Grieving, Moving on, Letting Go

Love yourself enough to create an environment in your life that is conducive to the nourishment of your personal growth. Allow yourself to let go of the people, thoughts, and situations that poison your well-being. Cultivate a vibrant surrounding and commit yourself to making choices that will help you release the greatest expression of your unique beauty and purpose. - Dr. Steve Maraboli

A lot has happened within the past couple of months. I lost my grandmother and till this day,  I cannot stand the sight of seeing grandparents/old folks because it just drives me to the wall. And as much as I would like to have a guide to navigate me through a unique and equally devastating experience, I think it's equally important for me to take in all of my emotions and accept it for what it is. 'You're sad right now? Okay, good. That means you're actually letting yourself feel and that's way better than being numb.'

But is it just me or is this year flying by? I started 2016 with such high hopes and excitement for the future. 'I'm going to place in the pageant.' Nope. 'My friendship with [X] friends is going to improve.' Nope. 'My grandma is going to get better.' Nope. The pageant ended up to be nothing more than a learning experience. My friendships, well, not much has changed. I am making a conscious effort to only surround myself with people who can bring meaning into my life and vice versa. As for my grandma, well...refer to the second sentence of this blog post.

Luckily, as soon as the chaos was over, I got myself a new job (Hooray) with amazing bosses (Remember that last one I had?) and I've been soaking in so much knowledge about the digital space since. This is me trying as hard as I can to focus on the greener side of my lawn, in spite of an unyielding drought in California. Pessimism aside, I've also never been more productive and hungry.

Before today, however, I've been extremely hard on myself. I have this good ole' habit of placing high expectations on my friends, you know the same expectations I'd place on myself....and when they fail to meet my standards (I'm known for setting the bar really high), I would then start to question my initial intent, 'Yo, Khanh. Why must you set yourself up for disappointment?' Secretly, I want to be everyone's hero. I wanted to save my friend from taking up a pyramid schemed job, but rather being up front about his new opportunity, I decided to take a step back and let him see the real world for what it really is. Instead of bluntly asking my friend, "What are you really doing with your life?!?! JUST LET ME HELP YOU ALREADY" I let her do her thing so she can finally see that there's no room at the bottom for her. You might think it's counterintuitive for me to be somewhat nonchalant in regards to this, but hey, I've meddle in people's professional lives before and there's only so much you can do or say for someone who does not want to be helped. It's a horrible thing to say, but it couldn't be more true.

Don't get me wrong---I've questioned myself many times and by doing so, I'm allowing myself to practice another kind of art...the Art of Letting Go. People's lives are a direct result to their daily choices. I have a couple of options 1) Accept them and love them for who they are (Doable) 2) Change them into becoming who I want them to be (Impossible) For instance, if they want to change their shitty eating habits, it's not on me...it's on them. So if they end up gaining a lot of weight or not reaching a certain milestone in their career, why is it suddenly my fault? The point that I'm trying to make here is that we are all responsible for our own actions and fate. People are not accountable for my successes/failure and so the same can be said to them.

All in all, the grieving process has allowed me to recenter my priorities and love myself enough to be my own hero. In the past, I've invested so much of my time in my friendships and for the first time in a very, very long time, I don't want to have to apologize for re-directioning all that love, care, and consideration to myself. Any good friend who is reading this would understand that I just need me some Khanh time.

But shoutout to everyone who has this 'Adult' shit thing down because holy shit is hard. Being an adult is hard. Losing your loved one is hard. Letting go of people in your life is also bat shit hard. But you know what? I've never been a fan of easy anyway. I'm up for all challenges. Let's just hope I make out of this year harder, better, faster, stronger (Daft Punk reference, duh).

Disclaimer: My style of writing is reflective of my mood, hence the dialogue & profanity (Whoops, shouldn't disclaimers be at the top?)

 

 

When in Doubt, Take The High Road

One of the things I will never comprehend is how people can publicly attempt to destroy another person’s self-image in hopes of bringing them more contentment. The irony, of course, is the very fact that these people have the same tendency to be attention-seekers but view themselves as supposed role-models. It’s almost borderline hysterical when I see someone try to preach righteousness and equality when all they demonstrate is a lack of professionalism, compassion, and accountability. Public figure or not, an act of kindness transcends monetary items. Sometimes you can tell someone’s true character not by the way they treat their friends and family but the manner in which they go about interacting with those they don’t know ie) the waiter, the cashier, the person taking their drive-thru orders. My rule of thumb for dating or for keeping people in my life is to always surround myself with those who make me feel like I’m breathing fresh air. You will never know how toxic others can be unless you, yourself, understand what a quality relationship/friendship is really about.

As a victim of bullying, I’ve learned that hate speech is almost unavoidable—unless of course, you are willing to be alienated and live your life behind closed doors. Somewhere out there, there will always be a person who will never understand your action or give you credit for your work. There will be those who undermine your accomplishments and character and no matter how badly you want to just give them a hug or shake their hand, you know very well that given the opportunity, they will never extend the same courtesy to you and that’s okay.

If you’ve been my friend for a while, you will know that the concept of giving up the need to please everyone was something that was extremely difficult for me to fully digest. It’s almost in my nature to constantly think about my loved ones’ happiness and well-being. Is my mom happy? Does my brother view me as a positive influence in his life? By going on such an unconventional route, would my dreams impact my family’s quality of life? These thoughts are always replaying in my head so much so that my own self-worth and happiness were dependent on what others were saying/thinking. While I’ve always been the one to encourage understanding and kindness, it took me a long time to show myself that kind of self-love.

Don’t we all make that kind of mistake? We spend hours and for some, years in trying to be the daughter or son that our parents want us to be. Some of us even take it a step further by sacrificing our own hopes and dreams in order to fulfill someone elses’ vision of success. Time again, I see my friends putting their own wants aside in order to be on a higher pedestal that result in no life satisfaction whatsoever. We all think we’re doing the right thing, but in the back of our minds, we know that this kind of fulfillment is only short-lived. There are times (now) when I would look in the mirror and feel extremely proud of the person I’ve become. I’m crazy. Sometimes a bit too wild, too different, too outspoken but at the end of the day, my best friends accept me, my boyfriend values me, and more importantly, I love me.

Things took a positive turn the moment I realized that loving my body, mind, and heart is an ongoing process. I understand that my intentions are good and that I will never try to inflict any pain or judgement because I fully understand that everyone is fighting their own battles. Life is already hard and I’m not here to make it harder for others. Do I have the ability to do so? Of course. If that was my life mission then you bet that I’ll be rallying a crowd up and exploit everyone who has ever done me wrong. Do I have the time and commitment to do so? Absolutely not. Other people’s actions or preconceived thoughts about how I dress, how I look, what I say are a mere reflection of their own self. I’ve been through enough to know that I shouldn’t be in a position to spread that kind of negative energy on someone else.

Presently, I have two options 1)  I can further speculate people’s integrity and place it on a public domain for others to interrogate or 2) Focus on my purpose and continue to pursue my goals. Well, I’m going to go with the latter on this one. Creating bad blood and passing on hate are not my forte. Being passionate, producing quality work, eating good food with good people, loving the same man…these are things that define who I am.

Every trial and tribulation has been such a growing experience and I truly mean it when I say that I enjoy the pitfalls because it has led me to witness people’s humility, sense of humor, character, and ultimately, their most authentic self. Am I more guarded as to who I keep in my inner circle? You bet. But the losses of friendships and relationships are things that push me to always be in search of quality, not quantity.

XOXO,

Khanh

Post-Pageant Reflections

12697064_349186951916892_6016959546786805107_o For the past couple of days, I've received a lot of deep sentiments from those I'm close to as well as those I've recently been acquainted with.

"You're a boss ass bitch and I'm sure EVERYONE who has met you knows that."

"I was in this competition, but I was among one of your fans and number 1937274 supports.  Yas I got in line for it. I was team Khanh all the way."

"You're an inspiration and always will be."

Their words were hard-hitting because in the back of my mind, I knew that it came from a place of genuineness, which is something that is extremely difficult to come by. Although I've heard similar things before, there was never a time that I thought I would be in search for that kind of reassurance. After all, life has taught me that it is extremely important to walk with my head held high and continue to be the light in someone's life. However, at the end of all of this, I took myself back to the nursing home two and a half months ago when I promised my grandmother that I would take home a title for her.

For the past couple of years, her health has slowly been deteriorating. She went from being able to walk on her own to needing a wheelchair for assistance. As time passes, she lost her voice completely and so the kind of conversations I've ever had with her was limited to nonverbals ie) gestures, head nods, smiles, and such. I deeply long to hear her voice just one more time. I want to sit down and explain to her how my commitment and perseverance didn't prevail, but I was too embarrassed to say a single word.  I wish that I could tell her that through this experience, I've learned to love myself more and be more confident. However, the truth is outright. I am confident and I am loved. If there's anything that I'm sure of, it's these two things. What I really took away from this entire thing is that life will continue to throw me curveballs. My attitude and my reaction will be the true testaments to my character.

Over the course of 23 years, I've won a lot of things. Crossword puzzle competitions, tether ball games, Lieutenant Governor election, concert tickets to see The Weeknd (twice), and etc. Even then, I've been on the other side of defeat. I had love and lost it. I had best friends and a decade later, we are no longer on speaking terms. I was 2 votes away from being elected as Junior Class Vice President. The point is, I've come close to the finish line and have experienced both the highs and lows that come with victories and losses. How I try to make sense of each situation is to remind myself that I am a better person because of it.  Morgan Wotten said it best. "It's often been said that you learn more from losing than you do from winning. I think, if you're wise, you learn from both. You learn a lot from a loss. You learn what is it that we're not doing to get to where we want to go. It really gets your attention and it really motivates the work ethic of your team when you're not doing well." 

I've been more motivated to write and share with you my thoughts because it's the only way that I can reflect and make peace of everything. It's the only way that I'll ever learn. So what's my next step? I'm not quite sure, but I promise you it won't be a boring one.

Stay tuned.

 

The Ugly Truth

For the past two and a half months, I've breathed everything pageant related. I would start every morning by reciting my proverb, followed by a session of rapid fire Q&A's, then scrolling through websites to see my potential wardrobe for the big day. I felt the fire coming back and I knew that if everything goes right, I could possibly walk away with the crown. I was wrong. Hard work didn't pay off. Dedication didn't pay off. I nailed all segments of the first round, performed 150 times better than what I've shown to the staff at weekend practices and even when I thought I did everything right, I was wrong. I didn't advance to the second round. As I walked off stage after the MC announced the last name that would be joining Top 10, I felt anger and frustration. Immediately, I looked directly towards the table of judges only to find them whispering to each other and nodding their heads in agreement. Something felt off, but I couldn't quite point my finger on it.

It was in that moment that I started to think further and recalled the moment when I walked on stage to deliver my proverb in Vietnamese. Rather than glancing at the score card and taking down notes, I saw their facial expressions as all 5 judges started to whisper to one another. Words I could not make out due to my having to say my proverb out loud. As confident as I was, as soon as I got backstage, I felt a tiny knot in my stomach. Despite my intuition, I prayed that for once, everything will fall through. Well, it didn't and I was wrong (again).

My initial reaction was anger. Nothing made sense to me. As I sat on the sideline with my best friend, one of my pageant sisters walked up to me and said, "Don't look too mad, Khanh. Someone is throwing shades at you."

I had an inkling of who she was referring to, but I didn't want to make a quick assumption. A day after the fiasco, I had more people telling me the same thing. "Someone is spreading the word about you looking mad and your reaction." It wasn't long before I figured who it was and my intuition, this time, was right. Sadly, it happened to be a person I saw every weekend for pageant practices, but someone I never really interacted before today.

Typically, when this kind of unnecessary drama arises, I'd tend to ignore it. Only this time, it was different because I knew that if I didn't approach the subject to her, she will continue to bash me for a long time. Honestly, why someone has the time to make others feel bad about themselves is beyond me.

I eventually told this person that her words are hurtful and that I hope she could extend the same courtesy to me as I have for her. Rather than being my usual upfront self, I wanted to look at this situation as a means to spread compassion and kindness. Unsurprisingly, I received a response that was far from those two things. She "lol"ed her way through and said something along the lines of admitting that she did indeed said those things. I wasn't taken aback by it because I wanted to give this person a benefit of doubt, but I was wrong (for the fifteenth time). Initially, I shrugged it off because I knew that these meaningful words came from a place of insecurities and lack of confidence. The more I think about it, the more I realize how much she had in common with the panel---whose integrity and transparency are things I've questioned.

I wanted to share this personal experience with you since I know that some of you out there may have experienced similar injustices, pre-judgments, and down-right shady people. Of course, our situations are different but there's one thing I've learned and that's rescripting the paradigm. Instead of lashing out and being angry (like I was a few days ago), I've learned to come to terms with myself. I stand by my moral code. I am a person who tries to see the good in people time and time again. Even then, I've used my own self-awareness and conscience to develop skills that will enable me to walk away feeling like a winner in my own rights.

I may not have the crown. I may receive backlashes for trying to challenge the status quo and the nature of my own community, but I stand by equality and freedom of expression. I don't believe in silencing myself when I have much to say about the corrupt system that has existed over the years.

One day, when my platform is big enough, I will share with you my real story and struggles. You will learn that things are not always black and white and people are not exactly what they portray themselves to be. So if anything, trust yourself, your gut instinct, and continue to spread goodness.

I'm going to take some time off and do more reflections. Perhaps, I will share with you more of my insights then.

Until next time - Fight On.

My Dear Grandmother

About a week ago, I received a phone call that changed my life forever. "Grandma's in the hospital," my mom franticly whispered on the other line.

As soon as I heard those words, Jonathan and I dashed to the hospital and found my 90 year old grandmother in the IOU. A couple of hours later, she was transferred to the ICU. A day after that, we were told that all of her internal organs are failing and the only way we can keep her alive is if we get rid of the infection in her body by giving her a dialysis while being hooked up to a ton of tube-like things.

It's been a week filled with so much pain, tears, and turmoil. Standing next to her bedside made me feel helpless because I knew that there was nothing I could do to alleviate her pain and suffering. Instead of crying while I'm at the hospital, I was encouraged by my loving boyfriend to talk to her and so I did. I told her I love her. I told her that if she gets better, my mom and I will bring her home so we can celebrate Tet (Lunar New Year) together. I told her that I am prepping for this pageant and that I can hopefully bring back a title for her. I convinced myself that if my grandma fights, I'm going to fight but it hasn't been easy.

Every new day brings uncertainties and unanswered questions. While her health has progressed, the dialysis has stopped working. I've reached that point where I'm too numb to say anything and too exhausted to cry another tear. I know very well that as much as I am hurting, it's my mother that I'm most concerned about.

All of this chaos has taught me to prioritize the people I love and to never take anyone I care about for granted. On the other hand, it has made me rid more friendships, which is something I'm not complaining about either. My best friend Emily says that's probably the biggest takeaway I'll have these days from the situation at hand: perspective.

"You have to remind yourself that life hasn't been unfair because your grandma has been in good hands and good company till the very end. Remind yourself that even though she wasn't fair to your mom, you owe yours and your mom's existence to her. She had a good run, and she had an exceptional daughter who gave way to an incredible grand daughter too. And although this is the grimmest of situations to be reunited with family, you get to see faces you normally don't get to see. Situations will help you bond more deeply with family too."

Amidst the agony and the dread, tough situations like these brought me closer to my incredible friends and of course, to my number one cheerleader, Jonathan. I would like to end this post by thanking everyone for their kind words and action during this difficult time. I couldn't be more loved and I owe so much of my well-being to your consideration.

Let's hope that my grandma continues to Fight On.

Lessons Taken From Allergies

It's officially that time of the year again. That time when Healthy Khanh suddenly gets struck with a sudden illness, except this time it's not a cold. It's a severe allergic reaction that resulted in thousands of whiteheads being formed all across my face, chest, and back. Let's just I've had better days or weeks even. As I am sitting here in my room, alone, with my bathrobe and fuzzy sweats on, I've learned that sick days are reflective days. It's that rare occasion that allows me to reassess what's important (e.g. my body, my health, my diet) and who's important (e.g. my friend circle, loved ones).

Here are some lessons I've learned, thus far.

  • You'll have bad days and that's fine.

I find these mysterious whiteheads to be so irritating, itching, and most of all, symbolic to every insecurity I have ever had. Of course, this makes it even more difficult for me to step outside and converse with people. Why? In the back of my head, I'm always thinking, "Is he staring at my flaws right now?" "Does she think I'm hideous?" -Okay, time to go crawl back into my little cave and put on Jane the Virgin-

I know I'm being a little bit dramatic, but you get the picture. It's time like these that makes me further infuriated by the very fact that I can't change a single thing about myself. I can't make these whiteheads go away with a snap of a finger and I sure as heck can't jump into a time capsule and tell me naive ole self to not eat the crab's viscera. Point is, there will be days when I feel far from beautiful, but I'm thankful to have a few people who embrace my imperfections and love me anyway. You know who you are.

  • True friends stick around during bad times, not just the good.

It's easy to have people around you. The extrovert me can be around people 24/7 if I wanted to but at the end of the day, all that matters is the quality of friendship, not quantity. Right now, at this very instant, I'm alone. Yes, I could have called someone up and yes, I could have made a different decision and turned my car around, but me being content with myself is a choice I've worked extremely hard for. It's a choice that has allowed me to stand alone even when times get tough. It seems like not many millennials, today, are comfortable with the idea of being alone and I get it. The act of companionship and human to human interaction is what drives so many of us. For me, personally, it's important to fall, get back up, and be your own best friend. As much confidence as you may have on your significant other or your middle school BFFL, I've learned through past experiences that you need to also count on yourself because you can never and will never walk away from you.

Sometimes I feel like I might jeopardize so many of my relationships with my relentless and independent nature but I firmly believe that 'it's in those moments when your circumstances are such that you don’t even want to be around yourself' that your real friends are the one who will stand by you regardless.

  • Find someone who bleeds compassion

My mood changes severely when I'm not feeling well. Earlier today, when I called my best friend to tell her what's been going through my mind, I realize how incredible it is to find someone who treats you with so much acceptance and understanding. Her voice was soft and gentle. More importantly, it made me feel reassured to know that it's perfectly normal to experience days where things are looking much darker than most. I am reminded of the notion that while I cannot control my circumstance, I sure can control my attitude. Evidently, it's also simply not fair for me to dispose all of my unstable emotions on others when all I needed was some time to myself to think things through.

Overall, I'm pretty much over these allergic reactions. It's been painful (physically); however, it has somehow pushed me to reach out to my friends for their comfort and solace. Until next time, fight on.

You Can't Please Everyone

It's been quite some time now since I've written out a rant, but I feel like this topic has been on my mind as of late and it's about time that I shed light on it. I have this application downloaded on my phone that lets me know who 'unfollows' me on Instagram. Not that I am at all concerned as to whether or not my numbers increase or decrease but the tool has somehow become an invaluable one, meaning it has allowed me to get a pretty good idea of who I should keep in my life or the latter.

About two weeks ago, I saw that an old high school girl friend of five years unfollowed me so naturally, I clicked the button to unfollow her back. Personally for me, this is nothing out of the ordinary. You win some, you lose some. A week later, she went out to lunch with a few of my close guy friends and proceeded to tell them, "OMG. I unfollowed Khanh and then I saw seconds later she was no longer following me back. I HOPE SHE DOESN'T HATE ME."

The hypocrisy in such a statement appalls me. Evidently, she was showing great concern as to whether or not I still like her and continued to justify her action by saying that, "It's cause we've lost touch all of these years anyway so I didn't think Khanh would notice." If I was there and could give her any words of advice, I would tell her that words travel fast so if you're going to speak about someone, speak kindness or it'll come back to bite you. Me being me, I slyly laughed at the whole played out scenario without realizing that this has become an increasing trend with the usage of social media. I guess what I failed to understand was why people think it's okay and/or understandable for them to filter me into a certain category and then go on to feel completely offended and scared as to how I may react. I found the whole thing to be hysterical and quite frankly, I didn't waste too much of my time thinking if she liked me or not. At this point in my life, people's opinions of me just doesn't matter anymore. My guy friends even laughed when they saw my nonchalant facial expression because they know me all too well.

Just last night, someone I never really talked to (a distant relative so to speak) messaged me on Facebook and told me that she had to tell me something that's been "bothering her forever." I asked her to tell me what was on her mind. Immediately, she said, "Promise not to get mad, OKAY?" I ushered her to get straight to the point and then she went on to tell me that a facial feature of mine bothers her. Right after she insulted me, she went on to say, "I'M SORRY. But how did the rest of your photoshoot go?" 

Initially, I was taken aback by it. Why? 1) She has a track record of leaving butt-kissing comments on my social media 2) I kept wondering as to why my face has anything to do with hers

And so I responded by saying, "Yea, you know everyone has different style. If I got offended by everyone's comments and what they think I should look like then I'll never be happy."

To which she replied, "So did your shoot go smoothly?" At this point, I didn't bother to answer any more of her starving questions and ended up doing something that was completely out of my nature: I told her what was on my mind.

"...but something I need to tell you and hope you're not bothered by this either. I think you shouldn't be bothered by other people's physical attributes and spend more time working and focusing on yourself and what you can do to be better. Let's just keep spreading love and acceptance."

You might think I'm being too insensitive or what have you, but before you make any judgements, I want you to know (if you didn't already) that I have been a victim of bullying for years. I've heard the worse of the worse growing up, whether it was about my hair or the way that I dress. And for the longest time, I allowed each and every single one of those bullies walk away with their low self-esteem raised just a tad bit. Well, I'm not that girl anymore and I don't believe in silencing myself for the sake of pleasing someone else. I also don't believe in giving someone my consideration or mutuality of respect if none of those things are present to begin with. I have used my voice to advocate a lot of causes that I am passionate about but this one, in particular, feels close to home.

By the end of our brief conversation, I could tell that my relative reacted the same way that my friend did--scared, wondering if I'll ever really talk to her again.

A lesson I've learned throughout so many failed friendships is that you can't please everyone. There's that good old saying that goes, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Instead of dwelling too much on all the negativity and people who were never meant to be in my life, I'm just going to continue to be the juiciest, ripest peach that I can be because that, my friend, is how you live a happy life. Being happy with who you are and everything that comes with it.

 

 

NYE 2016 Resolutions

Simple & straightforward: Health 

  • Drink a glass of water every morning
  • Gym 4 to 5 days a week
  • Get that booty :*

Personal Growth

  • Read and finish 5 books
  • Practice compassion & kindness
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Think before speaking
  • Explore wanderlust

Career

  • MVSC 2016
  • Get signed to a modeling agency
  • Expand portfolio and do 23 photoshoots

2015 Year-In-Review

Much has happened since the start of the year, but here are a couple of things that stood out to me:

  • I had my first full time job and for lack of a better term, hated it. They said that your first job will most likely not be your last and I'm thankful that these words are more than true in regards to my circumstance. I found myself dreading the work that I produced as my boss's tyrannical nature began to affect my self-esteem and confidence
  • I found something I am naturally really good at aka taking photos and being in front of the camera. Instead of rejecting my calling, I started to follow my intuition, which eventually led me to the world of modeling
  • I lost a lot of friends and in turn, found my core group. No matter how hard you work or how much you care, sometimes there are people who are meant to be in your life. Other times, it's best to accept the very same notion that not every passerby are going to stay and that's absolutely okay.
  • I fell madly, deeply in love. If you ever get the chance to scan through my social media, you're going to find more than enough photos of me and my boyfriend. But here's the thing, folks. I feel absolutely #noshame in demonstrating the amount of love I have for him. Why? Because every single one of my genuine friends are going to be happy because their respective friend is finally at a really good place in her life right now. Shoutout to everyone who has given us nothin' but love. Anyone else who seems to be bothered by my [x] amount of posts are probably not worth my time #notsorry

There are a lot of things I've started to practice this year-

  • Saying "No" more often - and it feels freaking amazing! No guilt. No knots in my throat. Nothing.
  • Expressing compassion. Trying to look at another person's point of view to see where they're coming from. Why they may be in pain or why they may be acting a certain way. Everyone has a story, it's important to really listen to them.
  • Increasing a higher level of self awareness. I know when I'm happy, unhappy, excited, and disappointed. I am slowly starting to see who and what Khanh P. Duong is really about.
  • Closing in my circle. I still have friends who I would go great lengths for and then there are people who I will never really bother to talk to because our paths will most likely never collide again.
  • Letting go. Letting go of friendships that no longer inspire me. Relationships that no longer serves me. And people who no longer challenge me. As I go through one chapter after the next, I am beginning to feel more relaxed and optimistic about everyone who manages to stay with me throughout this long and enduring journey. My true Most Valuable Players.

Overall, I've had a rough year, but I've learned and grown so much. I'm also very thankful to each and every single experience because it has pushed me to cross boundaries and become a better, more diligent friend, co-worker, girlfriend, daughter, and sister.

Thanks for tuning in & wish you all a magical 2016! Fight On forever!

Working Out - Why It's Your Priority and No One Else's

A few weeks ago, I sat down at the table with a bunch of my pageant sisters when one of them brought up the subject of exercising. She said something along the lines of, "Do you now how people commit themselves to working out? Well, it usually happens after a life-changing event. Something that's strong enough for them to actually want to commit in changing themselves." I couldn't agree with her more. Exercising has become my go-to therapy session about three and a half years ago. I was almost done with my second semester of Sophomore year and still unsure as to what school I would actually be attending in the fall, and of course, there was the breakup that kickstarted everything. At the time, I would try to convince my friend Anne to go with me but since it took more effort to wake her up in the morning than it was to walk myself to the gym, I began to hit the gym by myself. Unlike a lot of people, much of that first year was spent with just me doing my own thing. I started out with doing a lot of cardio (running, elliptical-ing, biking, etc.) and it wasn't until I attended USC that fall did I started to implement other machines into my daily workouts. By my final year of college, I was working out consistently and at times, I even got to train some of the girls in my sorority. There were also a few sessions with my guy friends because they all knew that I had no other down time to catch up with them unless it was at the gym.

About a year ago, I reconnected with an old high school friend at...well you've guessed it, a gym. It was so refreshing to see his face so much so that we agreed to work out together from then on out. The first month was great. I finally had a consistent workout buddy and it was nice to relieve some of my stress with him since we tend to take turn talking in between sets. I felt like I finally found my groove again (post-college speaking) and more importantly, I had someone to keep me accountable. It wasn't until the second month or so did I realize that our workouts were pushed a bit back because he would arrive 5-10 minutes late. Now if you know me, you will understand that I don't deal well with lateness. I think it's a sign of disrespect when someone doesn't value your time, especially when it's a routine that is set in stone for four out of five days a week. I tried to show him the same courtesy I would show my future boss who is perhaps interviewing me by always arriving 5 minutes early or being there on time.

When it happened the first couple of times, I tried to not let it bother me as much. I figured my friend was tired from work, therefore, he must have over-slept. Generally speaking, that was always the case so I tried to emphathize as much as possible. However, when it happened over and over again, I knew I had to speak up and so I did. For a few months after that, he was never late again and our friendship began to blossom. You know that point when you finally realize that your friends get you? Well, we've reached that point and more. I had almost forgotten what it was like during the initial moments of our rekindling friendship until one day, I arrived at the gym and he wasn't there. "Uh oh," I thought to myself. Here it goes again.

You know, at first, I was very angry at the entire situation. Blaming him for his lack of courtesy and later blaming myself for being so heavily affected by it. [Insert angry emojis here] I didn't understand the difficulty that comes with standing by your words and showing up on time and then everything started to blow up in my head. I questioned our friendship, his character, and etc. It took me quite some time to settle down and understand the entire situation from a third person point of view. Maybe he had a really good reason as to why he couldn't show up. Maybe he's tired and Khanh, you really need to give him a break here. That's when it hit me. I started to make excuses for other people's inactions and that has also led me to my being extremely frustrated. It was in that moment that I took another step back in order for everything to really sink in and that was when I finally understood the situation.

First, I came to a realization that our priorities were different and that I needed to respect that. Just because working out is a top priority of mine doesn't mean that I can assume it's also somebody's elses. Secondly, I have allowed something I had no control over (ie. whether or not he shows up) to affect my overall performance at the gym aka I wasn't seeing as much results as I should have. More than half a year later, I finally took the time to make sense of everything and have decided that if I wanted to save our friendship, I needed to just do things on my own...even if it means missing the quality company that I had before.

Nowadays, he works out on his own time and as do I. I went from working out 3 to 4 times a week to 4 to 5 times a week. Out of those days, I train with my personal trainer (LOL my boyfriend, he's certified) and I've been more than happy with my results. He and I, well, we stay productive. While we do get to talk here and there, most of the time spent at the gym is dedicated to actual productivity. I later learned that I never needed someone to keep me accountable, I have been accountable for my physical health for all these years already. The only difference now is that I actually have a professional who corrects me on my form (if needed) and pushes me to do an extra set or two.

So do I miss those early gym dates? Sure. Do I miss counting all of the times I had to workout on my own after setting the expectation that I wouldn't be by myself? Definitely not. At the very least, our friendship stays untouched and I get to enjoy some alone time. Just me and my thoughts and a pair of dumbbells.

What's the biggest takeaway of this post? Do you. It's not selfish to put yourself first and to be your own company. There's something very liberating about being responsible for your own choices and not other people's.

As always,

Fight On!

 

 

 

 

Smaller Circles, Bigger Changes

I know it's been awhile since I've last posted, but a lot has happened since then. For starter, I somehow landed a spot on the Top 20 and will be competing for a national pageant title come next year. Also, my modeling career has been drifting towards a more promising direction so at the very least, I have that going for me. All in all, life has been filled with its fair share of ups and downs---more ups than downs so I'm glad. While I do have a good amount of quality Khanh time, I have noticed how different life is compared to let's say 9 months ago. I definitely have the same core group of friends---the untouchables as I would like to call them (a.k.a. Steven, Emily, David, Brian) and while my professional network is slowly expanding, the older I get, the smaller my inner circle gets.

Exactly a year ago, I would spend most of my Thursday nights at a go-to night club with one of my good friend at the time. Sometimes we would even kick it up a notch and go out on Saturday and Sunday too. I don't know how I did it back then but that kind of lifestyle just doesn't quite appeal to me anymore. More recently, I've traded in music festivals for concerts. Late nights for date nights. Large gatherings for one-on-ones. And it wasn't until this very moment did I realize, "Holy shit. I'm going through the "I'm to old for this" kinda phase. While the change was sudden, I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I just don't feel too settling with being THAT girl anymore. By that I mean, I simply want to detach myself from that post-graduate image. Ya know, the girl who always goes out, always have a good time, and yet never have a clue as to what it is that wants to do with her life.

At the ripe age of 23, I have pretty much cut out alcohol, except for the occasional drink or two *special occasions only* and have been maintaining a better eating and exercising regime. Did I mention that I actually drink coffee now? These habits, although hard to distinguish at first, has led me to believe that perhaps I'm growing out of my old shell, which I think is a really good thing for someone my age. First and foremost, I am very conscious in regards to where my energy is being spent and in particular, who I am spending it on. This is applicable to my career move, my relationship, my friendships, and etc. Secondly, I've discovered the power of the word "No" and "Yes." Saying "No" to things or people who may be detrimental to my well-being and "Yes" to new opportunities and collaborations.

Overall, it has been a truly enriching experiencing. Dealing with loss was hard. Saying good-bye to people I claimed as my "ride-or-die" was hard. Heck, a friend of mine for 6 years who used to refer to me as her "Best Friend" recently unfollowed me on Instagram and all I did was this..."oh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯" There are a couple of things I've been pretty obsessed with lately and those things are as follows: e-books, podcasts, actual books, and interviews on Youtube.

Here's one I would like to share with you today. It's a podcast featuring, one of my favorite writers, Mark Mason. http://www.knowledgeformen.com/podcast-mark-manson-2/

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did and thanks for checking in!

XO

It's Coming Together

This year has been all sorts of crazy, to say the least. I've said good-bye to more friendships than I could count. I got a boyfriend even though I swore off men and have since then broken my promise of "Let's stay single until you're 26, Khanh." I woke up one day and X'ed all of my nearly finished applications for big corporations because I've realized that a nine-to-five just wasn't for me. I also decided to pick up heavier weights again and my butt have experienced exponential growth since then. (Hi, @jonathantam) Although I have approximately a month and a half left of 2015, I can't even begin to tell you how anxious I've been. A few weeks ago, I received devastating news---one that tested my ability to stay sane and above all else, news that tore my family's mental state and shredded it into pieces. I also got into a huge disagreement with a good friend of mine and for a quick second, I felt like I was experiencing some sort of unwanted deja-vu. It's been quite a ride but I'm extremely grateful for every moment, every life lesson, every mistake, every falling out because each of those experiences has led me to this exact place and I couldn't be happier.

If you want to know how I'm feeling then I'm going to tell you. I'm scared. Venturing into a brand new industry is an exhilarating and equally frightening thing to do. I'm anxious. How do I even go about telling my mom about all of this and have her completely understand the emotional turmoil I've been going through? Through all of these emotions, however, the one that stood out to me the most....the one that kept me going is excitement. While I'm batshit scared, yes...I'm almost too enthusiastic to let anyone take this away from me. My life has been something I've worked incredibly hard for -a labor of love so to speak- and like I've said many times in the past, this is only my beginning.

It's going to be a crazy holiday with projects, work, and my film following Thanksgiving festivities but it's going to be a lot of fun. Wanted to give you some updates now that I can still take a breather. As always, if you're reading this, thank you for all of the support truly.

Hard-Hitting Lessons Along The Way

I can say from personal experience that nothing is more exciting than being optimistic about a new opportunity, a new friendship, a new connection, and etc. It's one thing to have dreams but it's another thing to have goals. Like most of my college graduate friends, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. The only dream I ever had been that of pursuing something in the entertainment industry and even then, it was a dream that was incredibly difficult to explain to my Asian parents. So when a door opened earlier this year, I decided that it was time to take that leap of faith and see where it may take me. Unfortunately, it was a door that led to many tribulations and mental abuse. Rather than harnessing my dreams and developing stronger skill sets, I had to face off-handed remarks and criticism--day in, day out. It took me a month to realize that this wasn't the kind of life I wanted to live and three months before any immediate action was held.

My incredible network of friends have been nothing short of supportive even though sometimes I just want to tell them that it really has been such a challenging year for me. Challenging but equally rewarding. I lost a person who could have been my maid-of-honor. A person whom I claimed to be my better half. I lost a job that was so close to home and for a few weeks or so, I fought long and hard to continue to keep my pioneering attitude towards a brighter future. 2015 has been a year in which I've failed, scraped my knee, and bled. It has also been a year that taught me resilience, grit, and forgiveness. I've walked away from each of these experiences learning more about by my inner self and even more determined to work harder because success is earned, not given.

My skin feels thicker and so are the walls I've built around me but if given the choice, I would absolutely do it all over again.

When Tragedy Hits Home

As big of a fan as I am of William Shakespeare, I never truly understood his works of tragedy. It was something I could only fathom through acts of imagination but to say that it's relatable would be a complete and utter lie. Hence, the saying, "Never say never" because that's exactly what I'm experiencing right now. Although I'm not directly involved in any way, a close family member is going through a terribly tough time and I couldn't help but feel part of the aftermath aka emotions that comes with such heavy trauma and atrocity. I don't know if you've ever experience a tragedy before and as foreign as it is to me, I feel like my world is flipped upside down. This is the kind of tragedy that awakens you, knocks you out of your stance, and shakes you in more ways than one.

This morning, I woke up wishing that the news I've heard was something that belonged to a bad, mortifying, once-in-a-lifetime nightmare. Unfortunately, it's not and as upsetting as it may be, I am trying my very best to find some sort of peace within my heart so that I won't be scarred or damaged by the images I've already read about. It's hard. It's hard on me, it's hard on the people I care about, and moreover, it's even harder on the family members who are directly linked to it all. "Is this really happening?" "Tell me it's not true." "Just wake me up already."

I have goosebumps right now just writing about it but writing is the only thing that can bring me solace and a better sense of understanding of what is occurring. I feel pain, devastation and confusion. More than anything, I desperately wish my curiosity didn't get the best of me. I desperately wish I never used my deductive reasoning in the first place so that I would live to never find out about the mortifying truth. But here is a funny thing about life, you guys. You and I (if you haven't already) are going to experience some good, some bad, and some 'What the fuck just happened' kind of moments. Whatever it may be, try to be present, face your demons and emotions. If all else fails, find comfort and love by opening up your heart to someone who you can rely on. That's exactly what I'm trying to do because whether we like it or not, pain does indeed invites us to grow, bond, and become stronger.

Please keep my family in your thoughts.

Growth Friends - Who to Keep

"You can never have too much friends."  This was definitely my mentality when I got into USC. Goal? Make as much friends as possible, make sure they all fall in love with me, keep in touch with them after graduation, attend their wedding and baby shower.

As ideal as it sounds, it is far from the truth. I was in a social sorority in college and now I barely speak to 3-4 girls from the organization--one of them being my little sisses.

My best friend worded it perfect: To be a good friend, you need to stay true to your word and be present for your friends. But as you get older, you realize that having friends isn't a numbers game because you're only capable of giving your time to a select few because of their contributions and value in your life. So it begs the question, how much time can you really give to others for it to be beneficial enough to keep a relationship meaningful, while still staying true to yourself?

This is perhaps the question that all of us are bound to ask, including me. I've lost plenty of so-called "good friends" throughout the years and while I've spent months and even years lamenting on the loss of such valuable connections, I've finally come to terms with it on my own.

Nowadays, it's a matter of, "Can I really see you in my life?" "Can we grow together?" "Do we challenge each other?" The more questions I started to ask, the more people I began to slowly stray away from. Although I started out with more friends than I could possibly keep track of, I figured it's about time that I focus on the growth ones. If you want to know what I'm referring to, feel free to check out this video of Brendon Burchard (a favorite of mine on YouTube, by the way) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir0w3VPVi5Q He does an amazing job with categorizing the three types of friends you'll encounter in your lifetime.

It hasn't been the easiest battle, to say the least. I used to despise the act of 'letting go' but now I've trained myself to see the good in it. Letting go is now more about giving myself the freedom to move forward and move on and as cliché as it may sound, if it's meant to be, it'll be.

Yesterday, I took some time to reevaluate the people who are currently present in my life. Some are busy focusing on their career, but we still manage to keep in touch via text from time to time. Some are completely out of my friend circle and I'll probably never hear from them ever again. Of course, there are a select few who continues to shower me with love and consideration--all of which, I have now narrowed it down to a select handful. I'm more than happy with my avid choice. It has made life all the more uplifting and stressful, now that I know who is worth it and who isn't.

The Pressure of a Modern Woman

Two and a half months in. It took me nearly two and a half months or so to accept and settle the fact that no salary and compensation package was big enough for me to ever sacrifice my own personal growth and happiness. Initially, I was scared that the decision to quit my job meant that I would somehow leave a permanent blemish on my work record. However, while things could have ended on a better note, I tried telling myself that it could have been worse.  Thankfully, I learned that sometimes you just need to let things go even if it means letting go of a role that originally fueled your enthusiasm and hunger. Yes, as nice as it is to be open and optimistic, that kind of magical thinking would have left me feeling extremely unsatisfied and thwarted. Pros? Now I am able to spend more time pursuing a role I can actually see myself thriving in. These kind of uncertainties definitely led me to experience a medium level of stress. Frankly, it's all I ever think about nowadays. Next to that was this --- does this mean my mom wants me to help her in the kitchen now? Which leads me to my next curiosity --- did Steve Jobs ever sit down and think about the dinner he's about to cook....Okay, I'm only bringing this up because it seems like everyone around me is putting more pressure for me to be domesticated now that I have so much free time on my hands.

So here are my thoughts on this. I have plenty of friends who wake up early, go to work, go home, clean the house, and prepare a meal for their respective partner. At the end of it all, the highlight of their day goes back to the very notion that they can sit down at a table and share a meal with someone they care about.

More recently, I started to imagine how nice it must be to desire and obtain that kind of comfort and stability. But before I could allow myself to settle for that state of mind (not that there's anything wrong with it, it's just not Khanh), I accepted the fact that it wasn't the kind of life I would have wanted for me.

If I haven't put it out there already, I absolutely adore my boyfriend. He lifts, he cooks, and on top of everything, he knows how I like my coffee and eggs in the morning. I giggle at the idea of having cooking nights with him, while catching up on the latest episode of Suits. I also giggle at the idea of me coming home with groceries and preparing him a meal for once. That's also me giggling at an idealistic Khanh. Realistically, I couldn't envision a future where I had to put on an apron every night, wait for my partner to come home, and be completely happy with my life. I always had the thought of, well if I worked hard enough, I wouldn't ever have to worry about how the meal gets on the table. It'll be there when I get home. My concentration is less on my culinary skills or lack thereof but more on what I can do to further my talents, contributions and performance in a professional setting.

I feel all sorts of pressure but it mainly stems from the very fact that I so badly want to make my parents proud. While their wishes for me include settling down, finding a good husband, having a stable life and job, the ones I have for myself are extremely different. I want a partner that can challenge me, a life that is constructed with series of losses and wins, and a career that can sometimes be all too consuming but equally gratifying.

Old me would have immediately wanted to apologize to my parents and my boyfriend for not knowing how to cut a watermelon and/or making something aside from cup ramen. But after writing all of this down, I figured it's better to have a healthier and more open approach and who's to say I can't perhaps learn how to cook killer meals while slaying every new professional venture? We'll see how it goes. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that I don't burn the house down.

Why I Quit My Boss

“I quit.” “You did what?”

“I quit.”

“Man, you sure know how to start off the week.”

That was the conversation I had with my best friend yesterday morning after a slightly uncomfortable but much needed meeting with my boss.

At the start of my new job, I was ambitious, excited, and needless to say, filled with energy and enthusiasm. I imagined myself five years down the line, branding the company, producing my own shows, and managing my own team. Less than two months after our soft grand opening that vision of mine began to slowly dissipate.

Before everything went downhill, I was on my grind. Within the first month alone, I was able to put in a 50-hour workweek all while balancing my three freelancing jobs on the side. With only twenty dollars in my savings account, I knew I had to hustle and I had to hustle hard. Once I got the ball rolling, things began to look brighter. Every month, I watched my savings doubled. While I was making money, I tried to budget my spending as much as possible. Pretty soon, I was able to afford the things I never thought I was able to afford. Hustling (if you do it right) will always lead to unprecedented results.

Slowly, I started to notice that the dynamic between my boss and I began to change. She would walk over to my office often and criticize every research, pitch, and treatment I’ve completed for a show. At first, I took her words as a means to improve and grow, but after awhile, I began to feel uneasy.

Some days were doable and other days were just downright awful. I would hear the words "nonchalant" and "incompetent" being tossed casually. Furthermore,  her words had a lot to do with her own personal opinions of me rather than the product of my actual merits. "Why are you a Communication major when you can't communicate?" "Do you even do research at USC?" Etc, etc.

Although I am typically good at blocking out these kinds of misguided words, it became apparent to me that there was no real trajectory or future if I do choose to stay with the company. Don’t get me wrong. Well-spoken, highly self-actualized individuals do not intimidate me. They inspire me. My boss, on the other hand, was anything but inspiring. She was a disastrous procrastinator, but luckily for her, she had someone to pick up all of her pieces....aka me.

Two months in and I started to experience a new low. I lost a good amount of weight, broke out, had mood swings, and evidently, experienced a high-level of stress. So what did I end up doing? At the end of month 4, I booked a flight to San Francisco and requested a week off from work.

San Francisco was amazing. It gave me a space to reflect on the situation I was in. I stepped away from my every day routine and challenged myself to think outside the box. Lastly, I came home with a definite answer.

“I’m going to quit,” I said to myself.

That following Monday morning, I walked into my office and saw that my boss completely destroyed my desk space---books, used cups, papers were scattered everywhere. Granted, before I left, I vacuumed the entire office and tidied up my conference room. Welp, there goes that. It was in that very moment that I realized I could no longer wait for change to happen. After a couple of deep breathes, I mustered up the courage to tell her that I no longer see myself as a fit for the company.

She didn’t look too surprised and while she did try to find more horrible things to say, I did my best to avoid countering verbally altogether. Deep down, I knew I was doing the right thing and by giving myself the opportunity to shed all of the lies and unethical truths I’ve been repeatedly hearing, I have finally allowed myself to be free.

I don’t want to approach this situation in an aggressive outspoken manner. For me, this entire first job experience taught me more than I’ll ever know. Although some people may think that I am a quitter, I know very well that this was a decision that took a lot of thinking, discussion, and reevaluation.

Pros about the job:

  • It was close to home
  • It was close to the gym
  • I will make my parents proud and less stressed
  • It gave me the flexibility to keep up with my social life and relationship

After writing down the pros and the cons, I learned that no matter how great the pros were, none of these things was worth risking my happiness and self worth.

Initially, I was planning to write this post a couple of months down, ya know... right after I get a new job or something along those lines. However, my thoughts are still raw and I wanted to share this experience with you because it’s important for me to be as honest as possible. I’ve spent years preaching about the importance of staying true to oneself while consistently chasing after calculated risks. This, right here, may very well be the best decision I have made for myself this year. Okay, second best (the first one was when I agreed to date the sweetest guy on this planet).

If there’s one thing I want you to take away from my story, it’s this: your dreams are worth it. Don’t let pre-judgment, condemnation, setbacks and people-pleasing tendencies to pull you back. After all, the second you start believing in yourself and your worth, everything will start to follow through. Trust me, I’d know.

Uncomfortable Conversations

I have completely lost track of the amount of uncomfortable conversations I have had within these past couple of month. However, I felt a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders when one of my favorite authors reiterated the notion that that sometimes a person's success is measured by these kind of unexpected, unwarranted moments. For about two months or so, I've been feeling a significant amount of stress, which eventually led to me feeling extremely insecure and unhappy. The only time I would ever feel at ease is when I'm around my close friends, family members, and/or my boyfriend. I, being the person that I am, was very much aware of the situation. I knew exactly why, who, and what that made me feel so unsatisfied and unmotivated. Instead of being decisive and put it upon myself to take some calculated risks, I chose to not change my circumstance and as a result, I felt into a very dark pit hole.

To do or not do? To say or not to say?

At the very worst, what could happen? Well, let's see here. 

  1. I might have to start over.
  2. I will have to face the unknown and uncertainty.
  3. I will fail.

Okay, after writing all of these things out, it actually doesn't seem all that bad. I've been through way worse, but if you really wanted me to be honest with you, I'll tell you that I'm hanging on for what's left of my passion and fire due to the very fact that I believe that change is possible. If I changed my attitude, my work ethic would suddenly change. If I changed my actions, perhaps, I would finally get that stamp of approval that I've been so desperately seeking.

These things ought to happen, right? Wrong. At this rate, there's a high chance that nothing will change unless I'm willing to step outside of my comfort zone and actually have that uncomfortable conversation. It's never easy to eliminate every single physical and psychological baggage, but it's always better to follow your heart than be miserable and dreading to wake up every morning. I don't wish this upon anyone, especially not myself.

I guess I have a lot of thinking to do as I move forward with my next step, but we'll see how everything goes! As always, Fight On!

How I Conquered My Fear

"Do you think I like him? You know me better than anyone else in the world. You can answer this question." "You do," my best friend said to me. "You do, but you've always found reasons not to pursue anything more. Your biggest excuse to not pursue things is that you need to focus on yourself and your career, yet you're able to have late weeknights with him, date-adventures with him, and talk to him daily. He knows you on an intimate level, different than how other guys know you."

I stood there in silence as her words replayed over and over again.

She ended the conversation by asking me, "So what does that say?"

I smiled because whether I was aware of it or not, I like him. I definitely like him.


A lot of people never really understood why I stayed single for so long. Sometimes, when I'm out with my girlfriends on a Thursday night, I would get bombarded with questions such as, "How does a girl like you not have someone special in her life?" No matter how hard I would try to beat around the bush, it was almost impossible to escape everyone's burning question and curiosity about a personal life that didn't belong to them.  At the core of it, I knew that these men could not wrap their heads around the idea that someone like me can actually stand her ground and be completely satisfied with herself. Little did they know that the confident and energetic girl who has no trouble approaching them is the same girl who experienced a lot of pain and heartbreak.

At the time, I was extremely content so when these situations arise, it was almost easier to smile my way through conversations as I continued to explore my pool of temporary options. My mantra was simple. Like the guy enough to give him bits of your time, but not enough to give him your full-self. This meant that I never felt the urge to give any of these guys my loyalty, my trust, and my commitment. After all, if you're not bae, you don't get bae privileges.

While I was having a good time and enjoying myself, my career was the only thing that was running through my mind. At the time, I was spending money that I didn't have and my freelancing work was not enough to help me sustain myself financially. At one point, I had to turn down every dinner dates with friends because I could no longer pull money out of my savings account. The last and final thing I could even think about is finding myself a boyfriend.

So for 6 months straight, I began to hustle. Once I got into the momentum and flow of things, I started to hear back from companies and had at least 3 interviews scheduled every single week. During that time, I was consistently talking to one person every single day, but I never put much thought into it since my biggest fears has always been that I would somehow end up losing my sense of ambition and drive.

One night, while I was laying on my bed after a long day at work, I pulled out the book that I've been completely obsessed with and that was when everything hit me. I've been living in my own fears for way too long. Immediately, I felt a strange mental shift and the rest was history.

My former self always praised her independence and feared anything or anyone who might threaten it. I was wrong. I was so wrong. I've never been more independent in my entire life.

Nowadays, I get to eat the food that I want to eat, buy myself something nice every once in a while, and enjoy quality time with a very quality man. "You mean this entire time....this is what I have been so afraid of?"

One of the lessons I've learned is that I am by no means giving up my current path to be on an indefinite pause. I am still working hard and my career is still running on my mind (probably more now than ever). This time, however, everything is different. Now I have someone I can share my struggles and successes with. The good and the bad.

I'm extremely excited for us and for our journey. I am also proud of myself for going after something even if it means I'm holding on to dear life and hoping it won't leave me broken like the last.  Did I also mention how exhilarating it feels to conquer a fear and kicking it right in the booty? Try doing something that scares you and let me know how it goes ;-)  Until then, Fight On!