Pause

Hi all,

Just wanted to let you all know, I have decided to take a break from blogging this month of January. I’m going to be using free time to read all the books I have stacked on my night stand and figuring out what’s next. I’ll be back soon and hopefully I’ll be able to share what my new game plan will be moving forward. There is this part of me that is itching to just delete the blog. I am kind of feeling like I need to go off the grid for awhile. But instead of deleting it completely, I am going to take a break and see if in a few weeks, I still feel the same way. Until then, I hope you all have an amazing start to the new year. Keep up with those resolutions. Or not. Up to you. Just remember to take a moment everyday to pat yourself on the back for something you did well today.

xoxo,

Ngoc

My Lightbulb Came On Today

I honestly haven’t felt so alive in awhile, career wise, until today when I had a completely amazing conversation with a complete stranger. I had a older gentleman come into my uncle’s furniture store today – Furniture Mattress Outlet in Ranch Cordova, CA (shameless plug). I was covering for his team today since they are out at a funeral (fun fact: I used to sell furniture here after I graduated college while searching for my dream job). Not sure how it even came up but before we both knew it, it was an hour long converasation about today’s health care system, doctors prescribing more medciations than ever, a pill is expected to fix everything, how we should be shifting our focus over to diet & exercise as a treatment plan, as well as education, prevention vs treatment plans, or including health education in treatment plans etc. Before I knew it, 45 minutes had gone by and my body just felt lit up. I have not felt this passionate in awhile. It reignited my love for Public Health and health education.

When I started college, my mom pushed and pushed for me to become a nurse. I was young and I truly believed it was a career for me. Don’t get me wrong, if I did become a nurse back then I’m so certain I would of ended up a public health nurse. But once I finished up at a community college and walked away with 3 associates degree (shameless toot of my own horn), I took a gap year. I applied to nursing school and didn’t get in. Apart of me was sad but apart of me was relieved. It broke my heart to see people hospitalized. I also didn’t like hospitals because I spent so much time in them when my dad was super sick. I struggled to understand why people continued to get sick with diseases that were almost preventable with proper education. There were a ton of educational resources out there but they were not reaching those that needed it. I also realized that if someone is dealing with gun violence in their neighborhood, they’re not worried about diabetes because they’re probably going to shot to death before their diabetes claims their life. Sad truth. There was a need for policy, system & environment changes to occur in order us to do health education work.

Anyways, so at 21, I decided I was going to go back for a public health degree at sac state. Let me tell you, my time at sac state, I met some of the best of the best professors who filled my cup. I was so inspired to go out and change the world, so when I landed my last job, I was ecstatic. It was a job that allowed me to be in the trenches to serve underserved communities. I was doing health education in a different setting. Let me tell you, it was not as easy as I thought. I quickly learned that there were elements of health education that I didn’t learn in school. Relationship building was the key to the work. You had to really get to know the community you were serving, the challenges they were facing and why health wasn’t their priority. I had to forget work plans, state deliverables and focus on the people & their community. I found myself shifting to a servant leadership mindset. I spent more time asking how can I help you accomplish these goals instead of operating with a checklist & workplan I was given by the state. I quickly learned that you can only create change if you really take the time to understand the behaviors and take the work people are already doing to the next level by one simple suggestion. I started to win at my work everyday when I saw small changes. Yes, they were not big changes that the state was looking for but I went to bed every night knowing, I had change the life of one person and that person’s health & life would be different from here on out because of one piece of information I was able to give them.

I won’t lie, the public health work is hard, and it doesn’t pay well. You got to constantly surround yourself with people who believe in the work to remind yourself that this work is worth it and will change the trajectory for generations. However, I did get really jaded at one point because it became frustrating when you go out there, do all this great health education work just for someone to fall back into old habits. This really pissed me off I won’t lie. I felt that my efforts were wasted and started to think maybe I should of listened to my mom and became a nurse. At least, I would be sitting with a shit ton of money right now instead of dealing with grants applications, lack of funding, and lack of support from various government entities. So I left my job when we were dealing with lack of funding. I contemplate various career options that I could go into that would pay well, give me that big house and fancy car. But the more I researched the more I didn’t feel fulfilled. I felt like the least authentic version of myself. I felt like a sellout. It wasn’t me, it was my lust for material things that really brought me no joy.

But today, a lightbulb went off and today I am reminded of why I love the field of public health and why this work matters. This isn’t just health education. It’s changing people’s life. It’s changing the next seven generations life. It’s creating a better world. It’s building community. It’s relationship building. It’s a shitty paying job but it fills your heart. It’s long, tireless days wondering if the work you do will matter because people are going back to old habits. It’s long nights of wondering if you should of gone into a different career. It’s moments where you see a child light up because they tried a new vegetable they haven’t had before and love it. It’s where partnerships allowed a whole community to go home with a bag of groceries. It’s convincing a whole school to implement their health & wellness policy. It’s being a catalyst for change. It’s empowerment. It’s teaching self love & self respect. It’s a desire to leave the world better. It’s human compassion. It’s love. Public Health to me is love for thy neighbors.

So what does this mean for me in the next few years ? Its me going back to school and get my master’s degree. It’s me wanting to teach at a college. It’s me wanting to work for a nonprofit organization. It’s me networking with likeminded individuals. It’s me filling my cup again with the things that light me up and give me warm & fuzzy feelings. I want to do good and doing good makes me feel good.

I hope this post makes you start thinking about what lights you up. Or when you’re talking to people, what makes you feel so passionate. Follow that feeling, make it you’re calling. Stop buying into society’s expectation of jobs that pay well, or that 401k plan. Everything will eventually workout. Just follow that lightbulb. It’ll take you to places that make you feel good and do good.

Re-shift Your Wins

This was a statement my mentor would always tell me…”Reshift Your Wins”. I would really get annoyed with him because I was seeking validation when I was having my pity parties but this statement sticks with me more often than not as I have gone through the last few months. Funny how at one point it bugs the crap out of you then out of no where, you get what they were trying to tell you.

This time of year, people are ‘recapping’ their year and all the great things that happen. I hate to admit it but it does make me feel ‘small’. Yes, this might be the low self esteeming peaking through…but needless to say, I have sat there and thought to myself about what did I accomplish this year and the list doesn’t seem as glamorous or something that I feel is respectable given my age. People are buying houses, starting families, getting promotions at work, traveling, living their best life and then there’s me…just chucking along this past year with no sense of direction and a whole bunch of baggage. But when I reshift my win, I am focusing on the words “chucking along this past year” – meaning I didn’t quit this year. I kept going, even when shit got real hard. That’s a huge win for someone who struggled this year and spent so much time in a dark hole right?

So if I focus on re-shifting my win, I accomplish a lot and have a lot to be proud of:

  • I spent a crap ton of money on therapy but I went to therapy all year long…best decision I made for myself.
  • I went on and then off my medications
  • I learned how to set boundaries with the people I love
  • I cut out toxic relationships that do not benefit me in anyway
  • I quit drinking…although I’ve had a drink three times in the last few days I can honestly say I don’t miss it and will be kicking off 2020 with dry January
  • I read so many books this year. Solitude ain’t that bad when you got a good book.
  • I was pretty active all year with my fitness despite no weight change, i moved at least 300 of the 365 if not more days.
  • I started a blog and am writing about feelings and leaving it out there for the world to read & connect or judge me…but most importantly, I am embracing my vulnerability
  • I went somewhere I have never been this year – Texas, New York City, Philadelphia
  • I got my crap together to watch my best friend get married and that was a highlight of my year
  • I mustered up the courage to sign up for a jiu jitsu tournament and did it.
  • I took a break from Kaia because I knew what my body and soul needed at the time but I’m coming back for Brik 🤪
  • I stepped out of the comfort zone and started wearing heels from time to time. Funny how it boosts my confidence with a good pair of shoes.
  • I chopped my hair off because I needed a fresh start and I think I’m ready to grow it long again haha

All of these little wins really added up for me this year, making it a year in which I will have to say I am glad I did quit and kept going. Reshifting my win helped me find the positives this year and it’s truly been filled with little wins all day long.

Next year, I am looking forward to many things but mostly I am just excited to see how I continue to grow as a person and become my true authentic self.

I hope to inspire you to focus on your wins this year no matter how small.

Woman Crush of the Year

MILF STATUS

This week’s woman crush wednesday is also my woman crush of the year. Since next Wednesday is Christmas (WOW already), this will be my last Woman Crush Wednesday of 2019 and I could not have picked a better woman to shower with love.

This woman has been a pivotal person in my life this year. I think a lot about this woman from time to time and how much I adore her. Honestly, if I was a lesbian (which my husband jokes I’m one bad relationship away from becoming one – this is a joke, don’t cancel me), I think I would pursue the heck out of her. Oh and of course if I wasn’t married…sorry honey! But in all seriousness, it’s not her beauty I am attracted to (which she’s incredibly beautiful), it’s her soul. It’s imperfectly perfect and I am just beyond blessed to have her as a friend and someone I consider like family to me.

So without further a due, I would like to introduce you to this week’s woman crush Wednesday and also my woman crush of the year, Ms. Kristen H.

Just like lifting groceries, no big deal for her

I met Kristen through Kaia & she of course was a coach. I mean that in a good way. She was genuinely kind, encouraging and a natural at empowering other women to accomplish what they want to accomplish and when they felt as if they failed, Kristen was there to remind us to be kind to ourselves. An advice I have to remind her to take for herself sometimes…we’re human, we need to be reminded that from time to time even when we are strong. Aside from being an amazing coach, she is a super mom to two grown children…yes, she’s a total milf…I can’t believe she has grown children either. She’s such a cool mom, like actually a cool mom not that mom on mean girls. She’s also an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G friend to everyone around her. If you are lucky to be friends with this kind soul, you would agree in less than a heart beat! So what makes this lady my woman of the year?

Kristen saved my life this year. Yup, she sure did. Not in a talk me off the ledge way or donated a kidney to me…which I am certain she would try if either events had occurred. Kristen was there from the beginning of my downfall (can I call it that?) this year. Kristen was the one that pushed for a coffee date to talk to me about my depression. She was the one that made it safe and okay for me to open up about it because she was so gosh darn nice about it and something about her mom vibes that just made me want to unload my struggles. She was so kind and gentle with what I had to say. She was also the one I reached out to when it was time for me to go on medications. It was hard for me to make that decision because as I have shared before, it made me feel like I had failed and no longer had control over my body. But Kristen reminded me that going on meds is a way for me to control what is going on. It’s a choice and ultimately its a choice that I can choose to make for myself. She’s saved me more times than she knows. So many dark moments this year where I could hear her in my head telling me I am strong and to be kind to myself. Even when she’s going through her own stuff, she never fails to remind me that she cares with a simple…”thinking of you text” or 7am coffee dates (those Kaia girls man, always awake & ready to go so early). I am so incredibly grateful for her. You know how in life when shit hits the fan, who you gonna call? She’s one of the people I’d call because she would know exactly what I need to hear. It will either be her sending me some sort of quote or mantra that she’s being reciting herself. Long story short, she’s my “YAAAASSS Queen” and my shero of the year.

Don’t mind heather, she’s always drunk in a bath tub somewhere haha jk

Other reasons to love Kristen…

  • She has dogs…enough said right?
  • She’s incredibly strong…physically, emotionally, mentally, spirtually, and all the “ly’s”
  • She will call you on your shit and we need friends that will do that for us. There’s enough narcissists in the world so thank goodness she won’t let me get away with crap
  • She vegan so she definitely has super powers…workout with her, you’ll see what I mean
  • She’s gives like the best hugs. It must be all those years of practice as a mom because she squeezes you til you almost let out a fart

Those are just a few reasons. There are more I promise but I’m already getting all emotional just writing this so I’m going to stop here because I end up curled up on a bed crying over how great Kristen is 😂😂😂

Kristen, thank you for your friendship, your love, your kindness and most importantly, thank you for saving me. You are the epitome of how life does get better. Love you a ton😘😘😘

Uh Oh…The D Might Be Back

How fitting is this quote ❤️

Hi again. I am trying to get back into the swing of things lately. After my trip to Texas, I’ve been wayyyy off. I’ve been feeling really blah lately. I don’t quite know why but I am starting to exhibit the early signs of going back into depression again. The downside of depression is it never really goes away. Things get better for awhile, you feel great and then it creeps up on you when you least expect it to. I am very fortunate this time around to begin to take notice of the signs or patterns of falling back…I have been in a bit of self preservation mode where I am starting to slowly withdraw from people. I am unfollowing people on social media again if I feel that our energies don’t vibe or I just need to not see your stuff at this time. I am getting shorter with my responses with people. I am leaving events earlier because I rather be home. I don’t like being on my phone. I am sleeping in more and I am taking naps again. I just feel tired and uninspired all the time.

The sad part of being so in tune with my body is now that I feel it creeping back in, I have so much anxiety about how it might take over my life again like it did this past year. So I am trying to remain vigilant about fighting these symptoms by staying busy, forcing myself to get out and blogging (even though I haven’t felt like it and actually contemplated deleting the blog…again…this is me going into self preservation mode). With the holidays shortly approaching, I already have so much anxiety about being around family. I know deep down my family loves me and wants what’s best for me. But sometimes, they go about it in a way that is too much for me to handle; therefore they emit a type of energy that drains me to a point of falling back into depression.

I have been really good about not drinking. I have had a sip here and there this week. But I’ll be completely honest, it doesn’t taste good to me and I no longer crave it. I was just at a holiday party this weekend where everyone was drinking. I thought to myself multiple times throughout that night that I could have a drink but instead, I grabbed a sparkling water and sipped on that. Not drinking has brought a sense of mental clarity to me. I quickly realize that people I tend to need to drink around are usually people who trigger me so I have to drink to be able to stand them. It helped me realize I should lessen my contact with them. Since I’m not drinking, I find myself trying to cope with food. I’m a binge eater by the way. Sexy I know. But my gut has been jacked up because I started taking probiotics and my gut is in it’s healing process so it’s building up the good flora that my body needs to stay healthy…which means I’m in a lot of discomfort and have been eating less…which makes me want to shop but when you are unemployed, you can’t be doing too much LOL. So that leaves me with stupid freaking emotions…and lots of it. I legit cry so much and all the time. Not always because I’m sad but because I’m happy or just so excited…it’s annoying. It almost makes me miss my antidepressants because at least I didn’t have to feel so much all the freaking time LOL. But I’m having to figure out how to deal with all these emotions in a healthy way so that’s a positive thing. Which probably makes sense why I am going into self preservation mode…so I can find what works for me? Who knows. This post probably won’t make much sense but I am just getting it all out of my head because if not, it will drive me bonkers.

So yes, I am afraid and almost paranoid that I am falling back into depression. So my promise to myself is that I will exercise at least 4 out of the 7 days. I will try to eat better…oh yeah how’s that 100 days of healing going? Well I’m healing…and it hurts my gut as mentioned above. I have cut back on so much junk…still a work in progress but I read something last night that put things into perspective for my binge eating…I have to remind myself it won’t be the last time I will eat those cookies so no need to binge. This has helped with portion control & reminding myself, I can enjoy treats without overindulging. Okay back to my promise to myself. I will try to stay busy around the house. I won’t beat myself up if I need a nap, but don’t abuse naps because it can quickly become a coping mechanism for me. FYI, I use to sleep 16 hours a day when I was severely depressed so hence why fatigue & exhaustion scares me. And my last promise is I will blog about this experience. I will share my fears, worries, and use this blog as a way to cope instead of finding something self destructive to do.

The holidays are rough so if you are struggling, need to vent, or just want to connect, I’d love to. I hope you are doing well & I hope you check up on your loved ones this holiday season ❤

Woman Crush Wednesday: Angel S.

Woman Crush Wednesday: Angel S.

This week’s woman crush Wednesday is my cousin Angel. She’s one of my favorite humans in the world and more like a sister than a cousin to me.

My first memory of Angel was when she moved from New York at 3? I remember I was 7. I had a stroller with my fake baby in it and Angel wanted it. I didn’t want to give it to her because 1) it was mine and 2) I never had a sister or younger girl cousin to share with so this idea of sharing with another girl was so foreign to me. My mom ended up making me give it to her because she was younger. So best believe, if I ever decide to have a baby, she owes me a damn stroller and it better be a nice one too because 24 years later I still want my stroller back LOL. Without the baby tho 😂

So what makes her so crush worthy? Well she is one of the few people in the world that gets me and understands why I feel the way I feel. She’s also incredibly kind to strangers but really tough on her love ones. She’s a pusher. She wants everyone to do well and so she pushes and pushes. Sometimes we get a little upset with her but at the end of the day, she does it with the best intention. She’s also very thoughtful. She’s considerate of others feelings. She likes to play the devil’s advocate and it drives me nuts because I want her to agree with me when I’m upset. But instead, she helps me see things from a different perspective.

This is the look she gives you when she’s lightweight annoyed with you but trying to be nice. Then there’s Jason who’s always photoready 🤣

Angel may be young but she’s experience more than her fair share of struggles. She comes off as a positive, happy go lucky and fun person because over the years she’s had to learn how to mask her pain & struggle and she’s gotten good at it. She remains positive despite how shitty things get and I admire her so much for it. Shes the oh your dog died? Guess you can now save money on dog food, vet bills etc. always focusing on the positives lol. That probably was a really dark example but oh well. All of this shows you what a strong person she is. She falls and gets back up. She doesn’t quit. And I’m so glad she didn’t quit because if she let her struggles define her, the world would have missed out on this great LVN! Yes my baby girl is a nurse 💕

I am so proud of all her accomplishments AND failures. It has made her a better human being and a kinder soul. I’m so incredibly lucky to have her by my side through some of the best days of our lives and the worst. She’s truly one of my best friends. But don’t get me wrong, we sure do fight and get annoyed with each other. We push each other’s button and pop off on each other all the time. But we always find ourselves back together because I guess that’s what it means to be sisters. You fight, you swear each other off then you come crawling back because you need the other person.

Anyways, if you’re reading this Angel, I look forward to you dissecting everything I wrote and letting me know where I went wrong and what I was right about lol. Also, tell me if you caught anything when your read between the lines LOL. I love you and again, I’m so proud of you ❤️❤️❤️

San Antonio, TX Trip

San Antonio, TX Trip

Hi there! I have been away all week in San Antonio, Texas. Right off the bat…I LOVE TEXAS. I never thought I would but oh my goodness, everything sure is bigger in Texas and I love it. If you are ever in Texas, I highly recommend Taco Cabana. Where else can you get 12 street tacos for under 12 bucks! I just got back on Sunday and since then I have been in recovery mode. This trip took a huge toll on my mental health. I knew ahead of time that this trip would come with lots of triggers but I took many steps to ensure that if I was triggered, I could get myself back on track. I am actually proud of myself for not drinking at all on this trip. BTW, 32 days sober here! Anyways…

I went to Texas to attend my cousin’s Basic Military Training (BMT) graduation from the Air Force. This trip also was a family vacation with my mom’s side of the family – which included my mom, my sister, my uncles, and my cousins…all of us…in one Air BnB…for five days. Can you take a guess at what may have occurred? LOL.

Overall, the trip was intended for us to celebrate my cousin’s graduation and that was exactly what we did. I am so incredibly proud of him and this accomplishment and look forward to seeing where this new career takes him. Growing up, I was a bully to my cousin Andy. I did not quite realize the level of trauma he may have experience from it until I started therapy and realize how much of my childhood affected me. I feel so much remorse and I was very fortunate to have some alone time with my cousin and mustered up the courage to apologize to him for all my satanic behaviors when I was younger. Some might argue that oh it was when you were kids so it doesn’t matter. But to me, it does because no matter how long ago it was when you hurt someone, you should still apologize because you may forget what you said or did, but that person may never forget. So I had to set aside my pride and apologize because I know I was wrong, and what I did was wrong. It was sweet he kept saying it’s okay, I forgave you a long time ago. I had to keep reinforcing that no it wasn’t okay but I am glad he forgave me. So lesson of the trip, no matter how long it’s been, if you hurt someone, apologize. It’s never too late. Chances are, they are still waiting on an apology. If anything, this car ride back to base with just the two of us, was one of the best parts of my trip.

Aside from that part of the trip, I also really enjoyed spending time with my other two cousins on the trip. I never get to see one of them because he’s too busy with school and lifting at the gym. I also got to spend a lot of time with my girl cousin and I am reminded how much we connect in a deeper level. She might just be my soul sister since we understand each other so well when it comes to certain parts of our lives.

While there were a lot of bad parts of this trips, (LOTS of drama and clash of personalities), I am choosing to focus on the good. I had to remind myself multiple time the reason for this trip and if we look at it from that lens, the trip was a good trip. Although, there were a lot of parts of the trips where I felt really anxious and annoyed, I took a lot of time to be alone to reset and recharge. I contemplated leaving early a couple of times because I was triggered but these reset sessions really allowed me to refocus and remind myself of the why of the trip. I am glad I was able to do that because those extra days in San Antonio, were good for creating memories for my cousin & my family, who never spends time all together. Below are some pictures from the trip and our family’s new airman.

This week, I am back and probably will be blogging a lot more. If anything, this trip taught me that boundaries are key in a family like mine. So I will most likely be covering that topic. I know I missed woman crush Wednesday last week. I apologize, I was traveling all day that day and by the time I got settled, I was tired and uninspired. So count on two posts for WCW 🙂