I’m an author. I’ve published books. I’m also a lawyer, because I practice law and that’s still my primary profession to this day. It’s been my primary profession for the last 16 years.
I’m Taiwanese American. To get even more specific, I’m Hakka on my father’s side from western Taiwan, and Hokkien (Minnan) on my mother’s side, from the deep south and what’s often referred to as the heartland of Taoist mysticism.
It’s totally okay for you to just say I’m Asian.
I’m an INFJ, which doesn’t mean much to me and I don’t fully know what that indicates, but I get asked about my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator all the time, so I took a quiz, took many quizzes, took the same quiz many times, and I keep getting INFJ. In my high school and undergrad college years, I kept getting ENFJ. At some point in law school, the results changed to INFJ.
I’m a sister. For me, that’s another very important identity marker. I’ve got two younger sisters. I’m the eldest and maybe also the most introverted. I read books, a lot of them, and I’m snooty about the books I read. One of my sisters reads a lot, too, but she reads the type of genre fiction that makes it onto NYT bestseller lists and get turned into summer blockbuster movies (refer back to preceding comment on how I’m snooty about books). The other sister probably only reads the legal pleadings and law books she’s required to read at work. Both of them are extroverted and seem to possess the ability to charm pretty much anyone they please. It’s kind of nuts.
The three of us are really different. One is currently located in Manhattan, partner at one of the top five largest law firms in the world, dressed in Carolina Herrera and Chanel, taking on the kind of bigshot cases you’ve heard about in the news while the other is a down-to-earth girl-next-door type in plaid, her sleeves rolled up to the elbows and a chef’s apron, living in Texas, with big dreams of opening up her own Michelin star restaurant someday.
Meanwhile I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, you know, that girl who points at the Tuscan kale and asks, “Is it organic?” and who goes to work in yoga pants because it’s Silicon Valley and that’s apparently standard uniform for all exec-level professionals. There’s no way you’d connect us as sisters based on our personalities and chosen lifestyles.
I’m also a wife. The hubby, James, handles all the business, financial, and accounting aspects of everything I do here on this platform. That’s because he’s a financial analyst by trade and other than sports, which seems to always come in first place, his top interests are economics and politics that relate to economics. Meanwhile, I get enough of business, financial, and reading accounting documents for legal reasons at my day job. If I had to continue doing that here, then I would simply cease doing stuff here. So James gives me the support I need to continue doing what I love.
Finally, after self-publishing the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck, which has enjoyed just a dream level of success that I couldn’t even have imagined for myself, I’m getting a smidge more comfortable with identifying as an artist. Though every so often I lose my nerve and then backpedal, quickly adding, “Well, I think I’m just creative. I just really enjoy art.”
For those who feel like they’ll know me better if they know my sun, moon, and rising, I’m a sun sign Libra, moon sign Leo, and Aquarius rising, with a Scorpio midheaven. My polar ascendant (how people view me; what people think of me) is Virgo.
Content Creator, Not Teacher
Let’s be clear about something, okay? I am a content creator. I create content.
I’m not a teacher. I don’t have a single degree or even certification that qualifies me in any way whatsoever to teach you anything. I’m not even qualified to teach you how to tie your shoes, let alone the meaning of life or how to save your soul.
I don’t lead. I’m not part of nor do I steer any sort of movement. I’m not motivated by a grand mission to get everyone on some agenda.
I’m not a master of anything. (Although technically I could try to call myself a Certified Tarot Master except… well. That gives people the giggles more than it impresses anybody. Sigh.)
I’m not a thought leader because I don’t have any original thoughts. I’m sometimes a mouthpiece sharing other people’s ideas that I really like.
Yes, admittedly, I have deeply-held religious beliefs, but part of my religious beliefs is that there is no one single “right” religion. In fact, I believe a complex and layered account of karma, unique personal back story, and authentic character development means your path to transcendence has to be and will be unique to you. It won’t mirror mine and mine won’t mirror yours. And that’s the way it’s got to be. That’s the way it is.
Which means I don’t preach. I’m like any other human being who struggles with her personal spirituality, and so sometimes I will talk out loud about my beliefs or exploration of the intangible. Please do not misinterpret my real-time vocalized ruminations as preaching.
I do like to give my opinions, of which I have many, as do you. One of the cool things about the Internet is any idiot from any corner of the world can give an opinion and publish it, which is all I’m doing here on my own platform. If you’re treating my opinion as some sort of espoused gospel of truth for you to follow loyally to the end or, the opposite, something for you to refute with vitriol driven by some subconscious fear that my ideas are dangerous, then I think you may have completely missed the point. Of, like, Life.
Religious Maybe, But Definitely Not Spiritual
I also want to make the distinction between being religious and being spiritual. I’m religious. Not spiritual. [Seriously. I’m not “spiritual” by any stretch of the imagination.]
I don’t consider myself spiritual and I get unnerved when I hear people who clearly don’t know me well refer to me as spiritual. I don’t try to be high vibe. Frankly people who try too hard to be high vibe annoy the hell out of me. I’m love and light when I’m actually feeling it, but when I’m not, you bet I’ll let you know. There are times when I’m perfectly content with being an asshat and make no apologies to you about it. I embrace being a jerkface as much as I embrace being compassionate. Basically, you can’t count on me to be the bigger person, but you can count on me to tell you what I really think.
Again, Not Teacher. Or Master of Anything.
I’m not initiated into any longstanding lineages and I don’t consider myself to be part of any established traditions.
See earlier comment about not being a master of anything. I’m not a religious teacher, or a religious scholar. I’m not a spiritual teacher.
Maybe I’m your online BFF who likes to share notes with you. In the same way you might be more experienced than me in some areas, I might be more experienced than you in some areas, and to that limited extent, perhaps I might offer you my thoughts.
Benebell Wen: A Pseudonym
Benebell Wen is a pseudonym.
It’s based on my Chinese name. For those who can read Chinese, it’s 善 (which basically means “good” or “benevolent”) and 鈴 (“bell” like the musical instrument). But if I called myself Benevolent Bells, you’d look at me funny. Hence, Benebell. Still funny, but less funny.
Wen is the surname I should have had, but I guess when my family immigrated to the U.S., people were playing fast and loose with transliterations and so my legal surname is something else entirely. In so many ways, this pseudonym is closer to my true identity than my given legal name. Weird, huh?
Yet I opted for the pseudonym in a determined attempt to keep what I do here separate from my professional life as a corporate attorney. Oh, yeah, by the way, I’m a lawyer. I am licensed to practice in California and New York. I work in-house and do mostly corporate transactions, which is like mergers and acquisitions if you’re really curious. I work in venture capital. And yes, I am still juggling that full-time in-house legal job with what I’m doing here, and the books I’m writing. More reason to continue the pseudonym. Plus, throughout occult history all the cool people had pseudonyms and if nothing else I want to be cool.