“I have a small family.”

The title of this blog post is the title of my mother’s short essay she wrote in one of her English classes.

On the page, she wrote about her family: her father, mother, older brother, younger brother, and her sister. My heart hurt when I read the line, “He passed away.” My mother’s penmanship is lovely, it’s remained the same as long as I can remember. She writes legibly while my handwriting looks like smeared lines.

I’m crying right now as I type this post.

As I read more, I found that she wrote about my grandmother, who had not yet passed away when my mom wrote this piece, and I became even more emotional. As I finished reading her paper, I cried. I felt guilty. Guilty because I did not know about my aunts and uncles. Guilty because I was never curious and seldom asked. Guilty because I stopped talking to my grandmother over the phone when I found out she neglected and abused my mother when my mom was younger. Guilty and ashamed because I eventually neglected my own culture, spoke less Cantonese, and became more Americanized. Guilt has taught me a lot.

When I was in high school, my mother had started taking some English classes at a local community college. I remember she would be at our dinner table, late at night, past dinner time, just practicing her writing. English is my Mom’s fourth language. She can speak Vietnamese, Chinese, and Mandarin. I recall the times I got frustrated translating for my mother, wishing she would just be able to understand English so I wouldn’t have to translate for her anymore. But now, I look back on my selfish behavior with immense shame. I hardly can even speak Cantonese properly and I was becoming annoyed with my mom trying to learn her 4th language.

Thankfully, I’ve learned to appreciate my mother and her broken English. I used to frown but now I smile because my mother is trying – how could I ever ask for more?

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you so much, I truly cannot picture life without you. I know that in life, there are inevitable passages we all must one day walk. The day that we must walk different paths is a day I hope I have your strength, resilience, and courage to continue to make you proud. I may be genetically 50% you, but you’re my 100%.

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Give to give, not to receive

As humans, we are naturally selfish. There’s always something we want, and most of the time, it’s never a ‘need’. In this fast paced and instant gratification generation, we have the ability to satisfy our wants but the desire to have more grows rampant, like a virus. I’ve got this, now, I want that

Flash back to a few months ago, I was ordering a meal at McDonald’s. I pulled up to the cashier, and I see, D, my former high school classmate, taking my card and processing my payment. She sparked a conversation with me when she remembered me from elementary school. I commend her because I didn’t have eyebrows back then.

But, I also commended her for what she had told me as she updated me on her life. In the our less-than-60-seconds conversation, I learned she lived on her own since she was 18, supports herself and her daughter, and with this small conversation, I felt an ardent desire to do something nice for her. I thought about it constantly – as soon as I left the drive though, randomly during days I cannot pinpoint, and heavily during this month of December. Out of the million sporadic thoughts in my mind, this was a recurring notion that would not settle until I settled with the fact that I must follow both my heart and mind.

On Friday, the 23rd, I had called her work asking when she worked (so that I could surprise her). Afterwards, I realized how creepy I sounded – yikes – and later D called me from her cellphone. I spilled the beans because I can’t lie that well and we met up later that night. I gave her a card and giftcards to: Target, Buffalo Wild Wings, AMC, and Starbucks. We hugged four times and she kept thanking me because this had never happened to her. We conversed for a bit before she went back home and I arrived back home feeling accomplished and fulfilled.

As I type this now, I feel as if… this isn’t enough. I wish I could do more. Not just for D, but the other young mothers, strangers who need help, people who wish they had enough, families who are barely fed at dinner, the list could go on forever. But now I know, there’s much to be done, more to be given, and lots to appreciate. As always, I appreciate you, the reader, for taking time out of your day to read my blog. I hope you have a day full of joy today. Happy Holidays.

This blog is a documentation of my life, my progress, and of course, my thoughts. This is a thought of mine: if you feel like you want to do something good for someone else, and it’s a constant thought in your mind, pursue it, plan it out, and make it go from a thought to a fact. Make it happen. Life has a lot of unopened, unexplored, and disregarded potential. If we all did the good we wished we could do – wouldn’t the world be a greater place? Being kind is a choice and generosity isn’t a trait everyone has – some can’t afford to (I understand) – but those who can – why not?

22 Facts

I can’t believe 2016 is ending already! This year, I promised to myself that I would open up, be vulnerable, and put myself “out there” into the world. I filmed this video in November, took my sweet, sweee-e-t time editing, and had a moment fighting my anxiety because I almost didn’t want to upload this video. But, here it is! It’s uploaded. No going back now. I hope you enjoy and I beg of you, please endure through the first few minutes of awkwardness!

Side Note: In the thumbnail, my hair isn’t the same as it is in the video, hah, I actually forgot to take a thumbnail picture the same day I filmed. So, I recreated my makeup and took the new thumbnail picture a few days later.

Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing

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Arrogance seeks competition in order to win and rise to the top while Confidence knows she does not have to beat the rest in order to be the best. She just has to be herself and only herself. Arrogance constantly compares and is only ever satisfied when she boasts.

Arrogance believes she knows the universe and its entirety. It conveys in the way that the likelihood of her ever being wrong is slim to none – at least, that’s what she thinks. She believes in her own false facts. Confidence does not mind being corrected and embraces mistakes as lessons. Arrogance views others as opponents and not comrades while Confidence knows not to challenge others. In all actuality, Confidence’s only challenge is herself, to be better than who she was before, and not to be better than all of those who share the same space as her.

Arrogance drinks an elixir each day to diminish any sense of being level-headed. She covers up her humility and replaces it with hostility. Confidence clothes herself with the security of knowing being genuine is enough. Arrogance is genuine at times because she is genuinely shameless about her superiority.

But… her arrogance is just an armor. Underneath it all, when Arrogance takes off her mask, the mask which shields her true self, she reveals herself to be… Insecure.

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Author’s Note: I wrote this because like a journal, this blog is a time capsule of memories, epiphanies, the news of my life, and my blog also captures the moments my emotions run wild. This post represents a flash that went off in my head and now the idea of only having sincere, trustworthy, and bona-fide friends is an established amendment in my book. Trust is the defining factor of whether I let someone in my life or not.

Lastly, but not least, this post is dedicated to my great friend, Allie, because she is the definition of a genuine friend. Allie is THE woman who inspired me to write about the woman named Confidence, because a confident friend does not compete with you – she inspires you and makes you better as a person. Allie taught me what’s needed to be done in order to be a proper friend the moment she saw me as a true friend. Thank you, Allie, your presence on this planet is a gift itself. Happy Birthday!

I appreciate you beyond measure and love you to forever.