husband from the past decade, along with a popular post from the end of each of these past 10 years.
Thank you so much to all the readers out there, no matter how long you’ve followed Speaking of China. You’ve continually inspired me and also helped make this a better blog. I’m also deeply grateful to have made so many wonderful friends in the process too. Know that I’m raising my glass to everyone in appreciation!
When Jun and I went to China for the summer of 2009, we indulged in a month-long trip across the country to take in all of the sights we never visited years before — from Xi’an and Chengdu to Changsha and Kaifeng.
To commemorate our wedding anniversary in 2012, we enjoyed a relaxing evening of classical music performed by the Cleveland Orchestra. But before heading out, we posed before the flower garden to remember the evening.
For Chinese New Year in 2013, Jun and I whipped up a traditional Chinese feast for the family — from roast goose and ribs to ginger-garlic green beans and stir-fried matchstick potatoes. We’re smiling, but there’s exhaustion behind those eyes because we spent the entire morning in the kitchen! Still, it was worth the effort.
When my blogging friend sent me that link the other day, I didn’t even have to click to know where this was going. The URL contained a malicious slur, and the thread’s title included a vulgar phrase, something I’ve never stooped to utter in any conversation.
These were haters, pure and simple. Hardcore racists who scorned interracial relationships.
Sure enough, when I clicked through I saw my friend’s photo in the forum. It was a photo taken with her Asian husband. But with the things these goons had written about her, it was like finding her photo inside the men’s bathroom stall, defiled by graffiti and infantile racist screeds.
I could understand why she wanted to share this with me. It’s chilling when you find total strangers essentially crapping all over you in such an unsavory place. She didn’t post that photo on her blog, expecting this to happen. It’s the kind of thing that makes you say, “Damn, something’s seriously wrong on the Internet.”
But the question is, what do you do when the haters start harping on you? Or your blog? Should you go public with it on your blog?
In a sense, hate mail and hate comments are a badge of honor. You angered someone so much they felt compelled to respond to your work. Granted it’s an ugly response, but it shows you have some power. There are ways to blog about it.
Likewise, when I blogged about the white supremacist group, I was careful not to mention them in name OR link to their forum. The last thing I wanted to do was give a hate group more publicity. I chose not to make any screenshots of the forum either, concerned that – once again – it might reveal the group’s identity.
Yet just because we blogged about it, should you?
Ultimately, that’s a personal decision – but one that comes with a huge asterisk. My bottom line is this: a blogger should never feel obligated to publicly share every time someone attacks them online. After all, you would not believe the sickening racist comments/e-mails that I’ve seen. If I devoted a post to every single instance, I’d be busy for months. Besides, my blog is valuable space – I don’t want to deign to quote from racists (unless there’s a compelling reason to do so). It’s enough to say I’ve received many awful racist comments/e-mails and I’ll receive many more in the future.
However, I always, always talk about it with someone. It might be my husband, a friend, a family member or even a fellow blogger. It’s so important to share our experiences, to know we’re not the only ones.
Keep documentation. Keep screenshots with dates and times of all the harassment, throw it into a file (without looking at it) and save it for later. You never know when you’ll need it.
Internet trolls have very predictable patterns. They often use the same IP addresses and they often attack at certain times of the day. These timings can tell you a lot about your troll – for example, if they attack at 3pm Eastern time – that’s after school time. And the more frequently they attack you – the more lazy they get in covering up their tracks.
TRY to report it to authorities. Go to your local police. If you’re in the U.S.A, you can report it to the FBI’s cyber crimes unit. If your pictures are being stolen and defaced, contact DMCA.
Ultimately, the haters are gonna hate, no matter what. While blogging about it is optional, staying silent is not. If you’ve received a hateful racist e-mail or comment, or found your blog mentioned in a hate forum, please talk to someone about it. It could be your friends, family or even a fellow blogger like me.
One of the most powerful things we can do in response to hate is stay united, supporting anyone who has been attacked by racists or worse. The haters would rather I wasn’t here, but I’m not going anywhere. How about you?
We are a group of women from a Western background who are dating or married to men from an Asian culture. AMWF (Asian Male Western Female) couples, or WWAMs (Western Women Asian Men) as we prefer to call them, have in the past been few and far between but in this increasingly globalized world are becoming more common every day. Still, there are cultural differences that such couples will face and our site is here to help you navigate them. At the same time, we make it our mission to weed through the racism and stereotypes about Asian men and culture out there. We all know the truth is never just black and white (or yellow for that matter).
Aside from gripping personal experiences of relationships with Asian men and their families, and of raising AMWF children, this site takes a look at the portrayal of Asian men in Western media and reviews AMWF related productions. We furthermore will spotlight the amazing women out there who have made Asia their family; past and present.
If you are interested in contributing or have any questions, send an email to [email protected]
We’re on the lookout for Western women who love Asian men and writing. You could be a regular contributor or even just a one-time guest poster. If you’d like to be a part of our new group blog, email us at [email protected]
And to my fans here at Speaking of China, yes, I’ll continue to blog here at Speaking of China twice every week.
I remember my curious feeling when I discovered the link in my Google Analytics. What website is that? I figured it was just something new.
So imagine my shock when I clicked on the link and found my blog discussed in vile terms online. They called me, along with every other white woman choosing to marry a Chinese man, a “traitor” and “trash”.
The Southern Poverty Law Center website confirmed my suspicions – that, indeed, a white supremacist website had linked to my blog.
This wasn’t anything new. This was hatred, pure and simple – a hatred older than most of us want to admit.
So what does it mean when a white supremacist website links to your blog about interracial love? It means you’ve hit a nerve with some of the worst racists on the planet.
I don’t usually write about these things. Like most of you, I would rather live in the light than the dark. I would rather turn my head away from evil.
But the recent alarming uptick in hate crimes, including those by white supremacists, makes me no longer want to keep silent. Whenever we stay silent about these things, we give more power to those who do harm.
No matter what you thought, racism hasn’t ended. It is still here – it always was. The Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving versus Virginia didn’t magically turn America into a country where everyone embraced interracial marriage. A lot of people still don’t.
A lot of people still think interracial love is wrong.
There was a time when I used to think blogging about interracial love was just about promoting diversity and understanding. But now I think it’s so much more – it’s about combating hatred too.
So if you’re blogging about interracial love, just consider that every post you publish is a bold statement in support of interracial couples everywhere. Let’s support love, together.
It was (and still is) the greatest challenge we’ve ever faced in our lives. Yet at the time, I couldn’t share anything about it with you (we were advised not to talk or write about it by Jun’s lawyer).
At the time I wrote that post last year, I had to pretend – just as I had since May 2013 – that there was nothing hugely different about my life. That I was more or less the same Jocelyn who had been blogging about love, family and marriage in China since 2009.
It felt horrible. It was the equivalent of getting saddled with a couple of twenty-pound weights and being told, Walk on just like you normally would.
How could I move on like before with this heaviness in my heart and soul? The heaviness that comes from having your life ripped apart by injustice, but being forced into silence?
I’ve never liked staying silent on the really important things in life. In a perfect world, I’d rather be exactly as I am in every space I inhabit – the real world around me, and the virtual world of blogging.
Besides, blogging helped me discover friends, supporters, and a sense of community. With a lawsuit in preparation – a lawsuit I could never share publicly – I suddenly felt exiled from everything I had built up over the years.
How could I continue writing about love in these circumstances? Some days, I felt as if hate, and not love, was the overriding emotion in my life. It was hard to find the love and beauty in a world that seemed content to arbitrarily shatter all of our dreams and hard work with the destructive force of a wrecking ball.
Sometimes, in the worst moments, I thought about quitting the blog.
So why didn’t I? Why am I still here, writing to you? How did I find the courage to continue?
I have a theory about going through life-changing (or life-threatening) catastrophes – a theory that goes behind the old adage, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
I believe that when things fall apart, if we manage to survive the wreckage, we hold the most valuable things in our lives even closer to us. We learn to cherish the people or moments or experiences that bring us love, or show us beauty, or give us a sense of purpose.
What I realized is this: my blog was an important part of my sense of purpose in life. I had invested so much of myself into it and I still had a lot to say. My blog was like a compass, guiding me through the rough oceans of the world, and I intuitively knew I couldn’t afford to lose it.
At another level, I also understood something incredibly important — that blogging could probably save my life.
In the wake of the wrongdoing by Idaho State University in 2013, I actually had some suicidal thoughts, for the first time in my life. I had never suffered such overwhelming pain. So yes, there was a fleeting moment in 2013 when I wondered if I might be better off ending it all.
Now, initially, my husband and the support of my family helped extinguish those thoughts. But as I learned to cope with the new reality, I also found great solace in having my blog.
It was a blessing to have a schedule, to feature authors and guest posters. To have this part of my life that looked and felt normal (well, as “normal” as things can be in our circumstances). To continue to write, just as I always have.
This experience has healed me. It helped me move forward during the worst of it all. And even now, it continues to heal the deepest wounds in my heart.
A few months back, I received an e-mail from a reader, who told me this:
I love to tell stories, too, but have so far limited myself to sharing them verbally so that I can measure the responses of the other person. I think what you’ve done takes quite a bit of bravery, and I hope one day I’ll be able to write some of my stories, too.
My first thought was, Me, brave? I thought about how I run this blog from my bed, tapping out stories on my laptop and responding to comments while in my pajamas or a comfy T-shirt. It sure doesn’t look like bravery at first glance. And sometimes, I’m convinced it looks kind of silly. (Seriously, you should see some of my “office” getups while I’m doing this blog.)
But as I pondered her words, I once again remembered how right she was. Yes, there’s courage in writing something incredibly personal about your marriage to a Chinese man, about living with him in China (and, before, America), and what it’s like to be a part of his family.
If there’s anyone who knows how scary it is to put yourself out there, it’s me. After all, there was a time in my blogging history when I quit big time. Yes, you read that right – I quit my blog. There was a time when I lost the confidence to write, and couldn’t find the courage in myself to overcome it.
Here’s a big secret for you – when I pressed that publish button on Speaking of China over six years ago, it wasn’t the first time. I actually started blogging on speakingofchina.com in 2002. I didn’t really know what I was doing as a blogger at the time (it was a pretty new thing back then). But I enjoyed posting my writing online, which was more like random journal entries about whatever was going on in my life in China. And some people actually read it – not a ton, but enough to make me care about it. I kept blogging for a few years into late 2005, when my husband and I had a major life change. We moved to the US together to pursue our dreams.
That’s when my blog completely tanked.
The stress of transitioning back into America, along with helping my husband through it, weighed upon my harder than I ever imagined. Well, one of the things nobody ever tells you about blogging is that it takes energy to be courageous, to write and publish your writing publicly. And because all of my energy was sucked away into this extraordinary life transition, I stopped blogging.
It wasn’t really a conscious decision I made. It was just that as the days, weeks and later months passed, I couldn’t think of a single thing to write that was actually worth sharing. And the longer my blog remained without a single update, I experienced an even more painful feeling – shame. I was ashamed that, for everything I had done to build up my blog in China, I was throwing it away because I lacked the energy and chutzpah to continue writing.
Guess what? It takes enormous courage to overcome feelings of shame about yourself. And I didn’t have that courage. Not yet.
So I quit. There was no fanfare, no big announcement, nothing. I just stopped posting on my blog and desperately tried to forget that I had even bothered in the first place.
As if that was possible.
As 2006, 2007 and 2008 passed, I watched my blogging peers in China – people who had started their blogs in China the same time as I had – make their mark in the blogosphere. A prickly feeling of shame gripped me whenever I encountered their names or posts online. I wondered, Could that have been me – if only I have summoned the courage to fight through my confidence issues and just keep blogging? And in the worst moments, I just felt utter despair – that I’d had my chance and wasted it by abandoning my blog.
It wasn’t until 2009 that the idea of blogging about something I truly loved occurred to me. I had just founded a writer’s group in town and gave a few talks to the members about the value of having a blog. At the same time, I was laboring on the first drafts of what would eventually turn into a manuscript for a memoir (one I’m editing as I write this). It was ironic that I lectured my fellow writers on starting up a blog when I had quit doing the one blog that I had always been my first passion.
Then in May 2009, inspiration arrived in my e-mail inbox from a most unlikely source – Rachel DeWoskin. (Or rather, Rachel DeWoskin’s publicist.)
Did I mention I’ve been one of her biggest fans over the years? Big enough to gush over her memoir Foreign Babes in Beijing in my business blog. (A blog that almost nobody was reading.) Well, because I happened to blog about her book, her publisher found me and invited me to review Rachel’s new novel, Repeat After Me.
Well, that e-mail hit me with all of the power of a huge adrenaline shot – and sparked a host of crazy thoughts that I had hidden deep within myself a long time ago. Like, Could I start up Speaking of China again, in a different version? Could blogging help me build a career as a writer? Did I have the courage to finally do this? I had no idea and yet, I didn’t care anymore. My passion had such a momentum at that point that I couldn’t even slow down to consider all of the “what ifs” – and it was so unstoppable that it demolished those walls of shame, fear and discouragement that had held me back for years.
Of course, it’s one thing to find the courage to restart your blog, and another thing completely to be courageous enough to keep doing it. As any blogger knows, one of the greatest disappointments comes when you start out and you’re scraping to get anyone to read it. In my first few months, I was lucky to break 100 visits in a day!
It takes a toll. You wonder, what’s the point? Why I should I put myself out there when nobody’s bothering to read it? In my worst moments, I could feel those old feelings of shame and unworthiness creeping back into my mind, telling me I was no good, wondering why I was even trying. And, of course, kicking myself for quitting all those years before.
Miraculously, I didn’t quit. I kept posting, writing and believing in this new blog. So I made it through to late August 2009, which is when I ended up writing about the rarity of Chinese men and Western men in China. It was a big leap for me to tackle such a personal topic, and honestly, I felt pretty nervous about pressing the button on this one. It took some courage to push through it all.
I just never expected that post would go viral.
I also never expected that once the post went viral, the avalanche of comments that flooded my blog would make me so anxious. Like any blogger, I worried about what they were saying (or going to say) about me. A lot. And it took courage to just tell myself, It’s okay, you can keep blogging.
The anxiety didn’t end there. If anything, it got even worse once I committed myself even further to blogging (especially when I spent nearly five months publishing blog posts five days a week). Can you imagine what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night almost five nights a week, struck with terror over what you’re about to publish on your blog? Or compulsively editing a scheduled post in the early morning hours because you’re afraid of what people will say about it? That it’s too personal or too revealing or the kind of thing people are going to laugh at you for?
Nobody ever told me that blogging would feel scary at times – that it would take courage to overcome all of those scary feelings.
Sometimes, I didn’t even have the courage – and that meant turning to my husband to help me through some of my darkest moments as a blogger and writer. I think pretty much every writer struggles with feelings of inadequacy. But when you’re posting your writing online without an editor behind you or any of the usual endorsements, it’s tough. You wonder, am I good enough? I swear there were times when I was powered by nothing more than hugs from my husband John, whose unswerving belief in me and my blog made all the difference.
Now that I’ve been doing this for over six years, you might think, Oh, well, now she doesn’t worry about any of that.
I still obsess about what people think about my writing. It’s not uncommon for me to feel nervous about what I’m posting. And there still are days when I wonder if I really am good enough. (Or worse, when I wonder if my best blogging days are over!)
I still have to rally that inner courage to continue writing, blogging and connecting with people out there.
In fact, I’m rallying it now as I write this post. It’s frightening to admit that I quit blogging, that my journey to the present was messy and incredibly imperfect and involved a lot of personal (and psychological) healing on my part.
So, yes, I may wear silly pajamas and T-shirts, and curl up on my bed, which has long been my unofficial office. Yet by simply letting my fingers dance across the keyboard in an effort to share an experience in my marriage to John or with his family, I’ve realized it really is an act of bravery. (Granted, an act of bravery in incredibly casual attire, but bravery all the same.)
And to the person who wrote me that e-mail, I hope that one day you too will find your own courage to share your stories with the world. I’ll be rooting for you.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.