It’s the day before I start my new job and as you may have guessed, I definitely have those nervous feelings in the pit of my stomach. We probably won’t even be able to sleep tonight so to prepare myself, I was thinking about going to bed two hours earlier, but not before I posted this video. To this day, I still look at inspirational quotes and messages and they make me feel alright for a few seconds or so – isn’t that what “Sunday Words” on Yow Yow! is all about? This is actually sort of better than all of those things though especially if you’re someone that takes visual and video form better. It’s simple. It’s relatable and it’s pretty much ALL of us. It’s crazy to think that at some point in our lives someone has told us “you can’t.” Why do people have to be such jerks? It’s 2017 and I recently had a former colleague tell me to my face that they thought I wasn’t good enough to do something. I’m not even lying to you. I had to look around the room to make sure that I was the only one being spoken to and just because you say it with a grin doesn’t mean what you’re saying is right.
So 2017 is still full of jerks, but you know what? 2017 is also a time where you can really do whatever you want. There are so many creatives in this world – so many people like YOU who want to do good and make things happen. Daily, I get to read stories about people who have an idea and who just run with it without knowing the next step and without having a whole lot of experience. You just can’t quit.
The most common thing I hear is how you can do something while still having a full time job. Hi, I’m right here with you. Yow Yow! will probably forever be a side hustle for me. :) That thing that you love – that you want to pursue because you know it will bring you joy – that’s going to become your side hustle. When you’re not working your day job, throw everything you have into that one thing and someday if you keep working at it, that thing will just get better and better, I promise.
In the Bay Area, there is no shortage for ramen restaurants. Go to any neighboring city and you’ll have a handful of options. I was running an errand in Santa Clara one night after work when I felt a serious craving coming along. So what’s a girl to do? Pull out your Yelp app and find the nearest ramen stop nearby with a rating of 4 stars. I love eating in the Bay Area and because food is such a necessity for me, I really don’t care if I’m going to a restaurant by myself. I pulled up a seat at the “bar” and decided to order what they were known for. What I love about this spot is the noodles! Every other ramen place in the Bay Area has the thicker kind, which is fine, but kind of inconsistent at a lot of restaurants. Most of the time, they haven’t been cooked long enough and are still unpleasant to chew. The noodles at Taka are really nice and thin though. As you can see, the egg is cooked just right and the pork was super juicy and tender. I haven’t been back since this first time that I stumbled across it, but it’s definitely in my top 5.
In between completing my taxes today, I’ve been thinking a lot about the words I could share to show my support for women everywhere – for those that I don’t know, but even more importantly for the strong women in my life – family, friends, teachers, and influencers. I already wrote a pretty lengthy and heavy post this week so for this one, I want to do my best to keep it short and sweet.
I want to share a quick story though because this led to a turning point in my life and was a strong reminder of the company I wanted to keep or the company I should cut. In a conversation with a former boyfriend and his friend, the friend shared with us that he had recently read an article that reported men were more likely to cheat on their women significant others if they made more money than them. Friend decided to add in his own thoughts by saying that he not only believes this report to be true, but that if he were in that situation, he would do the same. He would cheat. He acknowledged that it wasn’t the right thing to do, but that it was his way of regaining his own masculinity back and that he outrightly believes that men are the breadwinners in a family – not the women. When I asked said boyfriend about his own thoughts, he kind of shrugged his shoulders clearly not wanting to be put on the spot, but you know what – silence is also a response.
I know what you’re thinking. YES, in this day and age (even if this was several years ago) – there are people who believe some thing as outrageous as this and nothing gets me more riled up than this bullshit right here. Relationship ended for other reasons, but the most important takeaway for me was that in my life, I am never going to let another man or person punish me for my own successes – no one should. And side note, if I decide I don’t want to be the breadwinner, um – that’s my choice. Not yours.
A very close family member told me over the holidays that they believed me to be “too confrontational for my own good.” As a girl who took many years to find her own voice, this was such a compliment to me. I’m pretty sure I shared this over text with like five of my girlfriends after this happened. In 2017, I am so excited to have a voice and to share my thoughts and opinions on Yow Yow! in a way that I never had the opportunity to before. I am also excited that we have so many strong female role models to look up to. Today has been the best example of that.
Yesterday’s response to this post was overwhelming, but I appreciated hearing from many of you who reached out to let me know that you also deal with anxiety. After I published it, I turned my phone on airplane mode and put it in another room and sort of disconnected for a bit just because I was very nervous about what people would think after reading it. I’m glad that this post meant something to people because it means I did the right thing after all despite the back and forth in writing this for the last few days. I also was reminded of some of my previous “panic” moments and all the friends who were there for me in those instances over the years. Sometimes you were all the ones that recognized what I could not at the time.
I wanted to clear up a FAQ from yesterday too. I wrote this post as part of the series I’m doing right now where I discuss my job transition. This incident actually happened over a month ago so it’s not like I had this moment very recently and wrote it up. I’m actually starting a new position very soon so we’re all good.
I knew that I would be publishing that post yesterday afternoon, but in the morning, I was even more motivated after reading Chrissy Teigen’s essay for Glamour on postpartum depression. It’s such an important read and inspiring for not only new mothers, but for anyone that has to deal with something that isn’t always so pretty.
When I made the decision to leave, I had reached a point of acceptance. This was real – come Monday, I wouldn’t be waking up and getting ready to come into work like I’ve been doing for the last three and a half years. At the end of the Friday, I had packed up my belongings on my desk – all of the little trinkets and photos I had collected over the years. I spent the week saying goodbye to my colleagues, talking to them about my next steps, and answering any lingering questions. I thought that I was fine and I was happy with the way that I handled everything. But there were two things on my mind that I hadn’t quite settled – telling my parents that I had left my job and securing my next job. “They” say you should never leave your job without having your next one lined up. The world says that and so do my parents. I say that because I’ve always been the girl with a plan. For me, my biggest fear is letting my parents down. So I kept it inside. The plan was to tell them once I had my next job so as to not worry them about the period of time I would have in between. At this point in time, I had been harboring the news for a week, but little did I know that every day this would chip away at me.
The day after leaving my job, I had plans to see a movie in the city with my friends. I was running late because of an accident on 101. Initially, I was hoping to park at Manan’s so that we could go together to the theater, but this hiccup forced me to change routes and instead meet them at the theater. I don’t particular enjoy driving in the city and I wasn’t aware that parking wasn’t easy near the mall. I was forced to park in the Tenderloin, a place that I don’t feel comfortable walking around in by myself even during the day. Rushing to the theater inside Westfield Mall, I was called to by bystanders in the Tenderloin. I held my breath and kept my head and eyes down only looking up to catch glimpses of whether or not I was on the right street. Inside the mall, I realized I had to go to the 7th floor, but couldn’t find a direct elevator. I took escalator after escalator after escalator and landed inside a Nordstrom. But where was the theater? After finding it, Manan said he left my ticket with the person at the front. I went to the first person I saw, but she told me my theater was on the opposite side so I walked back to the other side and retrieved my ticket. Out of breath already, I receive a text from Manan and he says that they’re in the last row. The last row… in my head I’m thinking, but does this mean the first row or do I need to climb all of these steps? The movie has started and its dark. I’m upset at myself that I didn’t make it in time and that I missed the trailers. I start to wonder why I didn’t just leave my house 15 minutes earlier to avoid this situation. I’m in the corner of the theater near the entrance and not only do I feel myself getting hot and the sweat on the back of my neck, but I feel eyes on me that I’m being that girl in the theater right now with their phone light visible who can’t functionally find their friends. I’m texting him, but every text I receive feels like it is taking 10 minutes to get to me. That’s when I recognize what is happening.
I leave the theater and find a table and two chairs outside of it. I had just driven a little over an hour to get here and now that I was here, I wanted to drive an hour back home. I was starting to panic and I needed to leave before anyone saw me or knew what was happening. I try to make sense of what’s going on and start to wonder what is wrong with me and why I can’t just go into the theater again and find my friends so that this situation wouldn’t even be a situation. Instead, I text Manan and tell him that I couldn’t find him, but that I was having a “moment” – code for what I was trying to cover up and that I was leaving. “If they ask, tell them an emergency came up” I text as I swiftly make my exit. I start making my way down the hundred escalators again, but before I step outside, I wonder if stepping into the nearby Aritiza might calm me down a bit. The clothes are nice, but even that can’t distract from what is actually happening. As I walk outside to Market Street again, Manan tells me that he’s not into the movie and that he’ll come find me. I know that he’s lying to me and is trying to be a good friend so instead I think about sprinting to my car in the Tenderloin before he finds me. Outside on Market is another protest. It is chaotic and there’s more people around than I feel comfortable with. My body is paralyzed. I hear nothing and my vision begins to blur, but not because I’m crying. The tears don’t feel cold or hot, but my face is completely wet and in a constant stream. They don’t stop. When I cry, I feel like I remember myself making a sound – some kind of sound to indicate that I am crying – an obvious indication that I am sad or an expression of a sob. In the state of my panic attack, I’m consistently crying, but completely quiet. In this moment, I’m grateful that no one “sees” me or at least I pretend that they don’t and no one is asking if I’m okay and if they can help me. If they tried, I wouldn’t be able to give them a response.
Manan finds me outside of the adidas. Even the act of locating him in all of this is hard for me. He greets me with a smile and a hug as if what just happened did not happen at all. We take a walk and he checks in with me asking how I’m feeling and what I want to do. Everything around me is moving slowly, but my mind and my heart are still racing. I feel like I don’t quite fit into what reality actually is in that moment and am still waiting to come down. Finally, exhausted from everything, I tell him that I just want to sit and not have to think about what I’m doing next. He suggests that the best place to go back to is where we started – back into the movie and that this time he would help me find my way to our seats. It wasn’t exactly one moment that set this panic attack off. It was a lot of little moments triggered by a life event that I couldn’t 100% control. Up until this moment, I realize that while I’ve tried to play it off that I was okay with everything, there’s a part of me inside that is not okay and I need to address it somehow.
I have been having panic attacks since I was 19 years old and I’m writing this post because of encouragement that I’ve received from Mandi and because of the series that I’m writing about my job transition. It didn’t seem right to leave this part of my journey out just because it was a moment in which I struggled. I don’t jump at the chance to share some of the hardships that I deal with on Yow Yow! because in Asian cultures you don’t admit your flaws. You keep these stories close to you and to every outsider, you always have it together. Here’s the thing about my panic attacks though. In addition to accepting this life change, I am also accepting that panic attacks are going to be a part of my life. They will never go away. They may become easier as I understand how to deal with them and that seems like the most important thing that I could work towards for myself.
In 2016 and 2017, there has been a lot of discussions about how people are portrayed on social media and the pressures to make your feed and essentially your life look like you are living a perfect life. What I’m more interested in is having these honest conversations about a thing that is very common and very REAL among people. When you don’t talk about these things happening to you, you can feel like you are very alone. Instead, I can turn to Mandi who can relate to my experiences or to Manan who can support me when these “moments” arise because he’s seen it. And lastly, we can educate. My brother and I are both watching “This Is Us” right now on NBC and recently they filmed a scene in which one of the main characters, Randall, is experiencing a panic attack both as a kid and as an adult. I mentioned to Kevin that I had a moment like that very recently and instead of dismissing or laughing it off, he wanted to know more. “Is that what that looks like for you?” “Is that what you go through?” “How does it get better?” I’m lucky to have the three of them by my side showing me what healthy support looks like from three different views.
“Panic” is on my list of least favorite words. I hate saying it aloud and I’m scared to admit that I experience this because I worry that people will immediately associate it with the word “crazy” and back away from me with their hands up without an explanation or an understanding. However, I’m more scared of going through this alone and I would rather confide in those closest to me about what I go through than have to hide this part of me. It’s not pretty. I don’t get to choose when it happens or make sure that I’m in the comfort of my own private home. It’s not something that I’m proud of and life would be easier without it, but let’s talk about it. And maybe then, we can begin to start accepting it instead of harboring it as something we have to be ashamed of or embarrassed by.
I was really lucky that when I chose to work at my last workplace that I had such amazing benefits. Coming into work every day and never having to think about what I was going to have for breakfast, lunch, or dinner not only saved me time and money, but a lot of stress in having to plan future meals. I know what people say about companies that provide all their meals to their employees. You want to spin this as a negative with companies pushing their employees to stay and work later than they need to by incentivizing them with meals. From my point of view, I can honestly say that I never felt this way. I really loved our meals; they were healthy, balanced, and delicious. And you know what? If I didn’t feel like eating at work one day, I wouldn’t and I would go out and get my own dinner and that was my decision. For employees that aren’t spending meal time with their families and are really just providing for themselves, this is truly a benefit that is a godsend.
So why are we posting about this?
Well, contrary to what others might believe, not every company in tech provides all three meals. Sometimes they don’t even provide one and that is totally fine. That’s most of the world. I haven’t been working at my previous company for a month now so I’ve actually been eating most of my meals out, but as I transition to my next job, I’ve been thinking a lot about the lifestyle I want to live. Even though I haven’t cooked for myself for almost 3.5 years, this is something that I really want to get back into again. I used to make meals for my friends (specifically Veronica) in college all of the time. I also was a terribly poor college student and because I lived alone, I would make one pot of pasta with all the sauce and eat it for a whole week straight for lunch and dinner. It wasn’t glamorous, but I got by! I was also super proud that I could be scrappy and that I could provide for myself and save money while doing so.
Lately, there’s been a huge rise in meal delivery startups. I’ve never tried any of them, but my friends have and now I think I’m ready to start. Some things I have been considering for myself are what I’m really looking for. The reason why I want to take this route is because I don’t want to eat out every night. It’s not sustainable and someday I’m going to be cooking for more than just myself so it might be a good time for me to get back into it. I’m considering two types of plans: 1 plan that sends me meals with ingredients so that I can prepare it for myself at home and do the actual cooking and another plan that sends the meals to my door already prepped, but just need to be reheated. Does it make sense to adopt two plans right away? I’ve heard that Blue Apron’s prep time (while detailed) is longer than most had hoped. This isn’t going to be ideal for me when I’m spending most of my day at work and commuting. At most, I think I’m willing to commit 30 minutes to prep and cook time maybe, which is why I’m also considering Hello Fresh. There’s also Plated, Munchery, and Sprig, which I haven’t done too much research on.
Asking for myself here, could y’all share with me what your thoughts are on these types of plans and what recommendations you have? :)
I may have grown up in the Pacific Northwest, but I didn’t spend my time outdoors as much as the average local did. So when Mandi let me know that their wedding would be taking place in Yosemite, I was sort of half and half. First, there was excitement. I haven’t spent really any time at a national park and while I’ve seen photos that my friends have posted, I didn’t know what it would look like to see it in real life. Than the other part of me was feeling a little bit nervous. Would I feel out of place? Was I going to be pushed to do something outside of my comfort zone? Happy to report that I survived my weekend in Yosemite and that this entire paragraph just shows you how in my head I am about things. :)
When you’re in a place like Yosemite or any national park for that matter, I imagine you would feel very small. Everything around me felt massive. I’ve never seen hills as steep as I did in Yosemite or the mountains and trees so high. It was pretty incredible. The wedding also took place on National Park Day! Since we had some time before the wedding in the afternoon, a group of friends and I decided to take a quick hike through Yosemite.
Looking back on last fall, I feel pretty fortunate that I had a chance to travel to so many cities in one run with a career that I really enjoy. Growing up, I never traveled very extensively, but I always wanted a job that would not only take me to places, but allow me to see the cities that I was traveling to. When you’re thinking about a career before you even have one, you envision what your life might be like to have one of these jobs. Luckily, my busy travel season is just that – a season. Last year, I met someone who was previously a consultant and spent 4-5 days out of the week traveling for work. No, thank you. :)
This past fall, I spent nearly two and a half months “on the road” visiting Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Boston (twice!) Here are some of the photos I took from these trips; most of them just include the things that I ate, which as you can imagine…were a lot of carbs!
Philly was just the most darling. I really only got two days here, but I wish I could’ve stayed longer! What an incredibly beautiful city with so much charm to it.
It would be easy for me to use my next two weeks of “funemployment” to not do anything. The time in between transitioning jobs is so precious. I elected for two full weeks because the time I spent interviewing for a new job was grueling. It was constant, came in multiples a day, and didn’t give me that rest that I needed to go back in to a new job feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Previously though, I’ve had friends of mine that have taken a month off or months to just travel. I think that’s great, but instead I’m using my next two weeks to prepare myself for a lifestyle change (that comes with the job) and to see what it could be like to be a full time blogger. My eating habits are going to change and so will my commute with my new job. We’re going to discuss all of this more in a later post, but for now I want to talk about day 1 – my day today and how we’re going to set a precedent for the next two weeks and beyond.
I’ve never been someone that could live without a routine. However, I will admit that for the last 3.5 years of living here, the lines around what I thought was my routine have been blurred and inconsistent. I was (and am today) unfit, not eating healthy, and often tired. At a recent doctor’s visit for my annual physical, I was basically told that the time for change needed to happen… now. So while the next two weeks of sleeping in and eating junk may sound awesome to most, we’re not going to take the route. I want to do better because I want to feel better, but I’ve never been someone that could be held accountable for the goals I set for myself if I didn’t write them down. Every day:
It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a bit to keep track of in a day! Have any of you been in this time of transition before and if so, what did you list look like? Am I missing anything important? Would love any extra tips!