Welcome to the Club

Fairly recently I started speaking and writing about the less than glamorous parts of my life.

In our cancel culture, I believe this could be misconstrued as a sort of brash arrogance on speaking about my own shortcomings.

I was actually inspired, to begin peeling away the filters I put over myself on social media, by a lyric that Andy Mineo wrote.

In his track “Honest 2 God,” Andy pens the line:

“We post pictures of the party, but not the ones throwing up at the end”

A common theme in Andy’s work is the importance of authenticity and honesty in one’s day to day life.

As a young person growing up within the context of homeschooling and church, I always believed that I either had to have all my shit together or admit that I was a failure.

There was no space for mistakes, and character flaws were promptly punished and behavior modifications were constantly being applied.

I learned the “correct” things to say, the appropriate behavior to engage in, and the activities to avoid.

From the outside, I was mild mannered and well behaved. Internally though, and to those closest to me, I was a powder keg waiting to explode.

I had a conversation with Imon the other day about how we define trauma and how we can trace the effects of our past trauma to today. We spoke candidly about how some of us have “relatively” less traumatic lives.

It was in this conversation that I was reminded of a conversation that I had with Crystal. In that conversation, we were discussing how it is important for us to validate our own emotions and frustration as we process through our pain.

To anyone who goes to therapy, we know that self validation is the bread and butter that leads to growth and healing, but to an outsider, self-validation seems inherently selfish.

We play the comparison game and we sympathize and pity those with “greater” trauma.

In reality, self-validation does not exalt your struggles over the struggles of others. In fact, self-validation just gives you permission to feel how you feel and to heal what has been broken.

When we give ourselves permission to be angry, sad, hopeful, anxious, frustrated, excited, happy, etc., we acknowledge that we are human and that we are worthy of love and acceptance even amidst the less than glamorous facets of our personalities.

The last year has been a whirlwind of activity.

I went from thinking I was going to travel a whole bunch more and perhaps move to Mexico City to facing the harsh reality of the quarantine.

Despite the change of plan, the year was incredibly eventful.

From a random email response from Andy Mineo regarding perfectionism and creativity, to a surprise video project where I had to learn Adobe Premiere. There was also the random video interview I did with Fight the New Drug talking about my journey over the last few years. As I was dealing with the mental and emotional effects of detoxing from porn, I was in a class where I was learning how to get out of debt and save. I was hitting up friends to do “No Porn November” with me while learning how to cope in more sustainable and healthy ways. I was invited onto the Clubhouse app, and found other anti human trafficking advocates who I shared my story with and I got invited onto a podcast and was asked to share my experiences with a lady’s thirteen year old son.

On the flip side: I had a handful of mental breakdowns last year and relied heavily on Imon to take detox trips with me into nature to calm the heck down. I struggled with anxiety as the covid crisis rose to a fever pitch and AAPI were targeted and treated with aggression. I had several bouts of depression as the institution of church abused its power and asserted that man knew what God’s will was. I went on a porn bender after the quarantine initially started and I struggled to put the bottle of alcohol down.

Amidst all the amazing things that were happening, I felt trapped and stuck. I didn’t feel like I was moving the needle and I didn’t feel like I was where I was supposed to be.

So I did the only thing I really knew how to do and I just started writing about everything I was feeling.

I went from only talking about porn with my therapist and closest friends to blogging about it and then going full blast advocating against it.

An addiction that was a source of shame and guilt for years started dissolving once I began talking about it.

I started addressing depression, anxiety, doubt, frustration, therapy, and my various addictions and vices in my blogs.

The churchboy facade started fracturing and I became less compartamentalized. Strangely enough, as I questioned the motives and actions of the church, I felt God nudging me to continue to deconstruct further.

As I wrestled with the church’s inaction and silence on matters that I thought needed to be discussed, I felt led to speak into those areas where there was only deafening silence.

My friend Cheyenne in Mexico City encouraged me that “Our greatest weaknesses are often what God uses… our struggles give us authority”

Clubhouse is an app that allows users to basically host Ted Talks on any issue they desire.

Rooms range from discussions with Elon Musk, to mental health, and everything in between.

When I got on the app in February, I quickly was serendipitously connected with anti- human trafficking advocates, mental health advocates, creatives, and old friends in far off places.

The free form nature of the rooms I joined quickly revealed to me, that what I had believed to be unique stories and experiences for myself were in fact the stories and experiences of many.

Rarely have I felt so validated by complete strangers, but with little to no space to customize one’s profile, users were forced to simply rely on their stories and anecdotes to paint a picture of who they were. And for people who were looking to connect with organizations and individuals doing specific work in specific areas, Clubhouse provided a unique opportunity.

It was on this app that I met Victoria who runs a safehouse and a podcast for human trafficking survivors. As I shared my FTND interview experience and my desire to get more involved in the anti human trafficking and anti porn space, she was quick to validate and affirm me while thanking me for sharing. I distinctly remember her being a fiery advocate in her defense of survivors that were vulnerably sharing their experiences on Clubhouse. While some white and more privileged moderators steamrolled the stories of survivors, she made sure to affirm and give space to everyone who shared.

She was gracious enough to host me on her podcast and she is doing incredible work representing POC’s in the anti human trafficking space while also giving POC’s the space to share without taking advantage of their stories to push a hidden agenda.

Be sure to check out her podcast at this link and support her work if you feel led to do so!

In conclusion:

We often hide the ugliest parts of ourselves for fear of rejection.

When we hit rock bottom, often we feel alone and isolated and we believe the lie that we are the only ones to have gone through this.

Tobymac in his track “Stories,” models the song after a roundtable discussion in which people are sharing the shit they go through. One of the lines goes:

I’ve been there too

When everything falls apart and the best you can do is

Get through each day wonderin’ will this never end?

Is it always going to be this way?

And the greatest lie you’ve ever been told is that

You’re the only one to ever walk on this road

And that you’ll never see the light of dawn, so we came together to say

Hold on

Cause we’ve been there and found our way home

I promise you that you’re not on your own

One day this will pass, God will see us all through

God will see us all through, God will see us all pass through

What if the ugliest parts of your story need to see the light of day in order for you to heal?

And what if, your struggle and your pain and the isolation you felt when you went through hell was a nudge for you to provide encouragement to someone who is going through that now?

What if we posted not only the birthday parties, and the concerts, and the trip highlights?

What if we were honest about our trauma?

Our broken families.

Our broken hearts.

Our addictions that threaten to derail our lives.

Our doubts.

Our fears.

Our illnesses.

Our dysfunctionality.

Our brokenness.

What if when someone was honest about what was really going on in their lives we could answer with “I see you and I feel you. Welcome to the club”


The other day, I saw a video ad for the purple iPhone 12.

I turned to my friend and I said, “Wait, hasn’t the 12 been out for a while now?”

He said, “I think so? But this is probably a new color.”

I just remember thinking to myself that it was hilarious because you can’t even tell what color most people’s phones are because everyone has a case on their phone.

I laughed and forgot about the whole thing within minutes.

I’ve cracked the screen on probably half of the phones I’ve ever had.

Ironically, most of the time, the falls were not glorious plunges off of mountains or from the tumultuous loops of a roller coaster.

One time, it fell from my lap in the car to the pavement. Another time, it fell from the counter onto the ground at work. Or my personal favorite: when the pop socket snagged on my pants and the phone flipped out of my pocket to land screen first onto the floor.

I used to buy the Lifeproof cases at the same time I got my phone just to make sure my phone would be safe from damage. Every phone salesman always pulls out the screen protectors and cases even before you’ve decided on your storage space and color options.

“Well you’ll definitely want to get a case with that. Did you want to get AppleCare today? We also have our own insurance plan which I personally think is wayyy better”

It’s great that they are looking out for us and our quite significant investment. But it does seem a little weird that we care so much about the protection of our phones.

I mean think about it, sometimes we get the limited edition red iPhone, but…. do we get to enjoy that special edition color?

Yes, for two seconds when we lift it out of the box, and then we swiftly hand it to the trained professional to apply a screen protector and a bulky case to protect our precious little baby.

Within that case, our phone becomes bulkier in our hands, and I would argue that we drop them more because of that. But ultimately, it remains safe… right?

Dust and scratches might collect on the lens, but our phone stays pristine within that case.

Sure, the phone might be so bloated with data and “iOS software” in a few years that it’s unusable, but at least we never cracked the screen..

While driving the other day, I thought back to when I decided to forget about the case and just use my phone as it was intended.

I found it to be expensive to buy a durable case, but more importantly I found it to be impractical. I found that I was dropping the phone more often than I would without the case, and I found the overall usage of the phone to be better when I went caseless.

I could more easily access the camera, the screen was more responsive, and lowering and raising the volume, as well as muting the phone was so much easier without a case.

There was a fear that came with dropping the unprotected phone, but I almost found that I was more careful with the added danger.

Was that not the longest metaphor of your life?

How often do we disguise who we truly are for fear of being dropped and damaged by those around us?

We wear these bulky cases and change what we appear to be in order to protect ourselves from damage.

We don’t live life to the fullest and we aren’t our true selves, but at least we know that we won’t ever be damaged beyond repair.

The extra barriers might make us clunkier, and maybe we miss out on things in life because we can’t open our camera apps fast enough. How much do we muffle our voices with the protective cases we wear?

And really… were we designed to exist within these cases?

As I drove, I realized that the designers at apple probably did not intend for the phones to be put into cases.

When they design the phones (I mean the iPhone really hasn’t changed all that much but just stick with me for a sec), do the engineers design the phones to be in cases? Are they made to be contained?

Without the phones, there can be no market for cases and so the genus business model of a necessity for cases was a brilliant sales tactic from the makers of Lifeproof and Otterbox..

But think about it:

Everything from the volume of the phone, the weight of the phone, the feel in your hand, the color of the phone, the responsiveness of the screen, it is all designed for the user to interact directly with the phone.

But so many of us can’t imagine our phones without their cases.

Safety is important to all of us and I’m not saying throw caution to the wind and just remove your life proof cases. I also don’t accept any liability for any damaged phones that may become damaged due to ideation caused by this post… however, I do ask you as the reader to consider this:

How have you changed your identity and your persona to protect yourself?

Are these changes simply aesthetic… or perhaps are you only a shell of who you could be?

So often we allow the fear of danger to dictate our actions and the trajectories of our lives.

We choose what we consider to be safety, even though in the end, we all end up as useless iPhones with too much bloatware on them.

Sure we might be “safe,” but do we lose who we truly are in the process?

And for you, is that a tradeoff you are willing to make?

The world would be infinitely more colorful if more of us chose to go case less.

Openhanded Victories

Dad always plays Settlers of Catan with an open hand. At any point in the game, we can all see his resource cards. When we play our knights or shift the robber, he lets us take whatever card we want.

When I first played Catan with him, I sneered at his lax playing style and determined that I was going to win this game.

“He’s not going to fool me into letting my guard down,” I thought to myself.

The crazy thing?

Dad wins quite often at Settlers of Catan.

While the rest of us play politics and cut the shrewdest bargains, Dad politely asks for resource trades while having all his resources face up….

And he still wins about half the time.

My Dad has taught me many things throughout my life. Many traits to model, and many to avoid.

But with his Catan playstyle, he has arguably the most fun out of all of us. He’s just having a good time spending time with his family. Victory is a nice bonus for him, but the real treat is just spending time together.


For a long time, I’ve lived my life in constant fear of “losing.”

As a child, one time as we exited the freeway, I asked my Dad, “Which car wins the race?”

My Dad asked some clarifying questions, and verified that I was referring to the cars that just exited alongside us.

“No one wins the race Paul, because there is no race. People are just driving.”

“But who wins?!” I protested.

It’s such a funny and seemingly pointless story, but it perfectly encapsulates my years long outlook on life.

I don’t have time to smell the flowers..

I never appreciate the season I’m in and I’m always thinking about the next.

If I’m not thinking about the next season, then I’m agonizing about the last few seasons.

What could I have done better?

What should I have said instead?

It it’s a good time that I’m having, how can I replicate this in the future?

It’s exhausting and it’s sad, because you don’t really appreciate the good ol days until they are a story about the good ol days.

There’s something so deep about my Dad showing how many sheep, ore, wheat, brick, and wood he has. His actions imply that he has surrendered keeping his intentions secret, in order to more enjoy the time he is spending with his family.

He finds that the family time is more valuable than winning and in doing so almost asks all of us: Was the game created to be won, or to connect us?

And so I turn and I ask you: Is life a race to be won with competitors to be beaten?

Or is it a journey where the connections and being present are what make it unforgettable?

Because my Dad plays to connect with us….

But he still ends up winning.


I spent most of my time as a 27 year old having a quarter life crisis yet again.

With a pandemic, an election, and surprises at every turn, 2020 turned out to be quite the effective vision test.

As I questioned both the institutions that I grew up in and the mentors that inspired me as a young person, as they reacted to (or failed to react to) spikes in anti-asian hate crimes, it was as if the very foundation upon which many of my core beliefs were built upon, came into question.

As people, we idolize those we look up to. When they support causes we approve of we praise them. Alternatively, when people say something we disagree with, we are quick to crucify them.

This phenomenon has been referred to as “cancel culture,” and as I’ve thought about this concept, I’ve struggled to find my own bearings on the matter.

As a young person growing up in the church, we were taught at a young age that idolatry was bad.

We were told that money and celebrities were not meant to be worshipped or idolized.

Ironically , we were just as guilty of idolizing theologians, artists, and money as the “other” that most sermons were about.

In church, we really like broad sweeping generalizations, because it helps us to categorize things. We talk about “sin” as if it is just a list of behaviors that we aren’t partaking in and we choose which Bible passages to take literally and which ones have “varying interpretations.”

This sliding scale of morality and religious superiority is one of the most troubling aspects of religion in general: we see the flaws and shortcomings of those around us, but we overlook our own fallibility.

Now while I had grown accustomed to seeing this kind of behavior inside the church, I was surprised to see this level of hypocrisy outside of the church walls.

As I pondered cancel culture, I realized that this sliding scale of religious morality stemmed from a similar place.

In past years, I’ve become increasingly vocal about causes I’m passionate about while also being a little too honest about my own struggles and vices.

For the longest time, I tried to keep my personal struggles under wraps in order to protect my reputation. Besides, telling people about my struggles seemed like a surefire way to be written off as a failure.

Maybe five years ago, I began to tell my inner circle about my misdeeds. It was comforting to know that even though they might not condone my behavior, that they still saw me as someone who was worthy of being their friend.

As time passed, I realized that so much of my own growth took place in the midst of me dealing with the messier parts of life.

In fact, it was my personal depressive and suicidal seasons that taught me how to be present with those who were struggling through those same seasons. It was my own unfaithfulness that gave me the grace to extend to those in similar situations. It was my own deconstruction of faith that gave me the ability to empathize with those who had experienced hurt at the hands of the church.

My blogs up to this point had tried to simplify universal truths and combine what I had learned with anecdotes. I tried to promote positivity but I definitely wrote about vices in a very vague and very personally removed fashion.

As my own therapy began to increase in frequency, I began to sneak my own vices into my writing. I tried to shed the vagueness that I grew up with in church and I started trying to write about life as it is as opposed to how it should have been.

It was terrifying when I started, but with each blog I began to get a clearer picture of what my goal was.

As third generation Chinese-American growing up in the valley, I have always been confused about who I am. I was homeschooled until high school and when it was time for me to start high school, my family relocated to a completely different city. I tried to find meaning in religion for such a long time, but the institutions were cracked and tarnished with financial mishaps and affairs… it felt irresponsible to cling to an ideology that openly condemned certain sexuality choices while rampant and out of control sexual misconduct cases were a dime a dozen in church..

As puberty hit and the pre-college grind began, I struggled with emotional and mental health. I quickly found unhealthy coping mechanisms that prevented me from having to process and healthily deal with my disappointment and fear. After a few years in college, I reeled from the failure of dropping out of the school of engineering and switching majors. Not long after I graduated I struggled through being laid off, working a shitty temp job, and just being relatively clueless about my direction and my place in life.

I say these things not to evoke pity, but more so to communicate the fact that most of my life has been me wishing to be seen and heard while not feeling like either of those needs was being met.

Our culture is fixated on the illusion of looking successful and so nothing is really ever wrong. We are told that no one has time to listen to the hard shit in our lives and so we struggle alone while only the really fucked up people go to rehab, therapy, and AA meetings.

You take this stigma towards human problems and you magnify it at a societal level and boom, cancel culture is born.

When I was in high school, my aunt and mother were super into these TLC shows. The dysfunctionality in Jon and Kate Plus 8 was so obvious from day one and I remember not understanding why this was entertaining to anyone. I felt like I was watching and participating in the undermining of this marriage…

Somehow, we find comfort in labeling other people as more fucked up than we are. Yeah we might have some addictions or some other issues but good lord we definitely weren’t as bad as those other people...

As I processed having all my dirty laundry on display for everyone to see, I realized that my ability to antagonize the “other” decreased substantially. My conversation responses began to veer away from “you should do this” or “you better be careful and not do this.” I began to listen more actively while devoting more energy to empathizing and affirming rather than preaching at people from my moral high horse.

I found my relationships with people deepening the more honest I was with them about the real day to day shit. I realized concurrently, that I had a lot more in common with everyone than I had initially thought.

It was hard to believe that I had spent so much time lying about who I was when the best conversations I ever had were literally about the taboo and stigmatized topics.

The fact of the matter, is if we were all under surveillance 24/7, we would all be canceled.

We have all said terrible things.

On top of this we have all done terrible things.

I mean just imagine if someone taped you being an ass to that service worker.

Or imagine if someone dug up that archived ig post.

Better yet, imagine strangers sitting at your dinner table listening to all your off color comments.

Takes a little bit of the self-righteous wind out of our sails doesn’t it?

And that’s just the thing, just because we are flawed and make mistakes doesn’t mean that nothing we ever say is valid. And just like that rule applies to us, it applies to everyone else as well.

Cancel culture asserts that people should be judged by their most regrettable moments and comments, but I challenge you to look within and realize that if we were personally judged by the dumbest things we ever did or said, we would all be ostracized.

The hardest part of processing cancel culture for me was the role of accountability.

Growing up in church, oftentimes the phrase “we’re all human and fall short” was the solution band-aid that was slapped on every shady thing that happened. Oftentimes nothing would change, but that phrase would be used as a cover up and explain-away.

I think it’s really important for us as individuals and as a collective group to demand investigation and changes to institutions that foster environments in which harmful behavior is rampant. It’s incredibly uncomfortable and it is difficult work, but it’s how we can move forward while changing the spheres that we exist in.

This starts with us, because we need to be aware of our own vices and growth points. This self-awareness gives us the necessary empathy to call out people in love rather than choosing to just decry and cancel them.

We speak and act differently when we can see our own fallibility and I think there is so much power in that self-awareness.

The Bible said it best:

“How can you say to your neighbor ‘look at the splinter in your eye’ when you yourself have a plank in your eye? Shouldn’t you remove the plank from your own eye first?”

The problem always has been us.

So let’s stop trying to smokescreen by highlighting the flaws of others and instead work on addressing our own growth points.

Save It For the Eulogy

Have you ever been really moved by something a friend or family member did for you?

Maybe it was bringing you some gas when you overestimated how far you could drive with the gas light on.

Or maybe a loved one brought you flowers when you were having a terrible day.

It might have been as simple as a text that told you that you mattered to them.

Our lives are scattered with these tiny snapshots of kindness and care.

In the same way that the safe answer to the question “How was your day?” is “Good. How was yours,” (regardless of how our actual days were), we tend to maintain a certain level of dishonesty when it comes to appreciating those we care about.

We rationalize our under-appreciation with this bizarre belief that if we were to honestly affirm those we cared about, that it would “get to their heads.”

So we hold back on the affirmation and encouragement because we don’t want to inflate the egos of those we care about.

On top of that, in our instant message society, everyone is simply a smart phone swipe away. It has never been easier to contact our friends and family in distant countries and locations. And with FaceTime, Zoom, and Instagram we can be in touch in a matter of seconds.

We’ve unconsciously accepted the narrative that because everyone is so easily accessible, that they will always be easily accessible. And so “I’ll tell them tomorrow” or “I’ll affirm them later on” becomes our approach to interacting with those we care about.

I remember in my second car accident, I was listening to a song on Spotify while driving to work.

One second I was singing the second verse, and the literal next second the back of my car was caving in as a jeep rammed into my car.

I remember getting out in the Southern California rain as we pulled over to the side of the road. The one thought in my mind was how the whole trajectory of my day and next few weeks was changed in a literal second.

I unconsciously and naively always thought that disasters and tragedies took place over long periods of time. Maybe it was being exposed to my grandma battling cancer at an early age. Maybe it was the fact that I was sheltered and privileged.

I just never expected “accidents” to happen that quickly.

In the age of Covid-19, we were all affected in different ways. I have heard sad stories of people having to separate from loved ones as they fought the virus.

When my grandpa went to the emergency room for severe sepsis, we were unable to see him for weeks due to covid restrictions. My sisters and I worried for my grandpa.

To be in the hospital is already a traumatic experience in and of itself… but to be unable to see family and loved ones is something else entirely.

I tend to frame my life priorities from a very morbid lens. In those early morning hours when no one is awake except my overactive mind, I imagine myself bleeding out on the floor of in some random place. As my vision blurs and my grasp on reality fades, I ask myself the question: Would I have done anything differently?

In the past, I regretted certain decisions I made. Perhaps I reframed my career priorities. Or maybe I decided to begin pursuing old dreams that had previously died.

In almost every instance where this morbid daydream has played out, my biggest concern is that I didn’t tell people how much they meant to me until it was too late.

It’s at this point where I usually shoot a quick text to someone to let them know that they matter and that they are a blessing to me.

Before going to therapy, I couldn’t even place how I was feeling unless I was angry or stressed out.

Maybe it was because of my upbringing or maybe because of the legalism that religion taught me, but from a young age I learned that being sentimental was just unacceptable and uncomfortable.

I would find every excuse not to tell people that I cared about them.

Expressing care or affection was limited to near death events and emotionally high moments. But in the context of normal day to day living, it just wasn’t a thing to communicate to people that you loved them.

I mean after all they already knew… right?

When Paul Walker, the actor best known for his role in Fast and Furious passed away, I remember all these news stories coming out with his friends and co-stars lauding him with praise and affirmations for being such a stand out guy.

I remember thinking to myself that it was a shame that he never got to hear most of these affirmations.

But when you think about it.. this is an accurate representation of most of our normal lives: we amplify the flaws of those we care about, while staying relatively silent on their strengths and why we appreciate them as individuals.

In a way, we save the affirmations, the words of encouragement, and the best for last.

Tragic… but true.

In the shape of a metaphor that fits much too well, we spend hundreds of dollars on floral arrangements for our deceased loved ones that they are unable to appreciate. As those closest to the deceased share their favorite things about said person, the funeral attendees smell the flowers and hear the affirmations meant for the deceased.

The one in the casket can neither smell the flowers nor hear the words. And sometimes… it’s questionable if the deceased ever really knew how much they mattered to those close to them.

Sometimes the tinges of regret from the eulogy giver are obvious in their verbiage.

Generally, those with loved ones who are no longer here wish that they had said more.

Generally, those of us who are still here take the ones we care about for granted and save our affirmations for tomorrow or the next time we see said person.


At first glance, this post could seem like a massive downer.

“Life is hard enough, don’t remind me of its temporal nature on my day off”

However, my hope for you is that you would not hesitate to appreciate those who are still here with you.

Everything does indeed end, but regret and the “what if” can stay with us for what feels like forever.

So send that text. Leave that voicemail. Give that hug.

Leave with the “I love you and I am so grateful for you”

Stop using “see you later” or “we have to do this next time” as a crutch or as a postponement day for saying what you really mean.

Stop saving the kindest words….

…For the eulogy

Dry Carrot Cake & A Dead Battery

Have you ever been so focused on arriving at a destination that you do everything in your power to speed up the process of getting there?

Just the other week, in a frenzy to clean up my house and run errands before having company later that week, I locked my keys inside my bedroom. After a few choice words directed at my stupidity, I waited for about half an hour for my roommate Julian to arrive home and unlock the door. In that time, I listened to some music and breathed.

Though essential to human life, it’s interesting how often we forget to breathe.

As I have been pursuing healthier ways of coping, cooking and baking have proven to be cathartic ways to destress. Whether Imon is teaching me the basics as we cook a green curry from scratch or Crystal and Rey are flexing their great British baking skills as we make banana bread, there is something really fulfilling about making something together.

While texting my friend from high school about my new hobby, she mentioned that my reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat was a good way to learn the fundamentals, but that she preferred improvising like her mother had done when cooking for her. I likened her mother to a jazz musician who improvises with the flow of the music, not confined to the sheet music or any specific rules. There is something magical about being able to step into a kitchen, take whatever is there, and make something out of what is available to you.

It reminds me of life and how even though we may never get the best ingredients or the perfect tools, what we make of our situations is really based upon our ability to improvise.

“I mean the parchment paper is to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan, but the last time I made it, we didn’t use parchment paper and it was fine. Do you want to use the paper?”

While cooking is known to be a highly improvisational activity, many say that baking is quite the opposite. Substitutions and inaccurate measurements can be the bane of amateur bakers.

As Crystal and I added extra carrots, extra pineapple, and less confectioners’ sugar to our carrot cake, we hoped that the cake would still turn out well even though we were modifying the recipe to reduce our waste.

We greased the pan and decided screw it, save the environment and do away with the parchment paper.

Forty minutes and a handful of expletives later, the cake finally fell out of the pan and luckily in one piece.

When we finished the cake and tried our first bites, we got to see how our failed careers in acting might have gone as we tried to talk up the cake even though it was most definitely a tad dry.

Our hosts were gracious enough to say that they loved the cake, but suffice it to say, we weren’t the proudest of our finished product (though it did look quite amazing).

However, despite the less than optimal finished product, the process of making that cake was filled with laughter and learning moments. I remember thinking later on in the night that even if people hated the cake, that the process was enjoyable enough to be worth it..

Sometimes it’s the learning that happens in the kitchen and the company of your fellow chefs and bakers that make the day rather than what you end up eating.

You know the feeling:

Maybe you snoozed the alarm a few times more than you should have.

And maybe you also took a little bit too long picking out your Friday Fit…

And maybe your sandwich bread just had to be toasted today…

Either way, when you get to your car, you know that you are running a little late. You insert the key into the ignition and……

The usual sound of a humming engine is replaced with the retro machine gun sound bytes from the Metal Slug arcade game..

This was the situation I found myself in this morning..

My natural reflex is to go to a place of anxiety as I swear like a sailor and panic.

Today after a flurry of “fucks” and “shits,” I texted my boss to let her know that my car wasn’t starting and she told me:

“Don’t worry about coming in today! Just focus on getting your car back to normal!”

What ensued was a journey by penny board to Ace Hardware to get a few wrenches, a clutch AAA jumpstart sponsored by Julian, and then a perilous drive to Costco where I bought a new battery and installed it right in the parking lot.

As incredibly stressful as this day could have been, surprisingly, it was the farthest thing from anxiety inducing.

Knowing that my boss was more concerned about my well-being set the tone for the day.

As I skated to the hardware store, I enjoyed the Southern California sun and the absolutely beautiful day that today was. The hardware store team member was super helpful and advised me not to spend as much money as I was going to and instead directed me to a cheaper wrench. Julian came through with the AAA jumpstart and got me the ability to get to Costco. He even followed me to the tire center to make sure I didn’t stall in the middle of the street. The tire center employee was swamped, but because I wasn’t operating from a place of stress and anxiety, I was able to be cordial and therefore he was cordial back. I may have spent a little longer in that Costco parking lot than I’d like to admit, but at the end of the day, the battery was successfully replaced (thank you Youtube), and my car is back in operation.

No stress.

No anxiety.

So bizarre.

Are you ready for this conclusion though?

As I was waiting in line to turn in my dead battery, I made this crazy correlation between the dry carrot cake experience with my dead battery adventure.

In both situations, I had non-optimal circumstances: in one case our finished product was not to our expectations and in the other case my day had to be completely re-arranged due to extenuating circumstances that were out of my control.

In both situations, the people I interacted with and my attitude changed how I perceived the day.

I had the opportunity to be dissatisfied and disappointed with my results and my situation in both cases, and yet due to my attitude and the people I was with, I chose a different path.

It makes me wonder how often we fail to see the joy that exists in the chaos of our daily interruptions.

How often do I get so immeasurably stressed and frantic about life not going to plan? Or how often do I get annoyed that I’m not going to make the time table that I previously set?

It could be a career, a relationship, personal goals, or a number of other things, but I always tend to obsess about the goal rather than the journey.

Oftentimes the best parts of life occur on the way to our destinations.

We only get to see the nature preserve in the morning when we are forced to skateboard over the bridge to get to the hardware shop.

We only get to converse and laugh about cutting cakes improperly when we engage in the process of making something rather than just buying something pre-made.

So the next time your plans go to shit, and your finished product isn’t quite as magnificent as you thought it would be….

Take a second to breathe.

And when you finally open your eyes, look at what is around you and take note of who is there with you.

Maybe we all need some dry carrot cakes and dead batteries in our life to help us appreciate the journey.

Lessons From Therapy: Climate Change

Every tax season, I go through this weird couple of weeks where I get all depressed and think about my past year. So much happens each year and it’s honestly hard to remember the specifics of the year.

But luckily for us, our companies send us letters that put a dollar amount on the year: how much we earned, how much we were taxed, and for those of us who tend to be more pessimistic: what were we unable to do because we were working.

In a tug of war between remaining grateful and looking for greener pastures is where most of us reside. Our friends’ lives…. and their paychecks sometimes make us wish for something other than what we have. Yet, at the same time, what we have is what we know, and there is a comfort that comes with the familiar.

For one entire year, my job was so stressful that I used to spend hundreds of dollars every weekend doing 1-4 escape rooms and buying packages on Amazon to distract me. I used to work my main job in the afternoons and evenings, and I found a second job to work in the mornings just to have a little bit of extra income. And then, sometimes, when I thought I needed a vacation, I would go and work stints at a third job, where I would go to a different city and work insane hours….but I stayed in a hotel room so it counted as a vacation.

I was barely getting by financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically. But something long since ingrained in me, kept repeating in my head. “The diligent shall prosper,” a fantastic Bible quote, when paired with an ideology of works-based-worth is a fantastic way to run straight into a shit ton of problems.

Right in the middle of all of this, my adventurous friend, Crystal invited me to go on a trip to Turkey. It was a great trip, as that blogpost demonstrates, but when I came back, a lot of things started to become clear.

Sometimes, we need a jolt to our system to help us re-prioritize what is important to us. For too long I had buried dreams I considered to be dead. I felt trapped in a job where I was unable to do what was initially promised. I was running myself ragged with 40+ hour weeks, encouraged overtime, and the inability to use my time outside of my main job, for things that I was excited and passionate about.

When I talked with my therapist about my mental health and addictions shortly after that trip, I told her that one surprising fact was that in Turkey, my bad habits disappeared for a few weeks. We were trying to tackle my post-trip depression, and she made a note to re-visit what made Turkey so different than normal life.

The biggest difference we found was that while I was on vacation, my usual stressors, were no longer present. I was sleeping at regular hours for regular amounts of time while also eating three meals a day.

On top of this, because I was so disconnected from anything work related, my mind was free to revert to its normal creative self. I was filming as the trip was happening, writing in the evenings to reflect on what I was seeing, and I was having these super thought provoking conversations on a daily basis.

When we returned, it was like I hit this brick wall.

I tried to transform the positivity of the trip into sustainable energy for my day to day life, but everywhere I looked I faced walls that seeme to trap me.

I tried to start volunteering my time on weekends to get behind the camera more often, but my boss at the time had hired me specifically for Saturday evenings as well and any attempts to negotiate having certain Saturdays off was met with staunch resistance.

I tried to get back into a normal schedule with normal sleeping hours combined with a good diet, but my shifts were just too conducive to sleeping late and waking up late.

I tried to see if I could get more time in the evenings to spend with friends to perhaps emulate those thought provoking conversations, but again, I was met with resistance from the workplace.

There is perhaps no worse torture than being able to taste hope and then watching as your hope dies. It is soul crushing to become like Mr. Incredible who slowly watches as the mundaneness of normalcy overpowers the glory of the good old days.

After a few months of crippling depression, several therapy sessions, and numerous binges of negative coping mechanisms, I made the decision to leave the job that I was at.

It was the only job I was ever given the ability to manage other people and I felt like I owed a huge debt to everyone there. It was so hard to even think about having the conversation of leaving, and years of growing up on the concept of indebtedness and honor made it one of the most difficult decisions I ever made.

One of the greatest lies I believed was that “It can’t get better than it is here. There are problematic people and non-optimal work environments everywhere”

Now I’m not saying that we should all just leave our jobs that we hate while giving the middle finger to everyone who we believe wronged us. I firmly believe that there are lessons to be learned from every position we hold and from every boss we have. Some teach us how to be better people by modeling excellent behavior for us. Some teach us to how to be better people by modeling how not to act.

I grew up thinking that I had to work in a field that I was passionate about to be happy. Since film was what I loved, and it seemed like a hyper competitive field and an unrealistic pipe dream, I resigned myself to never being happy.

Recently and through therapy, I learned that your day job puts the food on the table, but those extra hours in the day are where you get to sandbox your creative dreams and passions. The hours between 17:00-9:00 are for us to really live.

You aspire to be a photographer? Bring your gear to work and shoot after.

You want to start a business? Set time aside to research your market and the need your product will fill.

You want to make movies? Then make some movies.

Andy Mineo told me in an email, that for us creatives, oftentimes we believe that in our social media saturated culture that we must produce perfect content. He encouraged me to make stuff even if it was terrible. Because we don’t magically become better without practice. Make the mistakes, learn from them, and get to a higher level.

Chick-fil-A was a great job, but it came to a point where I could not use my off time to pursue passion projects or broaden the skills I wanted to grow. Staying there and to have stayed there longer would have meant deferring my goals, aspirations, and skill development for an even longer period of time.

This deferment’s cost was directly correlated to my decreasing mental health and my relative unhappiness. We don’t all have the luxury of packing up our stuff and leaving today, but that’s not to say we can’t start charting our course to get the fuck out of wherever we are.

Gratefulness is important, but therapy taught me that knowing myself and what I want can help me prudently decide when it’s time for climate change.

If you have two seconds, if you can maybe fill out this survey regarding the “Lessons from Therapy” series I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks for reading!

Lessons From Therapy: Learning to Cope

Years like 2020, have a way of bringing out the worst in all of us. With schedules and rituals disrupted, while daily comforts were stripped away, all of us turned to coping mechanisms to try and grasp onto some sort of comfort and normalcy.

I find it ironic that our high schools decided to put street names for illicit drugs in our health class curriculum, while choosing to leave out healthy behaviors and practices that would help us avoid coping via substances and addictions.

Thirteen years later, this is what I’ve learned about coping.

The Science Behind Coping and Happiness:

From a scientific level, there are three neurotransmitters and a hormone that are responsible for what we call happiness: Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins, and Oxytocin. I would recommend a quick Google search to see what each of these four do.

Endorphins are released when your body is in pain thus explaining runner’s highs and overall euphoria after intense workouts.

Dopamine is most often associated with your body’s reward system but it also plays several other roles from retaining memory to motivation.

In a healthy individual, who relies on more natural ways of releasing Endorphins or Dopamine, the thresholds you must meet in order for your brain to release these neurotransmitters are much lower. Which in plain English means that there are sustainable behaviors and activities that make it easier for you to feel happy.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, negative coping mechanisms oftentimes release a SHIT ton of Dopamine at a severe and unsustainable cost to your body. Certain drugs, trick your brain into releasing much larger amounts of Dopamine than a natural activity would. This translates to an incredibly pleasurable high, but it also means that your brain becomes conditioned to only feeling happy when this unnaturally high threshold of Dopamine is met.

Outside of drugs, pornography which is generally combined with masturbation, when consumed in large quantities can achieve a similar effect. Basically, we are tricking our brains into releasing unnatural amounts of dopamine very frequently, which then builds our tolerance to Dopamine. Which means to reach the same high or level of happiness we need exponentially more Dopamine.

WHICH MEANS: negative coping mechanisms are identifiable by requiring exponentially more exposure or higher dosage to achieve the same level of a high.

This applies to a wide variety of drugs, pornography consumption, likes/interactions on social media, etc. If you are chasing an ever elusive oasis of satisfaction that requires more and more effort to attain, chances are, you are using a negative coping mechanism.

As a person, I am very anxious, very cynical, and I care way too much about what people think about me. Because of this, I am seldom happy. I’m constantly comparing myself to my married friends on social media, or the average 20-something year old that I met at a wedding once where we swapped Instagram handles. My old boss once said “comparison is the thief of all joy,” and they were on to something.

This comparison and anxiety is generally one of the biggest triggers for me to engage in negative coping mechanisms.

In 2020, shortly after the quarantine started, I went on a porn bender. We were stuck at home, my running shoes were worn out and so I couldn’t run without leg pain, and we were isolated from friends and family. One would think with a perfect storm like the pandemic/quarantine combo, my negative coping mechanism would spiral out of control and destroy me. Ironically, with nowhere else to go, I quickly discovered the inescapable fact that: porn left me lower than I was before I consumed it. In a world where I couldn’t see people and was trapped at home, the crushing loneliness that drove me to porn was only exacerbated by my consumption. In short, my problems were only magnified by using this coping mechanism.

When my birthday came around in the spring, I resolved that I was going to up my game and try to kick the habit yet again. I remember being three weeks in and being so hyped because life was different in very strange but tangible ways.

I remember getting lunch from one of my favorite restaurants while I was at work. As I opened the to-go box I got ridiculously excited and happy. As I took that first bite, I felt like Remy the rat discovering flavor composition for the first time. I literally was smiling ear to ear having a pretty darn close to orgasmic experience eating this spicy tuna bowl from Fukada.

I remember driving home from work and looking at the hills I was driving by and feeling the sun on my face and thinking to myself that it was such a beautiful day. Normal behavior for some I’m sure, but for me, the details were what were speaking to me.

I began to notice that writing and organizing my thoughts was easier. That reading and concentrating were not as touch and go. Music sounded better. My runner’s highs were comparable and much longer than highs I had experienced with edibles without the groggy feeling afterwards.

Basically, the little things were making me happy again. So weird. SO bizarre.

My therapist’s first task for me when I came into her office and shared my story almost three years ago, was for me to do the work of discovering what activities were life-giving for me. She encouraged me to incorporate those activities into my daily life in the form of self-care.

The lesson from therapy in this post is this: Discover or re-discover the lifegiving activities (aka positive coping mechanisms) that work for you personally before trying to get rid of the negative coping mechanisms.

I had tried for YEARS to kick my bad coping mechanisms, but it was never sustainable. It wasn’t until I had the “happiness comparison point” of incorporating running, playing videogames with friends, writing consistently, or creating videos on a more consistent basis that I began to feel the effects of things that made me happy without the laundry list of negative side effects that came with porn, drinking, or substances.

Now when faced with the choice of which coping mechanism to use I can compare the satisfaction level of the negative coping mechanisms versus the life-giving activities.

Now I’m not just trying abstain from doing something. Now I’m comparing and making an educated decision on what it is I want and choosing the behavior that best fits my end goal.

It is no easy task to walk away from the negative coping mechanisms that distract us into thinking we are happy. Oftentimes, we’ve come up with reasons as to why the negative coping mechanisms aren’t that bad.

“Porn can’t reject me”

“I’m not an addict, I’m not hurting anyone”

“I deserve this, I’ve had a shitty week, month, year”

My writing in the past has oftentimes come off as judgmental. But as someone who has looked for some sort of relief from the depressing realities of life in all kinds of terrible behaviors, I’ll be the first to tell you that there is a better and healthier way. Shame, guilt, and judgement really only serve to push us further into our entrenched behaviors.

My heart behind this mini series is that you would see some hope in your current situation. From someone who was screwing up his Dopamine reward system for 13 years, I hope that you know that it’s never too late to start taking steps towards a more satisfying and rich life.

This post would be quite pointless without some application so really quickly:

  1. Take five minutes and write down some activities that you enjoy or have enjoyed in the past before life got “too busy” for them. Painting, working out, maybe something social, writing, sketching, building something, etc.
  2. Find a way to incorporate bite sized increments of this activity into your life. Get as close to daily as possible even if the time increments are small. Maybe 15-20 mins a day. You’ll want activities that are sustainable both financially and socially so that you can easily repeat them. Take note of how they make you feel before and after you complete them.
  3. Once you have 2-3 activities that you have to choose from and you have implemented maybe one a day for a while and it seems sustainable, take a break from one of your negative coping mechanisms that you think is the most often used. I suggest a month, but even a week to two weeks is enough to start noticing a difference.
  4. Document your experience. With the inclusion of the life-giving activities in your daily life, abstaining from the negative coping mechanism should become easier as there isn’t just a hole where the negative coping mechanism was. The duration of time you choose will begin to rewire the neurological pathways in your brain associated with Dopamine release and “rewards” that your brain gives you. The combination of the two, should result in a gradual re-normalization of a healthy amount of dopamine being released even when you are doing simple life-giving things.

Our individual journeys are so unique and so we are each both the scientist and the test subject. What works for one may not work for someone else, and so we have to be both creative and resilient as we experiment with what works and what doesn’t.

Imagine a life where we aren’t addicted to the red notifications, the late night website binges, and the hits from our vapes.

More than that, imagine a life where colors are more vivid, the days are more awe inspiring, and the little things like food or time spent with loved ones are more vibrant and exciting.

It isn’t a pipe dream. And more often than not, we have the power to walk towards healthiness as we are all learning to cope.

If you have two seconds, if you can maybe fill out this survey regarding the “Lessons from Therapy” series I would greatly appreciate it!

Lessons From Therapy: You Aren’t Crazy

“You are like me. You get really emotional and you feel these super high highs and these super low lows. It’s very unprofessional.”

I have this tendency to get especially heated when I see unfair treatment and double standards in the workplace and in different social circles.

My boss said this line to me after I reacted negatively to him having a tantrum at work. In his frustration at an inefficient supply chain, he misdirected his anger and correction at the wrong arm of his organization. In my anger, I shut down and began to work at a frenzied pace to demonstrate that our arm was not the issue. He knew I was angry, and he knew I was protesting his own emotional unhinging. But he saved his comments for a private meeting we had later that week.

After having some time to cool off, he said this to me, and I genuinely wondered how I could become more professional since having temper tantrums at work is generally a sure way to get the boot.

I responded, “I agree that we are similar, but can I ask you a question? What strategies have you used to manage your emotions and temper at work?”

“Well I would ask your doctor first. But Prozac ‘works’ for me.”

(Note: I have nothing against medication, and I think that it is a very real solution for some of us and that is totally okay. However, in the context of my professional relationship, this was not an appropriate response. )

The situation might be slightly different, and maybe the boss is a parent, a significant other, or a friend, but we all have these moments where people either directly or indirectly say that we are too much or simply put: crazy.

“Stop being so emotional!”

“Why are you like this?”

“Stop making a scene!”

“You are being unprofessional”

“You should get help.”

By far, the most important lesson I have learned in therapy thus far has been that your emotions and the way that you are saddened, angered, drained, or frustrated, are valid.

I thought that therapy was going to be me paying a person to tell me how to “fix” me.

“Tell me about your childhood. How does that make you feel?”

In actuality, my therapy sessions are often me telling these stories and my therapist responding with something like:

“Wow. What an asshole?! He sounds super difficult to work with! It’s ironic that he’s telling you that you are too emotional when it’s his mismanagement of his own emotions that triggered your frustration.”

Some of us go through life and we speak our minds all of the time. It comes naturally and we do not take aggression or insults sitting down. We’ll fire back with as much tenacity as we were attacked with.

Others of us do our best to keep the peace. We get hurt by people and we get frustrated, but we play devil’s advocate as much as we can. We care SO much about where the other person is coming from and what experiences are informing the inflammatory behavior of those we interact with.

Before therapy, I believed it was impossible to both validate my own feelings and those of others when we were in conflict. I hated conflict and I hated disruptions to the peace. I always preferred just “sucking it up” in order to keep the peace rather than causing any sort of drama.

Of course my frustration and anger had to go somewhere, and so I would have occasional meltdowns and I coped unhealthily with a variety of different methods.

The wildest thing about having a third party professional validate you, is that after the initial disbelief, you begin to self-validate. It might take a couple sessions, or a couple months, or a couple years, but eventually you’ll begin to acknowledge that you feel the way that you feel and that it is completely justified.

Then, when you thought it couldn’t get any crazier, as you practice being in touch with your own emotions in order to figure out why certain behaviors from people tend to push you towards anger, weariness, sadness, or frustration, you become more empathetic to the experiences of others you interact with.

For me personally, the before and after looked something like this:

In the past, I might have had a disagreement with my mother and felt like I wasn’t being heard. When she would say certain phrases or behave in ways that had previously been used by my brain to push me towards shutting down, my brain would reinforce this past narrative that she did not understand or see me and I would just shut up and mentally check out of the conversation and take my frustration out somewhere else or on someone else.

Nowadays, we might have a conversation that turns emotionally charged due to our history. Even though voices might be raised, tears might be shed, and vulnerabilities might be exposed, I am capable of articulating why I feel the way that I do, while also deciphering what experiences are informing her behavior and her experience. So yes the emotions are being processed, but not at the expense of invalidating either of us.

Because at the end of the day, now we are both able to communicate why certain topics, behaviors, or words trigger us and we have enough experiencing internally processing our own emotions to understand and empathize with the other person.

CLEARLY not everyone has parents who are willing to go to therapy, but even without the reciprocal behavior, there is so much benefit that comes from the skill of self-validating.

When I left this job, I had a pretty emotionally high meeting with my boss. I was very grateful for the opportunities he had given me and the mentorship that he had offered me, but it was time to move on. On top of that, our relationship had become toxic for a handful of reasons. There was a lot of gaslighting and just mismatched expectations. I had been hired for one role but it had been misrepresented to me and what it eventually ended up being was not what I had initially agreed to. I had spent years thinking that I was unreasonable and that I should be thankful and grateful to have a job. I had asked numerous times for certain things to change, but a pattern of unkept promises and inaction eventually pushed me towards some very unhealthy habits that made me ask “why” I was trying to find solace in such unhelpful ways.

When I sat in that room and we had that conversation, my boss was obviously frustrated. He believed that I owed him more than a two weeks notice and he was pretty aggressive. I wanted soooo badly to lash out and unleash years of anger and frustration, but luckily I knew that this was the best move for both of us. As he attacked my “short notice” I self-validated and told him that I was sorry and that I had not done this before. I thanked him genuinely for giving me an opportunity when I had none and for taking care of me when I was struggling. He calmed down and we left on decent terms.

Long story short, self-validation is so important because it informs your life decisions.

What are you worth?

Is how you feel justified?

Why do you feel the way you do?

Are you actually angry or frustrated with the person you are taking your anger or frustration out on?

Some ways you can practically apply this concept of self-validation to your life are just taking a second to sit with your uncomfortable emotions after tumultuous encounters with family, coworkers, or friends.

Practice saying that “A normal person would be _____________ just like I am if placed in the same situation”

I think our friends (if they are good friends) generally try to do this to also validate us. Sometimes they try to play devil’s advocate or “humble” us with “sides we may not have seen” and that can play a role in gaslighting us. It can also lead to our inner voices invalidating us with things like “they have to say that because they are your friends” or “see even your friends think you are being unreasonable.”

After you validate how you feel, try and get to the root of why certain behaviors, words, or topics made you feel the way that you do.

Very very rarely, is something so upsetting just caused by a one-off scenario.

Process that feeling and really push into the discomfort that it causes in order to trace that feeling back into past interactions where you also felt the same way.

The final straw that actually got me to try out therapy was actually yelling at my girlfriend about a feeling that I had towards one of my exes. When I realized that I was hurting someone else because I was still hurting from something that was said to me by an entirely different person, it made me realize that I needed help identifying and tracing my own emotions.

I hope that this is helpful in some shape or form.

In closing:

You are seen.

How you feel is valid.

You aren’t crazy.

If you have two seconds, if you can maybe fill out this survey regarding the “Lessons from Therapy” series I would greatly appreciate it!

Lessons From Therapy: Introduction

Over the past couple of years, I’ve become a staunch advocate for therapy. If you ask my close friends, they will probably roll their eyes if you ask them about how much I try to convince them to go and seek out therapy for themselves.

I’ve realized over time that individual choice is one of the greatest gifts that we have each been given and that the benefits of therapy are really only experienced when several different stars align. On top of that, mental health is still not recognized at the same level as physical health in many different cultures and contexts. Because of this, there is also a high financial cost associated with therapy, and this prevents even more people from getting the help they might desire. Many religions claim that spirituality should solve all issues regarding trauma and emotional processing, thus further stigmatizing seeking help. Media and film is constantly misrepresenting both care providers and those seeking care so that it seems that the norm is providers that abuse their stations and patients that are being absolute nut cases while trying to “get away with murder” (shoutout to Annalise Keating).

As I toned down my soap-box-go-to-therapy sales pitch, I racked my brain to try and find a way to share what I had learned without coming off as proselytizing, heavy-handed, or judgmental.

After as emotionally taxing of a year as 2020, I realized that we all really do need therapy, but some of us are just not going to go and seek out help for various reasons.

So whether your barrier is the stigma associated with it, the financial burden, the mystery associated with it, or anything else, I decided to do a short bite-size blog series on the most important lessons I learned from therapy.

In the next few blogs, I will be sharing some personal accounts combined with lessons that I’ve learned over the last few years. One of my resolutions for this year is to be more concise than I have been in the past so here’s to blogs that are far less than 2,000 words.

It is important to note that I am not a care provider nor a professional and so really I just hope that these posts are able to pique your interest and prompt you to educate yourself more.

As the blogs are released, hyperlinks to the different posts will be available here with topic tags for quick identification and access.

Thanks for reading!

“You Aren’t Crazy” : The importance of self-validation, in your journey of understanding yourself and empathizing with others.

Learning to Cope“: The difference between negative coping mechanisms and life-giving activities. Some ideas for how to step away from more harmful behaviors by supplementing them with healthier ones.

Climate Change“: How knowing ourselves and what we are passionate about can inform our decisions on when to change careers or better position ourselves to pursue what is life-giving to us.

If you have two seconds, if you can maybe fill out this survey regarding the “Lessons from Therapy” series I would greatly appreciate it!