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

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 ❤️❤️❤️

Falling Back in Bad Patterns…Or NOT

So tonight I got a little pissy with myself because the last few days, I slipped up on my 100 days of clean eating challenge. I’m not proud of it. But I will have to say I am very proud of how I’ve been able to portion control the amount of unhealthy food I consume and not spiral completely. I’m still alcohol free…almost 20 days strong 💪🏽 I’ve definitely cut back my sugar consumption to 20%…amazing! I don’t even miss the sweets or the junk. Where I struggle a bit is the carbs. But I’ve cut back on that down to 40% instead of 80% carbs. I barely eat dairy anymore. It’s like down to 10-% and the only reason I give it 10% is because of the last couple days.

I’m learning to pick healthier options at restaurant. I’m finding new ways to curb my sweets craving…or fruits or all fruit bars or drinking a ton of water. So far, I’m doing good. It’s not perfect like I wanted but I had to remind myself this is a lifestyle shift not a quest for perfection. A friend of mine who’s been super supportive during this transition continues to remind me to focus on the baby steps. I have a tendency to go from 0 to 100 with things and that’s why I fail miserably with my diet. But shifting my focus to baby steps has been so beneficial.

So tonight, after consuming more carbs than I should of, I noticed how I felt…my body felt sluggish, I’m super bloated, I overstuffed myself and now I feel gross. Apart of me feels like I’m back to square one with this challenge thing or that I failed. But the other part of me was like no, I didn’t. Before i would eat and eat and eat, but this time i stopped and evaluated how what this meal did to me. I’m consciously aware of the effects of this meal. Next time, I can still enjoy this meal but I’ll probably eat waaaay less so I don’t feel sick.

Anyways, I had to share this experience because I know how hard it is to eat clean and how sometimes one set back can make you feel as though all your efforts are wasted. Just keep trucking along you guys. One meal at a time. Even if it’s one meal a day that you eat healthy, it counts. One day one meal becomes two then it becomes three. It’s a long journey so be patient, be kind with yourself and don’t quit! Because I sure as heck am going to dust myself off and start again tomorrow ❤️

Why I Am Giving Up Alcohol…

No I’m not pregnant.

Alcoholism runs in my family…like deep in our blood lines. Like so much so that I don’t recall a family gathering that doesn’t involve alcohol. Being Vietnamese means that when there is a family get together, you know there is going to be some sort of booze. You can always guarantee that there will be Heineken and/or Budweiser at every gathering. If it’s a wedding or a special occasion, there will be Hennessy or Remy Martin. And if it’s a wedding, best believe it is going to be a poop show because we are there to draaaaaaaaaaaaank!

I’m pretty sure I was not even 10 yet before I had my first sip of alcohol. This is pretty common for kids who grow up in my culture. Drinking is such a big part of the Vietnamese culture that often times, alcoholism never comes up because its within us to drink. You walk into a party & your third cousin, twice removed will greet you with a shot. You’re at a wedding and see a distant relative and they will grab your arm & pull you to their table for a shot. You sit down for a meal with them and they will hand you a drink. You’re having a good day? Drink up. You’re having a bad day? Drink up. You’re anti-social? Drink up. You’re poor? Drink up. You just got cancer? Let’s drink. There is always a reason to drink…and for the longest time, I was always up for a drink, two drinks, three drinks, four, five, six, seven, and so forth.

But these days, I am no longer up for a drink.

I will sit with you while you drink. I will drive you home when you drink. I will engage in all the silly drinking games. I will dance. I will tell jokes. I will do everything I use to do but I won’t drink anymore…or at least for the next 100 days. And here’s why…

Alcohol was one of the things I used to cope with my depression & anxiety. Alcohol didn’t help me with my depression; instead it made me fall deeper into it. Blacking out drunk was easier than feeling my feelings. Drinking also gave me an excuse to behave a certain way or say certain things…liquid courage they call it. Drinking also ensured I never had to sit through awkward conversations because I didn’t have to be fully present for them. Drinking made me feel fun and alive. But of course, it was temporary & comes with a terrible headache the next few days. As I’ve been in therapy, I have come to the realize that I have an addictive personality and tendencies. My addiction reveals itself in other ways…I’ve come to realize, you don’t need to drink every day, all day to be consider an alcoholic. In fact, a binge drinker can also be an alcoholic. That was were I fell…I was a binge drinker. Knowing of this problem, I wanted to do something about it immediately. So I would try to go days without drinking but then a friend would invite me out and I binge drink. Then I won’t drink for awhile, then I binge drank again. When I was drinking, I was living out my addictive tendencies in other ways…shopping, eating (this was a huge issues), and over training to feed into my addictive ways. So again, I would try to quit & fail, then try again, then fail…

But what really did it for me was last week when I was in therapy…

I was revisiting some childhood memories and so much of my childhood memories was my dad being drunk. My dad was an alcoholic. And to no one’s surprise, he died because of cirrhosis, a late stage disease that is linked to alcoholism. All of which could of been prevented had he spent less time drinking and more time dealing with his demons. Looking back, it saddens me to not recall many family memories that involved family time without the presence of alcohol. Someone was always drunk. We always had family or friends over. They would drink. The kids would play (unsupervised), and then someone would have too much to drink and fights would break out. Growing up, this was fine. This was normal. This was how it was and how it was always going to be. It’s our culture.

But what if it didn’t have to be?

If my dad hadn’t been too busy drinking and actually watching us like he was suppose to, maybe the most horrifying event in my life wouldn’t have happened? I mean it wouldn’t have because all the children would have been supervised and all the safety precautions would have been there to ensure it didn’t happen. I was angry after realizing this. The negligence that comes with drinking and how it effects those around us made me never want to drink again. Because I realize, I was an unintentional victim of his drinking. And when I drink, there are unintentional victims of my drinking. OH MY GOD. MY BABY SISTER?

It got me thinking about my baby sister. How many of our family holiday gatherings involved drinking when all she wanted to do was play board games with us and talk to us. Yes talk to us. Can you imagine a sober conversation? Whoa, brave girl she is right? But in all seriousness, we can’t even stand ourselves sober so we drink but when we do drink, we are the most annoying versions of ourselves. So why do we continue to do so?

I also started thinking about the last few gatherings I had with my family over the years. A drunken shit show. Even my wedding. Everyone was drunk. Some relatives didn’t even make it to my first dance because they were so drunk. I didn’t even get the chance to thank some individuals because they were too drunk. My husband was drunk. I was drunk. Our friends were drunk. Drunken mess. All of us.

I don’t like who I become when I drink. I don’t like how sad I get. I don’t like how it can sometimes trigger suicidal thoughts. I don’t like how it makes me angry. I don’t like how I think I can dance. I don’t like any of it. So I decided I won’t want to be that person anymore.

Instead, I want to be sober. I want to be present. I want to address my issues head on. Have those difficult conversations. Be confrontational & be sober when I am confrontational. I want to get to know people as Ngoc instead of drunk Ngoc. I don’t want drunk photos or videos of myself out there. I also want to break a cycle for the next generation in my family to know that there is life, love, fun and good conversations without alcohol. We are capable of being ourselves without it and we should continue to be without it. Now I’m not here to shame you if you choose to drink. That is totally your choice. I will drive your drunk ass home. I will hold your hair when you puke. I will give you Advil before you go to bed and give you pedialyte. But what I will not do for awhile is drink with you. Because I love & respect you enough to give you all of my attention & my true self. Most importantly, I have a little girl watching me and I want to practice what I preach to her.

I’m also not saying I will never ever ever ever ever drink again. Because I am certain I will. I’m just saying that the next time I do have a drink, it’s going to be something I think carefully about and I will make sure I don’t over do it…for my health, my actual self, and the young set of eyes watching me.

The part that I am most excited for is all the money I will be saving haha!

Today I am grateful for the friends in my life that enjoy a good ole sober conversation and can have a good time without the booze! If your friend needs alcohol to be interesting, I think it’s time for you to find new friends…you’ve outgrown them! And that is perfectly okay!

The Season of Thanks is HERE!

Fall is my favorite time of year. I consider November 1st the start of fall just because Halloween is over and the holiday season is slowly approaching.

So for this month of November, I am committing to mailing out cute little cards to random people in my life. I have already started on this so if you have received one recently, consider yourself oh so special because you were the first few I thought about.

There is something special about receiving snail mail. I personally would love a hand written card over any gift. I am a sucker for cards. Especially when you don’t see it coming at all. Sure text messages are great but I just think it’s so much more personable to send hand written cards. If you’re not sure if I have your address, maybe slyly send it to me. Actually, I don’t know how that would be possible without it being so obvious LOL.

I love fall because I love the cold. I love being home cuddled up with all 15 of my fleece blankets (if you’re wondering what I want for Christmas…here’s a thought LOL). I also just love the time to reflect and count my blessings since I’m too cold to go anywhere. But then again, I really don’t like going anywhere these days. So at the end of each of my post this month, I will be adding a Today I am grateful for… section at the end of the blog. I hope this encourages you to think about what you are grateful for everyday this month and beyond. This is also an activity that I highly encourage for those struggling with depression. My husband would ask me what I was grateful for that day each night before bed. It reminded me to find at least one thing, even if it was the littlest thing and be grateful for it.

This month, I have a few blog entries in mind already. Yes, like a true blogger, I am planning out my content & when to release it. So this month, I will be sharing some stories that cover the following topics:

  • I’ve been challenged by my friend Desiree to answer this question: Why am I the most important thing/person in my life?
  • Codependency & how I am working on overcoming that
  • Addiction
  • The effects of being cheated on…the good, the bad & the ugly. What I wish I had told myself at the time. So many people get cheated on and blame themselves when it’s not their fault. I’ll share my story & what it was like to bounce back & how it effected my next relationship
  • Of course, my women crush Wednesday series continues…
  • The biggest secret I’ve kept…I’m still nervous about this one…I am currently working on processing this event in therapy. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing) has been really helpful in helping me revisit the event and reprocessing so I can truly believe that what happened was not my fault. If I don’t share it this month, maybe months to come. This is going to be a heavy post so there’s A LOT of anxiety around it. Yes, I could choose not to share it. But not talking about it is me being ashamed of it or letting it define my life. It wasn’t my fault. There are other women and men out there who can relate and I hope this encourages them to share their story and remind themselves, it wasn’t their fault at all.
  • I also want to start a “What I wanted to say but didn’t…” Series as well. Just because there are a lot of times, I go back and think about a situation and wish I had said something but didn’t because I was scared or I didn’t find my voice yet. So this is going to be interesting.
  • And of course, I am always open to requests.

So stay tuned, there’s more coming. Right now, I am building my blog as I go. Kind of like the saying I heard a lot in my old field of work…flying the plane as you build it.

Today I am thankful for this blog. Starting this blog has brought a sense of purpose back into my life. I really don’t care if people are reading it or not, but this blog has made me feel more alive than I have felt in the last year.

My First Mini Controversy: In Regard to my “Just Because I Choose Not to Have Kids…” Post

My First Mini Controversy: In Regard to my “Just Because I Choose Not to Have Kids…” Post

So a brave soul shared with me that the post really hurt their feelings. I am so grateful that this person reached out because by now, I’ve removed myself from that post already. I got it off my chest because I just needed to get it out. But after re-reading the post……yeah let’s just say I’m about to go pull out some parts. Read the brave message I received:

“You say parents shouldn’t complain about being a parent, or that they’re tired, etc. 100% promise that no parent knew how hard parenting was going to be. Sometimes, we have to vent. We can’t keep it in. We’ll explode. Maybe there is more to it than I know [about the post] but I kind of got my feelings a little hurt. It’s kind of like, if you (anyone) choose an educational path, or a career path, you can’t ever complain about the hard days because that is what you choose. There is going to be difficulty in any path chosen in life. We all have to be able to vent. We all need validation and understanding”

If this person is brave enough to share their feelings with me, I need to be brave enough to admit that I was being insensitive in my Just Because I Choose Not to Have Kids, Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Get It post. I will completely own that it was insensitive with me. I apologize and that’s not the message I intended to get across. Let me explain…

The problem of writing when you are upset or hurt is that you often get so into your emotions that you have tunnel vision. The day I wrote that post, I was really hurt by an individual. I felt as though it was a personal attack on me. So when you get attacked what do you do? You attack back, without thinking about the outcomes. Did it make me feel better? At first. Am I still hurt? Yes I am. I am really hurt by it because that was a complete a-hole move of that person. But I guess my insensitivity was an a-hole move to the rest of the parents out there who didn’t have anything to do with the hurt I was given. So first fail in my blogging “career” occurred already. Yay for a mini controversy.

So to all my mamas & dadas out there, I know parenting is hard. I know some days you need to vent, or cry, or yell or just get away. I am so deeply sorry if I made you feel that you were not allowed to feel this way because you chose to have children. That was never my intention at all. I was just too caught up in my feelings that I took it out on the wrong people, ahem you all. Glad I took the time to check myself. Because I have a feeling I was on a lot of mama’s hit list.

It’s done bro.

Now all the other stuff, I still believe is true. Like how I still feel sadness, happiness, love, joy or pain, even though I don’t have kids. And lucky for you all, I have been crying over every freaking little thing these days…so feel free to pour your heart out to me. I love a good cry. I promise to be kind, supportive and validate your emotions and remind you, it’s all worth it because once upon a time, becoming a parent was a dream for you.

Also in the future, if you disagree with what I have to say, please do reach out. I am always open to hearing things from a different perspective. I don’t know it all and I am not too ignorant to listen to your perspective I promise 🙂

Note to self: Make sure you wait a few days to post after you write your “emotional” entry of the day.

A Life Lesson From His Grave

Yesterday I was really in my feelings. Let me tell you why…

I attended a funeral service that was by far the toughest service I have ever attended. Losing someone is never easy. But when you lose someone to suicide, man oh man the heartbreak is real. Personally, I had only met this person a couple of times given our mutual relationship with my brother in law. But every single time, this person was just a true joy to be around. He was radiant, positive, full of peace and love, and a truly gentle soul…

The service was your traditional catholic service. Lots of comforting words from the Priest. Many needed this comfort, others were just there to pay their respects. I’ll be completely honest, I had no idea what was going on in the service. I wish there was a eulogy but I can understand how difficult it might be to write one given the circumstances. The burial was truly the most heartbreaking scenes. There was not a dry eye in the room. I witnessed a mother yelping for her son. You can feel the pain in her cry. I couldn’t help but just feel my heart rip into a billion little pieces. (This is what happens when you feel too much…thanks empathy!) I know earlier in my blog entries I talked about the pain & suffering of those who commit suicide. I truly believe it isn’t a selfish decision but more so of a self preservation decision (if that makes sense). To me, I see it more of how can I alleviate all this pain & heartache because I can’t do it anymore kind of ordeal. But watching his mother, father, sister, brother & nieces heart break before my eyes, I felt a bit of anger. But I wasn’t angry at him and decision…I was angry at the fact that so many souls walk this world feeling this way and we continue to lose people by suicide daily. I am angry that they couldn’t be saved…it’s no one’s fault because depression is such a personal battle. A battle you will never understand until it happens to you. You can say what you want, but seriously until it happens to you, you really don’t understand. But if I am being completely honest, I was really angry at myself. I really do want to share why but I am scared to. Maybe today isn’t the time. Maybe I’ll find the courage to circle back to this and share at another time.

But the point of this post was to share the takeaway I got from yesterday…

So quick story…at the burial, I chatted with a friend who shared with me the details of the letter he left behind for his friends and family. The part that struck my heart the most was the part where he said that he thought that by making it (like becoming successful), all his problems would go away or things would be better…but it didn’t change a thing.

So what did I take away from that piece?

Success is nothing if you don’t battle your demons. Your demons don’t disappear because drive a fancy car, live in a big house, travel to the world’s most desired location, carry the latest handbags, or run fast enough. Your demons are with you each and everyday unless you take the time to unpack it, process it, heal from it, and find a new place for it to live. I felt that someone wanted me to hear that part of his letter to remind myself to take the time to address my demons, take the time to process, to heal, to deal…I could continue to mask it and chase after my dreams..but I am so afraid of waking up one day and still unhappy despite “having it all”. I don’t want this for myself because I know material things can bring only so much joy. True happiness is from within…the ability to love yourself, accept yourself, and respect yourself. The ability to know that your trauma does not define you but instead it shapes you. I want to wake up happy even if it means I’ll probably be broke from quitting my job to focus on myself and spending all my money in therapy (so worth it by the way). I don’t need false happiness, I want the real thing even if it costs me the finer things in life.

So my challenge for you is to take time for yourself. Go to therapy if you need to. Talk to a friend or a family members. Be real with yourself and your thoughts & emotions. Process it. The last thing you want is to spend your time keeping up with the joneses then one day you find yourself so incredibly unhappy surrounded with the “happiness” you bought instead of finding it within. Give yourself time to heal now, don’t wait til later.