Food for Thought 1.13.17

You are a victim of the rules you live by.

Jenny Holzer

I grew up in a traditional, Vietnamese-idealistic household in which I was taught to hold humility and humbleness to the highest degree. I was taught to keep my accomplishments quiet–There was no dwelling in the moment–no “special gold star stickers,” because to my parents arrogance would step in the way of growth, no one likes a bragger and there was always so much more to achieve–There will always be room for improvement. I was told to be sweet, quiet, to serve other first. I was also told to leave any emotional sensitivities in a deep dark corner where no one should find them.  I grew up knowing there is no success without real struggle, so I kept my head down and worked hard.

I continue to struggle with guilt because I truly believe I haven’t struggled enough for dues to be paid. I never know when to stop working because I don’t really believe that the work will ever be finished or I feel like I haven’t proved myself enough. I don’t let others in on my emotions because I feel shameful of them. I continue to struggle with confidence because I never knew how to differentiate it from arrogance–it always just felt wrong to me–like an awkward sweater that I couldn’t wait to take off. The list goes on..

There are so many rules created and nurtured by my up bringing that have been harnessing me into the limitations that challenge me to this day.

So I’ve made a promise to myself–to begin freeing myself of the cage illusions that did nothing for me but confine me to doubt.


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.

And I’m sitting here

Sifting through every generic term for 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 must be felt
And as I sit and flip through the albums that document our history 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.

Its all so surreal

It wasn’t until I had a moment to sit down with my bestfriend in the midst of running errands did everything hit me.– I rambled about my bf’s cancer, how he was feeling and about the treatments and the outcomes, he cut me off mid sentence, clasped his hands and looked me straight in the eyes and asked me..”No, I’m talking about you..”

My wind was knocked out of me…Things have been happening so quickly I never really had time to comprehend how I was feeling…I couldn’t help having the tears fill my eyes. I croaked out “stuck and out of control.” I’m scared and overwhelmed and this was the first time I was able to admit this out loud and in person to another person who wasn’t just directly affected by his diagnosis..without my boyfriends permission, this gave me the strength to be honest to those who care about me.

There are so many factors that are testing my humanity and faith.

From his cancer and Daniel’s cancer..from the world falling apart at the seams. Looking back..How stupid it was to want to be that selfish. None of that matters when it comes to the matter of life and death. You just want the pain to suffice. There are decisions that you thought you would have time to make. What I would do to hold his hand and run through the city again to argue about getting too drunk at the last party. Everything feels petty. My work, my social life, I want to withdraw, but I know its the last thing he would want me to do. So I’m strong. I’m always strong.

I let him see no moment of weakness. I put on the facade with his family and carried about this weekend like there was not a worry in the world. Like it was a common our world hasn’t just been flipped upside down. I kept busy, I stayed by his side, was his crutch through out the nights.

It’s exhausting pretending to be unaffected. Utterly takes the breath away from by the end of the day.

The solitude of my room, the empty road, the quiet conversations with a good friend–this is where I find my release, this is where you find me hysterically crying.

It’s too real, it’s too personal

There’s still so much of me that is angry. Angry at the world, angry at the fates.

But he can never know. He just needs to see strength & hope.