Change is scary. Change is exciting. Change is good. Change is Life.
Change happens every day to all of us. We can learn from it and embrace it as change introduces us to new ideas and feelings. Change encourages us to think out of the box and welcome new, creative ideas and new ways of thinking. My biggest life change happened in October 1981 when I was twenty years old, about to turn twenty-one.
I had grown up in the small, southern town, Martinsville, Virginia. The town had a population of about 13,000. It was like Mayberry–full of humorous and bittersweet characters and everybody knew your business and told everybody else.
From Martinsville, I went to college at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina with a population of about 18,000. Boone was actually very near to Andy Griffith’s true hometown of Mt, Airy, NC. It seems I was destined to live a Mayberry kind of life, but I had other plans!
My motto is Ready, Fire, Aim!! So, when I decided to make a change, I made a huge one, quickly. I don’t do things halfway! I couldn’t afford to go to college anymore, so like any reasonable small-town Southerner, I decided to move to San Francisco, California. I made a change in my life and experienced the big world I knew was out there waiting for me.
Everything was so different. I had to take a bus and a cable car for my transportation. I lived right outside of Chinatown and my cable car stop was right at the top of the hill where you could see Alcatraz in the distance. Remember the Rice-A-Roni commercial? That was my stop!!
I had gone from towns with no public transportation to a TV commercial life. I loved it! I tried not to stare as the Chinese women boarded the cable car with their tote bag containing a dead chicken just waiting to be put in a pot for dinner! I had changed from a small-town mentality to realizing that the world was bigger and more different than I had ever thought. Change is good, I thought.
Where I grew up, most everyone was white or black. Here in San Francisco, there were Chinese, Filipino, Hispanic Americans, Gay people, Straight people, Transgender people. I was fascinated by all the different nationalities and cultures and loved being a minority–a fair-haired, green eyed Southerner from a small town. Change opens your mind.
I had only lived in San Francisco for about a month when Harvey Milk was killed. At the time, I didn’t understand how this event would shape history. Harvey Milk was a business owner and politician who just happened to be gay and stood up for the rights of gays and lesbians. A movie starring Sean Penn was made about Harvey Milk’s life. Change can be sad.
I attended acting classes at the American Conservatory Theatre. Annette Benning, Denzel Washington, Danny Glover and Marsha Mason, among many other notable actors, studied there. I had been a theatre student at ASU in Boone, North Carolina so this was really a dream come true for me. Change is growing.
Fast forward thirty years into the future; I lived in Japan for three years and speak some Japanese, I have a sister-in-law who grew up in Chinatown in San Francisco, CA, and I am now married to a Chinese Doctor who grew up in Virginia. Ironically, between the two of us, I am the only one who has lived in Asia. Yes, I am more Asian than my ABC (American Born Chinese) husband. Yes, true change is a metamorphosis. True Change is a Blessing and a Privilege.