There’s a silent battle that emerges inside me from time to time..

And no one will ever know. A battle  camouflaged by hollowed bravado and an eagerness to keep busy–to stay productive.I drive myself so heavily in my work and career because it is the only place that I currently know where my efforts are accounted and recognized. I surround myself around friends that I can make laugh to fill the void–to ignore the fact that when I go home…I am completely and utterly alone.

I taught myself to be strong willed, because strong girls will automatically be assumed to be confident. It’s a lie I put on everyday. Somedays, I want to be consoled, to be told sweet nothings, to be told that I matter. It’s stupid, it’s habitual–it’s been following me lately like an ugly shadow.

The rest of me…feels empty

I grew up and surrounded myself with women who were strong, resilient, confident and captivating–my best friends, my sister and my mother all carried themselves with these notable traits and I was one to follow their lead. The choices I’ve made in my relationships–to stay on the bench, to be the supporter than the supported, to never strive too far in the limelight for fear of being humiliated. I was the one that never chased, and I had too much pride to chase after the things or people I wanted. I always settled for the fact that I would never be that girl to anyone. And though these are thoughts that were originally curated in the mind of some 14 year old girl, the feelings remain the same at 26 in a 6 year relationship.

I have a jar that I have to keep mentally, of all the real compliments that ever hit home to me. They are far and few. They’re locked away in my mental cabinet and it might sound petty, but I can recall the exact moments that I heard them. I keep them there whenever I forget to believe in them. The jar’s been a little hard to open as of late, but I know the reasons are there.

Please..I’m not looking for a pity party—I just need to write it out. Just letting myself feel.

These are the days where it gets a little heavier, the monster roars a little louder and I feel like a coward in the corner.

Little dancing clouds

distracted me from the episode of Mr. Robot I was streaming on my Ipad. We had another 45 minutes until landing. I found myself closing the ipad, leaning against the window, watching as we grazed across the cotton sky–mesmerized. As I looked forward, I noticed the man who sat in front of me–suited-well groomed business exec type–he was engulfed in his laptop running ratios for L-shares and drafting emails but then he stopped his gaze was drawn to the same maroon ombre skies. He closed his laptop and like me, continued to let himself fall into the moment. The older woman next to me shuffled from her nap and  dazedly glanced over to my window and lightly enclosed her hand over the cross the dangled from her neck.

It was a reminder, that we are all the same in the world. No matter what status we title ourselves during our every day lives– we are still such a small part of something so much greater. There is so much out there that we all fear–that we don’t know–that we don’t understand.

It’s funny how such a simple moment unearths the realization that we are one in the same.

 

Grateful

I never thought I’d be sitting here, alone in my hotel room on top of plush king size bed, 2,000 miles away from home on my own to meet with my colleagues and executives. Finally feeling like I’ve made adult moves. I am so fortunate to have landed this job. After years of mistreatment, micromanagement, and being undervalued –I finally found a company that offers me the privilege of working from home, a supportive corporate culture and a manager whom I look up to and respect personally  and professionally.

I’ve been given the opportunity the past two months to really sink my feet into the ground. I’ve done a lot of reflecting and with so much flexibility I’ve been able to have many conversations with myself.

It’s been the deep breath that I was really needing. I’ve never been so sure of myself and ready and refreshed to tackle things. I’m excited for the next challenge, learning new things, networking with new people, acquiring new licenses. Fueled with new energy, I’ve found a new eagerness that I’ve been missing to be more cultured, to be informed–to be just a better person.

For once, I’m excited to see what’s next. It’s nice to wake up everyday and feel like I’m in control of my life.

Control–That’s what I’ve been lacking. I’ve let so much of myself slip through the crevices of my fingers. It’s about time I pull myself together–not for an image, not for anyone else–but for me.

Walking with Giants

I may be dealing with some inner conflict–and yes I use this space to vocalize them, but don’t get me wrong..I love my life and I try to live with intention.

With that being said. Enjoy my very late late recap of Memorial day weekend spent with my favorite couple up in Sequioa National Forest/ Kings Canyon.

It was a 4 hour getaway from the suburbs of Orange County and the perfect dose of fresh air I needed to begin reevaluating my career circumstances.

Nothing like hiking through the Sequioas, wandering to find waterfalls in Kings canyon,  running in hail, sleeping under the stars and the smell of earth and campfire and watching one of my best friends get engaged to set my head straight.

 

And I’m sitting here

Sifting through every generic term for love..to describe the amount of love and appreciation I have for this man in my life…and I can’t seem to find the right words to depict this feeling.

But then again..this type of respect can not just be depicted..it must be felt
And as I sit and flip through the albums that document our history together..you can feel it through the eyes of the step children he has raised, the determination that flows in these vary veins that want nothing but to make him proud.

Yes. That is it..this simple yet so very complex man is my father. This man who holds his guitar as gold and has shared his wealth of love and knowledge of music, this man who’s sarcasm and humor lies beneath the undertone of every joke that’s uttered beneath my breath, this man’s who’s love for the eloquence of nature can be felt in every wisp of wind that caresses my face, this man who’s pride reigns strong has molded the spine in which hold’s my head high, despite it being filled with heavy thoughts

This man is my father and I’m humbled to be his daughter.

New Chapter.

Two and a half weeks ago, I decided to up and quit my job as the director of operations and client relations of a real estate investment company. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but it needed to be done. I’m not one to willingly open myself up to change, especially when I didn’t have a back up plan–it took 6 co-workers to leave, a company wide federal investigation and me shaking every second I came into the office to finally come to the decision. It was a company I grew up with, 4 years invested–it was everything I knew in the industry. The bird needed to fly–the amount of anxiety I had on daily basis affected me so negatively that it was beginning to wear on me physically.

Luckily, I left on good terms and strong relationships. I eventually was reached out to a familiar joint venture to join her team and I’m grateful to take my new career with the guidance of a familiar face. I’m still adjusting to this new change, but it is for the better. I needed to grow, I need to learn, I need to take risks, I need to find a way to invest in myself in order to achieve my happiness and I’ve been telling myself this for years, but it’s part of my personality–I’m loyal to a fault. I’m thankful for the co-workers and relationships that dragged me into the reality of it all. My empathy would’ve let me to a personal and professional down fall.

It’s time to step forward and put myself first, do things for me, work for me and not assist someone else.

The journey will be long and hard and I hope my persistence and hardwork will guide me along the lines to get me there.

The advantage is that I’m considered young in the industry–I have time to make mistakes and grow. The disadvantage is that I’m young–I’ll constantly be second guessed for assumptive lack of experience. My goal is to prove them wrong and exceed their service to become the top level producer that I know I can.

This chapter will start on my own terms. No one else’s. It’s about me and the work I’m willing to put in.

I’m ready.

The backbone of an old country

has always had a way of grounding me. The comforts of the familiar faces that I’ve only seen in old fading photographs welcoming me back with open arms.

Traveling to Vietnam always feels like re-visiting a past world. The cities are beginning to develop against the shellshocked nation. Sky scrapers next to straw huts, newly paved sidewalks and asphalt covering the dirt roads next to lush rice paddy fields–but there’s still so much nostalgia left. There are still so many stories to be heard.

Though its far & expensive–my family has been trying to make visits back to Vietnam as frequent as possible as my grandma begins to age. It’s been about 4 years since I’ve returned and almost 13 years since my parents have and every time I go back I always come back with a new appreciation as well as a continuing respect of the locals there.

I don’t know where to start, I could rant for hours about our 3 weeks there. I brought a little leather journal, but since we hit the ground running it was hard to find any downtime or alone time in general to sit down with any of my thoughts.

We sang and danced on tops of the tallest skyscrapers in Saigon, walked through the rice paddy fields to pay tribute to my grandparents tombs in Long Xuyen, hopped on random motorbikes through the city, floated down the Mekong river, hiked up the green mountains and trekked through the sandy caves of Phong Nha-Ke, made new friends while drinking tea and watching water puppet shows in Hue, drank beer Saigon and road bikes and Xit lo’s through the lantern lit city of Hoi An, soaked in mud baths and then switchbacked to the tops of mountain tops in Da Nang, walked through memorials and seeing the remnants of the horrors of war. Bargained through Cho Banh Thanh and and even attended my aunt’s surprise wedding. Hiked through the fairy streams and had a near death experience not once but two twice–once ziplining through Vung Tau and second almost falling off a cliff riding an ATV off the white sand dunes in Mui Ne. We spent hours listening to my long lost uncles speak about the missing chapters of my parents’ lives. Tears always filled our eyes with every hello and goodbye.

I let the humidity soak into my skin, breathed in the morning dew and let the rain soak in my face. There was a tranquility about traveling without doing it for “the gram” or “facebook”–you tend to forget about all of that when you’re just struggling to find the nearest western bathroom or navigating yourself between back alleys and criss-crossed streets.

For once, I was in the moment. The beauty of traveling such an old country such as Vietnam is that it teaches you mindfulness–to look–to feel–to be. Here in America its so easy to get stuck in doing everything for the next best thing or dwelling on materialism and money. Vietnam came at a much needed time in my life..my boyfriend went into remission, my job became overbearing–I was on a brink of a mental break down. It was nice to take a walk away–to focus on traveling–to only worry about how I was going to get to the next place; or where our next adventure was going to take place. It was the light I needed. The trip was much of a soul search that I was fiending for–it showed me the true colors of the people I thought I knew, gave me a whirlwind of an identity crisis as I teetered between being a Vietnamese American & the daughter of a South Vietnamese exile.

My everyday burdens, my job, everyday conversations with friends and coworkers felt petty when I came back. It’s fueled my need for a change. It’s evoked the necessity of mindfulness and living in the moment. It validated the notion of home as place that I feel for not so much a physical location. There’s so much perspective that I’ve gained since coming back, I would hate to lose sight of it all. My daily humdrum has not been in tune with the life I would like to lead.

This revelation has been burning in the back of mind for quite some time–the trip only amplified my need for it. I’ve decided upon my return that this is the year I start acting on it–for my heart’s sake & for my sanity’s sake.

When I’m in need of some humbling–Vietnam will always be my sanctuary.

Here’s my recap of the magical trip captured on my GoPro