Tag Archives: might be finished later


When my mother gets angry, her English switches into something in between English and Vietnamese, the words are English, but the grammar, the sentence structure, the twists and turns, the intonation is all Vietnamese.

And it is not because my mother is not fluent, oh no, she is the most intelligent woman I have ever known, and learning two languages is nothing more than breathing to her.

It is because Vietnamese is the language of her heart and soul, the language of her bones and her blood, the language that feeds the roots of her brain, and when she is angry, when emotion comes first and passion runs high, then it is this language that comes pouring out in every breath even when it’s English that leaves her lips.

When I am angry, I can barely speak, the words get caught in my throat, they get stuck somewhere and I don’t know why or how, but it’s usually stuttered or mangled English that comes through.

Even when English is the primary language I speak, Vietnamese is still the language of my heart and soul, my bones and blood, the roots of my brain, the language of the mother who brought me into this world, and even if it may not come out as naturally as speaking, somewhere in me it’s trying, and so the English gets caught along the way.


The numbers are too high

1 in 3 women – that’s like if I got together with my two best friends and there’s a chance that one of us is going to be a survivor, that’s like out of my dance group of 60 there’s a chance that 20 of us are going to be survivors.

That number is too high, that damn nameless faceless number, I do not want my friends, I do not want anyone to become another name with a hashtag on social media trying to get justice because the name of the institution is more important than their name their face their body, the name and reputation of their rapist and their institution is more than important than their body their safety their life, the number is too high, even one is too many, yeah I’m calling you out UCLA. Northwestern you too.

I will not let you turn more people into #names and despondent faces and broken hearts and traumatized bodies.

When did it start?

It was just a bad day. It was just a bad week, a bad month, a bad phase. I would not let sadness pull me down, but before I knew it, where had the time gone, why did I not feel better, when did I lose so much weight, when did the dark bags form under my eyes, when was the last time I did not stay awake all night, when was the last time I did not feel so tired?

When did the depression start?

I cannot pinpoint the moment when I drew away from my friends, pushed them away, pushed everyone away, locked myself in my room, curtains closed, covers over my head, homework forgotten, school did not matter anyway when I was too tired to even think.

I cannot pinpoint the moment when I stopped caring about going outside and seeing the sky and doing my schoolwork and going to dance practice and seeing my friends and talking to my family, I cannot remember when I stopped caring about who I was and what I did and what I looked like and who I talked to and who missed me.

I cannot remember when I started to feel that maybe I was useless and worthless and unwanted and stupid and a bother and a burden, and I cannot remember when I started to believe my own head, and I cannot remember when I became so stuck in that negative head space that all I could believe was my mind’s own lies, and they weren’t really lies if I believed them, right?

And so I believed them and I internalized them, and I crumpled up any sense of self-confidence and I threw away any sense of self-worth and I destroyed any sense of self-value, and I truly hated myself, and I hated myself so much that I didn’t care, and I found that the worst hatred is really apathy. And I was so apathetic, I didn’t care.

But that was a lie because I did care because I wasn’t enough, and no matter what anyone told me at that time, I wasn’t enough, I didn’t deserve their words, I didn’t deserve anything, I didn’t deserve happiness or safety or stability or peace and quiet or anything at all except more darkness and more pain.

I remember when the darkness became too much and I needed more pain so I took sharp edges to skin and painted my own skin with my own life-giving ink and it was destructive and dangerous and stupid and I knew all of that even though I was so numb and uncaring but at least it made me feel something, anything, because I had forgotten how to feel, and the physical sensations of pain were better than nothing at all.

I remember when even the sensations of cold and hot and dull and sharp and pain were no longer enough, I needed more because I had nothing left, nothing in my heart, nothing to look forward to. But what is more when you are empty and everything around you is empty?

I remember when I started thinking of ending it all