On Being Comfortable in My Own Skin
This has been a struggle. And when I say struggle, I mean S T R U G G L E. I know I’m not the only one, so let me break it down for a second:

This is so multi-faceted, I don’t even know where to start.
Growing up, I kind of had my life simply written out for me. Written out by those who raised me, aka my parents. I say it was written out, or “dictated” down to me, it was expected of me to:
1. be a good student
2. get good grades (see point 1)
3. be at home
Once I was old enough:
4. help at the restaurants
5. go to college and graduate
6. get a job
7. and suddenly, all of these “milestone” expectations stopped here
But in between all of this, I was never allowed to think for myself (even though I still did), I was never supposed to speak for myself, I was never ENCOURAGED to do so, I was never encouraged to find my own interests or pursue a hobby or something I enjoyed. It’s like I “knew” what my life consisted of, and I couldn’t stray from the restaurant and family.
The only thing that was a common thread through all of this was that I liked to read and I loved books. And even this was something I left behind due to bad friendships and not enough encouragement or positive role models. Nobody ever told me about the classics or the socially conscious books I should be reading.

So now, here I am. At 26, I have achieved these “goals” and “expectations” that were placed on my life, I have spoken out about my dislike for the restaurant and now I am truly left alone. But the thing is, I don’t even know what it is that I want. What makes me, me? I don’t even know what kind of music I like. Or what my favorite book is, or what genre of movies I enjoy. It’s like I know nothing about myself. It’s like I am re-learning, I am going through a re-birth. I think my mid to late 20’s is going to be a re-birth of me.

I can’t even begin to touch on the other layers that go under “being comfortable in my own skin.”  There’s body image, there’s facial structure, there is hair, there is height. There is so damn much to dissect.

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this is grief . . .

I either see my father on-the-go at work

Or I see him exhausted. burnt out and fed up with his work.

In both scenarios, he is ignoring me.

Maybe ignoring isn’t the correct word, but let me tell you, for a 5-year-old girl, it sure as hell feels that way. And it feels that way for a 15-year-old. And a 25-year-old.

Everyone feels the liberty to comment on my life, or the way they believe I live my life. You may know a part of my father. But you don’t know me.

I love the way everyone feels like they know who my dad is, and all I can do is smile in agreement and indeed yes I am grateful, but no one actually knows my story. Because I am the oldest and only girl. And in everyone’s eyes, that’s the perfect recipe for “daddy’s girl.”

But I was never “daddy’s girl” because I grew up thinking that work was more important than the relationship my dad didn’t choose to have with me. I grew up neglected. And YES, I will use the word “neglected” because I’m tired of softening up my stories so that it doesn’t hurt your ears. Because I’m tired of making excuses as to why my dad didn’t want to have a relationship with me. I’m done making excuses.

MY DAD CHOSE TO NOT HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH ME.

Because he was too busy with work. And even when he wasn’t, he still didn’t have a relationship with me. And THAT. Is neglect! Get out of here with your justifications of money and materialism – I would have preferred 100 years over to have a relationship – a TRUE meaningful relationship – with my dad over any money in the world.

 …. How can someone abandon you and yet live in the same house?

I don’t know, How can they?

Stop telling me of your immigrant stories. Because I am damn well aware of the immigrant struggle. And I am proud daughter of immigrant parents – and yet, that’s only part of it. Because when I hear people my age talking about immigrant parents, at least they have stories and experiences with their fathers.

I don’t.

 So let me fucking have my raw emotions. And my anger. And my sadness. And my heartbreak. Because I grew up without a strong relational foundation. And it’s not until NOW that I am trying to un-do all the damage. So, let me grieve. As this is what I continue to do …

magic of march

March felt like a long month for me.  By “long” I mean that it felt jam-packed with so many things I did, and completed, and was a part of.  “Long” doesn’t always mean boring or uneventful for me. It felt more like never-ending …

 I started off feeling a bit unsettled (as I shared in my first Friday Reflections post), but I was able to quickly nip that in the bud and establish a schedule for myself.  Or establish a space that felt more like me. 

I started the month with a pleasant visit from my good friend, Desi.  We played tourist for a day because that’s the amount of time she stayed. A day!  I established some fitness goals and though I did not completely accomplish them, I did get back on a more mindful eating pattern.  As in: eating from home more, taking lunch from home instead of eating out, and making sure I ate breakfast at home (as opposed to in my car on my way to work).  That has really helped.  I made it a goal to join the gym, yet another month passed and I did NOT.  I don’t know why I keep putting this off, lol.

I worked through some more sadness.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

I attended a play!  That was unique and new in my life.  I want to incorporate more art in my life, whether that be plays, or concerts, or museums, or shows, movies…etc. I’ve been craving more creativity.

I settled in a little deeper at work.  I am slowly starting to get into a groove.  It’s starting to feel more like “my life” and not something that I am doing… if that makes any sense at all.

Also, I made decisions regarding my love life.  I have embraced my ideas and my desires about wanting to be a young woman in her mid-20’s, and NOT wanting or even working towards getting married.  I am nowhere near that.  And I am perfectly okay with that right now. I get to be selfish right now.  And I get to do this without having to call it “selfish.”

I am excited for new and exciting things coming in the next few months, but also, I am content with my “boring-ness,” at least for now.

thanks for reading

xx

 

Friday Reflections #2

Hi there,

I really liked what my reflection post did for me last week.  It helped me center and appreciate my week, which is exactly what I needed in that moment. In my life, I often find myself needing to “come back.”

 Coming back, for me, means finding a moment / space / time to sit with myself whether that’s in a room full of others’ chatter or in my quiet room, and reflecting on the last few days I have lived.  It is necessary for me to do this for my own well-being and mental health because it allows me to free up space in my mind and in my soul to continue living, breathing, and opening to new experiences up ahead.

My #1 indicator that I need to take a step back is when I start to feel like I want to stop time.  I want to push back.  I want to physically put up my hands and say, “Stop!”  But of course, we all know days don’t stop coming and the sun (thankfully) continues to set and rise and I want to be open to this because having this breath and these days are a blessing. So, to cope with my hectic daily life I live in this physical world, I reflect.

My highlight this week: I feel like I had more than 1 highlights this week!

1. We celebrated the first day of Spring on Monday.  I didn’t exactly do anything special aside from take a walk with Pepper late in the evening.  That was enough for me.

2. Pay day! Grateful for the opportunity to work and have my own money.  Finally!

3. My cousin and I followed through on our mid-week dinner plans in Long Beach, and I enjoyed every minute of our conversation.  She is a cousin that I feel very grateful for because we’ve been able to maintain a solid relationship as we have maneuvered our 20’s.  I don’t see her very often, but when I do, I always feel heard, supported and loved.

3. I attended an amazing training for work on Thursday on Trauma-Informed Practice.  I already do enjoy trainings and learning, but this training was AMAZING.  I love when I attend trainings that are given by passionate people.  I love when I can just feel their love for the work that they do, especially in this mental health field.  I think it is crucial for us newbie therapists to see older professionals that are NOT burnt out and still passionate about this work because let me tell you, this work can easily drain you.  So, this training was focused on trauma-informed care for children and families.  A lot of this information was provided for me throughout my traineeship in downtown los angeles – and that’s ANOTHER thing I feel grateful for.  I feel grateful for having trauma-informed supervisors as my first supervisee experience because I feel that it really set the bar high for the kind of work that I want to do with children and families.  In that talk with my cousin, I spoke about feeling like I needed to find my passion – my niche – and I think I am slowly finding it in trauma-informed care.

Wow! I have a lot to be grateful for this week!

Biggest challenge:  I have no idea if I am sick … or have allergies … or WHAT.  But I’ve had this pesky stuffy nose all week.  My ears feel extra sensitive and I continue to have an itchy nose and headaches.  WHY! I’m not trying to be a complainer, but when my job requires me to constantly talk to people, having these symptoms is not a pleasant thing to manage. Blah! Also, this week I finally stepped back and gave my eyes some space because I have been experiencing blurry vision and I was getting frustrated as I do NOT like wearing my glasses. I decided to have a little more patience and compassion for myself as my sight is something that I cannot take for granted. Once my medical benefits kick in, I am finding myself a new quality-care Optometrist!

Happy moment: My happy moment happens every day when I come home and greet my baby Pepper. I know this is sappy to the extreme, but hey, it is true.

Personal passion goal: Followed-up with Denim Day preparations for April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month! I have my advocate packet paid, downloaded, printed and saved!

**New Addition to this post:

#Adulting: I sat down with my father’s accountant (who is slowly also becoming mine) for a one on one lesson on budgeting and planning.  I am so grateful for having her guidance in this process as I am beginning to really handle my own finances.  She helped me plan out a monthly budget based on my new income and helped me plan for my future financial goals.  I’m going to be honest – it is SO scary to actually plan this out because it really puts this responsibility on ME, you know. I am so grateful for the opportunity to slowly figure things out … with patience… and guidance from someone other than my family.  It helps me see the possibilities and the hard work I need to put in to get to where I want to be.

 

Have a blessed, relaxed, and rejuvenating weekend.

Thank you for reading, xx