Branding my blog, shaping my identity!

betty ming liu Inspiration, Relationships 27 Comments

Hmm, I think I’m finally done fighting with my parents. Hey, just because they’re dead doesn’t mean the battles go away! The difference is that as my own person, I’m no longer suffocated by their tough love. Which means I’m ready to refocus my blog….

If you’ve noticed, I’ve just updated my logo with a new photo of busy me toting some modern day tools with a one-sentence blurb summarizing what this blog is about: “Recovering daughter of strict Chinese immigrants…with new life skills, I’m happy at last!”

Part of me hesitates to add the ethnic reference because I’m concerned it might turn off my  diverse blog audience. I don’t want to lose any of you. As a citizen of the world and mother of a multiracial daughter, I need to be in a mixed community, not one that’s filled with only Asians.

On the other hand, there’s no getting around the fact that I know a lot about the ways most some Chinese parents emotionally torture their kids with the best of intentions. It would make me so happy if sharing my specific experiences helps others from Asian cultures — and any oppressive environment — to break outta the box.

By the way, no one asked me if I wanted to be born to Chinese parents; they were just my ticket into this universe. So I’m hoping now to make peace with my passport. I am accepting the specific setting of my life as the launch point for an exploration of universal themes related to self-expression, creativity, love and personal happiness.

Of course, in order to be successful with this evolving branding game plan, I need your feedback. Depending on your comments, I’m prepared to make changes and brainstorm some more. Any observations you have are most welcome because I trust your judgement. You haven’t steered me wrong yet!

In addition to the new stated theme, I’m fussing over the photos too. Even though you can’t tell I’m holding a wooden spoon with the paint brush or see the pen I’m holding along with the iPhone, does the logo shot work? I fiddled with the author box that appears at the end of each post. (In the photo directly below, the author box is the rectangle in the upper right corner.) I’m worried about my gravatar in the author box. It’s a little headshot cropped from the full body photo — does it look like I have no neck? In case you want a last look at the old logo, it’s in the shot on the lower right corner.

P.S. — I’ve got other ideas rattling around inside of me, waiting to get out. But one step at a time. First, I need your comments on the new look. As always, thank you for being here with your generous, wonderful energy. xo

P.S. — Special thanks to my tech consultant, Lindsay Blair Brown. who executed this new design. Girl, I would be lost without you!

P.P.S. — My shrink, Paul Greene is my rock. During yesterday morning’s session, I went on a bit about how I’m constantly fighting myself, which is exhausting. Makes it hard to complete projects. We talk about when I’m able to be free of that and now I know — when things are fun, things happen. I thought about that all day. And by the end of the day, I had this new blog design. For those of you new to my history on the shrink front, you might like this post: Parents like Amy Chua are the reason Asian Americans like me are in therapy.

P.P.P.S. — Also thanks to my blogging buddy, Mary Quigley. Yesterday afternoon, she talked me through my anxiety about creating a new theme. I  kept trying out blurbs on her and they all sucked. Then just as we were about to end the conversation, I said in off-handedly in closing, “This is really about being a recovering daughter of Chinese immigrant parents…” And we both heard it. “That’s it! That’s your elevator pitch!” she said. For more on how that filtering process works, please check out my post: What is a nut graf? 

P.P.P.P.S. — I will always believe that my mother had a hand in this blog post beacause Sunday, July 15 would have been her 94th birthday. And I totally forgot (until my sister reminded me). With this new blog focus, Mom is front and center as my muse, making sure I’ll never forget her again. Btw, I can’t even remember the date of my dad’s birthday. He’s been dead since I was 19. But now they both get VIP seats in this online living room of ours. Welcome, Mom and Dad. I love you both, more than ever, because you can’t hurt me anymore. xo.

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Comments 27

  1. Post
    betty ming liu

    Ingrid, I get emails all the time from people of Asian heritage who are in absolute despair over their upbringings. I’m quite sure that the freedom you speak of never occurred to them. It certainly never occurred to me when I was younger. So thanks for making the point.

    Skye, I feel your worries. Your emotional reaction is very helpful to me. Let’s see how we can tweak things further. Thanks.

    Charlotte, glad I’m on the right track. Thanks!

    Kristin, excellent point! Toby and Brian, thank you both too. Now you have me thinking that in some weird way, I have fallen back into being my parents’ daughter. You’re all so right. The sentence has to end with more freedom. Let’s work on it!

    Kelley, if you are a regular reader, you are NOT a stranger. Isn’t the online world amazing? I appreciate your heartfelt comments, which make me feel like you know me. Why shouldn’t the other key words have as big a role as “recovering daughter?” I will find a way to get artist, mom and everything else up there. Good point!

    Mary, you’re the best! You got me to the right spirit of things. Now let’s see where else we can take this work in process.

    Dougie, thank you. I will look for a better gravatar shot. No reason to be looking like I have a Shrek neck.

    More tweaks to come. And if anyone has additional feedback, please do share. It’s all helpful. Thank you so, so much for the initial insight!!! xoxoxoxo

  2. Brian

    I like the cute photo’s you have shared.I woke up and found it is Tuesday…The last day I remember is Sunday. Your parents must have been really old when they had you. I guess I should set up an appointment with my shrink. My relationship with my provider and recovery is very diffrent from yours. I go to group meetings on fridays.The VA sent me a letter they want me to set up a meeting with my health care provider for a check-up.
    I was looking at your resume on ludkin the other day. It is a blessing to be able to be so open about your life, I thought.
    Have you ever thought that you may have choose your life? I mean everything, your parents and all? If come into a play in the middle, having missed the begining and have no idea of the end it dosen’t make any sense. Does it?
    My point is that this is all we have been given and I think you are starting to understand this now, that it is up to you to make whatever you can of it. As my grandma use to say “It is a great life if you don’t weaken”, It seems it is the hardships that define who we are more than anything else.
    Why does the Eagle make a great cry when it leaves it’s nest ? Is it something to do with the act of becoming? For if he never takes to the air he may as well be a chicken. Taking flight must reach down to the bottom of his soul.
    The same goes for us. Without things that reach to the bottom of our souls we are but sprits. But we are not just sprits we are tangable human beeings who also must learn to fly.

    P.S. Steven R. Covey, who wrote the Seven Habits of Highly effective People (which included the concept of Win-Win) died today.

  3. Kelley Dawkins

    Hi Betty,
    I love the new photo! It shows a woman with a variety of interests that she pulls together to have fun in life (as seen by the fun expression on your face). The old photo looks like someone who is always scrambling to pull things together, even though she is determined to.
    The tag line also works, with one question. Mentioning that you are Chinese is not a turn-off (it’s pretty obvious from your photo that you are Asian, that’s just an observation, nothing more) and those of us who may not be Asian, but had close friends who were first generation Americans totally understand what that means… so will anyone with strict parents. The only specific way you describe yourself in the tag line is “… daughter of Chinese immigrants…” I only know you through your blog, and words like artist, journalist, and health-food lover come to mind before the ones you chose. The question is, are those the main words you want to use to describe yourself? It seems like you are still identifying yourself through your parents, even though you are working hard to form your own identity.
    Those are just thoughts from a stranger, so take them with a grain of salt :).

  4. Toby

    Betty: I think the strength of your blog has been its diversity. One day it might be about restaurants and the next about emotional issues and the next about art and so on – always interesting and, of course, well written. Regarding the “recovering daughter…etc” line – it might seem limiting and it might give the wrong impression – perhaps – but only if the reader goes no farther. If you want to tweak it a little more, maybe something like “recovering daughter…etc, takes on the world” In other words, perhaps end the phrase with words that open up the scope.

  5. mary

    Hi Betty,
    You are fast!!! Love the new subhead. I think it speaks to many people–not just Asians. As a therapist friend once said to me when I was complaining about MY mother: “She knows what buttons to push because she installed them.” I think may of us baby boomer women can use advice on uninstalling those buttons.

  6. Ivan

    Betty, I’m liking the redesign. It is as they say familiar but different in terms of getting yourself and message out there. One thing I could suggest would be a different “betty shot” for each subject, ie a shot with you and a paintbrush for when someone clicks on your art section and a shot of you with a spoon or something when they click on the food section.

  7. Doug Hinrichs

    Since you asked, I’ll state my opinion . . .

    The “Recovering daughter” blurb might make some people think that your blog is limited to topics only relating to your strict Chinese upbringing. Just a thought.

    I love the new pics, but the Gravatar, since it is cropped from that leaning-forward pose, might not be the best choice. Let the world see what a knockout you are!

  8. Kristin Schwab

    I’ve just started revamping my website as well and I’ve found myself as indecisive as you seem to be! I like the niche you’ve made for yourself. What if you keep the beginning, “Recovering daughter of Chinese immigrants…” and finish it off with something that truly identifies you now? Yes the first statement gives us a clue, but I kind of want to know how you’re “recovering.” As a single mom? As a woman re-entering the journalistic workforce? Maybe this makes your one-liner too long, but it’s just a thought.

    Also, I like that you changed your first page to the blogroll!

  9. Skye

    BTW, does your tech consultant Lindsay Blair Brown do graphic design or layouts? I know someone looking for an artist who can do layouts for publishing. Can you recommend anyone? I would appreciate it.

    1. Post
      betty ming liu

      Skye, I’m writing back to you at night after work but inserting it here by changing the time stamp. Just want to make sure you see my answer. It sounds like you want book publishing layout. I would recommend one of my favorite bloggers, Joel Friedlander. Never met him in person. But I’m taking an online class with him now. But if you want to check with Lindsay, just click on her name in the blog post. It will take you to her blog and you can email her there. :)

  10. Skye

    A room for recipes and travel information, etc.
    I think it is great you will try to help others in your shoes. I wonder if there is a way to target those readers while still not letting others feel like they can benefit from the blog too. I wouldnt want anybody to skip the blog. I don’t have any suggestions yet, but I just wanted to point that out. I share your blog with many, I don’t want anyone to draw a blank or think they’ve clicked onto the wrong site when they read the tag line. But…I love the effort you’re putting into this!

  11. Skye

    Hey Betty, I really like the new pic and the showcase of the different tools. Catchy:)
    I’m a little on the fence about the tag line, or theme. I, like so many, really love that you share child of an immigrant stories. I’m. In the same boat. I’m not Asian, but I relate so much as the daughter of Caribbean immigrants. I love this aspect of your blog!

    My concern is if this new theme is limiting. There is so much to your blog, the cultural aspects only scratch the surface. I know the other subjects you explore can all be traced to your connection or foundation shaped by your family, but there are some things that are just distinctly you, independent of them. I am sure your parents are in the living room of this conversation, but I would point out that this is your house. You can lay any foundation you want.There’s a room for holistic posts, a room for family postss, a room for reci

  12. ingrid wiegand

    In the end, freedom is forgiving your parents, as we hope our children will eventually forgive us for all the things we did wrong. Most of us had parents who had all the same good intentions as we have and screwed up despite everything. That’s just the way it is.

  13. Post

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