Our experiences and our upbringings are two of the greatest influences on how we view the world.

I am a woman. I strongly believe in the equality of both sexes. Anyone who really knows me is aware that I have been very adamant about feminism, but I am not going to shove it down anyone's throat. I am a woman. I am afraid to go shopping by myself. I am afraid to be out at night by my lonesome. I am afraid that one day I will be surpassed by a man with the same qualifications as me for a job simply because I am a woman. My being a woman gives me a different view on the world than, perhaps, a male counterpart.

In addition, I am Asian-American. Which again, gives me more of an understanding of how differently I can be treated. I used to be afraid to bring "weird" lunches to school - even up to high school - because I was afraid that it would be gross to my classmates that have not been introduced to my culture's cuisines. I have been called names like "Ling-ling" and I have had people say to me, "Ching chong, you chink!"

This was all despite the fact that I was born in the Jacksonville, Florida and have only traveled outside the United States once. Moreover, I have no accent that is typically attributed to Asian immigrants. I have felt ugly simply because I did not look like people on TV or like my white friends. My being an Asian-American woman allows me to be more understanding and allows me to be grateful that I have opportunities that I possibly wouldn't if my family had not immigrated to the U.S.

Furthermore, I have a mental illness. This gives me a different kind of empathy for so much more. I am unsure if I was perfectly happy without any worry if I would be as empathetic as I am today. I get not wanting to get out of bed. I get not feeling fulfilled or like life has no meaning. I get certain things that certain people will not understand because I have been there.

I have a view that is different from say, a healthy white male. And that is completely okay. I understand that I have a broader view than someone who has not been in my shoes.

We all have our fair share of problems that we must overcome. I am lucky that I am a woman of Philippine descent because it allows me to have more of an understanding and empathize with more people.

Sometimes I feel as if people are so stuck in their own views and their own ways that they cannot even begin to understand how a situation can feel for someone who is not them. It's frustrating, but I can understand why they are so stuck in a certain belief. I might not be able to get everyone to understand my views or beliefs but I can do my best to respect and understand others' even if I may disagree.