Dear Younger Self

Dear younger self,

First of all, I just wanted you to know that you are a strong woman who will make many bold moves that will scare the hell out of you. Right now, you’re probably afraid of what’s coming next, shies away from anything new and different but all of that is about to change. Your life is going to be a roller coaster full of craziness so buckle up and get ready for it.

You will make all kinds of plans and most of them are gonna fall through because you’re very spontaneous and extremely driven. Some of the plans you’re gonna laugh at but they will turn your world upside down.

You’re gonna have some very difficult days ahead of you, situations that will test your strength. You will also have many truly happy incredible moments when you feel like you’re on top of the world.

You will fall in love with someone and it won’t be easy. You’re gonna get hurt. You’re gonna cry but that’s okay because you’re gonna learn so much and come out stronger. Forgive yourself. We are all flawed human beings and we all make mistakes. And trust me, you’re gonna make a lot of mistakes.

You’re gonna date one person in particular who’s gonna change your life. And that person is you. You will learn to like yourself and it will enable you to do great things. It’s gonna take some time but you’re gonna realize that you’re a pretty amazing person.

Not everyone is gonna like you. It will be very hard for you to accept because you love people and you want to make everyone laugh. There would be one moment when you stop trying to make everyone happy and follow your heart. It won’t be an easy transition but once the storm is over, you’re gonna see a peak of sunshine and it will only get brighter.

You’ll try so hard to do the right thing but you will make mistakes just like everyone else. So don’t beat yourself up. You’ll go through difficult life changes that will help you grow as a person. Some people might not understand and that’s okay, you’re the only person who lives your life. Just stay true to yourself and do what makes you the happiest.

You’ll make lots of friends but be careful who you keep close. Learn how to let your guard down for the right people and never look back on things that are waste of time. You’ll learn from it.

Make more time to help people around. Devote your energy to help the world suck a little bit less. Forgive people who hurt you. Every single person you’ll meet has their own story so don’t judge people before you truly get to know them. The truth might surprise you.

You will graduate and your career is going to take off. You’re gonna learn and accomplish things that you never thought possible. Mostly because you’re a fighter and you never give up. So keep fighting.

There is no right or wrong way to live your life. This is your story and you get to decide what goes on the next page and when a chapter ends. Do what makes you happy.

Love Always. From Me.
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Life Goes On

It’s been a year now since the breakup that maimed my soul, left me crooked for a little while, and I created this blog but you know it, I’ve survived and just happened to run away from another failed prince charming. Again.

I’ve cringed whenever people say love is unconditional (except for family, I’d do anything for my parents. Mom, I love you <3). It’s really not. There are always conditions, attachment, expectations and responsibilities. He will always want something in return. Like he wants you to be happy or whatever and that makes you automatically responsible for his happiness because he won’t be happy unless you are. I just don’t want that responsibility.

If you’re anything like me, the first week after the breakup is… fucking amazing!

There will be lots of drinking, travelling, laughing and dancing with friends. You delete him off all social media Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter whatever because you know… if you don’t see him then he doesn’t exist, right?

And then the scariest part is when the painful reality sets in.

The reality where you imagined he would walk side by side with you into the unknown is no longer there. The relationship that once was so happy and (you thought) so damn strong is gone. There will be a lot of crying. Forcing yourself to eat, walk your dog, and go to the gym… because you know you have to.

Is it strange when it hurts just to breathe?

After a couple weeks, you will be “fine”. You’ll be able to function fine until you see something that reminds you of him. A gift perhaps, or the new dress you wore last time you saw him, and you’re going to cry.

After a few months, you’re going to be more okay. You’re going on with your life as you used to and then at the end of the day, you realize you just went the whole day without thinking about him, and you’re going to cry. Not because you’re sad but because you know life still goes on with or without this person.

Slowly you will be getting better though. Each day you wake up and realize you miss him a little bit less and the pain hurts a little bit less. You will remember the good memories again and this time, it will tear you up for a different reason.

It’s been a month now since my last breakup and I still have mixed feelings about it. Every now and then, I would want him back but I know it in my bones, that this time was it. I have finally made my choice, and so has he. He let me go. I am relieved, which I expected. What I didn’t expect was to miss him more than anything in the world. Fourth of July is going to be hard. He would have taken me to a ball that day. His birthday in August is going to be hard…

I think it will be hard for a while and I know my heart will never be the same.

But I’m telling myself I’ll be okay…

-Trouble

 

I Graduated, Now What?!

I recently finished 4-year college, got my pretty little precious Bachelor Degree in Economics and just like any other recent grads out there, or people who were young and confused once, or the heck, just anyone who wakes up this morning with nothing planned out for the day, I couldn’t help but constantly asking myself the all-too-familiar question “What’s next?!”.

I have no plans for future and am very much jealous of the people who do. And you know what’s worse is that everyone else around all seems to have their shits together. They got the jobs in their fields, are getting married, adopting their first pets, and planning ahead annual vacations. What kind of sorcery is this? Is there a special place where people just magically go to and come back knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives and just live that way? If there were, for the love of God, please send me that way! ASAP!

Last week, I just had a lovely evening catch up with a friend of mine. She was so excited to tell me the news of getting a new job at a decent company and of course, I was genuinely happy for her but for a second, I let the jealousy devil in me looking at my friend and slipped a pity thought: “So that’s it, your life is over, huh?”. ( I know, I know, I feel terrible for typing this out right now). I wasn’t exactly jealous of the life that she has because honestly, being married at a young age and having a good enough job is not good enough for me. What I was jealous is the way she is so happy and contented with where she is and the direction her life is heading, whereas I am not. I’ve never been happy.

I have been struggling with loneliness my whole life, I’ve never felt that I fit in with the people or places around. Of course I’ve been blessed with the tremendous support from my amazing family and lovely friends and the occasional mistakes I shared the other side of my bed with, but I always, yes always, wake up feeling homesick. The only problem is, I’m not missing Vietnam or Seattle, I’m missing home but I don’t know where home is.

Lots of people think that I’m the changing type, the one who always has problem with commitment. Ha-ha, I am soooooo not. In fact, I’m dying to commit to something, someone, anything! I want to belong to a city, a house, a hobby, even just a tree but haven’t found anything in particular yet. You know that crap that they’ve been feeding us that we should love something that makes us a better person? Oh please! I’ve been thriving to be a better person everyday but love to me, is the permission to be the person that I am right now. Not trying, not faking, not pretending, just who I freaking am. Again, why is it so hard to feel that way around people, in places?

This all leads us to today when I am half writing this blog half flipping through my flashcards of GRE vocabularies to prepare for my exam in June. Yes, I am planning to leave Seattle for graduate school because I know that there is something better out there waiting for me, something worth more than what I am having here.

But, where is this and what is it? We all know that this is the question that could only be answered with time.

So until next time 🙂

-Trouble

 

I’ll Be Home Soon

If there are any worries in my world at all recently, it has to be with my dog, Guinness. He has been suffering from a severe case of separation anxiety and if you don’t know what it is, I am sincerely happy for both you and your furry companion.

I don’t remember when exactly it started but Guinness has a strong phobia about being alone and as heart-breaking as it sounds, it is very real for dogs who are over-attached to people. He would dig up the carpet, chew the blinds, get into the trash, pee and poop in the house, destroy everything he could find, and worst of all, cry and whine from the moment the door closes until I get home. Luckily, he had not hurt himself but with this level of intense anxiety, it is inevitable. If you are wondering whether these are just bad behaviors of an untrained/not house-broken dog then the answer is a definite NO. He might get too excited sometimes but is trained, can hold for almost 8 hours, and never shows any of these behaviors when I am around. Heck, he even knows to wait patiently next to his bowl full of foods waiting for my permission every day.

The more books I read about this problem, the more heart-breaking it gets. One behaviorist has described this as panic attacks in human but your dog experiences it whenever is left behind. As someone who has never had a panic attack but saw a friend went through it, the thought of Guinness feeling the same way is unbelievably overwhelming. So imagine you were the most powerless creature on the planet, you couldn’t drive a car, you couldn’t go anywhere, you couldn’t leave the house, you didn’t know how to find foods then suddenly you were left alone and not knowing if you would ever be able to go out and see the sun, or eat, or be loved and protected again, would you be terrified too? I know I would. Sometimes I wish Guinness could understand human language then he’d know that I would always come back for him. Always.

So a little bit about Guinness’ background: I adopted him since he was 8 weeks old from a farm near Mount Vernon, WA in February 2015 (His 1st birthday is coming up this week!!!!!). This means he has spent most of his life with me so there was definitely no dark history of abuse of any kinds. He was brought up with nothing but love and disciplines. However, I think I might have unintentionally traumatized Guinness because of my sudden change in schedule. Last year, I was still a college student so we used to spend tons and tons of time going to the parks, studying outside at school, meeting lots of people, and exercising together. Then in June, I started a full time job. Daycare was not affordable so this ended up with me having to crate him for at least 8 hours, 5 days a week for 3 months. I could never blame myself enough for this period of time when I could not fulfill Guinness’ needs of physical and mental activities and it might be the cause of his fear of being left behind.

The biggest shame that I could ever admit to was the thought of giving up my own dog. I honestly thought it was the end of us at one point when Guinness was not crated and constantly destroying my stuffs. Every day I went home to him having gone through my entire closet of shoes, Wi-Fi router, modem, lots of dog beds, coffee table, couch, chairs, lamps, window blinds, carpet, TV stand, makeups, blender, books… I would get mad, yelled at him then he did not understand and got upset then destroyed even more stuffs. This repeated circle of miscommunication just kept wearing us to the freaking core. I was not aware of his serious mental illness, I thought Guinness was too spoiled so when he did not get what he wanted, he acted out. I cried for an entire week then decided to call my Mom to let her know that I had to give him away. I was too exhausted and in case you don’t know, it hurt so so so much to hate your own dog. It felt as if I was not my own person anymore. My Mom and Dad, the saints as they always were, told me that it was okay to let go, it was not my fault, and giving up something you love made you grow up too.

I was ready to say goodbye to Guinness then suddenly, I caught him in the corner of my eyes sitting nicely with his wagging happy tail, looking outside of the window. He had no ideas of what was going on and was still dreaming of his morning walk. Life for him was always safe and beautiful whenever I was around. Why was I punishing this animal because he loved me unconditionally and long for my companionship?  Some people even suggested after giving up Guinness, I could adopt a smaller, low maintenance dog; honestly, it made me want to choke the living shit out of all of them! Even the thought of petting other dogs disgusts me. If Guinness could not have my love, no other dogs will! It would be extremely unfair and cruel to him. How could I ever live with myself if Guinness was gone? That’s right, I just couldn’t.

Since that day, I’ve promised Guinness and myself that we would work on his illness until I have no strength anymore. Luckily, the more I research about this, the more understanding I get. It made me realize that dogs are way more intelligent and sensitive than us human giving them credits for and the very first thing of any training process is, surprisingly, HOPE. It is the hope than you can give your dog a happy life, it is the hope that your dog is smart but he just speaks another language and you just have to be patient, it is the hope that things could eventually be fixed.

So it brings us back to these days when his anxiety has become much better even though we still have some bad days (aka today as I am once again feeling overwhelming). We have been tackling extensively on this issue and so far, these things have been covered:

  • I have moved from my old one-bedroom apartment to a bigger townhome with a slight hope that both of us would get more breathing space. Moreover, it is crucial for his crate to be somewhere hidden from the door so he does not see my departures, something that I couldn’t accommodate at my old place.
  • I always give him some frozen Kong toys stuffed with high-value wet dog foods so he has something exciting to work on while in crate.
  • We have been practicing being in the crate and quiet for a short and increasing period of time every day (30 seconds, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 2 hours).
  • Practicing ignoring him for 10 minutes before going out and after getting home so he could see that it’s not a big deal when I’m leaving.
  • The funniest training I have been doing is dismissing all the signs of my departure. Dogs are very smart at picking up clues so Guinness knows if I’m putting on shoes, jacket, and getting keys, I am about to leave. So in order to not let him know, I would randomly putting shoes or jacket on or jiggle my keys but instead of heading out, either I’m watching TV or sitting on the couch and give him a treat so he would associate these signals with happiness. Today, I even put on my jeans 3 times then went to sleep or washed dishes and Guinness, for some reason, was getting very excited over that. Funny if there was a camera recording all our activities during the day, we both would have been institutionalized.
  • I bought him a dog treadmill so he could get more exercise and tired every day before I leave. Dogs are just like human, mental health will be noticeably improved when getting enough exercise. There is also one theory that dogs bark excessively to let go of their energy. However, his problem is not because of boredom, Guinness is mentally terrified.
  • He has someone dog-sits 3 days a week when I’m at school so that left us 4 troubling days to work on. This seems to be the best solution so far but I don’t know how long I could afford this.

There is still a lot of works need to be done for the dog to overcome his anxiety but I’m glad that I never gave up. It is definitely crushing and frustrating sometimes but it scares me even more to imagine life without Guinness, because if it ever happened, I would have become that person who was terrified my whole life waiting for my dog to come home.

-Trouble

 

I’ll Never Get Over You

My favorite person just left Seattle today. I hate it when someone I’m emotionally involved with is no longer living under the same sky with me. Funny how I was typing ‘romantically involved’ and just didn’t like the sound of it. Romance is cheap. What is much much more difficult to find is the mutual emotions that tie us together and that’s why it sucks so much to separate from my person today because we are connected.

You’ll get over it..

Honestly, I don’t give a damn about getting over things. What’s good in life if you just keep moving on but forget that everything happened helps shape the person you are today? To have met and separated from someone I connected with is something that will forever change my life. Of course the pain goes away after a little while and new people will come but this hole in my heart carries the shape of you and no one else could fill it, why would I need them to anyways?

My person has gone back to Boston after a short-term employment at my current company. I knew this right from the beginning and kept resenting him for it. My brain was so fed up with the idea of spending time to build trust and intimacy with someone just so couple months from now, I would never see him again. Such a waste of makeup, I thought! So to speak, I don’t remember what was the exact moment when I finally gave in the fear of losing this person and opened up myself for the fun of getting to know him, but what we shared turned out to be better than I had anticipated.

We probably got a lot closer during the last two weeks he was here. It was on a Thursday when I was so freaking stressed out due to my final project and when it comes to stress, I couldn’t do it alone; I needed someone to listen to me venting. So I booked a meeting room in his building and we could work on our projects together then BAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!, that special spark just hit me out of no-freaking-where! I was working on my model then looked at him being so silly half-wearing his headphone smiling back at me, and it just felt… incredibly nice. Life seemed completely different, nice and worthwhile, all because of this person being here right now. I know you’re laughing at me, I’m laughing too.

It’s been a while now since I no longer believed in the idea of a relationship that weathered any storms or a lover that set your heart on fire, but that Thursday, I was starting to believe that a few times in my life, if I’m lucky enough, I might meet someone who was exactly right for me and right here, right now, he was my person. I think we both shared this transition because after that weekend, we said ‘I miss you’ for the first time since dating and everything started to get incredible since.

Anyways, the last two days were very sweet. We spent every minute together going around the city, trying to remember this last memory of us. Even though he invited me to visit his city and in return, I let him know that my door will always open up for him in Seattle, this certainty of us being together might be the last time in this beautiful life.

-Trouble