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The DIOP Circle V.22

November 17th, 2019


Patrick Yang

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're getting deeper with Patrick Yang. Modeling our third season, Patrick has bailed us out handsomely on several occasions. And he's going to share how he's learned to express himself.

The most important thing to me growing up was probably being “a good kid."

Much of my behavior was based on following what my religion (Christianity), my culture (Korean), and authority figures (teachers and parents) told me. While I may have learned discipline and patience from a young age, it also meant that I was rather obedient and assimilating.

I always struggled with this though, even if I may never have shown it until I got older. This internal conflict was probably due in large part to what I was exposed to at school and what I encountered of American society in New York City.

For some reason I was always acutely aware of the stereotypes attributed to Asian-Americans - “good” (model minority) or “bad”- and heavily influenced by them. But as I matured (through my first months away from home in college, my first relationships, my first job), the desire to express myself more freely grew inside.

On the one hand I came to be proud of where my story originates and the environment I grew up in, and in tandem I became even defiant against what I felt like society was prescribing for “someone like me.”

The toughest part of the transition for me in stepping out into “the working world” and “being an adult” is that now, because I work in a corporate setting where most of the people I have to interact with do not share my story or my values, I feel coerced to return to being that “obedient kid”. Do what’s right for the company, “act right” for the business, even though it may sometimes be at odds with how I want to express myself.

Outside of the office, what allows me to express myself most freely and openly is dance. I started dancing a little less than two years ago, because I always loved how some dancers could speak to you and touch your heart with their movements.

In a similar way, I wanted to be able to express what I was feeling and use it to connect to others. Now I train in a variety of styles in studios across NYC, from Soho to the Upper West Side- so that I can convey my story as best I can through body control.

Even in dance though, I do experience some personal challenges as an Asian man - both because of the lack of representation and again, the associated stereotypes that you have to constantly counter in a setting where you’re supposed to be sexy, powerful, and “masculine."

I struggle with conclusions because I always see the other side of the story, the possibility of different experiences or new thoughts. I’ve changed a lot since I was a kid, and who knows what the future holds for me.

But that’s why I like to just “share my story” - because I don’t need to give a grandiose statement, I only need to give what I have and hope others take from it something that can help them on their journey.


The DIOP Circle V.22

November 17th, 2019


Patrick Yang

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're getting deeper with Patrick Yang. Modeling our third season, Patrick has bailed us out handsomely on several occasions. And he's going to share how he's learned to express himself.

The most important thing to me growing up was probably being “a good kid."

Much of my behavior was based on following what my religion (Christianity), my culture (Korean), and authority figures (teachers and parents) told me. While I may have learned discipline and patience from a young age, it also meant that I was rather obedient and assimilating.

I always struggled with this though, even if I may never have shown it until I got older. This internal conflict was probably due in large part to what I was exposed to at school and what I encountered of American society in New York City.

For some reason I was always acutely aware of the stereotypes attributed to Asian-Americans - “good” (model minority) or “bad”- and heavily influenced by them. But as I matured (through my first months away from home in college, my first relationships, my first job), the desire to express myself more freely grew inside.

On the one hand I came to be proud of where my story originates and the environment I grew up in, and in tandem I became even defiant against what I felt like society was prescribing for “someone like me.”

The toughest part of the transition for me in stepping out into “the working world” and “being an adult” is that now, because I work in a corporate setting where most of the people I have to interact with do not share my story or my values, I feel coerced to return to being that “obedient kid”. Do what’s right for the company, “act right” for the business, even though it may sometimes be at odds with how I want to express myself.

Outside of the office, what allows me to express myself most freely and openly is dance. I started dancing a little less than two years ago, because I always loved how some dancers could speak to you and touch your heart with their movements.

In a similar way, I wanted to be able to express what I was feeling and use it to connect to others. Now I train in a variety of styles in studios across NYC, from Soho to the Upper West Side- so that I can convey my story as best I can through body control.

I struggle with conclusions because I always see the other side of the story, the possibility of different experiences or new thoughts. I’ve changed a lot since I was a kid, and who knows what the future holds for me. But that’s why I like to just “share my story” - because I don’t need to give a grandiose statement, I only need to give what I have and hope others take from it something that can help them on their journey.

The best advice I can offer is to believe in yourself, and keep pushing forward. You can get stuck or get put in a box but you don't have to stay there, especially just to please other people. If you can take the time to reflect on matters to you, then you can find meaning and hopefully joy.


By Patrick Yang

Follow Patrick @yungpatyang.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.


The best advice I can offer is to believe in yourself, and keep pushing forward. You can get stuck or get put in a box but you don't have to stay there, especially just to please other people. If you can take the time to reflect on matters to you, then you can find meaning and hopefully joy.

- Patrick Yang


Follow Patrick @yungpatyang 

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.