Welcome to The Vulnerability Movement.

Finally, we meet.  Thank you sincerely for joining me here.

I intended to send out a welcome letter after I launched the site last summer, but June quickly became August, became October.  You know how it goes.  And quite frankly, I've been afraid.  I don't know how to start movements, and I haven't known how to write a newsletter, so I've procrastinated, and here we are.  November.  Post-election.  No matter which way you voted, the stakes in this country just went way up, and how we respond means everything.  

The only thing we know, is that we just don't know.  We have no idea how the Trump presidency will play out, which policies he will succeed in implementing (or reversing), how the American people will react, and how the rest of the world will react.  The uncertainty about our future is thick as San Francisco fog.  This leaves us, well, vulnerable.  And vulnerability is uncomfortable.  Especially when the outcome feels largely outside of our control, and especially when the country is divided on social issues such as racism, sexism, same-sex marriage, immigration, abortion, religious freedom, and common decency.  For members of impacted groups, these issues affect the fabric of our lives.

When people feel vulnerable, they either lash out, retreat, or get brave.  Lashing out is what you've been seeing all over the media and your Facebook feed, with name-calling, shaming, attacking.  People are scared, and they have a right to be scared; expressing fear with indignant righteousness helps to confirm the wrongness of the situation, and it gives them a ground (albeit imaginary) to stand on.  Others will retreat, hide, keep their voices low so as not to stir the pot, become paralyzed by the unknown, or question their worth as the freedoms they long for hang in balance.  And some are in denial, basking in false hope, certain that the only life worth living is inside their glorious bubble where they choose to remain.  

The last group, and I hope this is us, is the one that will take a brave deep breath, journey inward, ask the really hard questions of ourselves, and return with an offering of hope and humanity.  Please hear this:  the stories and wisdom we hold in our minds and hearts are not to be underestimated.  Our stories can change the world.  If we can ask ourselves to get really quiet, and really REAL, about what we're feeling and what we believe, if we can get to the truth of our stories and see that every experience of pain and suffering is a bridge connecting us to one another, and if we can let the world see us in full integrity of who we are and what we stand for, then everything will shift.  

For example, a few days ago I began addressing my own embodiment and expression of racism and white power.  Last July I wrote a blog piece on my experience growing up as a minority in white middle-class America, which, quite frankly, haunted me for a week or two before life simply moved in another (more easily navigable) direction.  Trying to disown the racism that I've internalized since early childhood is no small feat, and while the world at that time seemed to have gone stark raving mad, I was still generously removed from it.  Safe in my bubble.  But this is no longer the case.  For better or worse, the 2016 election has exploded my most deeply ingrained beliefs about race and prejudice onto the front page of our lives.  Hate crimes are now being committed all over the country, targeting all races, by people of all ages, in the name of our new president-elect.  It's impossible to look away.  

What I am finally beginning to understand is that I have no right to be disgusted by anyone else's prejudice and racism until I deal with my own.  It just doesn't work that way.  I can't condemn someone for believing something that I, too, accepted as the truth way before I understood what racism was -- that, put simply, white people are better than non-white people.  Growing up, I never once felt equal to a white person.  I never once looked in the mirror without being disgusted by my slanted eyes, flat nose and shiny black hair, wishing for it to be different.  I spent the first two decades of my life trying to escape the reality that I was not born white.  I did everything I could to project whiteness from the inside out; every choice I made was an attempt to cross over to the other side, to belong with the whites, to be better than those strange people whose funny eyes and yellow skin I shared by some horrible, unforgivable mistake.  

If this makes you uncomfortable, good.  If it makes you curious, great.  Because we need to talk about it.  It's been too long.  White nationalists and the KKK are not the only racists in this country, they're just the only ones speaking their minds.  Racism is a spectrum, and while intellectually I can talk all day about how everyone deserves to be treated the same, how do I REALLY feel in my yellow skin compared to a white person?  How do I REALLY feel when I see other Chinese in the world who are not like me?  How do I REALLY feel about anyone who is not the epitome of what I was told by the world to be -- white, thin, attractive, smart, and rich?  Poison is poison, and racism is poison, and no matter how much or how little we possess, it needs to go.  Until we acknowledge the entire problem, of which the majority of us take part (whether we're aware of it or not), it will continue to persist.

Do you feel it, too?  Are you brave enough to look?  Because this is the kind of work that will heal the world.  We get nowhere by continuing to speak the words we want so badly to advocate and believe, without being in total and complete integrity with what we're saying.  We have to get really, painfully, honest with ourselves, and we have to do the work.

How do we do the work?  I don't have the answers today, but I'm determined to find them.  The transformative journey I've been on for the past decade and my current studies in life coach training are the perfect teachers, and I will share everything I learn with you.  I sincerely hope that, by exposing my truth and learning to shift the beliefs that are at the core of my suffering, I can build a bridge for others to cross.  We need more honest conversations about racism right now, and we need to be brave enough to have them.  

Will you join me?  

With love and hope,

Now accepting guest blog posts!
What is the story you want to share?  What is the wisdom in your heart, in your suffering?   If you have a story to tell about what it's like to be gloriously and painfully human, we want to hear it.  All topics considered, but the story must be your own and it must be the truth.  Bonus points for writing something so honest it scares you.  

Please send submissions to
In 2017 I'll begin offering low-cost 1:1 coaching sessions while I finish my training as a Martha Beck Life Coach!  This transformative coaching method serves to free anyone who is ready to let go of painful beliefs and question the way things appear to be, in order to claim the life that is waiting for them.  Contact me for more information:

Copyright © 2016 Joanne Chang, All rights reserved.


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Joanne Chang · 2221 Eliot Street · Denver, CO 80211 · USA

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