Walking In Faith Always Requires A New Level Of Trust

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(Catba Vietnam)

Whenever a new challenge comes my way and I have doubts and feelings of lack, I remember how God delivered me.

For one, as I was walking home, I thought about how whenever God called me to something, I never actually had the finances or resources for it. It required faith and trust and follow through. I had to obey and walk through the steps. I don’t know why God has given me this kind of faith or why He has required it from me, but maybe because I was born into situations that required me to have faith.

When I went to Thailand I had a one way ticket and $1000. The paycheck I was “relying” on never came through and as much as I chased down that client, I had to learn to let it go and forgive him. 

I would hear a country, a city, and go. One way tickets. There were times I pretty much ran out of money and then something would show up like the idea of selling an old tablet, which afforded me one week at a 10′ by 5′ prison celled size room.

Or how I would be dancing at a bar and a Vietnamese lady would offer to pick me up at the train station the next day and I would learn about their lives while I lived with her.

Or how I would forget but randomly mention my blog and be offered rooming for my marketing and writing skills.

But at the end of the day, God always called me to people.

He never showed me exactly what would happen, but He would tell my heart to trust Him. And I would be petrified, but I would walk forward, trusting that I wouldn’t be stranded on an island.
And that has almost happened too.

But then I’ll be eating my last $2 and then a group of travel agents would join me and ask me to drink with them. And then somehow I would become friends with people I would have never met if I wasn’t out there eating alone at Catba Island, Vietnam.

MY life is full of stories like this.

And so when I am feeling challenged, I would remember, God did this and that….and I would never fail to be in awe once again.

So whatever new challenge you are facing today, remember how God delivered you then and how our whole life is a series of trusting for the next level. 

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My couchsurfing host in Hanoi, now a sister.

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Saigon, Vietnam

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Biking in Melaka, Malaysia

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Dancing at the temple, Melaka, Malaysia

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Catba Islands, Vietnam

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What’s Still Missing In Television for The Asian Narrative.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and my brain started dissecting the show “Friends From College”, a new netflix tv show about friends heading into their new life in their 40s.

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THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS POST.

Now the director is Nicholas Stoller, a British American filmmaker. So yes, he is white. But you know what, thanks for putting an Asian American into the mix. I really do appreciate that. Jae Suh Park, Marianne is an actress, artist who owns a rabbit in the tv show. She is a side kick, again not the main protagonist.

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As I was thinking about her role in the show, I started noticing a few things that are true about a few shows that contain Asian actors in. 

They are always a little off, like they are portrayed as sub-human, not human, quirky, has a strange or weird personality or they have to be really short and have an accent (Hans of 2 Broke Girls) and are constantly the butt of the jokes.

Han of 2 Broke Girls.

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Elliot Park (gay and flirty) from Young and Hungry- again he is not the protagonist and I get that because most writers are white….and directors are too, so they are telling their own narrative by making a white guy the protagonist and tell their VIEW and PERSPECTIVE of an Asian person.

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These characters seem to have to have some kind of quirk that makes them “not human”, making viewers laugh at them, unable to relate to them. They don’t have personal agency to their own emotions (their fears, hurt, anger, sadness), but instead have their emotions inserted through other peoples’ judgement towards them. 

They are often told by their white protagonists what to do or how to think.

The 2 broke girls often make fun of Han and tell him who to be and how to think. Elliott often makes a mess of things and is reprimanded for his actions and desires (corrected by the white man).

In Friends From College, Marianne is seen as incapable but repressed as you see her act in a play which all her friends doubt to be good. There is one scene in which she acts as the man and rapes a tall white man (who acts as a woman in a dress). This scene is a huge portrayal of the repressed Asian consciousness.

She is the responsible one as she drives the party bus for a “white man” who partakes of wine with the friend group and falls asleep even though it was his job to drive the bus.

For some reason, yet again, she does not seem to have her head on her shoulders, there is something off about her. Yet, the rest of the crew are portrayed as sane and knowledgeable even though they are having affairs with their best friends’ spouses, has drug problems but can somehow get away with it.

And of course she owns a cute rabbit because Asians own cute things like that.

But I notice all these things because I am Asian myself.

I want to see shows that portray who I am, human with real fears, emotions, vulnerabilities…but sane, not subhuman. I want to tell my own narrative and not be told to be a certain way because a white person (or any person) is telling me how to act or feel.

Until then, how can anyone take an person of Asian ethnicity serious if all they see is people who have no agency to their own emotions and personality? 

 

The Benefits of Healing The Mother Daughter Relationship – It Will Change Your Life and Relationships

I woke up early this morning with revelation of my new and improved relationship with my mother. It has been a year or so since I moved back and lived with my mother. My relationship with my mother used to be toxic and full of tension, I felt unworthy of love and strove to win of approval most of my life.

But I know God is real when I tell you this- my relationship with her has dramatically improved. What changed? I allowed myself to be vulnerable. It started last year and it was a difficult journey of letting my guard down. I basically told her how I had been hurt and harmed by her words. I also humbled myself enough to say “sorry” when I lashed out. Moving back with her was also an action of humility, an act of “I do need your help and I do want to be in your life”.

Until then, I moved out after college and never wanted to live with her again. Our relationship was so toxic that every time we disagreed on something I just felt put down, unworthy and “not enough”. I felt like I needed to achieve the great career, the successful appearance in order for her to love me or approve of me. 

And thank God I didn’t. I basically failed epically in the world’s eyes.

It was God’s saving grace. When I felt God leading me to sell everything and follow Him, I wasn’t reliant on my own power, talents, will, ability anymore…I would go wherever He led even if that meant letting me ego go and allowing myself to seem “powerless, weak”. And yes, I went through the seasons of accusations…accusations and comparisons. And Yes, I battled the lies of “not being enough”…but now I feel stronger than ever in my identity.

I actually understand what a truly healthy mother and daughter relationship is supposed to feel like. You shouldn’t constantly feel like you have to prove yourself….a healthy relationship is one in which you actually enjoy each others’ company. You shouldn’t have constantly prove your worth through a big paycheck or a title.

And then this revelation hit me.

I was looking back on all my friendships and analyzing why I felt the way I did about each one. A lot of my friends are Asian females and they seem to also have tense relationships with their mothers where they feel like they are constantly trying to prove themselves to their mothers as well. 

What does that equate to?

They consequently (and I’ve walked the same path here) feel like they have to prove themselves to their female friends. 

It also makes sense why I had to cut out certain female friends from my life because in a weird and strange way, they were putting the responsibilities of their birth mothers over me as if I needed to approve of them, help them, love them the way their mothers never did. 

Because I grew up with a single mother, it was more than natural for me to take on these responsibilities that weren’t mine to bear….in fact I was used to bearing the emotional burdens in the home. So in fact, I never really had a childhood.

Until recently, until these 2 years where I learned to be a child, a daughter, worthy of love. And in these 2 years I’ve learned to receive.

I cannot remember one time where I actually received allowance of money from my mother. Since 3rd grade, and even younger, I was making my own money by selling toys. I just wanted to help out at home but didn’t realize this pattern would overtake my consciousness. I hated seeing my mom struggle but in this way, I took on the responsibility of a parent. I parented myself. I provided for myself. 

I took on responsibilities that were not mine.

Eventually I started attracting people that also had holes in their hearts. People who were codependent, people who had a mother or father wound, people who wanted to blame someone for their problems, people who weren’t heard by anyone and consequently couldn’t STOP talking and didn’t understand social cues.

I attracted people who needed a mother or father.

But now I know, it’s not my responsibility to mother or father anyone. That is God’s job. I can definitely guide and help them and show them the way to God of course….but it’s not my responsibility to be their mother or father.

With this new revelation, I am seeing my friendships and relationships in a new way. I finally understand why some relationships didn’t work out in the past, why I had to cut some people out.

I remember one relationship where this woman was trying to speak into my life as if she was my mother and I said “I already have a mother, I don’t need another one”. It was strange because I really spoke from the truth in my heart. Why was she trying to be my mother? She also grew up in a single mother home and bore peoples’ burdens….people who grow up in single parent homes often feel like they are not enough and need to take on peoples’ burdens as they took on their parents’ burdens.

As a result of that….people often enter codependent friendships, romantic relationships, mentor relationships and sometimes they become destructive, unhealthy, manipulative, controlling….people seeking validation from others that they never received from their parents. 

Unhealthy boundaries are crossed when people don’t know what boundaries look like with their own parents….we then allow the wrong people into our lives or we allow the wrong people to speak into our lives….we form marriages or relationships that are based on seeking approval and acceptance….we form friendships that reflect our inner dialogue of “I’m not enough because my parents never approved of me” and it makes us feel even worse.

But on this journey I have seen a huge change in my life.

I no longer allow the wrong people into my life. I know and can sense manipulation. I understand what love is supposed to look like, it’s not a trade, it’s not a business transaction. I shouldn’t have to prove myself, I know that if I love someone, I can enjoy their company without thinking “what can I get from them”.

I know when to say no because my yes isn’t going to make them love me more. And if they love you more because of your yes than maybe it’s not a real friendship.

Peoples’ love for you shouldn’t be based on your YES to their request. 

I hope you have benefited from reading this and if you have please share this life changing post to your social media, facebook, instagram, email. Share the love so that our world can be more conscious and less blaming.

Don’t Be Afraid To Stand Out- The New SEASON

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I just wanted to show you my new hair by hairstylist Stephanie Markel of Tru Salon.

Well, I kind of didn’t realize that people would be staring at me after I got my hair done. I can’t hide anymore. I used to hide, because I didn’t want the unwanted attention. I didn’t want people to talk to me all the time…but now I really can’t hide.

This marks a new season for me and I’m sure for many of you.

It’s a new season of stepping out. You’re going to have to take risks, be vulnerable, do things you’ve never done or have not done for a long time. You’re going to have to open your heart to new people and trust that God will protect it. You’re going to have to be open about who you really are.

You’ve been hurt before, but you grew stronger in the healing.

Your bones are stronger though it was broken.

It is okay that you may be sad about letting go of the past, letting go of control and how things used to be. In the wilderness, things were predictable for me…I knew what to expect…but now being thrown into the rainbows and universe, I find myself clenching onto what little control I have. 

But I hear “relax, let go, go with the flow”.

It’s a new season.

Are you ready?

Rewrite your dreams, dream again. You are not the same person, you know who you are. You may have to let go of how you thought your life should have been, or become. Your destiny is greater than a generic life. 

Write your own chapter. Sing your own song. Dye your hair purple and blue, look like a mermaid or a troll.

Don’t be afraid to stand out.

 

The Lifestyle of “The Unknown”

Laying on the soft korean mat, I tried to fall asleep…but all I could hear was the construction outside or the tv.

My thoughts drifted to last year when I had spent a night here- Jet lagged from 4 months of traveling in Southeast Asia. That is how I feel today having woken up at 5am.

I remember pushing a huge brown suitcase (because I acquired it at my last stop in
Taiwan) and my backpacking bag on 6th street.

For some reason I did not feel compelled to make plans. God had told me to trust Him and follow the spirit.

I landed at LAX and I don’t think anyone knew I was back. I didn’t have a sim card. Yes, I was hesitant, maybe a little anxious, wondering what I was doing back home and in the grand scheme, what was my purpose on earth.

The way I traveled in Southeast Asia was following the words that the spirit put on my heart. I would be in Vietnam wondering where I was going next and I would hear the next place. Sometimes I was at one city for a long time. But then I would meet the person I knew I was there for.

That is how I have lived my life for the last 6 years but even more so in the last 2 years.

I went from having a one bedroom apartment to selling all my furniture, every last bit of my spoons and forks. Sell everything and follow me, I heard.

One night I would question where I was going to be and the next I would be living with a friend. God orchestrated everything to force me, in a good way, to rely on and trust Him.

I obeyed not because I was forced to, but because I lived my own way for a long time. I would make plans and ask God to bless it. But I did not know what I actually needed. What I thought I needed was the outward appearance of success, but what I needed was healing in my heart, forgiveness, love, the ability to receive love and give love…so God went to work for me. 

Eventually I said I want to write, I have always written, but I want to focus on my dreams, on empowering people, on creating my own projects. I must not hesitate to go all in.

I eventually, though with much trepidation moved back to my mom’s house. After 6 years of living on my own, the thought of being in the same space with my mom frightened me.

But as I sit here writing this at Grand Spa, I think to myself…wow, I am a different person. My relationship with my mom has drastically improved as we learned to communicate with more compassion…Asians have issues with that.

I am solid in my identity, having gone through the whirlwind of trying to be like the world and eventually coming to terms with my unusual lifestyle and unconventional self.

The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Genesis

Sometimes and most of the time we must go into the unknown to birth our dreams. After awhile you get used to being different and then you start to lead others into the unknown.

From Solitude to Relationship, My Path To Healing

Part of the CHALLENGE of life is finding your voice, finding what you want, and speaking forth those things...this includes finding your own boundaries and emotional space.

I was up late booking hotels for Vancouver and the rockys. And I got really anxious and then I couldn’t sleep, and then I got hungry and had to face some fears I had.

I felt out of control, but suddenly I realized maybe that’s where I needed to be. Out of control.
Sometimes things need to be out of our control so God can work. When we are gripping so hard on our plans and how we think our lives should work out, we have no room to hear God.

He said….you are enough. Dont worry about making the wrong decisions.
I get decision phobic when there are other people involved because I fear their disappointment, especially when it comes to my mom.
I am good at making decisions when I am alone, maybe that is why I like being alone. I have no one to disappoint. It is a lot of pressure to travel or even be with other people.

But I am learning it is not my responsibility to make others happy. Other people’s emotions are their responsibility.

I have been learning to set emotional boundaries for my whole life.

I like being alone. I’m good at it. I spent most of last year alone to heal. I could think clearly when I’m alone, I don’t have other peoples’ shit clouding my atmosphere.

Being alone is a safety net for me.

I know what to expect. I’m in control.

I think I’ve been so used, or perhaps I have ALLOWED myself to be so used that I no longer trust myself in relationships.

Could I speak up or stand up for myself? 

It got to the point where I just had enough and had to cut people out without explanation. I assumed that people knew my boundaries without my having to say so, but life is verbal….you must speak up for yourself and your voice matters. 

Part of the CHALLENGE of life is finding your voice, finding what you want, and speaking forth those things…this includes finding your own boundaries and emotional space. 

Emotional Intelligence includes learning how to communicate your needs and wants. 

So I was driving back from Palm Springs with my mom the other time and she kept talking and talking…my head space was getting foggy and I was WORN OUT. I was not in the space to just download crap into my mind. 

 

I said “mom, I need to rest. I don’t want to listen anymore” and she stopped talking. I was amazed by how I just simplified my life by speaking up. I thought she was angry that I spoke up but eventually I realized she did respect my space.

Relationships are not easy…with parents, with friends, with partners, lovers, spouses.

It takes work to find clarity within yourself – to see what wounds need to be healed, to see what fears have you sweating at night or stress eating (like I was last night)….but when we find clarity within our souls, it is healing, it is redeeming, it is freeing.

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord. He will not allow your foot to slip” Psalm 121: 1-3

I had fears that God will not be there for me to help me stand up for myself.

I don’t have the strength to always know where my boundaries are, but that is why I lean on God’s grace to help me. He will never leave or forsake me. I’m right here, He says to me. I’ve never left you. I will not leave you to fend for yourself. I love you. 

We must learn to communicate our boundaries if we are to be healed and come into healthy relationships. May this journey to be a fruitful one for you. Love and healing is worth it. You are worth it.

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The Value of Trying

Today I met with a publicist. She was incredibly nice and kind- unlike the many people I have met in LA. She offered me advice on putting together a media kit and showing companies my numbers on social media and blog.

To be honest, I was pretty overwhelmed. Because I’ve done all that before. I’ve put together media kits before. I’ve tried to show people my value….but at the end of the day, if people really truly know WHO I AM, I wouldn’t have to try so hard. Because I know what I have to offer- me. 

Not the numbers, not the views.

Me. The authentic, the imperfect, the enough me. 

Instead of being gripped by fear, I did approach some of the past opportunities that I felt like “it wasn’t the right time” to pursue last year….and even though I knew the “numbers” weren’t there. Yes, I don’t have 80,000 followers on instagram. I have over 1,200.

So I got no’s. 

But I felt relieved. 

I felt like “you know what. I actually don’t want to go down this path”.

Because I know what I have to offer is greater than numbers, followers, views.

It’s about authenticity.

I write and live out authenticity. 

I am not better or less than. 

I am who I am and I want to write about the imperfect, complicated and simple life that I have. I want to write about how I get rejected, how I get no’s, how even though my numbers and qualifications don’t add up, God’s grace is enough for me. 

And so if God’s grace doesn’t open that door for me, I know God’s grace isn’t on it. 

I want to write about the fear that is so real and makes my arms numb, about the belly fat that I sometimes loath, and how I try to do yoga at night but realize I just need to love myself for what I look like now, fully and completely. That NO I can’t get abs in one week.

Self- care.

Self- love.

Self- acceptance.

Take it or leave it. That’s me.

I’m not going to figure out how to get more followers so I can go on a press trip, because I’m more than that.

I write to change lives, to tell people, it’s okay to be authentic and imperfect…to speak your mind, to speak the truth, to be politically incorrect, to be insecure, to make mistakes. 

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I’m going to keep doing what I love and what I’m good at.

I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole of trying to be good at something I don’t like doing.

Trying and getting a “no” is better than not trying and living in fear.
Because when you get a “no” or a rejection letter, you feel relieved.

You know you can move on and no longer have to be thinking about it. You know something more SUITABLE is ahead for you.

It’s like closing a chapter and knowing that another is coming.

What doors are you leaving open that needs to be closed?

Sometimes those new doors won’t open until you say NO firmly to the last door.
If you claim it’s a new season, why are you still flirting with the past. If you claim you don’t want to, why do you keep doing it. Do your words mean anything if you don’t stick to your own intention?
Half ass intentions leads to half ass results.

Let your no be no. Let your yes be yes. And last of all, say absolutely YES to yourself.

This is me. All of me. I believe that if it’s meant to be, God will open the door. It doesn’t mean you just wait on your ass for manna to fall down from heaven…you still try, but you try knowing that rejection is just an open door to the next good thing.

Let the spirit lead. Everything has already been completed.