Category Archives: LONG READS

personal day?

February 15, 2018

I feel stupid for saying this, but I actually don’t know how to take a “personal day”.

I am addicted to my work. Sometimes I feel like my work defines me, but I am also learning in this adulting process is that You are You and Your Work is Your Work and the two don’t overlap often.

But it can, can’t it?! I feel like my worlds integrate a lot, and I am my work. I write, connect, strategize, create. I am my work, right? 

Anyway, I am writing about this because I am going through a lot lately. Friends tell me to take a day off and relax, and I can’t help, but feel the need to be productive…

Back to the whole I am not feeling mentally well thing – please note I am also not the type that is like woe is me. I do feel like I’ve reached my breaking point, and in this very moment, I am not the best version of myself.

And it makes me sad to even write this. 

You know, it gets very exhausting to front the whole “I am okay” face to the World. My good friend, Tran, said that self-care is a skill. Let that soak in: a skill.

A skill I have yet mastered, apparently.

After reading so many self-care articles, I do believe self-care is beyond the bubble baths, face masks, and all these fine luxurious shit that you see on social media. Honestly, I actually don’t know if being in a bubble bath will actually calm my thoughts…

To me, self-care means learning to say “no” and put yourself first, constantly working on healthy thoughts, disconnect if need be, and the rest I am still learning, obviously.

So while I have been a complete mess these last couple of weeks and have been fully transparent about my emotional state undergoings (is this even a word?) on Twitter, I am being mindful about actionable next steps.

I question myself with – what makes me feel better? What makes me happy? What relaxes me? That is a start.

As I transition into this uncertainty stage of my life, once again, I am very thankful by the abundance of support. It really means a lot to me when I feel like I am alone sometimes and I feel like I am not going to be okay. Although you tell yourself affirmations and things will be okay, sometimes hearing it from loved ones, makes you feel better!

I am going to be okay.

Thanks for reading, family and friends. Until next time – and I got a juicy one for you!

xo.

c

playing multiple roles

February 11, 2018

I have written a few essays about my family – like this piece about my parent’s lack of emotional intelligence, but today I want to share something beyond that – and I feel like my fellow first-borns / eldest kids or any family member would relate. Or I am hopeful someone will understand what I am about to share –

Believe it or not, I grew up angry.

A lot of yelling in the household from my parents and my childish self included. Over the years, I have remain my loud-self with laughter, but have managed my anger issues. I don’t like to feel this way; it is very much an unwanted emotion for me – but lately, it has re-surface due to family matters.

For those who don’t know, I am the oldest. And most days growing up, acting as the parent. I have a dual role in my family as the big sister and the parent because my actual parents have depended on me.

What did that dependency look like? It can be a variety of things, but mainly to support my siblings emotionally in my case, because I have no financial means.

My interpretation is that my mom is exhausted because she has four kids. I can understand that by the third or fourth child, you’re kind of checked out of this parenthood thing, and you see that child number one and two turned out decent and exploring life so they can show the two younger ones what’s up…

I know for a fact that her priorities are scattered at the moment for whatever reason and given the circumstances life handed us. So it was up to me and my brother (child number two) to raise child number three and four. I get it, we look out for one another. We are family.

However, when it came to some disciplinary stuff, or big life moments, my mom expected me or my brother to take control of the situation and find solutions.

Why?  I am also a child in this family. Not a parent. Note: I am also trying to navigate life myself, so I don’t know much!

I remember the constant argument when I was younger – when all this stuff did not make sense to me. This banter between my mom and I went something like this in Khmer:

Why do I have to do this?

Because you are his older sister. You have to tell him this and that.

But you’re the mom, he needs his mom. He will listen to you,  I am his sister.

Every time I have uttered that I am the sister/daughter in this situation, my mom always felt that it was somehow my responsibility to oversee my siblings. If the kids did not soar with flying colors in school, it was my fault that I did not allocate enough “homework time” together, or if he and/or she was misbehaved, I had to put them back in line.

This also opens a flood gate of guilt – especially when things did not steer right. This constant feeling I live with. 

Right now, I am trying to break away from all of this and try to explain this more in laymen terms to the actual parents in all of this..and I am stuck. I just feel this may be a cultural thing. But please interject if I am mistaken.

Right now, I am angry. Angry at my family and my parents for giving me this unwanted responsibility and title as “parent” that I did not even sign up for and had no intentions of taking.

I am exhausted, to say the least. Emotionally depleted.

So for friends who have ever felt this way, how do y’all advise for me to move forward besides enrolling into therapy and creating boundaries amongst family?

xo.

PS: Give this podcast a listen about “role overload” via Stuff Mom Never Told You

stop policing my vagina hair

January 17, 2018

I was recently engaged in a conversation with a man who made a comment about his preference in body hair down there –

Yes, y’all – I am talking about pubic hair. He asked me why don’t go bare, which is a genuine question and I told him it was not my preference. But his next comment made me upset: Bare is easier for men and they would appreciate it…

Well, isn’t that subjective? I met a variety of men who have all sorts of preferences… so, what the?

When I was younger, I used to participate in the whole Brazilian wax thing. It would cost me as equally as an all-you-can-eat sushi meal with tip. I did this because at the time, I did think men prefer bare, but it also gave me this indescribable confidence. 

Now, in my late-twenties, I can give less fucks about what a man wants / prefers. And I don’t have this free-money to play with like I did in college (read: financial aid). It’s my damn body and if I am going bare – it will be for me. But honestly, I haven’t gone nude and bare in a very long time. I’m in this stage where I’ve grown into myself and body, comfortably. And that confidence? Still there with some hair.

I do remember this one time, I went bare and my ex-boyfriend, who we don’t like, said why do I go bare? You look like you’re 12.

So, damned if you do and damned if you don’t, eh?

Can men, and people altogether stop policing our body hairs? If we chose to keep our full-on armpit hairs, on our private parts, our chest, our ass cracks? Let us live.

I am so sick and tired of men telling me to do shit with MY body. The moment you make a comment about my body, I am just going to stop you right there and walk away, literally.

bye.

 

i might as well say bye

December 9, 2017

To 2017, that is. 

Although there is still time left, I have already begun reflecting on this year and how everything unfolded.

I’ve learned a lot, and I know I say that very often, but hey, we’re all living and learning right? That is life.

Despite the World’s troubles and living in the Trump Era, 2017 was good to me. I will be honest – I lost a lot this year, too. People, mainly. But as we age, we will learn that time does not measure the value of a relationship, but rather the depth of it. As much it pains me to accept certain losses, it is all part of life. And … I have to get comfortable with that concept.

Regarding my dating life, it is unfortunate that I tend to learn about my worth after an end to a toxic relationship, but this time was different.

This year, I bid farewell the whole self-blame bullshit. I began to realize that I am not always the problem. And although two souls can be made for one another, if you two don’t essentially align with each other’s values, goals – it won’t work out. No matter how much you try and ignore the fact.

I’ve learned to walk away.

From people, places, things and a job that no longer served me. Who did a disservice to my happiness, peace, and sanity. More importantly, walking away from nouns that did not align with my life.

But here were the good outcomes – I am now in an environment where my skills and creativity are being utilized and challenged. But most importantly, learning about a business’ infrastructure first-hand so I can build my own in the near future.

Surrounded by women who lead with compassion and brains in conversations. Challenge me when I need to be, but mindful of delivery. That’s key. 

thecnnekt. This once-a-passion-project-now-evolved-into-a-serious-small-business has given me the opportunity to meet incredible people. People who aren’t / are like me. Not only networking and meeting fucking talented women, but learning from them. Man, I can’t describe how much thecnnekt makes me feel, but it truly has given me purpose and meaning to my life.

Another huge highlight  – Shrimp Chips and Chocolate Milk– my proudest work of this year. It is shocking to see your writing made into a short film and showcase in a local art show in Brooklyn. I made this announcement when I heard, but this was an official select in the St. Louis Film Festival (:

Oh, I also got a grip of my finances. I mean, I am still in debt, big time, but the fact that I recognize it and apply myself, means something. Also, in this process, I have acknowledge long-term goals like buying a home (something that I saw impossible). Yes, big goals.

While going through a heartache around Q4, I adopted a cat name Bagel to help me fill in the void. She’s become the love of my life. Now, I know what motherhood feels like. She just gives me so much joy despite her litter tracks in the apartment. I think she loves me, too.

I am just feeling very grateful for all the experiences this year. The good, the bad, all of it which makes me excited to go into 2018 with confidence and strength. 

signin’ off.

c

a rotten tomato

November 23, 2017

As of late, my responses have been the same when people ask me how I’m doing.

I am stressed. 

I’m doing good. 

I am good – just exhausted. 

It sounds like this auto-generated response that has ingenuine, but that is literally how I am feeling inside. I am well, though.

You all know I have transitioned into a new role since my grand post about quitting the company that I was miserable in. As much as I enjoy the work that I am doing now and feeling more fulfilled in life, the work load is hefty. I work long hours and my headspace is very minimal for everything else.

I remind myself that I am in another completely field, in a mid-to-senior level role and imperative responsibilities, and during the Holiday season, it’s truly busy. I tell myself: this is only temporary, it will get better. As words of comfort.

It is not that I am not afraid of working hard – I have witnessed that from my mother my entire life.

I am just tired. I am starting to feel burned out...And I am only twenty-fucking-seven! I know, I know, I sound like a complete brat.

The real sad part is, I have been too tired and uninspired for my craft and life. To have that written makes me upset because I have always had this massive appetite for life and to feel “meh” is like…whoa, who am I? 

With writing, I have a couple of stories up my sleeve, but I haven’t had the time and be in the zone to put it into words and truly make that effort to do so.  A part of me feels guilty because I am bitching about how mentally exhausted I am most days, but if I prioritize my writing and craft, it can be done…

A pipe dream, I think. I know I am deliberately letting my passion slip away before me. Okay, that sounds more dramatic than what I mean, but you know what I mean. Even on Thanksgiving Holiday, my head is about work and how much I have to do before I get back on Monday.

Work has always been all-consuming for me. I think a lot of people my age who live in New York are the same way – fucking grinders and hustlers trying to make things happen for themselves. So maybe the way I am feeling is natural?

It got me thinking how do side-hustlers do it all? How do you maintain a day-job and still pursue your passions and dreams? All I can think of, lack of social and personal life, and no sleep. What is going to my sacrifice is the lead up question here…

Anyway – my closing thought is this question to you: how do you get inspired? I’d love to hear what y’all have to say and help me out. I need to get back on my fucking game.

c

the bitch broke my heart

October 31, 2017

It’s been a year since our a break up. Truthfully, it was one of those pivotal break ups – the one you remember after so much time passes. You just don’t forget it.

Prior to him, I was really good at fronting my emotions, and blocking out shit that I did not want to feel. You know? Unattached. Emotionally unavailable. Channeling all of my energy into my work.

Now – kid you not, I’ve cried in many places – on the sidewalk. At the office. On the trains. In yoga in a pigeon pose. Yeah, sobbing.

I have always been good at keeping busy and occupying my time with productive things. But there was also this other side of me…I have been destructive with myself, too. I used to fill in the void with entertaining senseless people, binge drink, and indulge in drugs. Pure bullshit.

But none of that ever made me feel better about myself. It left me waking up to being broke, potentially hungover, and filled with regret. Now post break up, I have to do this thing where I need to heal.

I am still looking for better ways to cope with break ups – it’s a little foreign. It starts with me isolating myself from family and friends for a bit. Healthy activities / methods such as writing to monitor my emotions or hit the gym harder to kick out the anger that has been held within – both work equally great!

I find the best part about going through a break up is the immediate learning period that follows. It could be seeing that relationship in retrospective and bettering myself for the future, or picking up qualities I admire and disliked, and so on.

Don’t know why I felt the need to write about this – we broke up a long time ago, but I have been doing a lot of thinking lately… and realized how much I’ve changed. I’ve become more emotional and aware of them, I guess this is all part of growing up and actually being a human for once.

But a couple good things came out of that relationship – I know what I want in a man in a healthy, loving union, and respect myself to walk away from bullshit. Living and learning y’all.

byebye.

C

ummm, hard pass

October 8, 2017

Last week, there was this reoccurring message that kept surfacing, and it made me think about what’s really happening –

NYMag published a piece about saying no. The Thrive Global also shared a piece about saying “no.”

And it got me thinking about my life and how many times I say “no.” I used to be the Yes Woman, and I was down for a lot of things. It was part of my intense yet easy-going personality in my early twenties. However, a shift happened…

I began to say “no” because the social engagements did not benefit me nor did I have the resources (money and time). I began to say no because I had responsibilities the next day. I began to say no because self-care was more important than to stay up to 4am aimlessly drunk.

Learning to say no and passing on events eventually got easy. It was the guilt that followed by a “no” or the “I feel bad if I don’t show face” that needed to be practiced. Though I have written about being unapologetic about who I am and what I want, I struggled to find the difference in this scenario.

If I don’t want to go out, then I shouldn’t feel bad, yet I did? Why? I am tired of hearing people, myself included, saying, “But I feel bad.” Why?

It is all baffling sorta.

So yeah, I’ve mastered with saying no or “hard pass” to family and friends. Now, I am learning to be unapologetic about my decision. It is going to take some effort and extra practice to cultivate this lack of emotion and be firm on my decisions when I pass on things, but all doable – I fucking hope.

While I am on this side of saying no, and if I am on the receiving end – when people reject me. I will not trouble them with the “why not” or “Come on.” I have to respect peoples’ decisions, too. It goes without saying, right? But I think we often forget to think of being in the other person’s shoes…

Anyway, just some weekend thoughts. Closing this post with some much needed positive energy:

“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”

 

I know it’s totally irrelevant to the overall story I just wrote about, but I need to type this and to remind myself this for personal reasons. Side bar – I also recommend you all to read the NYmag link I shared. It is quite noteworthy, and you all know I love sharing great reads.

xo.

PS: thank you, Tiffany for having this convo with me and helping me process out loud. Love you<3

to closing doors

September 11, 2017

So, I quit my job.

The job that I randomly fell into and rode out for almost a year – yeah, that job. It is crazy how the Universe will answer your asks and prayers (when you work diligently).

I wasn’t happy. I was that broken record who played the same verse, all the damn time.

Last year, around this time, I was let go due to embarrassing and unfortunate circumstance… I took the opportunity because I thought maybe, just maybe, I can do this. I did slay, of course, but I told myself, that I will be a doing myself a disservice (my happiness specifically) if I stayed any longer.

I couldn’t stomach another day filled with these ridiculous expectations and stress.

The resignation part was something I found very difficult to do. I literally had to google “Resignation Letter” to find a sample. I am comparing this to a relationship breakup, okay. I wanted to end it because it no longer fulfilled me and brought me happiness. It (the romantic relationship) didn’t treat me terribly, as in no abuse whatsoever. It gave me my space (read: work/life balance). It did serve me instant gratification (sorta) with a bi-weekly paycheck, but long-term I knew this would be a fluke.

I couldn’t help but classify this as one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” kind of scenarios. My team has always been a supportive bunch, so it had nothing to do with them. It was me. But the great outcome of this entire experience is that, it did give me flexibility to grow thecnnekt the way it has grown, and I am grateful for that!

A friend told me that quitting a job you’re miserable in is an act of self-love. I respect myself to walk away from all of this and find something that brings meaning and joy to my life. So, I guess you can say yeah, it’s an act of self-love.

It’s time to close this door – I learned a lot and it definitely made me feel confident that whatever role I decide to leap into or an unfamiliar industry I transition into, I can handle it like a boss.

So, you’re probably wondering – well, what’s is your perfect job?

I have it already outlined – in my mind. I know what I want to do long-term and I already found my purpose in life *cough* thecnnekt  *cough* Right now, it’s a matter of how the hell am I going to get there. With time, I’ll know how to tackle my next steps in life and my career.

What’s next for me? You’ll see. 

Side note: I know this is pulling the trigger and may deemed as irresponsible. I am not going to throw a pity party – like oh at 27, I wish I had more of a clear vision of what I wanted out of life or I imagined myself here, or there. These standards made up by society are crippling as fuck. Soooooo fuck off. I am going to continue to do me and figure shit out – like I always do. 

There was no structure to this post, by the way. Sorry if my thoughts were scattered, but I wanted to write / vent away since you know, I am on #funemployment at the moment.

– c

PS: thank you, to all my friends who endured every fucking rant, tweet, and just my bat-shit craziness in the last few months. I also started birth-control too so that has impacted my emotions as well. Shout out to my mom who deals with my crying phone calls. You’re the best, Mommy! 

 

feeling behind in life

August 6, 2017

My friends on the West Coast are getting hitched. One by one. I know, I know, I have expressed my thoughts about this before – from wanting to buy that white picket-fence home to challenging society’s ideals on marriage.

It is different when random friends on Facebook are getting engaged and having babies. I don’t know them nor do I care for them, but when your close college friend and your childhood best friend get engaged within a week a part. I am shitting bricks. 

Other friends are talking about saving money and qualifying for a home loan to get their first purchase…

I can’t even decide what to wear to a client meeting or how to clear out my debt (this is something I’m working on!)…

I guess my question and confession is: Why do I feel so left behind in life?

Now we all know I haven’t had the best dating record – and no this is not be being all sad and shit. It is the truth – from bad boys from my younger days to what-seemed-like-sweet-older-men, they all turned out to be the same.

This makes me feel that society, including myself, are obsessed with partnering up. What the actual fuck. I am doing so much more than just trying to “settle down.” You all know about my project thecnnekt, which I can never shut up about and hoping to evolve into a sustaining business. And I live in a glorious city. So why am I fixated on that one thing I don’t have at the moment? My last post was all about the great things that happened in the last three years, so wtf.

You’re probably going to say: Chary, focus on you. It will come when it is meant to come. Well, actually my mom said this to me. And trust me, all I have been is Doing Me throughout my twenties. You’d know this if you have followed this personal blog, 1000%. 

So don’t tell me that – I already know. I am just venting to you all, the internet (including family and friends), that yeah I have my moments. I am human, and it’s natural for us to think these thoughts. As long as I don’t let it consume me. I know it won’t, but it’s from time to time when I think about it.

Last note – I’m not that single girl who complains about being single and terrified of it as if it were a disease – never been like that. It’s so funny as I expressed this thought though.

I am seeing someone at the moment. He kind of waltz into my life, and he’s been so wonderful. Emphasize the “wonderful”, but frankly, I can’t tell what it may or may not be. I am trying to approach my dating life differently – take it slow while living in a fast city such as New York. And so far, it works for us.

xo.

3MOFUGGIN’YEARZ

July 11, 2017

cs2

I know, I know – I’ve been absent. 

Life has been incredibly productive. If I am not dashing into a workout, social scene, or to a meeting, I am literally on my bed, with the AC blasting and watching Netflix on my projector.

It’s quite nice. I think it’s these alone moments where I find my best work done.

Okay, wait – back to Happy Three Years, which was on Sunday, July 9th… while I can go on and on about how much adversities I’ve faced, I won’t. There has been so much goodness in life as of late, and I kid you not, my life has been like fine wine. Better with age, y’all. 

I choose to look on the positive things in my life right now. Hate thinking about the things I don’t have, or have yet accomplished. Nah, no need for that negative shit. I have an okay job. Successfully launching the creative business. I have incredible friends. Family who love me unconditionally. An apartment of my own. Oh, and I’m dating a really, really a sweet creative man. 

I don’t have much to say aside from how grateful I am to live in such a glorious City. Foreal and how thecnnekt has truly catapult my life vision. That in itself has been a whole beastly undertaking. We talk about so much – eee, can’t help it. 

I guess the proudest work I’ve done is this personal essay turned short called Shrimp Chips & Chocolate Milk. I’m so amazed by Courtney’s quick turnaround and inspiration for this entire thing. Umm, hello Wes Anderson style, but when she said, “I want to bring your words to life” – I nearly cried.

The feedback from the exhibition was all positive per Mar and Courtney. Mar, who was also featured on thecnnekt, said that it was relatable and I’m glad my words hit a spot with POC and especially First-Gen borns.

My words are that powerful? Damn. You don’t even know how fortunate I feel. 

 

So basically aside from all my creative business endeavors, I have no life. I don’t think I do, but my friends says I have an active social calendar. I mean, yes, but no….

Goodnight.