I’m struggling.

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It’s been a pretty rough month. First, the trivial: I am getting my ass whupped in Fantasy Football (49ers suuuck, so long playoffs), as well as the most current – my poor parked car got smashed Saturday night. I woke up Sunday morning to see the hubcaps leaning against their naked tires along with the entire left side scraped and dented. Claim agent said it looked like a drunk driver in a big car, slammed in my car and ran. I blame Saturday night, Dodgers winning and myself for parking in a corner of a busy, two Stop signs intersection. SIGH. THE IRONY: it was a parking spot RIGHT in front of my apartment! I knew the busy intersection well but I took the chance because parking in KTOWN is an achievement in itself. AND I stayed in Saturday night to prevent myself from going out and spending money. INSTEAD, I’ll be paying a steep deductible to get my car fixed as well as losing the expensive buy in for my Fantasy league.

Circumstantially, I’m struggling. 

Also, it was my birthday at the top of the month. I chose not to cry this year, which I didn’t. I splurged on a birthday tattoo and after it was done, I HAD NO BUYER’S REMORSE. I spent a lot on the artist and his design aesthetic and I love my tattoo. You can call me boojie, but I needed to treat myself externally so it’d distract me from what I felt internally.

Emotionally, I’m struggling. 

I’ve been going through some family drama. In such emotional turmoil and angst, I had a moment of clarity one morning. I suddenly found an explanation to my birthday blues and to my desperate need to be an actor. Yes, I didn’t cry this year on my birthday (nor last year — let’s celebrate the little successes) but it didn’t mean I wasn’t wary of my birthday.

I have a complicated relationship with my mother. I follow the usual trope of “my parents really fucked me up,” and I’ve grown up broken. Look, I am a firm believer of what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger and I refuse to be a victim of circumstance, but after years where suffering and brokenness are compounded on top of each other, it’s easy to feel weighed down and drowning all the fucking time.

My mother made it known early on that me and my sisters were a burden. As a child, I felt the complete reluctance when I wanted my birthday party at Chuck E’ Cheese. During the party, my mom frowned the entire time, worrying about the increasing total cost and never failed to remind me how much time, effort and money she put in this little party. I never had a birthday party after that.

This is just one example of my relationship with my mom, and yet it’s indicative of the underlying conflict I have with her. Here’s a woman that gave me life and yet showed distain in the mere obligation of raising me.

Hindsight is a gift and I know as an adult she had a lot going on. She was a Viet Nam refugee, uprooting her life to a foreign country, working full time, going to school at night while raising 3 kids in a one bedroom apartment for a good 10 years. Because of hindsight, I can forgive my mom and let any resentment towards her go.

But as a child when I wasn’t able to make sense of what I was feeling, that feeling that I didn’t matter left a very lasting scar into adulthood. That’s why I feel the way I feel towards my birthday. I don’t matter, so why celebrate? I’ll just take up space and waste people’s time and money.

It’s interesting to note that I also tend to fall for guys that don’t value me and easily discard me. Last year I was ghosted and the year before that, I was just another ho on his ho-tation. Maybe it’s a Freudian slip, and I like guys that remind me of my mother, because they give me this feeling that I don’t matter, a feeling I’m all too familiar with. And I’m confusing familiarity with love. Isn’t that sad?

So what does this have to do with acting? Where’s the connection. For a story to affect me so emotionally to the point that it’ll guide my life long decisions, where its characters were the contributive factor to this, shows me that they matter. They are essential and necessary. You can’t have Indiana Jones without Indiana. You can’t have Star Wars without Han Solo. YOU JUST CAN’T. THEY FUCKING MATTER.

So, unconsciously I wanted to be an actor to matter.  I wanted to be integral to a story that could affect people’s hearts and minds. And then they’d remember me, value me and maybe want me.

But no one ever told me just how emotionally taxing it would be.

Emotionally, I’ve BEEN struggling. 

It is hard to compete in this industry, let alone in this world right now. Where superficial, immoral and antagonist people win without any consequences, it’s hard to find a place where I fit and won’t lose my soul. Why, why are shitty movies being made? Why are unskilled influencers getting paid beaucoup money? Why is the GOP so hateful and yet have all the power? I’ve been frustrated with myself for wanting so desperately to eat at the cool kids table, knowing full well they are soulless and corrupt. And I know full well that I’d defy them and refuse to abide by their standards (or lack thereof). And yet, I am lamenting at my circumstantial brokenness because it feels almost like a punishment to want to be good and fair and free.

I have been feeling like I just don’t fit anywhere in this world. And my circumstances have reiterated that feeling. I’ve been going to therapy to reconcile this internal conflict as well as to turn off the noise. To me, it is such an overwhelming problem and yet my therapist said this so easily, “Your brilliance is not meant to fit.”

I question the validity of this statement because emotionally it’s not ringing true to me. I’ve never thought of myself as brilliant so to believe it is too far a leap to make. And to hear that I was never meant to fit is hard to accept because for so long I’ve wanted to belong and yet never questioned if I ever should.

EVERYDAY, I’m struggling. 

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Someday They’ll Love Thi Nguyen

Oh Thi. Poor Thi. After a long day where a sweet toothy kid hiss and spits at you, after a fake tanned, long nail girl gives you a one star Yelp review, you come home to an empty home. Alone. Unnoticed, unappreciated, you swing back a glass to keep you inebriated. To drown out that little voice that says, “you’re not needed.” Which leads to the thought, “you’re not wanted,” to the inevitable, “you’re not loved.”

Maybe when you were young, you were dumb and you couldn’t see that Mom was barely scraping by. She didn’t have time. There wasn’t enough of her, spread too thin, you could never win.

But that’s ok. Let’s chase something that can be won! But ah, why life is such a delusion. That shiny city all glitz all glittery is an illusion. But it lured your stupid self into its provocative trap. Your mind rapt within it, your body wrapped in it, your soul warped from it. Thi, they don’t want you, they don’t need you. There’s somebody better, somebody brighter, a star. And it isn’t you.

Well fine! Because there’s this guy. And in his eyes, I AM the star. I’ve set the bar, I’m the one, the only! His arms surround me, holds me as I’m stationary and still, drinking up this moment in which I have forever wished and willed. But his eyes catch something better. Somebody better. Somebody blonder.

Oh Thi. Poor Thi. You’re blind. You’re lost. You’re confused. Why chase the ruse, when the risk is huge? But if my present, my now, is coming home to nothing, to no one, what else do I have to lose?

This is a story of a 29 year old woman.

This is a story of a 29 year old woman.

In a week she would turn the dreaded 30.

On Monday, the woman went to her waitressing job and got in an argument with her 24 year old manager.

On Tuesday, the woman went to an audition where the room was filled with people who looked younger, prettier and had more credits on their resume than her.

On Wednesday, her 25 year old booty call broke up with her.

On Thursday, the woman’s mom called her and asked when she was going to marry a rich man.

On Friday, she got 5 invites … 2 to a wedding, 1 bachelorette party, 1 baby shower and 1 housewarming.

On Saturday, the woman checked her bank account. She decided to stay in.

On Sunday, it was her birthday. The woman had a mental breakdown. She turned off her phone, buried herself in her bed and cried all day.

On Monday, she got over it.

Podcasts

In the midst of surviving by the skin of my teeth (making rent) in this hard ass no effing point but tons of consequences thing (life), I managed to do a podcast with my good friend Krista Turner. Through her, we did a podcast (broken up into 2 episodes below) for Van Nguyen, host and leader of AZN Confidence — a dating podcast for Asian Americans about building confidence, networks and relationship.

Disclaimer: By no means, do I call myself an expert about asian confidence. Ironically, I have suffered from the lack confidence. But like a phoenix, I will (if not yet) rise from the ashes and fly! If you’ve read any of my blog, you’ve noticed that I’ve improved upon the confidence factor, right? Right? Anyone? If anything all I can really shed light on is based on my own experiences and observations. Also, Krista is pretty articulate on the podcast and she compensates for my loopiness on the audio.  Enjoy!

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Episode 11: Rock That Passion, Own It Up and Make It Your B%#CH! We talk about first impressions and owning your passions.

Episode 12: Krista and Thi Talk About Life We talk with Van about life and what it means to be Asian in America.