Pain, struggle, and the stories within us

I’m binge watching Season 24 of America’s Next Top Model (don’t laugh). In fact, I’ve watched every season (not every episode though) because I’m a wannabe model. Funnily, I take really bad photos, but counteract this by making goofy faces, and accepting the fact that I’m not photogenic.

But what has struck me, as I watched the girls in the house interact with one another, is how many of them carry pain inside them. At first, I thought it was ironic as heck that some of these stunning young women grew up being told they were ugly or funny-looking (this is a repeat theme throughout the seasons), but there’s more to this than just this.

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balloon seller in Chiang Mai

Life sucks until it doesn’t anymore

I feel good.

However, if you’d have told me what my life would be like if I moved back to Thailand before I did it, I’m not sure I would have returned.

I know now why we can’t see in to our future – doing so prevents us from ever meeting up with it.

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My struggle and relationship with stuff

What has haunted me since we’ve left Cambodia is all the stuff I gave away, all the stuff I left behind. My mind tosses and turns like a salad, over and over again, remembering this particular thing or that object that I miss. Because when we left, we left thinking we were going to the United States. We left believing we were never returning or not returning anytime soon.

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How well do you know yourself? (and how to know yourself better)

Know thyself – the Oracle at Delphi

When I was sharing what happened between my mom and I, someone remarked, ‘that was good of your mom to recognize that she was mad at herself for getting mad at you’. And I thought, that’s interesting; are people not aware of their feelings?

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beautiful trees and blue sky

When life throws you a do-over (and you return from where you left)

During one of the darkest moments in my adult life, I failed to reach out. I didn’t really tell friends and family what was happening. I think part of the reason was I couldn’t explain it, I couldn’t get my hands around it, but mostly I was ashamed.

This time around, I didn’t make the same mistake. True, the circumstances were different, but when I spoke with my friends, they became lifelines tethering me to a balloon of hope. Our conversations were reminders that: I was not going crazy, my situation was insane and that I was loved.

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Green plant patch growing out of concrete

The problem with creatives, Asian daughters, and non-conformists.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” – as attributed to Mike Tyson

OK. Here’s what I’ve told you. I had to come back to the US of A. We were not sure for how long, but we thought we’d give it a go, you know, return to America for good, regardless of Trump-apocalypse, blah, blah, blah, and see what we could make stick.

Staying with my mom in Hawaii was part of the short-term plan, but when our long-term plans fell spectacularly through the roof, we were tail-spinning, reaching for whatever vines or debris was there to grab on to.

Yeahhh.

You think I’m exaggerating.

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Asian American woman drinking beer

“Don’t be a little bitch” and other New Year’s Resolutions

There are a couple of military grunts living above my mom’s apartment. Late one night, one of them said as they stomped up the stairs, “I’m gonna stop drinking. I gotta quit drinking.”

His roommate followed him up the stairs behind him and replied, “Don’t be a little bitch.”

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