The tragedy in Orlando, Florida has made me feel so helpless. Along with the world I mourn the loss of the 49 souls and send prayers of healing to the 53 who were wounded. There are just no words that will reverse this hateful act. Hearing the news and being consumed with the media coverage just left me feeling so many emotions; sick, heartbroken, angry, confused, and sad. All the families, loved ones, friends, and lives touched personally by this tragedy will forever be changed. The rest of us in the world will also be impacted, like how 9/11, the Boston marathon bombing, or the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school impacted us.
Where do we go from here? We will be inundated by many opposing forces having opinions on how this can be prevented in the future. The powers to be will take this opportunity to create more divide in the country and use it for their own political agendas. How do we keep people safe? It could have been any of us that was gunned down. This particular person targeted a gay club; someone else could target a specific ethnicity, religion, political view, any difference that they see fit. All I know is something needs to change.
I don’t want to live in fear. Fear makes people do crazy things. History shows what comes out of fear and it is not a world I want to live in. It seems getting rid of assault rifles would be an answer. Would that many people have been shot if the killer had only hand guns? The answer is no. Stricter policies in gun control, more resources to the FBI and national security agencies, improved monitoring of social media platforms seem like a good area to start. I don’t have the answers all I know is we need better protection.
Love is love people! All I can do now is send all my love to the people affected by this tragedy and to the world.
I never thought turning 35 would be such a momentous birthday to me until I started to fixate on the number. Sure when I turned 18, 21, and 30 I knew those would be important birthdays but I never really thought about 35. Maybe it is because after turning 30 multiple of five ages are an easy goal marker; or maybe it is because I am getting closer to 40; or maybe because I am realizing how lucky I am to be alive with good health. Either way it is a great time to stop and really look at what my life has become and where I want to take it. I sadly know too many people who have not had the luxury to get to this year in life. It makes me want to appreciate the little every day moments that make my life great; like getting up and seeing Violet’s sweet face smiling at me, or being able to have a kick ass workout that makes me feel all the major muscles in my body, or tasting that perfect satisfying bite of avocado toast.
I made the most of celebrating by hosting about thirty of my closest friends with a show from one of my favorite DJ/producers Kaytranada. From what I remember my happiness scale was through the roof and I was in love with all of my friends. On my actual birthday I went to enjoy a DJ set from singer/songwriter/producer Hayden Jamesat Q nightclub. It was a more intimate group of friends and the music and dancing was so good. It was cool to see Odeszathere and the crowd went wild when their mix of “Something about you” played.
Enjoying live music is my favorite pastime and it was the perfect way to bring on this new year of life. A big shout out to my husband for setting up the party and for watching the girls last night so I could go out on a weekday. Thanks to all of my lovely family/friends for all the well wishes, gifts, and the best hugs. I am feeling really positive about what’s to come and I hope to stay connected with all of you.
Around the start of 2016 I wrote a post about creating positive goals for myself and not having any New Year’s resolutions that I will ultimately break. I wrote three short goals that I thought were feasible to focus on in the upcoming year. The original post is here. My first goal was to buy a house by February. Normally it takes a while to buy the perfect house so having a deadline of two months may sound far fetched. However, we were already looking for about six months and had a deadline of April because that was when our lease was up. It was pretty challenging trying to find a house in West Seattle that had all we needed/wanted and was still affordable. We really wanted a new construction because we have already experienced owning a 1915 Craftsman style house and knew all the work that went into maintaing a vintage home. We looked into other areas but could not imagine living outside of West Seattle. West Seattle is an amazing family oriented neighborhood with great schools, shops/restaurants, and is very close to the city. After prioritizing and rethinking what we actually needed in a house and thinking about our five year plan we decided to try to buy the house we were currently renting. After much hoops to jump through I am happy to say we closed on the house about two weeks ago!
My next goal was to become a certified neuroscience nurse by the end of March. That goal stopped being a priority in my career because I began a new position in April working as a RN in an observation unit that is an extension of the emergency department. This new position has already awarded me with many great educational opportunities and I am gaining more skills to be a versatile nurse. I am loving my new position and feel like it was a great decision for me to make this change.
My last goal that I had was to get desert body ready for the Coachella Music Festival in April. This was an arbitrary goal because it was based on my perception and values of my own personal body image. I worked hard at exercising a couple of times a week, going on detox diets, and trying to maintain discipline with clean eating, but that all went out the door when I went to Las Vegas in March. I felt really good for my trip to Las Vegas but loss momentum and ultimately accepted my flaws. I may not have been in my ideal body shape but I was happy enough to feel good in my skin and did not let that deter me from having the time of my life.
Thinking back on these three goals set at the beginning of the new year, it reminds me how fast plans and intentions can change even in just a few months. No matter what my goals are for the future, there are so many variables that can change these plans. I think what is important is to keep working on improvements, growth, and ultimately positive change. I will come up with another set of three concise goals soon to work towards.
Mother’s Day is a great day to honor all the maternal figures who have touched my life but especially my own mother. After having children of my own I now can relate to her more. I am able to look back into the memories of my life and her role as my mother with a new perspective. It took me until my adult years to realize how amazing my mother truly is. When I was an adolescent she was the one who took the brunt of all my emotions; she was the one person that I could be my sorely awful self. Yet she still loved me, heck probably still liked me too. That is the love of a mother that she showed me. However terrible I was to her she saw through it and dealt with my aggressions because she loved me unconditionally.
Some of my childhood difficulties stemmed from growing up in a different culture than my parents and trying to navigate between both views. My parents never fully enculturated in the American culture but adapted enough to live here. My father was strict and regimented where my mother was flexible and understanding. She did not create a barrier between us by forcing a facade of hierarchical respect that is typically in the Korean culture. The kind of barrier where you did not share your true self with each other; an imaginary wall that valued persona higher than authenticity. She allowed me to be me.
It is tough to look back and know how much stress and anguish I must have put her through being an unruly Gemini. I wasn’t a complete deviant but I definitely was not your ideal child in the eyes of Korean society. Thankfully I did not shame my parents but I wish I could have been better. I wish I could have shown more appreciation at an earlier age, grew up quicker, know what I know now. These are not unique wishes but they are still mine.
The only thing to do is be better now. To shower my mother with the appreciation that she deserves not just on Mother’s Day but every day. Today I am reminded to show gratitude for my mother for all of the sacrifices she has made for my family. To thank her for all the life support she has given me over the years. I am truly grateful and only hope that my girls will be impacted by my love for them as I have been by my mother.
Coming back from vacation is always tough. I had 4 blissful days to relax and be selfish. Of course I checked in with my family every day and made sure that everyone was being taken care of, but then I got to enjoy 4 days in the sun with amazing friends and music; all of my favorite things. Having the break to have “me” time was exactly what I needed. It allowed me to decompress and reset my intentions.
That relaxed good mood “me” lasted about 48hrs and then normal life settled back in – mommy, wife, daughter, and nurse. The redundancy of daily activities and responsibilities began to show its face again. Not that my life is anything to complain about. I have more than I need. I have my health. I have many blessings to appreciate and I have my own struggles like everyone else. It’s just vacation mode “me” needed to change back to real life “me”.
It would be terrible to have been away and then come back to a disgruntled husband and bratty kids, which was not the case at all. Brian was wonderful with the help of our family in taking care of the girls. Both Ume and Violet were happy to see me but also excited to share how fun their weekend was. Ume graciously waited for me to come home before having Brian pull out her first loose tooth because her “person” tooth was coming in. I would have been so sad if I missed this milestone. It was a relief to know that I can be away for a few days and the house didn’t burn down or the kids didn’t become teenagers.
All in all my break away was a win for all of us. My patience meter readjusted to have more tolerance and I am able to enjoy my family even more. Brian had a chance to spend some quality dad time with the girls and also got to breakaway to take care of some business. The girls had a chance to miss me and appreciate what I do for them.
It has been an adjustment for me this week to ease back into normality. I am reading a bunch of articles and watching YouTube videos about Coachella and already planning for next year. It is my one big ladies trip tradition that I work towards each year. It is nice to have something to look forward to in the future that is already set. I am super thankful that I get to go!
For about eight years I have identified myself as a neuroscience nurse. This is the type of nursing that I have been working in since graduating nursing school. Going on maternity leave twice and then returning to school to get my bachelor’s in nursing degree have always lead me back to the same unit, the same type of nursing. I am now taking the leap and trying something new.
I will be working in a different type of nursing, emergency nursing. I am going from expert to novice and it is both exciting and scary. It is scary because being a “neuro” nurse has been part of my identity for such a long time. I remember in the beginning as a new grad nurse and then maybe for a year after I would be anxious every time I went into work, not knowing what type of assignment I would get or what type of patients I would take care of. Probably year two that changed and I became more confident in my ability to provide skilled nursing care. Each year I continued to hone in on my skills to be an effective nurse and leader.
It makes me think about other times I have taken big leaps and chances on myself. When I was younger I did not have the confidence in myself nor the knowledge to take many chances. I just followed the road of what was expected and it was easier to go downhill off track than stay on. Then coming into a young adult and figuring out what to do as an adult, I began to realize that it is okay to take a chance on myself if the projected goal is positive.
The biggest leaps I have taken are the ones that are parts of my identity – wife – nurse – mother, which came in that order. I hear all the life cliches in my head – without risk there are no rewards, life is too short, to not fear the unknown – and I say AMEN. I mean these are cliches for a reason. It is truth and something that will help you progress and move forward.
I am excited to embark on a new career change because I want to continue to grow and develop professionally. What you do for a living is a big part of who you are as a person. I don’t want to be stagnant in any part of my life so it is time to move on. YOLO!
Last week I volunteered at Ume’s school in the afternoon and I was told by the office assistant that there had been an incident at school with Ume and another classmate. She had my attention; she explained that she stepped in when she saw a commotion between the students and Ume was really upset and crying. When asked what had happened, a few students said that Ume punched another student in the stomach. My eyes got huge, this did not sound like my child. The adult did not see this happen, just the aftermath of the disruption. After Ume was able to settle down and stop crying, she explained that her classmate was tickling her and she told her to stop many times. Then Ume was spinning and spinning, got dizzy, and fell into the other student by accident. The other student didn’t agree or disagree to either allegations. The adult had them both say sorry to each other, which took a while to get the other student to say it loud enough for them to hear it. She explained to the kids that the school has a hands off policy so that both students should apologize and then move on with their day. Ume knew I was coming to school to volunteer, so she asked the adult to tell me about the situation.
I was instantly shocked at the allegation from the other students, because for sure Ume did not punch the kid. Brian and I try to work with her on protecting herself from Violet all the time. Violet will go after her with a toy hammer and hit her with it; Ume would sit there and let Violet hit her and just cry. We are trying to teach her to protect herself, take the weapon away from Violet, and/or move away and call us for help. Her reasoning is that she doesn’t want Violet to cry. That is my kid. Super sensitive and emotional. A true Cancer.
Ume letting Violet step all over her.
This made me think about situations that happen in every day life where people don’t have all the facts, but they make assumptions that lead to accusations. This then perpetuates rumors and false information to be spread. We are all guilty of doing it at some time in our lives. It is really interesting seeing it from a kids’ perspective, no one has clear facts but they tell a story even if they didn’t see it. Surely the other students did not see Ume punch the other kid but what made them say that? Ume spins around all the time because she loves to be dizzy, so I can see that happening. It can make a kid look like a bully who isn’t or a kid get in trouble without any true reason. Thank goodness teachers and adults who work with children are used to this behavior and have the skills to mediate these types of situations.
When I showed up in class, Ume looked happy like nothing abnormal happened that day. I did my duties as the math volunteer and when I went around to stations. One of Ume’s classmates asked if she wanted her to tell me what happened earlier. Ume said no, but the student proceeded to tell me “Ume punched someone in the stomach”. I kindly let her know that I knew what had happened and that we will talk about it later. Then Ume’s friend chimed in and said, “That is not what happened, it was an accident”. I refocused the students and we finished with the task at hand.
On the ride home from school, I asked Ume what had happened and at first she said she didn’t want to talk about it. After a little more coaxing, she opened up and explained it from her side. It was not a big deal for her and she moved on to tell me about the rest of her day. I am happy she has the resilience to move on and hold no grudges. It was the first of many more situations to occur when there is conflict and she may need an an adult to intervene. We are learning how to do this together.
It has been a hard week. One of the toughest weeks. A close friend of mine suddenly passed away. It has sent me into a spiral of emotions. What I have been feeling the most has been anger. I am angry that he died. I am angry that he did not have more time with his family and his friends. I am angry that he was chosen to leave this world. I am angry that his body failed him.
My head starts filling with all the cliches you hear when people die.
It happened for a reason
He is in a better place
Time will heal
Then I scream in my head.
No! This was not suppose to happen! He is not in a better place! He should be alive! He deserves to be alive! This is not fair! Why? Why him?
The other day after visiting his home and being with his family and close friends, I felt his presence. Brian and I were driving and I shared my last post with Brian and played the song by Coldplay – Fix you, it started to rain. The rain drops were soft, barely making a noise like tears flowing. It could be coincidence considering we live in Seattle and it rains here often. However in that moment, I felt him and my heart was full.
Today those feelings of anger changed. Today was his funeral service. It was a beautiful memoriam of his life. People shared stories, memories, and loving hugs. The theme of the service was to celebrate his life despite feeling sadness and grief. Although it was overwhelming; feeling everyone’s collective despair, it was also comforting. I was surrounded by the people who loved him and we all tried to focus our energy on sending him off with positivity and light.
At the end of the service the Thai monks came and conducted their ceremonial prayer chant. The room was suddenly still and then filled with soothing energy. As tears flowed down my face, I focused on sending prayers to have his spirit rest in peace. I no longer feel anger because I know that feeling was masking a deep sorrow.
I lost a true friend. Someone who was extremely loyal, brutally honest, and who cared with all of his heart. He was an amazing father and was motivated to do better; to not be stagnant but to keep pushing forward for his daughter. I hold tight to all of our memories; of us being young and reckless and of us growing up and being responsible parents. I cling to these memories and will cherish them forever.
Lately postpartum depression has been a hot topic discussed with my fellow mommy friends and it has made me reflect on my own experiences. When I had Ume five years ago, I had a few days of the “baby blues” where I would have mood swings, feelings of being overwhelmed, and anxiety. Everyone was centered on the new baby, myself included, and we were going through the motions of learning how to take care of her while being sleep deprived. It was such a blessing to have my mother around because she was the only one to really focus on my recovery. She came over every day and made me traditional Korean seaweed soup (Miyeokguk) which helps cleanse the blood and start lactation.
There is one specific day that sticks out when I lost it. Ume was only a few days old and I needed a few moments to myself. I went to the upstairs bathroom to cut my fingernails in peace. Happy new daddy, Brian came bouncing up the stairs with newborn Ume and came into the bathroom to show me how cute she was. I immediately burst into tears and expressed how I needed to be by myself for a few minutes. Brian was startled and left me alone. I finished my task, collected myself, and returned to join my family. Brian was so understanding and probably scared from my hormonal outburst. He let me be, did not judge me for having these feelings, and took on the co-parent role easily. We learned how to effectively take care of Ume together and the “baby blues” did not last more than a couple of weeks.
After the birth of Violet the experience was very different. The “baby blues” seemed to drag on. I was terribly moody and did not get a good rhythm on taking care of her. She was a more challenging baby; breastfeeding every 1 – 1.5hrs and not sleeping well. Also it was more difficult because we had another child to take care of which Brian took the lead on, so I was left to take care of Violet more on my own. I didn’t fully realize that I was experiencing postpartum depression. I just knew that I was not happy and did not enjoy being a mother. It lasted about three months.
After about three months I began noticing an overwhelming feeling of love and enchantment towards Violet that I did not have before. I obviously knew I loved her because she is my child but I don’t believe I liked her very much during the first three months. It sounds harsh to say these words at loud but it is the truth. I would be angry and frustrated toward her when she wouldn’t stop crying or wouldn’t latch on to my breast easily. I never experienced suicidal thoughts or harmful feelings toward the baby so the postpartum depression did not progress to postpartum psychosis, which can happen. Fortunately my body began to normalize and my hormones became aligned on its own without medical intervention.
It is comforting to know that postpartum depression is very common and there are treatment options available, both medical and holistic. It helped me to talk with Brian when I was going through it, to keep our communication open so he could assess how to assist me. Also talking to more mothers now and hearing about their perspectives helps me to understand that I was not crazy to have these feelings and that I am not alone in my experiences. Just like with any condition it is not a one size fits all. It has been interesting in learning about what others have encountered in the past or are going through now. Here are some helpful resources that I have found here and here.