Hurt Happens

Hey Beng Beng.

I was recently watching this tv show called Crazy Ex Girlfriend (and though normally that’s a sexist and derogatory phrase she’s seriously crazy). For the entire series thus far we know her mother to be an emotionally abusive woman leaving psychological scars on her daughter that caused problems her whole life.

In this episode the main character accuses her mom of hating her, to which the mother responds that she loves her so much it makes her crazy and sick with worry all the time. And every time she’s harsh on her it’s because she only wants what’s best.

I understand this, to a degree. Abuse is abuse, no matter what light you frame it in. But there are reasons I can put up with, and reasons I can’t.

My own mother is insane. I drive her sick with worry, she drives me sick with paranoia. I’ve always had the feeling that I was never good enough for my mom. I always had the feeling that if I weren’t her daughter, she’d hate the person I actually am. I’m sure I’m not entirely wrong, but I know my mom is loving me in the only way she knows how.

That doesn’t stop the fact that many parents commit unintentional emotional abuse. A lot of my friends and I are too scared to talk to our parents about things, too scared to bring certain topics up, or we just get anxiety around our parents. We can’t be ourselves around them because they’ve never let us before and it won’t start now.

I hope I never instill that fear on you. I’ll love you no matter who you want to be in life. Whether you want to drop out of school and act, or go to med school and be a doctor, and anything in between. Whether you go to church every Sunday, whether you tattoo every ounce of your skin. I’ll love and accept you exactly as who you are.

I fear that because of my parental influences, I might turn out to be like them. But I’m going to do everything in my power to just be who I want to be.

Alright, now aside from unintentional parental abuse, there is also unintentional relationship abuse.

Whether it’s from friends or a boyfriend or girlfriend, there are people in this world who will make you feel bad and claim it’s for your own good. But they’re lying.

The truth is, they want to control you so much that they’ll do anything to make themselves feel better and claim it’s for your own benefit.

It may start out fun and light. But listen, no matter what, never let anyone tell you what to do or who to be. (I mean, listen to authority figures at the right moments, but you know what I mean.)

I have a handful of friends right now that are suffering at the hands of a relationship partner. I’ve suffered at the hands of a relationship. I’ve suffered due to friends.

Once upon a time, I was one of the monsters.

I grew up without a whole bunch of close friends, and it took me probably until middle or high school to form a healthy friendship. But before that happened, I really did and said some horrible things because I was afraid of losing control and afraid to be alone again.

One day you might make the same mistakes. But you listen to me baby, if you find yourself doing wrong, it’s never too late to make the right decision. One of the most important things I can teach you is that if someone says you’ve hurt them, you say you’re sorry.

Don’t say you didn’t mean to.

Don’t say they’re taking it the wrong way.

Don’t try to cover it up.

You do the right thing, and you apologize.

On the other hand, if you’re the one getting hurt.

Don’t try to let it go because you care about the one hurting you. Because that’s an increasingly prevalent problem I’ve noticed in my own circle.

If someone hurts you, you tell them. And it doesn’t mean you have to cut them out of your life, there are some things that can be talked through. But if someone really truly hurt you with no understanding of the consequences, you cut them out of your life immediately.

And if you’re ever hurting and you don’t know what to do, you come to me. You don’t have to tell me everything, or anything, just tell me you need comfort and mama will be there for you. I’ll always be there for you.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t hurt others, and don’t let yourself be hurt.


New Year Old Me

Hey Beng.

It’s mama.

I can’t believe I haven’t written anything since last August, jeez. I’m not sure how old you’ll be when you’re finally able to read this blog, but I give you permission to get on my case about being lazy. BUT, I did start a bullet journal which is this thing some people in my generation are using to get organized, so hopefully I can get myself to write more than like what, twice a year?

The thing is that honestly I am CONSTANTLY thinking of things to write about, things I want to tell you, but I wonder how relevant it will be by the time you’re of age?

God you’re so smart. You’re a genuine genius in my book, but I think all parents think that of their children. And the thing is that, I hope by the time you’re in high school I feel like a dumbass next to you.

Trying to imagine you as a functioning human being is so wild to me. Me and dad are always talking, and like, every time you do literally ANYTHING we are just blown away.

For example, when you were:

0 m/o: “Wow, one day she’ll be able to look at us.”

3 m/o: “WOW she can sit, one day she’ll be walking can you believe that?”



1.5 y/o: “She can hold her own bottle and eat snacks all by herself this kid is self-sufficient.”

2 y/o: “She can walk, talk, sing, dance, she’s half potty-trained this kid can do ANYTHING.”


Literally. Everything. You do. Just amazes us.

And you’re only 3!

I’m currently trying to teach you how to write.

Just thinking about you as a high schooler makes me want to cry. That’s really the time when you’ll likely start to solidify a personality and start making stronger relationships and connections with others.

Who knows where technology will be at that point in time?

What made me think to write this is that the other day, my laptop broke down and I was thinking about how I’ll need to save to get another one. Your dad told me to get a brand I’ve never used before, and I thought, “Ugh I’m not used to that interface I’d rather not.”

But then I laughed at myself, ’cause that sounds like something an old person would say.

I’m not afraid of progress, but I am definitely lazy.

By the time you’re a teenager, you’ll be exposed to so much technology and knowledge I won’t even be able to wrap my head around it.

And I hope you’ll teach your ol’ ma.

The thing is that, humans have survived on this planet for thousands and thousands of years, and NOT because things have stayed the same. We thrive as a species because we constantly grow and learn, and we spread that information and we advance. Every generation knows more than the last, each generation teaches as much as it can and then they pass the baton of advancement to their children.

That’s just good ol’ fashioned natural selection.

I know for a fact that you’ll surpass me in every way before I can blink. And I look forward to it. I have so many hopes and dreams for you, and I’ll support you with everything I have and everything I am.

I ask you to live your life open-minded. To always be curious, and to never think you know everything about anything. Be able to admit you’re wrong when you are, and learn what is true. Don’t let your emotions cloud facts. Live logically but not coldly. Have faith in your heart but keep your eyes open. Be smart.

Watching you grow makes me feel old. I’m a pretty young mom, but you’ve got me feeling old as hell. You’re the shiny new gadget and I’m just the outdated model. When you finally read this, feel free to tell me how old I am.

Just know that I love you, and no matter how far ahead of me you run, I’ll always have your back.

She Can(‘t) Do It All!

I’m sorry sorry sorry that it has taken me forever to write another post. I always feel a little nervous when I write a blog post to be honest. Because I can’t help but wonder how old you’ll be when you finally read them, or what your personality will be like, or if you’ll really care what I’ve written out.

To tell you the truth, one of the reasons I started this blog is because I wanted to find a way to leave some of my thoughts with you in case I’m not around to tell you about them later.

I’ve said it before and I’m not trying to use it as an excuse but I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. Since the start of this new year I’ve sat down and started maybe 2 or 3 different blog posts, but my head was always too cloudy to get down coherent thoughts so I couldn’t finish any of them. As I’m typing now I’m praying that this one will find it’s way to completion.

But anyways, to get to the subject matter of this post, you were born when I was 19. Society has this notion that we respect young moms because they have to work 10 times harder than everyone else. There’s this notion that not just young moms but all moms have to be “supermoms” nowadays — the mom who works a regular job, takes care of the kids, keeps house, and still finds time to be a functioning member of society. Don’t get me wrong, these women (and all women in general of course) are incredible and deserve all the props and respect they get because doing all of those things is hard.

And that’s why I hate it. I hate when people see the load I bear and go, “Wow, you’re incredible you can withstand so much!! I could never do that ha ha ha I guess you have mom stamina.”

Lemme tell you, at the beginning of this year I was working 2 part time jobs, suffering through a full load of classes, and coming home everyday to a rambunctious 2 year old (that’s you). And when people asked me what I was up to I would tell them, and they would look at me with a sense of awe and pity. Now I’m down to 1 job but the rest holds true, but the stress of it all hasn’t reduced in the slightest.

I’m suffering. I’m really, truly suffering. Some nights I can’t sleep because the anticipated stress of the next day keeps me awake. I scratch my skin off and pull my hair and debate the positives of the sweet release of death.

When I put it like that it sounds like a joke, but it’s not. Suicide would not be easy. In fact, it’s the hardest thing to do because I haven’t yet succeeded! To think, people say, “That’s the easy way out.” That’s how you can tell who has no idea what you’re going through, or what you’re thinking. They think it’s easy!

Of course of course of course it’s not easy. It takes so much thought and effort and heartache and suffering. And then people tell you, “Think of all the people you would be leaving behind! How would they feel?” If suicide was so selfish, why do people always make it about them when I try to talk about it? Why is my life so important that your feelings are prioritized above mine?

I would miss you so much.

But I love you.

Think of your kid.

I’ve heard those countless times. I already know that! Why do you think I’m still here? You know what I rarely hear?

Your life is worth living.

Take care of yourself, let me help you, don’t push yourself to the point of no return.

Live because your life has meaning and if you don’t see that now let’s work at it until you do.

I want to completely expose myself when it comes to these feelings because it is so discouraged. I want you to know that these feelings are horrible and valid and I’ve been there and I will listen to you and do whatever I can to help you.

Ember, you are my angel. You are my everything. It terrifies me to this day that you might end up just like me. I have hope that you won’t because right now you are a bright, laughing, happy baby, but of course things change. I just want you to know that whatever you’re feeling, you’re safe with me.

I feel like nowadays, pressure starts younger and younger. People have been asking me if you’re going to enroll in preschool yet and I say Preschool? She’s only 2! For the love of God almighty, let my 2 year old be 2. I don’t care if she’ll be “behind” with the times or what, I’m not putting an infant in school. And I’ve read studies that show the detrimental mental effects putting a kid in school too early causes.

Don’t let school get you down. Don’t let this messed up system take away your love for learning like it did for me.

Don’t let friends get you down. People that pressure you so much that you can hardly stand to be with them aren’t friends, they’re toxic. And it took me a long time to learn that.

Don’t let family get you down. Sometimes you need to be alone, sometimes you hear things you don’t want to. It’s to your discretion what you listen to and what you don’t.

Don’t let society get you down. It will, because humans are horrible and all you’ll see on the news is terror after terror, but you must block it out. You block it out, or you do something. We can rise up together.

There are so, so, so many things that can get you down and put pressure on you that will make you feel like there is no other way. I still feel like that all the time. But you just have to keep cutting things out of your life until you’re left with what you need.

That sounds like an escape, and it might be, but that doesn’t make it wrong.

These days people have to get straight A’s, they have to do extracurricular activities, stay stylish, be social, work harder than everyone else, they have to have hobbies, a relationship, stay current with shows and trends, be successful and happy.

But you can’t do it all. No one can. There’s this notion that everyone is doing all of those things, but in reality everyone is barely holding it together.

If you ever feel like you can’t handle the load that life has placed on your shoulders, just tell me and I’ll help you unpack it all. Don’t ever let the load crush you. Sometimes I feel like I can’t stand the weight anymore, but I’m still here. And I’ll try to be here as long as you need me.

The Importance of Faking It

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I thought for a while on what I wanted to write about today. I considered writing about your dad and I’s romantic history — a full telling of the Z & B  story. But thought, nah. Then I started drafting out something on the difference between what happens when passionate love turns into companionate love. But thought, nah, you could just google that. Maybe the difference between family and friends and romantic affection? The definition of love and what it means to me?

I’m rambling now. Anyways, I finally decided to make this post on probably one of the most important kinds of love: self-love. This is something you should develop strongly and fiercely at a young age — we can discuss those other loves another time.

So as I believe I’ve mentioned before, I grew up with an unmentionable amount of self-esteem issues. People told me I was ugly, and I believed them. I let those words consume me. I’d stay up late nights crying. I hated myself. I wore clothes to hide my skin and always kept hair in front of my face to hide myself.

With my full-body eczema, I felt hideous. Being a lil chubby, I had a horrible body image. I thought nothing about myself looked good, and it tortured me. There is so much pressure on young girls to look good, and I felt the entirety of that weight constantly pushing down on me.

When I was finally old enough, those thoughts of self-hate turned very, very destructive. I think from middle school to freshman year of college, suicide would cross my mind almost daily. Some days would be worse than others, and I’ve made my share of threats and attempts. I saw nothing good in myself. The negativity I felt towards myself was not just about looks, it spread to doubt in my abilities and everything. I felt like a wholly useless being better left for dead.

It wasn’t until I was pregnant with you that something in me clicked. It wasn’t until I found out I was having a daughter that I summoned all the emotional strength I had to think positively and work to be a better role model. I was not about to let you grow up with a mother who would teach you self-hate.

Kids learn from their parents. That’s just a fact of life. There’s some weird trend where people take turns pointing out their insecurities and it’s just… awful. Why can’t a group of friends get together and sit around talking about how gorgeous everyone is? Why do we sit around and talk about our weight issues? Our skin problems? Our jealousy over what other people have? Why don’t we relish in our own beauty?

Now, depression does not just go away with positive thinking. There are still moments where I sink to scary, dark levels and those bad thoughts come back. But I’m trying to fight them. I’m trying. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not, but I’m trying.

Now for the name of this post. I did a lot of faking it.

I walk around talking big. I talk about how gorgeous I am. I talk about how my makeup is perfect, my cute chubby belly is perfect, my thick legs are perfect, my short green hair is perfect. At first it was sarcasm, but it turned into something else. I talk about how I’m beautiful, I talk about how smart and creative and funny and overall good I am. And soon, somewhere in all that talk, it stopped being sarcasm. I believed it. I do believe it.


That certainly doesn’t apply to every aspect in life, but in this case it does.

I want to fill you with so much confidence that no one can ever knock you down. If you believe in yourself, everyone else will. If you believe in yourself, there’s nothing you can’t do. If you believe in yourself, you’ll never pine for anyone else because when you’re alone you won’t feel lonely. That might not make a lot of sense now but it will.


Ember’s second Valentine’s Day!

Ember, you are only 1 but you are already so smart and kind and funny and friendly and beautiful and strong. All and none of those words define you. It’s up to you to decide who you’re going to be in this world, but you’ll never reach that potential if you don’t have confidence in yourself.

A lot of people say not to make your child cocky because they’ll be obnoxious in school. Well, to those people I say, worry about your own kid.

There’s a difference between a kid saying “I’m so smart” versus saying “I’m the smartest one here”. There’s self-love and there’s arrogance.

The thing is that I would much rather teach Ember modesty than teach her to stop hating herself. Because self-hate is something very difficult to unlearn. I’ll show Ember through example how to love yourself, and I hope that fierceness will transfer over and she’ll instill unbridled confidence and power in her friends too. Self-love is a movement that needs to catch fire and my baby will be the first of many flames.

My parting words are this:

Love yourself. If you don’t, fake it till it’s true.

What We Learn

High school was a wild ride for me to say the least.

Here is visual proof:

Me in 2011. I look so dorky omg, I was in hardcore weeb mode and I wouldn't be saved for another 2 years at that point.

Me in 2011. I look so dorky omg, I was in hardcore weeb mode and I wouldn’t be saved for another 2 years at that point.

Here is how my average senior year daily schedule would look like:

  • 6:15 AM – Wake up and get ready for school
  • 6:45 AM – Drive to school and do nothing until class starts
  • 7:30 AM – 2:10 PM – Stumble through the day, pretend to be fully conscious, mingle, take notes, learn
  • 2:10 PM – 3:30 PM – After-school clubs
  • 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM – Get home, have a snack, take a nap and relax for a brief moment so I don’t go insane
  • 5:00 PM – 1:00 AM – Homework and study, with approximately 2 hours some time in there to eat and shower
  • 1:00 AM – 6:15 AM – Sleep

Let me tell you now why the education system is messed up.

Of the approximate 16 out of 24 hours I would spend every day doing school work, I retained nearly nothing. Pump-and-dump isn’t just an expression used to describe what nursing mothers do to their milk after a night of drinks, it’s what I had to do with all the information I learned just to keep up. It’s no wonder why America is ranked 14th in education, 2nd in ignorance, and 24th in literacy.

The funny thing is, the stuff I do remember from high school had nothing to do with the lessons, but everything to do with the teachers.

I can’t remember how to find the slope of a line, and I can’t tell you what a derivative is. I don’t remember the plot of Heart of Darkness or how to do a citation in MLA format. I don’t think I can name more than 10 elements on a periodic table, and I remember the formula d = m/v only because the “m/v” part looks like a heart when I write it out. The main thing I retained from history is that FDR was the man and the New Deal was a big deal.

What I do remember are my math teachers staying after school with me for countless hours and helping me until I understood something. I remember my English teachers praising my work and giving me confidence, and editing the crap out of my papers so that I would get even better (it was the only subject I was good at). My computer design teacher Mr. B becoming a good friend to me, staying after with me for hours letting me do work I was really passionate about, and helping me grow in my skills and as a person.

One moment I can never forget took place in my AP US History class when I was a junior in high school. Lord knows I’ll never remember what the actual lesson was about, but my teacher Mr. O started talking about babies. He asked the class if we need doctors and professionals to help us every step of the way when it comes to raising our kids. The 16 year old me sitting in that classroom thought about it, and was the only one to raise my hand and dissent with the group. “Yes, I think we need professionals.” He politely rejected my statement, and said something to the effect of:

“When you’re a parent, you know how to do things. Evolution prepared us for this. When you’re a parent, you know what your kids need. Believe it or not, their cries all sound different, so after a while you know what they need. Oh, there’s a hungry cry. Then that’s a poop cry. That’s an attention cry. You just know.”

At the time, 16 year old baby-less me couldn’t fathom how that would be possible. A cry is just a cry, right?

Nope. Of course, Mr. O was right.

When my baby cries, I just know. Oh, she’s hungry. Whoops, someone needs a new diaper. Oh no she’s scared. That’s a sleepy sob.

In my opinion, the best teachers don’t give you the facts and just the facts. They give you a real talk, with things you take outside the classroom and carry with you forever. I never thought I’d learn something about parenting in my high school history class, but here I am.

Every day should be “Teacher Appreciation Day”, because these people are not only over-worked and under-paid, they give us the #real and mentor us not only about school but about life. I’ll never be able to thank all of my teachers enough (or apologize enough for the times I dozed off during lessons).

To all the educators doing their best, thank you.

Unconventionally Practical

I was watching Friends the other night when this conversation happened.

Monica: Do you really think feeling sorry is the best reason to get married?
Chandler: No, pregnancy is the best reason to get married.

A question I’ve been getting a lot since I got pregnant is “Are you going to get married?”

My boyfriend gave me this ring 2 years ago, and I've worn it every day since. (Though recently, I can't get it over my chubby swollen pregnant fingers.)

My boyfriend gave me this ring 2 years ago, and I’ve worn it every day since. (Though recently, I can’t get it over my chubby swollen pregnant fingers.)

My answer is always this: Maybe someday.

There’s always this notion that if a couple gets pregnant, they should get married because “it’s best for the baby”. I don’t believe that at all.

In fact, I know several adult couples that are in long-term, monogamous, committed relationships that have no intention to get married, some even have children. You don’t have to get married to show the world you love each other, and you don’t have to get married to be a family.

In today’s society, people believe in an order. This order to be exact:

  1. Graduate from high school
  2. Graduate from college
  3. Get a job
  4. Get married
  5. Have children
  6. Live happily ever after

This order is so heavily engraved in people’s minds from childhood that they believe any deviation will lead to inevitable demise. If someone chooses to not go to college, society looks down on them. Society believes they can’t live a successful life. If someone has children out of this order, society tells them that they can’t be top-notch parents. Society makes them believe they can’t get that happily ever after, or if they want it they have to work 50x harder than the average person. It’s not even so much an order than it is society’s “recipe for happiness”.

I think that because of this order, people that get pregnant “out of turn” get married because they need to get as close to this order as they possibly can.

I’m only 19. I don’t want to get married. Do I love my boyfriend? Yes. Do I want to be with him? Yes. Do I think we’ll make terrific parents regardless of our marital status? Hell yes.

Does being unmarried mean I’m not going to be as kind to my child? Does being unmarried mean I won’t be there for her whenever she needs me? Does being unmarried mean my boyfriend and I can’t cooperate successfully to raise her? Does being unmarried mean I can’t be a good mother?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then turn your computer off and sleep until you stop being ignorant.

Am I shaming people that choose to get married early? NO.

If you love someone so much and you’re committed to them and you want to marry them because you love each other and it would make you both indescribably happy, then I am so happy for you! I am unbelievably happy for you! I have nothing against people that choose to marry at an early age, pregnant or not.

What I have a problem with is this idea that because a couple has a child together that they should get married because it’s “what’s right”.

While I’m at it, what does it even mean to marry “early”? What defines “early”? 18? 19? Hell, even 23 is considered too young to some people. A hundred years ago or so, married at 18 was even considered late.

I’m only 19. I don’t want to get married. Maybe I’d like to someday. Who says I’ll even end up with my boyfriend? We’re only 19. Life can still happen. I would love to say we’re going to live happily ever after, but who knows. I feel ready enough to be a good mother, but not ready enough to be a wife. I don’t even think I’ll be ready to marry when I’m 24 or 25. Everyone is different.

For now, I want to enjoy my life. So maybe I won’t finish college in my society-accepted time frame. So maybe I won’t get married when people think I should. What I’m going to do is be a good mother to my daughter. What I’m going to do is be a good girlfriend to my boyfriend. What I’m going to do is live my life the way I want to, whether or not society thinks it’s right. What I’m going to do is live happily whether I follow this ridiculous order or not.

We’re all in control of our lives, whether we think we are or not. Just because I’m following a different order doesn’t mean my life won’t be as good as anyone else’s.