In this period of time where nothing but work and study should be a priority, I find myself yearning for a little bit more time to spend with my friends…to spend writing my heart out…to spend exploring the beauty that surrounds me with my camera in hand……to spend with family.

It’s a headache to have to do nothing but work and study from dawn to dusk and dusk to dawn. It’s exhausting to never really get the human interaction component in your life that you crave so much. It’s petrifying to see yourself become so exhausted and so stressed that you have become pale, have lost any appetite for a meal, or snack, even, and have no longer find sleep comforting.

I know…I know…
I made this choice. It was my call whether I wanted to take the hardest portion of calculus over summer, and take another STEM course, AND work part-time to have any income. I could’ve avoided this if I had just said ‘no’.

But, guess what?
I don’t regret it.

I find myself completely engaged every morning when I go to lecture. I find myself easily smiling and laughing at the side of my classmates during my night lecture and lab. I find myself feeling proud of myself when I check off yet another task from what seems to be an endless to-do-list.

The only thing missing is…
Someone. A close friend.

Someone to tell stories to about my day and about the amazing lecture I just went through. Someone to hear my giggle as I go off about how excited I am for this fall, when I get the honor of learning from these professors even more. Someone to look at me wide-eyed as I tell them about my studying schedule and for me to just laugh back at them because, even though I agree with them on the fact that it sounds like hell, and maybe it is but, I will make it through.

Someone to go to lunch and talk about our plans for the next week, for the next month, for the next semester. Someone to fantasize the future with. Someone to talk about new discovered pet peeves, about new coffee shops, about new friendships, about the “new life” that we find ourselves living. Someone to complain to about how long lecture was or how much studying we always try to avoid but always have to get through. Someone to laugh with, to joke around with, to tease endlessly…to make those beautiful summer memories.

Basically, someone to make all this feel like SUMMER, feel like LIFE.
Because, without all that, without a close friend by my side, in my life, I’m not “living” but I’m simply “getting by”.

Don’t doubt that I’m not so proud of myself for wanting to try this and actually going through with it, despite all my fears, worries, and doubts. Don’t doubt that I wouldn’t go back into time just to do it all over again. Don’t think that I wish for any of this to just “go away”. Because, I don’t.

I know this summer has been hard. I know this month has seemed like it lasted for years and years because of all the stress and pain. I know it’s had its suffering days. I know there were nights that I just couldn’t sleep. I know there were nights that I would wake up with yet another nightmare. I know it hasn’t been the watermelon and strawberries that is summer.

But…it’s my summer…

I’m working hard to achieve a goal. I’m working hard for a future that is still unknown. I’m doing my best to get by with what I have and what I know how to do. I’m doing my best to keep it together and get it all figured out. In the end, I’m doing something with my life. I might not have the time to go shopping, to simply lay in bed and complain about the heat, to spend all my days with friends, or to binge that show on Netflix (not that I haven’t watched a few episodes here and there), but I’m getting shit done.

The only thing I will complain about…and will probably complain about some more after I’ve written this post…is the fact that I haven’t really spoken to anyone in a month. That human interaction that we, as humans, naturally crave? Yeah, that has somehow disappeared from the equation that is my life right now.

That “someone”/ those “someones” are nonexistent right now.
And it’s such a pain to have to chase after people during my busy schedule that is driving me insane.

I’m exhausted. I’m out of energy. I’m drained.
I’m stressed. I’m worried. I’m restless.

I don’t regret this summer…but, like I said, the only thing missing is…


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An Escape, Please

I sat at my desk, scribbling away at some integrations from calculus class. A headache pounded my head after days depending on my caffeine intake, because I could never find myself able to go to sleep until it was too late. If waking up each morning before the sun rises wasn’t hell enough, getting through the day with my eyes constantly wanting to take a nap during lecture was ten times worse.

How was I supposed to get through my days when I couldn’t even manage to give myself enough energy to retain any of the information my professors blabbed on about? My body constantly pleaded me to go to bed, to go rest, to do anything but the hundreds of math problems I had on my desk. I couldn’t blame myself either because for days, for weeks, it’s been a constant flow of studying and nothing else.

Food? Snacks? Drinks? Friends? Breaks? No. No. No. No. And no.

I got up bright and early and go to class right away. I headed to the library or home and study until dinner or my night class. I got through that and then back to my desk to study. I stayed and studied until I knew it would be impossible to be up the next morning unless I either went to bed or suffered through another all-nighter.

It was a little too much. Too bad I had underestimated the intensity of my schedule when I still had a chance of changing it.

Then the one thing that puts me over the edge comes faster than I could’ve imagined. Surgery. My dad needed surgery. Him. Not me. But him. He needed surgery.

After that, I began sitting at my desk holding a pen in my hand and a piece of empty lined paper under my arm, but I wouldn’t be moving. I’d stare at the page and stare blankly at the integral sign, but I wouldn’t write. I’d go to lectures and I would take beautiful notes, but all of that stopped making sense and I wouldn’t know what to do.

I mean, what do you do write when nothing but panic runs through your mind. What are you supposed to say when you are overwhelmed like no other. What are you supposed to do when you are in over your head and internally screaming when no one seems to be listening and no one seems to even notice. What are you supposed to do…tell me, because I don’t know.

It went from not eating and not taking many breaks because I was busy studying, to not eating and not sleeping much because I was nauseous was worry and fatigue from the panic.

I just needed an escape from everything…but it never came.

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No, Thank You

You want me to follow your rules?
You want me to follow your orders?

I say, “No, thank you.”

You want me to hide my true self and everything about me for your own facade.
You want me to hide all my struggles and all my problems for your name’s sake.

I say, “No, thank you.”

You want me to devote my life to something I have no interest in.
You want me to change my whole personality to just please you.

I say, “No, thank you.”

I got my life figured out.
I know where I want to be.

You want me to stop doing things I love just save face for you.
You want me to stop caring about things I adore just for you to look better.

I say, “No, thank you.”

You want me to follow your rules and do nothing wrong.
You want me to obey you and ask zero questions about anything.

I get it.

You want the best life for me that you can imagine.
You believe there’s only a couple ways for me to find happiness.

I get it.

You are lost in the dreams you never got to chase after.
You are regretting the past because of where you ended up.
You want me to have a better future than your present.
You want me to be that perfect little daughter you always wanted.

But, I say, “No, thank you.”

I’m not that “perfect little daughter” you always wanted.
I don’t completely love the path you have chosen for me.
I am not a machine you can just build up to whatever you want.
I have to follow my own dreams and chase after the things I want.

You want me to simply listen to you.
You want me to just be obedient to you.

I respect you enough.
I love you enough.

But I also have to love myself.

So, I say, “No, thank you.”

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Chiến đấu.

One last time. One last straw. One last breath. One last war.

I don’t want to walk away thinking I could’ve done something different, that I didn’t try hard enough, or that I missed something I could’ve had. I don’t want to walk away thinking you were the one that got away. I don’t want to believe we messed things up and didn’t get to where we were meant to be.


I will fight for us. I will try everything I can think of to make us work. I will stay around more than long enough to give us time to be okay again. I will keep you in my heart and keep hoping that I’m still in yours. I will continue to dream about us. I will continue to pray for us.

When someone means that much to you, you don’t simply let it go. It doesn’t matter what gets in the way or what it takes to get over roadblocks. It doesn’t matter how long we have to wait. It doesn’t matter who disapproves or who tries to get in the way. It doesn’t matter…because what is meant to be will always find a way.

I believe I love you for you for a reason. I believe we have our connection as proof that we are meant to be something. I believe we are what we are for some kind of purpose that will play out in the rest of our lives. I believe…something about us was meant to be.

So take my hand and I’ll lead the way. Stay with me and I’ll be strong for the both of us. Believe in us and there won’t be anything that can hold us back.

One more time. One more chance. One more war.

Believe in us. Let me in your heart. And take my hand. We will get through this.

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She has worked through school by herself, her parents being people who only ever graduated high school but didn’t retain much. She was taught at a young age to always wear a mask for the people around you mean nothing but harm. She was isolated from friends and invisible chains which kept her in place where her family and her future came first. 

She has learned, through many events, that the world is a mysterious place. She has learned that hard work and dedication gets you far. She has learned that your own blood doesn’t always mean the best. She has learned so much…and all she wants to do is help. 

She wants to become a doctor. She wants to make a difference. She wants to find her place in this world. Her medical career means so, so much to her. She has worked day and night to achieve her dreams. 

She is my sister. 

She had watched me undergo multiple surgeries. She had witness my struggle through my battles. She had made a choice, to become like the doctors who saved my life and gave me hope. 

She is caring. She is kind. She is thoughtful.  She is grateful. She is wise. She is loving. She is compassionate. She is determined. She is a go-getter. She is well accomplished. She is a warrior. She is a dreamer. She is a daughter. She is a sister. 

She is waiting for her acceptence letter from UCLA still. If she gets in, she leaves this July and starts her journey to become a doctor. She will start another chapter in chasing her dreams. 

I pray for her to get in. My heart aches to watch her so stressed. I worry for her well being as the pressure and the waiting gets to her, more and more. She has her backup plan. She has a future in the medical field either way. But she deserves this. I pray for her suffering to end happily with an acceptance letter from UCLA. 

She will become a beautifully strong and incredibly smart doctor. She will not only help countless of patients, but leave warm memories in their minds just as my own doctors did. 

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A Letter I Never Thought I’d Write:

I am nineteen years old. I am Asian-American. I am a first generation college student. I am the product of who wonderful immigrants who had fallen in love. I am the daughter of a woman who had to live through the heartache of being separated from her immediate family. I am the daughter of a strong man who had to sacrifice his future of the future of his younger siblings. I am the younger sister to one young woman who you know has done so much in her life. I am the best friend and mentor of a young teenager who is doing her best to endure the harsh winds of life with the resources she has been given, to keep on smiling and keep her head up, and to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am a close friend of a wonderful young man who has been through thick and thin to get to where he is, to preserve the heart he has, and to survive all the battles he’s been put through. I am a friend to many whom I wish to help by spreading some happiness in their lives and to make their lives a little easier than before.

I am one of the many who has fought through depression, in which I am one of the people who had survived. I am a one of those who has been through one too many surgeries. I am a one of the people who has felt the pain underneath the knife, in more ways then one. I am one of the countless who struggled with accepting their own past, and even their own reflection which they face in the mirror. I am one of the billions of people who have made countless mistakes and have wished to take back every last one in hopes of having a better outcome. I am one of the many strong and brave warriors that walk on this earth who are learning what it means to live.

I am an artist. I am a photographer. I am a writer. I am a passionate soul who wishes to reach all ends of the world with the words and ideas that come through her mind. I am one who carries a big heart, not only because I wish to spread kindness but because I have felt the uttermost pain I do not wish on any other soul. I am one who carries a heavy heart. I am a compassionate warrior who thrives to connect with those she comes in contact with in hopes she will shine a little light into their darkness.

I am a young woman who strives to find her place in this world, because she knows, deep down in her heart, that she belongs. I am a young woman thirsty for love, an emotion and a drive that many witness but few ever understand. I am a young woman fighting her battles day in and day out, never wanting to give up and just settle down for something less than what she deserves. I am a young woman looking for the companion who will be my equal other half.

I am a daughter…just as he is a son.

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Breathe in. Breathe out. Close your eyes. Calm down. Feel that pulse of your heart. Remember that you’re still alive. Breathe in. Breathe out. Calm your mind.

The emptiness clouds your senses and the millions of thoughts buzz through your silent mind. You told yourself you wouldn’t turn off your emotions but, one day, automatically, they were turned off after a shocking wave of feelings engulfed your whole mind and body.

After how ever long you survived by ignoring the pain and pushing past the hurt, everything is catching up to you and you don’t know what to do. Lost in a jumble of emotions and a train wreck of thoughts, you breathe. Confused with both pain of the present and the hurt of the past, you simply try to breathe.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Remember you’re strength. Keep a calm mind. Breathe in. Breathe out.

You aren’t in this fight alone. You aren’t the only one struggling through their days. You aren’t the only one in several billion who have no sense of accomplishment even after years and years of achievements. You aren’t the only one who looks in the mirror and sees a stranger.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Remember who you are. Remember who’s in your heart. Breathe in. Breathe out.

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Me and My Keyboard

It’s easier to type my thoughts rather than say them in a coherent sentence in front of you.

It’s easier to talk through typing than trying to put my thoughts into a straight sentence while your eyes see through my soul. I feel vulnerable and I know, sometimes, it shows.

It’s easier to hear my own thoughts and know what I’m thinking when I’m not distracted by being nervous in front of you. I don’t want to make a fool out of myself, but sometimes I end up doing just that by worrying about it.

It’s easier to be descriptive when I have time to pause and feel comfortable with thinking through my words rather than trying to have “smart” words come out of my mouth at a constant rate. Who can do that? Apparently, not me.

It’s easier to tell a story when the person anticipating on what’s going to happen next isn’t staring at me all wide-eyed and intrigued (not saying that all my stories are that interesting).

There’s something about me and the keyboard that just clicks.

When it’s me and the keyboard, suddenly I can pour out my heart. When it’s me and the keyboard, suddenly being honest and blunt is the route I tend to take. When it’s me and the keyboard, suddenly being myself isn’t all too scary.

My fingers fly over the letters, words come out easily, and sentences are easily strung together coherently. My thoughts line up instead of acting like a thousand people trying to get out of a burning building all at once. My ideas are clear and right in front of me instead of making it seem like there are gallons of water raining down in order to block my view.

When it’s me and the keyboard, suddenly saying what I want, or need, to say suddenly becomes more natural….and, sometimes, beautiful.

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Hint…Hint -nudge nudge-

Sometimes I want to stop and ask “What are you thinking?” when someone does something I know has more meaning than they’re letting on. Sometimes I want to stop and listen to the thoughts that run through their mind to simply understand them better, and to understand in what ways do they perceive the very world we both exist in. Sometimes I want to stop someone and ask “Why did you do that?” even when I know the answer and have a good chance of being right, because you never know how much you understand someone until they do something rather odd.

Sometimes I want to understand, I want to clarify, and I want to simply ask these questions that I want an elaborate answer for…but I don’t. I know there are things we simply do because it’s all we know how to do. I know there are things we sometimes do out of impulse, so we don’t always have much reasoning behind these actions. I know there are things we do that we even don’t understand why ourselves. But, despite all of these, it doesn’t stop me every single time I wonder if I know the answer to “Why?”

There’s always meaning behind the words we say. There’s always reasoning behind the actions we do. And, subconsciously or consciously, time after time, we leave hints to those around us. We nudge them towards the correct answer and, even though this might be denied, we hope they somehow someway understand what runs through our minds. We yearn to be understood, as we yearn to be cared for. So in the mist of being guarded and cautious when it comes to opening up to others, we leave hints to everyone around us in order for them to get that much closer to us.

I, myself, leave many, many hints. For years, I lived in a world where you always had to read between the lines and guess what’s hiding behind the curtains. In this world, the persona you saw up front almost never matched reality. Therefore, you had to learn to read human bodies in order to come to conclusions on what’s happening in the human mind. You had to read each and every body language “hint” they subconsciously or consciously gave you to understand them. You had to manipulate the games in order to gain access to the forbidden key that opens their heart. You had to fight your way into people’s lives without ever showing interest in wanting to be there. You had to come up with your own fake persona that guards you from being understood, in order to be understood. Because, in the end, the mystery was the fun part of the game.

Now that I have stepped out of that horrid world where everyone had to keep their guard up without ever seeming like you give a care, I wonder if I could ask the questions I still am intrigued to know the answers for. “Why did you say this even when you knew it would effect this person who was standing behind you?” “Why would you pretend like you feel this way when you know this person will react in this certain way?” “Are you playing a game or are you being truthful about the person you are upfront?” These aren’t questions you hear everyday, is it? But these are the question I constantly had to ask myself in the complex world I lived in. Maybe it’s not all that much different from your life or someone else’s world, but I believe the mindset I had back there is definitely different from those currently around me.

But putting that difference to the side, it’s crystal clear to many, many of us how difficult it is to start the conversation when the topic you wish to discuss isn’t simply “How was your day?” or “Everything’s so stressful!”. The conversations you really want to have are things like “I’m struggling with this particular part in my life because these certain things occurred in my past and lead me to think this certain way.” The deep and meaningful conversations are the ones each and every single one of us wish to have. But opening your mouth and beginning a discussion is never easy, despite who you are looking at, and that is when we start to leave “hints”.

We leave hints to tell people, to intrigue people into learning more about us. What makes us tick, what makes us happy; why we think a certain way, why we react almost automatically when we face certain things; what we think about the future, what we remember about the past. Despite leaving the “other world” I lived in, I still have a drive to understand those around me. I want to ask what they’re thinking sometimes but I know I will never get the in-depth answer I always crave. If you mean a lot to me, I want to understand you just as much as I want you to understand me. Throughout the many, many years, I’ve learned that…mystery is not always fun and games.

I know that we all leave hints here and there. We have times where we are more vulnerable than most. We all have something in particular that will always have a soft spot in our hearts. But I’ve gotten to the point where I simply don’t want to guess anymore. I don’t want to constantly have to read body language and search into someone’s eyes to understand what they’re thinking, or why they’re doing what they are. I don’t want to assume I know the answer behind the worldwide question of “why?” because I know I won’t always get it correct. And, yes, assuming does make an ass out of you and me.

Sometimes I want to ask “What are you thinking?” and actually get an elaborate answer with some reasoning. Sometimes I want to ask “What are you doing?” and get some explanation on what they perceive themselves to be doing and how they think their actions affect those around them. Sometimes I want to call my close friend up and just discuss life on a more in-depth way of thinking rather than the normal useless and insignificant conversations we all have had. Sometimes I yearn and yearn for the ability to do this, but I know…sometimes it’s just not accepted.

So, I go back to leaving hints.
This post itself, like countless of my past posts, is a hint itself. It gives you, and you know who you are, a more in-depth look at who I am as a person and what I think about the world we both exist in. It provides a conversation starter for the many, many topics you could think of.

All you have to do, is take it. It’s your hint, use it.

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Voice It To Me

I have this voice ringing inside my mind, yearning and fighting to simply be heard by those who walk by me, those who enter and leave my life, those who mean little and those who mean a lot, those who have a heart and those who have a soul; My voice raises to be heard by every person who exists on this land.

My heart is pounding for every second of everyday to reach out to every person in need, every person who is struggling, every person who is strong and brave, every person who feels as if they don’t have a voice, every person who gets taken for granted, every person who is fighting for a place in this world, every person far and near, every person who has a heart that beats like mine.

I have a passion inside me, a fire burning hot, a light shinning bright, that will bring joy to the rest of the world one smile at a time, one question (like ‘How are you?’) at a time, one simple act of kindness at a time. Sometimes we just need someone to sit us down and give us a minute in their arms, a minute of their time, a minute to feel accepted, a minute to acknowledge their worth, a minute to feel your love.

My sensitive ears listen to the quiet wind as it blows the leaves on each branch of the trees, to the loud silence in a classroom filled of stressed college students, to the light footsteps to every person who walks by knowing they have a part in their story they might never tell. And they will listen to your questions, to your complaints, to your worries, to your frustrations, to your anger, to your disappointments, to your confusion. They will listen to you for hours and hours without end as you tell me about your long day at work, about your exhausting conversation with someone, about the conflict you’re having with someone, about the future you plan on having, about the past you lived through, about the people who mean the most to you, about the ones who have hurt you.

My eyes will watch you as you make your way through your days, learning little by little how to live. I will watch you grow up; I will watch you learn; I will watch you finally achieve all yours goals; I will watch you chase all your dreams; I will watch you laugh out loud in joy and in happiness; I will watch you pick yourself up each and every time you fall down; I will watch you make your mark on this world because it deserves to hear you roar!

What is your story? What will you do?

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