Over the past few years, my blog has been a platform for me to share with you all my experience of studying abroad in Los Angeles and how I adjusted to living in America. I shared with you all my challenges, my fears as well as how I overcame any obstacles that I faced as a Vietnamese living in America.
But today, I guess I’m ready to share with you all my truest, deepest and most vulnerable feelings.
I am not sure why I put this off so long, but I guess the reason why I never wanted to do a blog post like this was because I was scared of being judged. I also thought writing something like my “Saturday night thoughts” would be a boring blog post that people would just laugh at…Anyways, after debating whether I should write this or not, I decided to go for it!
My blog can be anything I want it to be and I guess I am just sick and tired of holding myself back and giving into that negative voice in my head thinking that nothing I do is good enough. I’m done with it.
So here we go! Welcome to Catherine Ha’s vulnerable side 🙂
Let me tell you about today. I did my usual routine in the morning and then when I came home in the afternoon, I just felt very lonely, hopeless, scared and very confused. I cried a lot today and for some reason, I just miss Vietnam so much 🙁 I miss seeing my grandma, going out to cool cafe shops to sit alone and read, spend time with my cousins or go traveling to Hanoi.
Right now in America, most stores are closed and it is so boring. Every week feels like another stay at home quarantine week. Meanwhile in Vietnam, people are out living their life. I can’t help it but feel jealous and depressed about the current situation in America. At least outdoor dining is open. Next week I am going out for dinner for the first time since March :p Can you believe that?
I also feel very lost and scared because next semester is my last semester at LMU. It is going to be online which sucks because this is not the way I envisioned my senior year of college to be. I feel like the reason why I am sad is because I am grieving the old life I used to have and that is very painful to realize that nothing is going to be the same for a while until we have a vaccine.
But I have hope. I always do. Especially, in difficult times, you just have to have faith that things will work out.
Before I moved to Los Angeles, things were worse for me than this Covid-19 situation. The fact that all I have to do is stay home, take my online classes, wear a mask and physically distance I consider myself very lucky to even have the apartment I have now. Because back when I was living in the Bay Area I did not have half of the things I own now. It’s funny because when I was living in San Jose, I was dreaming of being able to afford all the things that I have now.
Here’s more about my past that I never talk about:
2-3 years ago when I was living in San Jose, I did not have a lot of money. I was broke. That is the truth and I mean it. My parents were not doing well financially. I was living with my dad’s friend family in East San Jose rent-free and driving a used 2007 Honda Accord. I remember at times, I would have an ending balance of around $30 – $140 in my bank account and some how I managed to stretch it until the next time my parents were able to send me money. Sometimes they were late with sending my monthly bills and it was stressful trying to buy groceries, save money and at the same time making sure I had enough money to cover my rent. I remember going to Sprouts and buying tofu and making sure I bought the cheapest option available so that I could save and stretch a few days worth of meals.
It was the first time in my life that I had to deal with something like that because growing up, I was so used to getting everything I wanted. To make sure I had money coming in and be self-sufficient as I did not want to wait for my parents, I worked at Sur La Table, Zara, sushi hostess, receptionist and I was a business tutor at De Anza college. If you don’t believe me just check my LinkedIn in the side bar 😉 hehe.
It was a difficult time as I just moved to California and was trying to navigate my new life. This was my past that I never wanted to talk about and wanted to hide it as much as possible. But nowadays when I think of those times, I can’t help it but be so proud of myself. I learned and grew so much from it and do not feel that I should hide it anymore.
I think the sad part, was that during all that time I had to pretend to be rich on social media when I really was not at all. That really is the sad part. But I didn’t know any better… so I can’t be so hard on myself.
I was scared, lonely, insecure and wanted to fit in like everyone else I followed on social media.
But not anymore.
Nowadays, I feel a sense of peace within myself. I feel more stable and know what I want out of my life and the people I want to surround myself with and the only way to know who will resonate with me is by writing this blog post.
That is why sharing with you all of this information is the first step to becoming the true me.
So anytime I feel like giving up, depressed and not motivated I just look back at twenty- one year old Catherine….the one with not a lot of money, having to move 3 times with mean landlords, driving a used car that broke down a couple of times because it had transmission problems and not having the emotional support from my parents. They did not understand anything I was going through as a first generation college student because they themselves did not attend college. It made things even tougher and made me feel very alone.
I just don’t know how I ended up here in Los Angeles and living the life I do now. I just consider myself very lucky and blessed to have made it to the other side. I think it was just meant to be. New York didn’t work out at all and it led me here in sunny LA. I think it was for the best and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.
As for the pandemic, I am slowly learning how to cope with it but I have my days just like today where I feel so completely hopeless.
I guess right now, things are more uncomfortable for me because this is the first time in my life where I have had to stay at home for such a long time and confront all my insecurities, fears and unresolved trauma.
I can’t run and hide away from them I actually have to face them everyday. And to do this requires a lot of courage, patience and discipline.
You might also ask me, “well if you are sad why don’t you call your parents and tell them how you feel Catherine.”
I do… but my parents are not the people I go to when I feel sad and lonely, as they do not truly understand me and my innermost feelings. My grandma is actually the one I go to because she understands me more than my parents. But it is hard trying to call your 85 year old grandma who does not know how to use the phone very well 😛 so often times I just have to deal with my own problems and be my own best friend, mother and father to myself.
If there is anything that America has taught me is that I can give myself everything that I want. I do not need to depend on anyone for my happiness, money or worth and that includes family.
You are so much stronger than you think. Our mind, is very strong and capable of doing anything if you just allow it to be and believe in yourself.
And lastly, never be ashamed of your past or yourself. We all have dark, embarrassing moments that when we look back we just want to cringe and bury those feelings away, but I encourage you to examine everything in your life.
Ask yourself what kind of life you want to create and don’t be afraid to go after it. Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Pay attention to the word worth because that is what we all should be figuring out to make the best of our life.
I just would hate it if I was on my death bed and thinking of all the things I wish I could have done but was afraid to do so.
So that is why tonight I wanted to write this blog post. I don’t want to feel afraid anymore of being my true self or be ashamed of my past. Who I am in the past and who I am in the future is still me, so why should I hate myself?
I love and respect myself now and I strive to become the best version of myself. And even though right now this pandemic situation feels like a never ending blackhole of darkness I still have faith and hope that things will work out.
I just have to breathe and place my trust in the universe.
And whenever I feel lonely, lost and confused I just think of my younger self that didn’t have much money and support and still made it through in the end. If I could go through those times, I can also go through this time.
Thank you so much for reading this blog post.
I hope you enjoyed it.
I feel a big sense of relief.
I’m going to sleep well tonight hehe. I am still sad though just because this pandemic is too much and overwhelming sometimes but I am meal prepping tomorrow and working out so that will make me feel a lot better!
Goodnight from los angeles <3