41: Join Ariel, Stef, and their distinguished guests, Soo Jin and Linda—authors and mental health professionals—as they bond over Pixar’s Turning Red. This episode covers the film’s profound themes of family, identity, mental health, and cultural nuances. Our discussion celebrates the movie and the real-life reflections it inspires, especially during AANHPI Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. Just in time to celebrate Pixar Fest, this conversation promises to bridge the gap between popular culture and professional insights.


Summary of HPOE41

  • 00:00 Introduction: Introduction to the episode with Ariel and Stef welcoming guests Soo Jin and Linda, setting up the discussion about Pixar’s Turning Red as it relates to AANHPI Heritage Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, and Pixar Fest.
  • 01:02 Turning Red Discussion Kickoff: Discussion on the significance of Turning Red, how it relates to the personal experiences of the hosts and guests, especially during Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian Heritage Month.
  • 02:35 Watch Party Experience: Guests share their unique experiences of watching Turning Red through a virtual watch party, emphasizing community and shared experiences in appreciating the film.
  • 07:01 Cultural and Emotional Impact: Delving into how Turning Red reflects personal and cultural narratives, exploring themes of adolescence, identity, and the Asian diaspora experience.
  • 19:34 Deep Dive into Themes: Analysis of the major themes in Turning Red such as identity, family pressure, and the intersection of culture and personal growth, including the challenges faced by second-generation immigrants.
  • 34:18 Professional Insights and Book Discussion: Guests discuss how the film’s themes are relevant in their professional practice as mental health professionals and talk about their book, Where I Belong: Healing Trauma and Embracing Asian American Identity, offering insights into therapy and cultural humility.
  • 40:45 Engagement and Representation: Strategies discussed for engaging communities and readers through the themes of the movie, and the importance of representation in media.
  • 47:30 Conclusion and Further Resources: Conclusion of the discussion, reflections on the impact of Turning Red, and information on where listeners can find related resources or engage further with the themes discussed

Ariel Landrum (00:00)
Hello everyone, welcome to Happiest Pod on Earth. I’m Ariel, a licensed therapist who uses clients’ passions and fandoms to help them grow and heal from trauma and mental unwellness.

Stefanie Bautista (00:10)
And I’m Stef. I’m an educator who uses my passions and fandoms to help my students grow and learn about themselves and the world around them.

Soo Jin Lee (00:16)
Hello everyone, my name is Soo Jin Lee. I’m a licensed therapist passionate about supporting Asian Americans address mental health challenges surrounding identity and intergenerational healing.

Linda (00:26)
Hi, my name is Linda Yoon. I’m a licensed psychotherapist, social worker who is passionate about helping people heal from trauma and recovery.

Ariel Landrum (00:35)
And here at Happiest Pod, we dissect Disney mediums with a critical lens. Why? Because we are more than just fans and we expect more from the mediums we consume.

Stefanie Bautista (00:34)

That’s right. And so on this episode, everybody, what are we going to discuss

Ariel Landrum (00:47)
Yeah, so everyone heard we have some very special, awesome guests, Soo Jin and Linda, and we thought this would be the most opportune time to talk about a film that came out essentially during the pandemic that we have revisited a few times, but never got to have on the show. And that is the iconic Pixar movie, Turning Red. And right now it’s Pixar Fest, so I’m hoping that at Disneyland we will be able to see Mei Mei and her mom.

Stefanie Bautista (01:10)
Yes, and not only is it Pixar Fest, it is also AAPI Heritage Month, which is Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian Heritage Month. So we would love to celebrate this amazing movie that spoke so dearly to my heart and to a lot of people who I know’s hearts, because growing up as an Asian American was a very unique experience. And it is so amazing to see that on the big screen.

Unfortunately, the little screen at first, because like as Ariel mentioned, it did come out during COVID. And I’m actually curious to know how did you all watch it? Did you watch it right when it came out? Did you watch it a little later? I know when you have the ability to just watch things on your own, not everybody flocks to the theater. So I’m curious to know how did you all watch it the first time?

Linda (01:53)
Actually our staff, Soo Jin and I, who run a group practice, we have around that time we had about 20 staff, mostly Asian American therapists, and we were very excited about this film coming out. And we used to do, since everybody’s working in the remote right, we used to do Happy Hour Friday. We didn’t really drink, we just watched movie together and had boba. That’s what we did.

Ariel Landrum (02:09)

No, beautiful, beautiful.

Soo Jin Lee (02:17)
That’s the drink, the boba.

Linda (02:19)
The boba. And there used to be a lot of platforms that you can share screen and watch movies together during this time, right? So we actually watched like about seven of us gathered together. And that was my first time watching Turning Red.

Stefanie Bautista (02:19)

Ariel Landrum (02:24)

Soo Jin Lee (02:30)
Me too, yeah. So essentially we had a watch party at our work, which was really amazing. And this was, Turning Red was the one that everyone wanted to watch and we were so excited to watch it together. And so we definitely watched it on the mini screen for me because I had a laptop at the time. But even so, you know, in the mini screen of my laptop, I was just so zoned into the movie.

Ariel Landrum (02:34)


Stefanie Bautista (02:45)
Right, yeah, yeah.

Ariel Landrum (02:52)
Yeah, yeah, so I did watch it at home. My TV is 78 inches, so I don’t think it feels many to me. And I watched it with at the time my roommate because my partner was working at the ski resort and it was nice having a conversation with my roommate because they are

a non-binary white person, and they got to ask questions about my experience and if I understood like some of the themes happening in the movie. And I was presenting the themes that like stuck out to me. And it was really interesting how they had noted a part of the movie that I hadn’t considered because I was so engrossed in how it like solidified my experience as diaspora, which was the part of the movie where there was like a potential hint towards like a period.

Soo Jin Lee (03:34)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Ariel Landrum (03:34)
that never gets discussed anywhere. And I had so bypassed that. And they had highlighted how that was really so pivotal for them to see and how sad it was that we weren’t seeing it in theaters because of COVID, because of the fact that you don’t hear anybody talking about that part of a woman or a non-binary person with ovaries experiences.

Stefanie Bautista (03:34)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Linda (03:37)

Stefanie Bautista (03:39)

Soo Jin Lee (03:55)
Mm, yeah.

Stefanie Bautista (03:55)
Yeah, it’s so interesting to know that we can experience gruesome deaths on the screen, but oh my gosh, don’t even think about talking about it, period. We are not gonna talk about that. That’s too much for us. I don’t know if kids can handle that, period. Well, I just had my son right after this came out. And so I watched it in pieces because I like had a newborn and I was trying to figure out like, when am I gonna sit down? They always say like,

Ariel Landrum (04:02)


Soo Jin Lee (04:06)


Linda (04:15)

Stefanie Bautista (04:19)
Oh, nap when the baby naps. Do laundry when the baby does laundry. Just kidding. Like, so I’m like, well, am I going to watch a movie when the baby watches a movie too? So I remember watching it in pieces, but having such big reactions. And he at the time loved the music. And it was, it’s so like 90s pop throughout the whole thing. Just the soundtrack itself is like not very symphonic like normal, but it was so upbeat that he would just be so entranced with the visuals and Mei Mei Mei Mei and

Ariel Landrum (04:22)
I’m sorry.

Linda (04:23)
Thank you.

Stefanie Bautista (04:45)
Is she so animated that he really liked it. But I did have to watch it another time because watching it in pieces I would have to like stop at like pivotal moments and I was like, oh no, what’s gonna happen next? so it was almost like an like a series for me because I would have to stop and then do something and then watch it again and didn’t do something But I loved it so much

Linda (04:47)

Ariel Landrum (04:57)

Soo Jin Lee (05:02)
Oh, I love that. After my showing the watch party on the small screen, after it came out on Disney+, I was telling my husband about it because he doesn’t really watch Disney shows as much or animated shows as much, but I had to convince him. I was like, we’re gonna sit down and you’re gonna watch this with me. And he ended up loving it too. Like it’s so corny, but I don’t know why I like it.

Linda (05:20)
It was really…

Stefanie Bautista (05:20)
I think that’s the best part, because it was so corny.

Soo Jin Lee (05:22)

Ariel Landrum (05:23)

Linda (05:23)
That was the best part. We watched with our staff, right? So we had some range of like who are young, like Gen-Zs and you’re a little bit more older, millennials. And I thought there were some references, right? Like the boy band, right? It was a Four Town and it was not four people. Was it five people? And I was so confused. And then one of my Gen Z K-Pop stan, you know.

Ariel Landrum (05:30)

Stefanie Bautista (05:32)

Ariel Landrum (05:36)
Yeah. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista (05:37)

Soo Jin Lee (05:39)
Yeah, yeah, it was.

Stefanie Bautista (05:40)

Ariel Landrum (05:40)

Stefanie Bautista (05:44)

Linda (05:44)
staff was like that’s you know making fun of 17 which is a boy band in a Korean boy band do not have 17 people

Stefanie Bautista (05:50)
Mm-hmm. They don’t have 17 people.

Ariel Landrum (05:51)
I’m sorry.

Soo Jin Lee (05:52)
Mei Mei Mei Mei his mom also makes that comment, right, in the movie as well. Being the mom is like, I don’t even understand the name. There’s five of them. Why are they calling it Four Town?

Stefanie Bautista (05:55)

Ariel Landrum (05:56)
Yes, yes


Stefanie Bautista (06:01)

Ariel Landrum (06:02)
Yes, the boy band era of my life. Where nothing makes sense and it was they were all the same and yet very different. And you had to choose one. I am this.

Soo Jin Lee (06:07)
Uh huh.

Stefanie Bautista (06:12)
You had to stan one, yeah. Yeah, and I think I was reading, yes, you have to have enemies, exactly. You have to have the rival boy band. And I was gonna ask this question later on, but I guess this is a good time to ask it. Who was your favorite boy band growing up? Did you have a loyal allegiance to one and then not like another?

Soo Jin Lee (06:14)
You have to, yeah? And then you have to have enemies.


Ariel Landrum (06:33)
Okay, so this is, we’re redoing parts of the house because we’re gonna move in some roommates. So we have to like move everything out of what was my office and the guest room. And we were putting all of these bookshelves together in the living room. And I found a binder like so thick of CDs. And I had, I had Nsync and Backstreet Boys next to each other. And I had Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears next to each other.

Soo Jin Lee (06:49)
Oh my goodness!

Stefanie Bautista (06:54)

Ariel Landrum (06:57)
I think I’ve always been a yes and girl. Yeah.

Stefanie Bautista (07:00)
Ah, okay, okay.

Soo Jin Lee (07:02)
Very rare for that time.

Ariel Landrum (07:04)

Stefanie Bautista (07:04)
Yeah, yeah. Soo Jin, Linda, did you have a preference or doesn’t have to be the big ones, but it can be.

Linda (07:05)

Soo Jin Lee (07:08)

Yeah, for sure. So for me, I actually grew up in Korea and then my family immigrated here when I was 10 years old. And so like K-Pop during like the 90s, K-Pop was what was really in my culture and identity as an immigrant. And there was this group called G.O.D. like they’re supposed to be like, and we would call them like, they’re our God. But that was the K-Pop group that

Ariel Landrum (07:17)

Stefanie Bautista (07:19)


Uh-huh. The what?

Ariel Landrum (07:30)

Soo Jin Lee (07:33)
Like my friend group was like really hanging on to.

Stefanie Bautista (07:35)

Linda (07:36)
Yeah, I also grew up, some of my childhood in Korea and then listened to a lot of 90s K-Pop. G.O.D. was a big popular one. There’s also SHINHWA. There’s also, there’s many boy bands. It was kind of like a first generation of K-Pop, I have to say. I never really had like one band that I was like really…

Ariel Landrum (07:50)

Stefanie Bautista (07:51)

obsessed with.

Linda (07:56)
devoted to, yeah, devoted I’m a late bloomer perhaps, because when I was like, like in my twenties, right? I graduated college and I was like so into One Direction for a while, but I was also ashamed because, you know, that, you know, something, that’s something that you should be doing when you’re a teenager, not when you’re graduating and working in a professional.

Ariel Landrum (07:57)

Stefanie Bautista (08:06)

Ariel Landrum (08:06)

Stefanie Bautista (08:15)
Oh, oh my gosh, that’s such a great segue because it never left me. I was as a teenager, a young, like really early teens. I picked the Backstreet Boys side because I was like, oh, they have better harmonies. They do acapella better. Like, I know they’re not the best dancers, but they were the ones who came first and all this stuff. But I mean, low key, I really loved Nsync too, because they were like on Disney Channel and they had like really major hits.

Soo Jin Lee (08:36)
I’m going to go ahead and turn it off.

Stefanie Bautista (08:40)
I couldn’t deny it. And in the back of my mind, I’m like, I know they’re all friends in like behind the scenes and they are, they’re all friends behind the scenes. I listened to a lot of their podcasts and they’re all just friends and they raise their kids now together. But when I was going to college and grad school, I had like a resurgence because it was like 2010s K-Pop like came about and I got hooked on Super Junior and

Ariel Landrum (09:00)

Soo Jin Lee (09:04)

Stefanie Bautista (09:05)
and all of those people who came out around like the early 2000s. And then I also went to Japan and was obsessed with J-Pop boy bands because I was so over American music at the time. I was like, oh, this is not doing it for me. I just need something like Upbeat to help me get through college and get through all of these hardships and stuff. And K-Pop and J-Pop were just there for me. And…

Soo Jin Lee (09:12)
I’m sorry.

Ariel Landrum (09:22)

Stefanie Bautista (09:26)
you know, with the internet kind of like giving me the opportunity to like research these things. And, you know, even though it was like you had to join a live journal or like you had to be part of a community. I did all of that stuff because I was on the computer anyway. So I was like, oh, even though I’m like 20 something deep down inside, I’m still a big, big fangirl.

Soo Jin Lee (09:44)
Yeah, yeah. There’s something about not just the beat itself, but I think the repeated lyrics of positivity that just continues on. Yeah, we just all need that at whatever stage we’re in our lives, right?

Ariel Landrum (09:50)

Stefanie Bautista (09:51)
Mm-hmm. Yes.

Yeah, absolutely.

Ariel Landrum (09:57)
Well, I think when I, I lived in Korea for three years cause my dad was in the Navy and he was stationed there. And it was interesting because the music that I was hearing at that time had like British influence. So there was Craig David, like I had his whole album and then there was like S Club 7 and there was always like a British influence. So when I think of like my experience in Korea, I think of British singer.

Which is so odd, and I don’t know if that’s because we were on the military base or what, but that I also that so it was from the ages of 11 to 13. I was almost 14. And the other things that I remember being obsessed with at those ages, which is sort of like Mei Mei Mei Mei ages, was a popcorn chicken, KFC popcorn chicken everywhere.

Stefanie Bautista (10:25)
Ha ha ha.

Ariel Landrum (10:40)
and taking photos in the photo booth with the background, very like 90s, but it was something I was doing in the 2000s where you’re staring off into, maybe that’s why I stare off into distance, so you’re staring off into distance, or you have your arm around your friend and all these awkward poses. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista (10:46)

Soo Jin Lee (10:47)


Stefanie Bautista (10:56)
Oh yeah, like the photo makers, like pictures with like the, the very, not blurry, but they’re just like hazy backgrounds of like stars and things like that. And then you would like trade. Mm hmm. Yeah.

Ariel Landrum (11:04)
Mm-hmm. And there’s like a pedestal where you put your arm on. Yes. And then sometimes they would put like a furry white thing. It’s like, this is a cloud.

Soo Jin Lee (11:04)

Yes, yes, yeah.

Ha ha!

Yes, yeah. And then the, what is it, photo stickers came after that. And that became like the thing. Yeah, and I had it everywhere, right? Like all my journals, all my agenda books, like every single one of my binders and wallets had to have these photo stickers.

Stefanie Bautista (11:18)
Yes, I was gonna say photo stickers.

Ariel Landrum (11:19)

Stefanie Bautista (11:29)
Yeah. And like all of my binders had like pictures of my friends. And of course, like the people that I, you know, that I loved, like, and were fans of, and I remember my dad always telling me, why do you have pictures of people you don’t even know? Why don’t you put our pictures on there? Put your family pictures. Like that’s not how it works.

Ariel Landrum (11:42)

Soo Jin Lee (11:46)
You don’t know them, but I know them.

Ariel Landrum (11:46)
trading them. Like trading cards, right? Like, no, I want that one or I want that one. Okay, but only if I can have this one.

Stefanie Bautista (11:48)
I know. Oh yeah.

Soo Jin Lee (11:53)
I love it. I think like I love how we’re starting to talk about the bond that Mei Mei Mei Mei has, you know, in the friendship that Mei Mei Mei Mei has in the, in the movie. And I was relating so hard to it. Um, how like it almost felt like that boy band was necessary for the friendship because we have something to like root forward to be passionate about together, like put out our, our puberty energy into somewhere. And the boy band was perfect for that.

Stefanie Bautista (11:59)

Ariel Landrum (11:59)

Stefanie Bautista (12:10)

Ariel Landrum (12:11)

Stefanie Bautista (12:15)

Ariel Landrum (12:18)
Uh huh.

Soo Jin Lee (12:20)
And so I was relating so hard on the movie for that.

Stefanie Bautista (12:24)
And I think one of the really like outstanding parts of the movie is just the juxtaposition between her loving the band and the fandom, but also loving her family, who is a very real thing for her and essentially being a fan of her family. Because as they say, when they’re doing the temple tour, they say, oh, we don’t worship a god, we pray to our ancestors. And those are people who had existed in the past. And her

Ariel Landrum (12:35)



Stefanie Bautista (12:48)
loving that and loving the band. I feel like there were parallels but also in such different ways. So I’m wondering, you know, for you all, like, were there elements of the movie that spoke to you that were kind of parallels like that?

Ariel Landrum (12:53)

Soo Jin Lee (12:59)
I think one of the things that, well, for me, that part was actually very distant because I was so separated from my family. When I immigrated here, my parents, my dad specifically didn’t have a very good relationship with his family and my mom didn’t have as much of a connection and communication as much as she wanted to with her family back home either. And so it was just me, my brother, my mom and dad here in the States. And…

Stefanie Bautista (13:07)

Soo Jin Lee (13:24)
all of our relatives were back home. And so one of the things that I felt like I was always missing in my life was that connection and that family, like sense of family. Every single holiday, it was just the four of us and I just hated it because every time I would come back to school and all the kids would talk about these like extravagant like Thanksgiving meals that they would have with like relatives and friends and all of that, right? And Christmas even.

Stefanie Bautista (13:26)

Soo Jin Lee (13:50)
But for me, it was just the four of us. And I wanted to have like a party, right? I wanted to have these extravagant parties. And I also missed it from like back home too, because like Lunar New Year is such a big, big celebration back in Korea for us. And I would have all of my relatives get together at my grandma’s house. And we would make these little dumpling-like.

Ariel Landrum (14:00)

Soo Jin Lee (14:10)
rice cakes and they would have all these sweet stuff in it and it was my favorite thing to make, of course, because it’s a sweet treat, but also because it’s a huge gathering for us. Right? And so when Mei Mei in the movie was just having these like moments of like connection with the family, I almost felt like the inner child in me was like, Oh, I missed that. I missed my opportunity to feel connected with my relatives, ancestors.

Ariel Landrum (14:16)


Stefanie Bautista (14:30)

Soo Jin Lee (14:35)
the way that I could have been brought up if I lived back home. And so there was a little bit of a sense of grief that I was feeling when I was watching the movie.

Ariel Landrum (14:41)

Okay, okay. No, I really resonate with that. My mother and father divorced when I was really young and my mom is the one who is Filipina. And so I remember only like a very little bit of my heritage and then we would move around a lot. And there were a lot of places that we lived that, I was the only.

Asian person, let alone person of color at one point in the town. I’ve talked about this a few times on the podcast, but what it meant was that my, you know, white dad who was not used to cooking was the one who learned how to make a turkey for Thanksgiving. And he had to go to the like the public library and like print out a recipe book and read how to make a turkey. And it also meant that we had like mashed potatoes.

Stefanie Bautista (15:20)
Hmm. Aww.

Ariel Landrum (15:24)
But he burnt the gravy never again. So we’ve never had Thanksgiving with gravy and mashed potatoes. And we also had no diverse foods until we moved to Guam. And I made friends with different Chamorro families, different Filipino families. And they would bring us plates.

And so that’s how I’ve stayed connected with those friends, like even till now, because they created family for me that I know I was craving at the time, but wasn’t really having, and really appreciate my dad’s efforts and as much as he was willing to like try. But I know that was like not easy being a single dad raising two kids.

Stefanie Bautista (15:48)

Ariel Landrum (15:58)
And I resonate with not having that connection with the film and wanting that connection. Now, in my relationship with Stef, I’ve learned to be appreciative of my ancestors. I’ve learned more about my culture. And so I think that has really helped me being able to reclaim what I didn’t get to in childhood.

Stefanie Bautista (16:15)
I love that. It seems like a lot of this movie was therapeutic for all of us. Linda, did you have any like initial reactions to like the relationship she has with her family and like how that parallels with you?

Soo Jin Lee (16:19)
for sure.

Linda (16:26)
Yeah, I mean, unfortunately, I feel like I’m kind of echoing too. Like I’m also an immigrant. We’re a nuclear family and back home in Korea. I mean, home is here too for me now. Been here more than I’ve been in America longer than I have been in Korea now. But like my family had a very tight relationship. We celebrate all the holidays. We saw them at least every other week.

Stefanie Bautista (16:34)

Linda (16:49)
So being separated, just being us, like we stopped celebrating a lot of holidays, right? The traditions that we used to do with a bigger family. So looking at Mei Mei really having the connection definitely like made me feel grief as well. But also kind of looking at her and her mother’s relationship, I think I resonated a lot. It’s…

Ariel Landrum (17:09)

Linda (17:09)
Mei Mei had so much responsibility, right? That she took on and like she had pride in it too, right? Pride in it, but also it becomes a little burden sometimes and try to navigate balance those responsibility, who she is, when she’s home, when she’s at school, right? Like I definitely resonated watching that.

Stefanie Bautista (17:30)
Yeah, I think that makes me think of the one line where she goes, Oh, I can’t go karaoke because today is cleaning day. And her friends like every day is cleaning day. So what’s the difference?

Ariel Landrum (17:38)

Linda (17:39)

Soo Jin Lee (17:39)

That’s right, that’s right.

Stefanie Bautista (17:42)
And it’s so true. I mean, like, I feel like in Asian households, like we take cleanliness to another level, but then, you know, having to translate that to our friends now, you know, in American, or friends that, you know, aren’t familiar with our cultures and practices, just having them understand that is kind of like a language in itself. Because I know for myself, when I hear my students talk amongst each other and like they talk about their home life, it’s really interesting to see how they

Soo Jin Lee (17:47)
This one.


Stefanie Bautista (18:08)
like say it and how they project that out loud. Because for them, it’s a lived experience, but in order to explain it to somebody, especially like for little, little kids, it’s so cute for them to be happy and be so proud of what they do at home. So, as therapists, I know that you guys talk to a lot of different types of people. Have you noticed any sort of code switching that happens when you’re talking to your clients, kind of like,

the type of code switching that Mei Mei was doing.

Soo Jin Lee (18:36)
I think initially as a beginner therapist, there was a lot more of the code switching that happens. But as the time goes, I see myself being more and more integrative. And maybe that’s kind of the essentially what Mei Mei comes to terms with as well, right? It’s like, I can’t do this anymore. Like the separation of the two lives that she had to live was just too much burdensome. And it bursts into like this monster anyways, right?

Ariel Landrum (18:53)



Soo Jin Lee (19:03)
that is unrecognizable, but then she ends up embracing it all. And so I think we also learned to embrace ourselves more and more in the therapeutic setting as therapists too. And I think I’ve learned to do that more because I started to work a lot more with the Asian and Asian American folks. So before I was serving a lot more of people that were of all sorts of culture, all colors, all different backgrounds, and then more and more as the anti-Asian.

Stefanie Bautista (19:27)

Soo Jin Lee (19:30)
hate crime was on the rise in the pandemic. The people that were finding me were finding me and Linda and our practice specifically because they wanted to work with identity issues pertaining to Asian or Asian American identity. So that made me reflect a lot more than I had ever before, right, with my clients. So it was kind of this parallel journey of integration, I feel like of.

of not exactly separating myself, but more of how can I bring more of myself into the table? Because at the end of the day, what we were experiencing, I can’t say that I have come through with it. We were experiencing it at the same time, right? In the same place. And no one had figured it out how to heal from it yet. And we’re still trying to figure out how to heal from it together as a community. And so I’ve really embraced how to be a therapist, but also how to

Ariel Landrum (20:08)

Stefanie Bautista (20:08)

Ariel Landrum (20:19)

Soo Jin Lee (20:20)
all the different elements of what my community has to offer to me too.

Linda (20:25)
Yeah, I think also the world of how we see mental health, how we think about therapy has evolved as well. When we were in school, there was not much of a… There was not much focus on cultural consideration as much, right? There were, but not a lot. And now we’re looking at more different lenses that how can we…

Ariel Landrum (20:41)

Stefanie Bautista (20:43)

Linda (20:49)
honor, like not just the client, I used to be more client focused. And it should be still, but like that we cannot deny us as a therapist is also influencing the room, you know, who we are, our identity, our background, like how does it play out? And like how that relationship can work because that play factor in everything in the relationship. So

Ariel Landrum (21:03)

Linda (21:09)
I think that got us more comfortable. Like, hey, like we are not a blank state. That’s just impossible. We need to recognize who we are, our background and how does that show up? And then how does it show up with the client and then how does that play? I think that really, that evolve-ness of how we see therapy and mental health helped, right? So we don’t have to feel like we have to hide ourselves when we are in therapy room as well. Like I remember,

Ariel Landrum (21:14)

Stefanie Bautista (21:15)

Linda (21:33)
I think it’s a funny story because it’s me in high school and when someone asked me out, hey, you know, hang out, you know, like, we’re gonna grab dinner on Thursday night and I’ll be like, no, it’s school night. And then they will have no idea what I’m talking about. Like what do you mean school night? I can’t go out. Like I’m not allowed to. And some of the things I…

Stefanie Bautista (21:45)

Linda (21:56)
Definitely when you’re younger, you have family, right? Like, Mei Mei, like, you have to go back to your parents. You have to play, settle rules, right? It’s harder now as an adult, married, you know, like, separate life, have a separate family. Like, I have more room, right? Of course, when I see my parents, I do see myself a little bit like, oh yeah, there’s a little bit of switching. Like, I have to be certain way, say certain things, and not as much as I used to, because I’m not under their roof, and I’m not…

Stefanie Bautista (22:02)

Ariel Landrum (22:03)

Linda (22:22)
Like they don’t have my life as much anymore, but those things. So, you know, I’m sure we tell our teens sometimes too, like, hey, like it gets easier, you know, when you are becoming more independent and that’s kind of what we often help our teens, you know, helping them achieve that independent, also educating parents, like, hey, like it’s a development and then how do we integrate that? So, yeah.

Stefanie Bautista (22:24)


Ariel Landrum (22:42)
Now, I think it’s really interesting. We’ve already sort of intersected the fact that we’re talking about mental health. And of course, that is part of the themes of the podcast. But also, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, as it is also AANHPI Heritage Month. I’m curious with that intersection, did you see that in the movie in Mei Mei? Because I saw a lot of anxiety, and I did see a lot of perfectionism. Did that resonate with any of you?

Linda (23:06)

Soo Jin Lee (23:07)

Stefanie Bautista (23:08)

Soo Jin Lee (23:09)
for sure, that perfectionism and the pressure, especially with the relationship that she has with her mom and the way that she wants to live up to that standard, is something that I was relating so hard to. And I think a lot of people that are coming into therapy for are relating to as well. We have this need, and I think especially speaking for myself, like being an immigrant and

having that experience of actually knowing and experiencing and witnessing the exact things that my parents have given up, because I know what my life looked like before we came here. I have vivid memories of them. And then to know what they have given up to be here, right? That sacrifice and to need to make up for that sacrifice somehow, right? That lingering pressure that I was living with all the time. I felt that anxiety.

Ariel Landrum (23:44)

Soo Jin Lee (23:58)
and to also have to hide a part of myself, right? That’s a huge, huge theme in Mei Mei’s life, right? Like I became this thing that I’m trying to adapt to, and yet I still have to hide myself. And it seems unavoidable that people are gonna see me, but I’m trying my best to hide myself anyways, right? And so…

So that juxtaposition, I feel like, is something that was very relatable in the movie too.

Linda (24:23)
Yeah, perfectionism, a lot of anxiety. Definitely felt like I’m looking at all my childhood growing up. Like as Soo Jin said, like layer of being a child immigrants and being immigrant yourself.

in a lot of pressure. They will remind us, like we moved, my dad chose to take the job in the US instead of Korea because he knew there will be a lot more opportunity for us. This American dream that our family bought in. So there was a lot of pressure to perform well, be perfect, be obedient, get good grades.

Stefanie Bautista (24:50)

Linda (24:58)
but also follow rules in the home, right? Not let go of that tradition, like not let go of the cultural aspects of it. Like do well in American school that is completely different in our culture from us. So that puts a lot of anxiety and a lot of perfectionism for sure.

Stefanie Bautista (25:05)

Yeah, definitely. And, you know, like she loves her things so hard. She loves Fourtown so hard. She loves her friends so hard. She loves, you know, everything that she is so hard. But like, I think when you’re dealing with being second generation and not having to sacrifice those things, that translates differently to our parents. Right. Because like you said, Linda, they sacrificed a lot to make a whole nother living for their family.

Whereas as a teenager, we’re just trying to understand who we are as people and who we are as women and Asian American women and how do we fit into society and how do we become like the best part of ourselves. And I think the visual of a red panda was so fitting because she’s not threatening even though she has big emotions.

Ariel Landrum (26:01)

Stefanie Bautista (26:01)
but she’s large in size and you cannot avoid it because she is just, you know, her personality is everywhere. Like who we are and who we kind of craft ourselves to be, especially during this age, I feel like it’s so amplified because the emotions are so intense. I look at some of the middle schoolers, even though they try to hide behind dark clothes, putting their hoods up.

Ariel Landrum (26:05)


Stefanie Bautista (26:25)
like trying to blend in with everybody, you can’t hide the fact that they have big emotions too. So that eventually comes out and I think we definitely see that in Mei Mei’s story because she is grappling with that dual identity and like saying, who do I go with? Do I have to choose a side or can I just be everything all at once? Which is also a really great Asian American film.

Linda (26:29)

Soo Jin Lee (26:44)
Yeah, but outside of just like the cultural piece too, just like going through puberty, right? And during that time, everything feels so big anyways. And the expression of those big emotions and all the bodily changes that are happening, it seems like what you said Stefanie of that big red panda, like it feels so

Ariel Landrum (26:44)
I’m sorry.

Stefanie Bautista (26:51)

Ariel Landrum (26:52)

Stefanie Bautista (26:56)

Ariel Landrum (27:03)


Soo Jin Lee (27:08)
so much more apparent to us. And it feels like it’s so grand to us visually, right? And that we can’t contain it.

Stefanie Bautista (27:13)


Ariel Landrum (27:16)
I’m curious, how would you use that metaphor of a red panda in session or in the classroom setting? Because the theory that I use is narrative therapy. We love metaphor, like that is the best. So the red panda for like weeks I was using with clients and it became the template for every metaphor that ever was and ever will be. Curious, was that the same for any of you or did you come up with ideas later?

Stefanie Bautista (27:34)

Soo Jin Lee (27:41)
I think it was for me mostly the clients themselves bringing it in. So the clients relating to it, especially the younger clients, or even older folks too of our age group, to be able to say, you know what, I watched the movie. And when they bring it up for us to be able to talk about it and utilize that. And all the symbolism that we just talked about were things that they would bring up, right? That the

the emotions that even they currently are feeling and dealing with, that they feel like it’s the red panda. And we can just name that now, right? Like, okay, we just named this huge emotion that feels ambiguous, but we don’t know how to pinpoint into exactly a word, that’s the red panda, here it is. And we can embrace it, because that’s the whole story, is that we wanna embrace it, and we don’t wanna neglect it.

Stefanie Bautista (28:13)

Ariel Landrum (28:19)

Stefanie Bautista (28:23)

Soo Jin Lee (28:26)
And because of the movie’s narrative, I think people were able to capture that and being able to say, okay, I’m gonna embrace it.

Stefanie Bautista (28:33)
Linda how about you.

Linda (28:34)
Yeah, during pandemic, our, I think, Soo Jin too, like our demographic of clientele has changed. I think before then, we were working a lot with kids and families and telehealth was really hard with kids. Not all, but you know, most kids.

Stefanie Bautista (28:52)
Yeah. I bet.

Linda (28:55)
and then we were serving a lot of ADHD so can you imagine trying to do telehealth with ADHD kids? So I feel like if I watched this movie while I was still have a lot of children in my case, I definitely would have. I mean we definitely have used other movies, animated movies, in their patients but yeah so I feel like I missed some of the opportunities if we could have used it right but I mean there were still adults bringing it up.

Stefanie Bautista (29:10)

Linda (29:19)
And it was such a big deal when the movie came out. Like we all loved it. It felt so validating presented in a way that more authentic way than ever. That’s why people related the movie was so popular. So yeah, a lot of clients were bringing it up. We were talking about it in our staff meeting too, like how we’re relating to Mei Mei and then what are some lessons that come from it and then how can we.

like use the metaphors or the stories in our lives.

Stefanie Bautista (29:47)
Yeah, I think I find it more when relating to my peers at work as opposed to the children we deal with. Because I work in mostly TK through fifth grade settings. We have two middle schools, but I don’t tap into those unless it’s like sports. So this wouldn’t be the movie to do it. But I was talking to a colleague yesterday about our conversation that we were going to have today about TurningRed. And he taught middle school in Arizona.

Ariel Landrum (30:02)
Mm. Heh heh heh.

Stefanie Bautista (30:12)
And he said he showed the movie after the pandemic when everybody was in school. And he actually got reprimanded for it because it addressed puberty and it addressed things that he was, they said, oh, I don’t know if parents are gonna be on board with this. I don’t know, maybe you should have asked permission first. And he was just like, what are you talking about? There’s so less that I have to say as a male and so much that me just loving this movie and me just loving Mei Mei’s story.

like would resonate with kids that I don’t even have to explain about. And so I was shocked to hear that his administration was not on board with him showing the movie. I know for myself, we talk about Fourtown and Turning Red with the kids and they love the visual if like, like we don’t really have a strict dress code at my school, so we’ll wear like a Fourtown shirt or we’ll wear like, you know, Turning Red and the kids love like identifying that with us. But.

Yeah, it was really surprising for me to hear that he was, you know, they didn’t want him showing that movie because it’s such a great case study, I feel.

Soo Jin Lee (31:11)
Yeah, that makes me feel so sad. And of all things, it’s just it’s at the end of the day, a Disney movie.

Ariel Landrum (31:12)

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista (31:17)
Yeah, it really doesn’t go there. I mean, we could talk about books like 1984 and these literary cornerstones that they say we have to, Lord of the Flies, but you won’t show up in a movie about a panda. Ha ha.

Linda (31:19)
me also.

Soo Jin Lee (31:22)

Linda (31:22)

Ariel Landrum (31:22)

Soo Jin Lee (31:27)

Linda (31:30)
We can’t, I mean, we all go through puberty. That’s the craziest thing. Like, I, like, I barely got any sex ed in my school because our school is pretty conservative and, like, I felt very uneducated when I got older. Like, we have Asian American clients coming up to us, like who…

Ariel Landrum (31:30)


Stefanie Bautista (31:35)


Ariel Landrum (31:41)


Linda (31:52)
grew up very religiously, conservative, was a conservative parent, never had a conversation and they’re having so much trouble. And then the movie wasn’t like, it didn’t really, it touched a little bit, like that how, we don’t talk about it, right? That’s crazy.

Ariel Landrum (31:55)


Yes. It’s interesting, because even in talking about metaphor, the red panda comes when she has puberty, right? That’s when it’s introduced in her life. And even the parents started being shocked, like, oh, this seems sooner than we thought. I’ve definitely heard that conversation with parents and those who menstruate. And then, again, I was raised with a single dad. He didn’t know anything about periods at all.

Stefanie Bautista (32:05)


Ariel Landrum (32:29)
And he had to try and teach me how to like choose tampons and pads. It was uncomfortable for him. And thank goodness we had the Internet. He found this website of these like cartoon people. And there was a guy in a robot that teach you about your body. And so a viewer wrote in asking about menstruating and he’s like, Oh, I don’t know about this. And he and the robot like transition it to this girl and this, I guess, girl robot. And they talked about it. And that’s how he taught me.

Stefanie Bautista (32:52)
Oh my gosh.

Ariel Landrum (32:53)
And then he like read the instructions in the back of the cardboard box, you know, very military, like, OK, first you do this and then you do this. And then you do it was formulaic. But I mean, it made me not afraid to have this conversation with other guys. And it was definitely a red flag tester. It’s like you’re going to freak out about the fact that I menstruate. We probably don’t need to be together.

Stefanie Bautista (32:56)
I’m sorry.

Soo Jin Lee (33:12)
Yeah, for sure. That, that, um, I, kudos to your dad, like really for trying, because I just, that scene in the movie as well, where Mei Mei, Ming, like the mom refers to, are you having, you know, are you, are you having a period or are you blooming for the first time or something, right? That scene, and you see the dad just slowly disappearing into the corner.

Stefanie Bautista (33:13)
Yeah, and that’s…



Ariel Landrum (33:30)

Stefanie Bautista (33:34)

Ariel Landrum (33:34)
I’m sorry.

Such a scary concept.

Soo Jin Lee (33:36)
And I was like, yeah, the gender role and, you know, who should be talking about what?

Stefanie Bautista (33:41)
Yeah, I do like and appreciate how the dad was the cook in the family, because I know that’s not addressed in many familial situations, especially when it comes to Disney and very mainstream portrayals of family. Because a lot of Asian American families, the mom is the matriarch.

Ariel Landrum (33:49)

Stefanie Bautista (33:57)
She holds it down. She’s the one who, you know, sets all the rules and things like that. And a lot of the times the dad is the one who’s cooking and, you know, just like providing in the background. It’s not always, you know, one or the other. So I really did appreciate that he would always have a plate of bao for her whenever she was feeling sad or, you know, he was the one to listen to her when, you know, she was at her lowest point. So I do appreciate that. And, you know, they, they mattered too.

Ariel Landrum (34:01)


Soo Jin Lee (34:22)
Yeah, yeah, they do. And I think it also speaks to the way that our parents tried to display love to us. Like, it looks very different. And we talk a lot about this with our clients and community members, too, of like, food is our love language. So sometimes, you know, they don’t know how to talk about how we feel or what we’re going through. But you can really depend that there will be a beautifully set up meal at the end of the day. And that just goes.

Ariel Landrum (34:29)

Stefanie Bautista (34:30)


Soo Jin Lee (34:48)
feels very comforting to come back home to after a hard day.

Stefanie Bautista (34:52)
Yeah, it’s the constant, right?

Ariel Landrum (34:52)
Yeah, I, well, I think a part of it is even talking about it being a AANHPI Heritage Month, is that the individuals who created the film, not only is it center the story of Asian Canadian diaspora girl, but the individuals who wrote the story, they themselves are diaspora.

I believe it’s pronounced Domee Shi. She’s Chinese, born Canadian. And then Julia Cho is a Korean-American playwright. And because we’re kind of in the entertainment capital, we are in Los Angeles, what do you think that this Pixar film did correct in representation? Because I think it did a lot correct. And I think it’s because it was written from the perspective of lived experience and not from what I think it looks like.

Stefanie Bautista (35:38)

Soo Jin Lee (35:38)
I think one of the things that I really loved, I think Stefanie, you had mentioned this, is the dynamic of the family, right? It’s rarely shown in a lot of the films how an Asian family can look really different, like how the dad is a cook in the house sometimes and not the mom, but also mom is the one that is taking care of the temple, taking care of the almost like the financial situations.

Stefanie Bautista (35:56)

Soo Jin Lee (36:02)
And actually that tends to be very true in my own family households too, where my mom, in order for her to be a good wife, she had to learn how to book keep. And that was the job of the woman, the job of the wife. So that when the husband brings home the money, he’s the maker of the money. But at the end of the day, how that gets utilized is actually the mom. And so I think the different dynamic of what it looks like in of

a woman and a man in a household for a family in an Asian household can look really different. So that was really displayed well. And then the, of course, just that the passion that Mei Mei has and the desire that Mei Mei has to fit in is something that we all have experienced, that sense of belonging and trying to like really fit into the society, either whether that’s home or in the school place.

Stefanie Bautista (36:37)

Soo Jin Lee (36:50)
where we’re constantly changing ourselves in order for us to fit in, right? And so that’s something that is an experience that we all have.

Stefanie Bautista (36:57)
I think for myself, what I think they nailed were the aunties, because I feel like everybody has a group of aunties that either will just breathe down your neck all the time, but they also are comprised of different sorts of women. And as for myself, not all of my aunts had children. So I knew that, you know, you didn’t have to have a bunch of kids or, you know, have a family.

Ariel Landrum (37:01)

Soo Jin Lee (37:01)

Linda (37:02)
I have to go.

Soo Jin Lee (37:09)
So true.

Linda (37:12)
Thank you.

Stefanie Bautista (37:20)
to be successful and to make a living. But because they had such different dynamics, I knew that my mother wasn’t the only role model that I could go to. I can always go to my aunt who was like the same as my mom, but different. And they all had different lived experiences because they all work abroad in different countries. So I think seeing the dynamics of Mei Mei’s aunties and how they were.

all similar but different and she was able to connect with them in different ways, I felt like that was spot on because you know, the aunties they will tell you like it is. They don’t have a filter.

Ariel Landrum (37:50)
I’m sorry.

Soo Jin Lee (37:51)

Linda (37:53)
Yeah, I really resonate with what Soo Jin and Stefanie already have pointed out. Aunties and family dynamics and something that stayed with me that felt like, you know, as a therapist too, kind of pointing out is that like that generational trauma or strength that we pass down on, right? How that gets passed on.

Ariel Landrum (38:09)

Linda (38:13)
Oh, whether it’s good or bad or, you know, neutral, um, that exists. And then I felt like that really did point out that.

Ariel Landrum (38:20)
I think for me, I really like that part of how Mei Mei chose her red panda was sometimes she would have ears and a tail. Because that’s how I think of like my experience is like the wanting to be a half cat person. Drawing myself as like in some sort of animal or where I’m like a human animal hybrid. I don’t know why. But that to me is like the epitome of like representing.

Stefanie Bautista (38:28)

Ha ha ha.

Ariel Landrum (38:44)
like Asian diaspora experience is this like integration of like what would be sort of like anime and certainly when we had the dad cooking and the food scene it was like the big kawaii eyes and the slowing down and the food sort of like magically doing things like that felt so right and was also so

Stefanie Bautista (38:51)


Soo Jin Lee (39:02)

Ariel Landrum (39:02)
easily integrated in the film. It wasn’t, it didn’t feel like an afterthought. It didn’t feel like something just thrown in there to appease a certain audience. Like again, I think because of the lived experience, it was so natural and easy to put that in there and make it feel very authentic to the film. So yeah, I resonated with that. I don’t know how many times I’ve walked a con with just like ears and a tail.

Stefanie Bautista (39:21)
I’m sorry.

Soo Jin Lee (39:24)
Yeah, I love that.

Linda (39:24)
Thank you.

Stefanie Bautista (39:26)
Yeah, and I like how you mentioned that you could tell it was lived experience because sometimes when I was watching a movie, it wasn’t like I was watching Toy Story or Monsters Inc or any other Pixar movie. I felt like sometimes I was watching K-drama or J-drama. Sometimes I feel like I was watching a K-Pop concert or a J-Pop concert. Sometimes I felt like I was watching anime because of the way that they were styling things and different perspectives. It definitely felt much more…

Soo Jin Lee (39:33)

Ariel Landrum (39:37)

Stefanie Bautista (39:49)
dynamic from an Asian lens and that’s why it felt very comfortable to watch it because all of these themes and visuals were so familiar with, you know, the glossy eyes and like the really big emotions. Like I was half expecting to see subtitles half the time because, you know, I mean not that I was already watching with subtitles because I always watch everything with subtitles, but you know, like I think the stylization and the animation itself was, you know, very appropriate and so different.

Ariel Landrum (40:03)
I’m sorry.



And I think even like representation, her friend group wasn’t homogenous. And I think that, at least for me, that resonates as both diaspora and being a military brat. Like you just moved around a lot and you made friends with a very diverse group of individuals. And even the scene in the bathroom where she’s like pushing that one girl into the bathroom and she has an insulin pump, right? Like this small moment of representation, I think that

Soo Jin Lee (40:21)

Stefanie Bautista (40:21)

Soo Jin Lee (40:29)

Stefanie Bautista (40:40)

Ariel Landrum (40:42)
Again, I’ve seen insulin pumps in the community groups that I hang out with other Asian diaspora. And so I don’t know how her intentionality in the creator’s intentionality and putting those things in there, how much it was like in the forefront of like must represent. Because to me it felt like, oh, that makes sense. That’s natural. That would be there. It didn’t feel like a box being checked off.

Stefanie Bautista (41:05)

Yeah. And I mean, with all of this, I know we touched on a lot of different things about, you know, being part of the diaspora, having all of these lived experiences. For Soo Jin and Linda, I know you co-authored the book, Where I Belong, Healing Traum and Embracing Asian American Identity. I know that you have talked to a myriad of people who identify as such. Is, you know, watching Turning Red, do you think there’s space to have now more conversations about

other kind of enclaves and other different intersectionalities now that we’ve kind of broken through and talked about, you know, what it is to be Chinese Canadian. What would you like to see from Disney, knowing that you have such a wide range of experiences now talking to different people?

Soo Jin Lee (41:46)
I can’t say if there’s one specific thing, but for sure, the people that we were interviewing and have included a bunch of stories in our book, our book consists of mostly stories and people love reading our book because of that. You get to have all of these different experiences that are represented in the book under the umbrella of whoever is identifying themselves as Asian or Asian American. Because in the book, some people are…

Stefanie Bautista (42:00)

Soo Jin Lee (42:11)
claiming and saying, you know, I don’t really feel like I’m Asian American. I don’t like that title for myself. I’m Asian. Right. So in a lot of ways, like there are so many different experiences in the way that we even claim the term Asian American. And so I would love to see more of these intersectional identity pieces of work, because I think that’s what is more representative of us now more than ever is the intersectionality of.

Stefanie Bautista (42:16)


Soo Jin Lee (42:36)
different parts of all of our identities and work.

Linda (42:39)
Just literally adding to what Soo Jin said, you know, that Asians are not monolith. And that’s something that we really want to illustrate. We don’t even, the way we include people’s stories is, you know, for us to not to tell people what Asian American experience is, but how people have opportunity to, like, illustrate, show their own Asian American story, because it’s such a diverse

group of people that we are just a seven to one big category, right? And then, you know, we can go beyond just talking about what is an Asian American, but what are other identities we have? We are different. We are diverse, you know, we get to celebrate every identities within Asian American category as well.

Stefanie Bautista (43:22)

Ariel Landrum (43:22)
I’ve been listening to the book on audio, which is a very different experience than reading the book. And, uh,

A part of it is like the stories really come to life for me when I’m hearing it in audio form. But at the end of each chapter, there is always sort of like a journal prompt, an exploration prompt. What for the two of you, what is that how you naturally work? Is that did that naturally unfold itself? How did you conceptualize the ways in which you broke these stories up and how you integrate it to the reader?

Linda (43:50)
We initially, how we came to have the book is based on our support groups that we used to run Asian American Experience Group. That was kind of basis of the book content. So we have added, you know, taken out, added as, you know, we got feedbacks and we have evolved with our groups. But we really want to make reading the book or I guess hearing the book.

Ariel Landrum (44:00)

Linda (44:11)
and experience of being in a support community group. Knowing that you’re not alone, that other people’s stories can be reflected in your life or you can learn how the depth of Asian American community is. And we had a call, so we had some stories in our mind that we knew from our community members, that we have asked, or we also had kind of call out to people like, hey, we’re writing a book.

And if you like to share your story to be included, we’d love to. And then like we’ve got many, like hundreds of submissions. And initially it was a little overwhelming, but since we have themes that we have identified, right? So we, after we did interview, people submit their stories, we will try to fit in like what stories goes into different themes. I mean, sometimes there are multiple themes that are presented in the stories, which is, you know, often that’s how it is. we want to kind of…

Ariel Landrum (44:42)

Linda (44:59)
unfold people’s stories and have our education and unpacking and the journal prompts and then exercises surrounding the story instead of the other way around. Usually that’s, you know, that’s textbook, right? We didn’t want to be a textbook. We really wanted to be a story of the community. So that’s how we went about it.

Soo Jin Lee (45:17)
And so it’s not exactly the way that we would say do individual therapeutic work, but this is how we would love for our support group and community group to continue to look like that. There’s an element of your identity being reflected off of other people.

and other people’s experiences, you hear them, you listen, and you get to have a chance of reflecting your own identity. And oftentimes, people didn’t know how to go about doing that. And we needed to make sure that there were exercises that can support that. And because we’re talking about trauma and intergenerational trauma issues, that there were a lot of grounding exercises. That way, there are tools that people can take with them as they’re doing these journaling

if things are coming up for them that they can ground themselves.

Stefanie Bautista (45:59)
Yeah, and I think that’s what I love about the book is that it’s so interactive. And not only is it dynamic storytelling, but you are self reflecting at the same time you’re reading it. I’m curious to know, I know writing a book is a daunting task. Did the process evolve from the beginning to the middle to the end? Did you have like a roadmap? Because I can only imagine, you know.

what that roller coaster of not just emotions, but also workflow is like for, you know, co-authors.

Linda (46:26)
Maybe we will have a better idea if we were to write other books. It was our first book. We didn’t intend to write the book. It was something that one of our attendees for the group, really loved the group and then shared that with her friend who happened to be a literary agent. And the literary agent contacted us saying that, hey, what you’re doing should be a book. So we kind of went about…

Stefanie Bautista (46:31)

Ariel Landrum (46:47)

Stefanie Bautista (46:48)

Linda (46:49)
other way around than instead of us like, Oh, we want to write a book and then let’s have it published, right? So we took on the project because we knew there was so much lack of resources. And like, we want to write a book that we needed ourselves and then for

Stefanie Bautista (46:53)

Ariel Landrum (46:55)

Linda (47:08)
It’s not a therapist book, it’s not a clinic book, but it’s something that can be accessible for anyone who’s looking for resources, right? But then we had a lot of ideas, but I’m also diagnosed with ADHD. I had a really hard time. Soo Jin definitely was able to organize things a little bit better and then kind of like did the outline for us to know what I have to fit into where.

Stefanie Bautista (47:13)

Linda (47:30)
But it has been such a roller coaster of like writing, deleting, rewriting. I wrote like five pages, but does it even fit anywhere? Right? Or am I rambling?

Ariel Landrum (47:40)

Stefanie Bautista (47:41)

Soo Jin Lee (47:43)

Linda (47:44)
we learned a lot. But it definitely could have been more structured now to think about it. I’m very chaotic.

Ariel Landrum (47:49)
I’m going to go.

Stefanie Bautista (47:51)
I’m sorry.

Soo Jin Lee (47:52)
I mean, non-writers trying to write an entire book, we’re just like, we have so much to say about this subject matter. And so we just started writing. And I think that was kind of our, maybe it worked out in our favor too, but to us, it felt like suffering because we’re just writing and writing and writing. And we’re like, wait, okay, how does this fit into the book again? And we’re like, oh, we scratch that. It doesn’t. So there were.

Ariel Landrum (47:54)
I’m going to go to bed.

Stefanie Bautista (47:55)
Ha ha ha.


Ariel Landrum (48:07)

Stefanie Bautista (48:09)
I’m sorry.

Linda (48:15)
Yeah, the most feedback that we got from our editor was that like, hey, this is too long. Like, this is too long. This is too long. Hahaha.

Ariel Landrum (48:20)

Soo Jin Lee (48:20)
I’m sorry.

Stefanie Bautista (48:23)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I know we talked in a previous episode about the hardest part of writing is editing, especially when you’re self-editing, because in your brain, everything is important. And, you know, of course, everything is important. There’s so much information that’s valuable that somebody out there is going to benefit from. But when you’re trying to condense it into something that is digestible, that’s where…

Ariel Landrum (48:28)

Stefanie Bautista (48:43)
the work is put in. But I mean, I think you guys did it beautifully. I enjoy reading it. I went through it nightly before, after I put my kids to bed. It was such a good grounding piece for me. And hearing other people’s stories were so beautiful. So I think the end product, you wouldn’t even have known it was chaotic. You could have just said, we meant for it to be like this, and I would have 100% believed you.

Ariel Landrum (48:47)

I’m sorry.

Yes, 100%.

Soo Jin Lee (49:05)
Thank you.

Ariel Landrum (49:05)
Well, where can people access, purchase your book, and where can people find the two of you if they are wanting to learn more about the support groups that you offer or therapy sessions that you offer?

Linda (49:16)
The book information and any book event coming up can be found on WhereIBelongTheBook.com is the website for the book. For our work, we are co-directors of Yellow Chair Collective. That’s where we do most of our support, community groups, and therapy services. That is YellowChairCollective.com We also have a nonprofit, Entwine Community.

where we focus on training future therapists and also providing pro bono low fee services for mainly Asian American community. And that is EntwineCommunity.org

Ariel Landrum (49:47)
Okay, okay.

Stefanie Bautista (49:48)
And I know you are all in different cities at different times. Is your book tour ending at a certain time or are you gonna continuously promote the book for the rest of the year?

Linda (49:58)
Our next event is on May 11th, and we will be in National Mall of Asian Museum. We will have a book event in their AAPI Heritage Month celebration.

at the museum and we are talking to New York bookstore about our next book event. So there are certain and Chicago, we also are talking to a Chicago organization that want to invite us. So there are some certain things kind of coming up. So if somebody told us that book tours all year long thing. So it looks like it may be a all year long thing for us. Yeah.

Soo Jin Lee (50:29)
And I think we’ve also been doing more of online book engagements as well. And so if anyone wants to find us and learn more and join us in the online community too, we’ll continue to do that.

Ariel Landrum (50:34)

Stefanie Bautista (50:36)

Ariel Landrum (50:40)
Okay, beautiful. Well, if you want to share with us your favorite boy band moment from your cringey childhood or how you’ve embraced your red panda, please DM us @HappiestPodGT. You can find us on Instagram and X/Twitter.

Thank you everyone, and I hope you all have a wonderful May.

Stefanie Bautista (50:57)
Yes. Thank you.

Yep. All right.

Soo Jin Lee (51:00)
Thank you!

Linda (51:02)
Thank you.

Media/Characters Mentioned
  • Pixar’s ‘Turning Red’
  • Mei Mei Lee
  • Ming Lee
  • 4*Town
  • Fourtown
  • Nsync
  • Backstreet Boys
  • Christina Aguilera
  • Britney Spears
  • One Direction
  • G.O.D. (K-Pop group)
  • SHINHWA (K-Pop group)
  • Super Junior (K-Pop group)
Topics/Themes Mentioned
  • Family and identity in Asian American contexts
  • Mental health: dealing with perfectionism and pressure
  • Impact of cultural expectations and code-switching
  • Representation and its significance in media
  • The role of community and shared experiences in personal growth
  • Intergenerational relationships and cultural transmission
  • Celebrating Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian Heritage

| Website: happy.geektherapy.com |
| Instagram: @HappiestPodGT | X: @HappiestPodGT | Facebook: @HappiestPodGT |
| Stef on Twitter: @stefa_kneee | Ariel on Instagram: @airyell3000 |
| Soo Jin Lee on Instagram: @SooJinLee.MFT | Linda Yoon on Instagram: @LindaYoonTherapy |
| Yellow Chair Collective on Instagram: @YellowChairCollective |
| Website: https://yellowchaircollective.com/ | Website: https://entwinecommunity.org/ |
| Book Website: https://whereibelongthebook.com/ | Book: https://amzn.to/3UvScYf |

Geek Therapy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that advocates for the effective and meaningful use of popular media in therapeutic, educational, and community practice.
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The post Finding Belonging With Turning Red appeared first on The Happiest Pod on Earth.