If someone as rich, as famous, and as powerful as that person can think that all is lost in the world, what makes me safe from the dementors that live within?”

Those are the thoughts that have been running in my head as news outlets reported on the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. The dementors they lived with felt familiar. Long before I came to understand that dementors lived within me, I was simply a college student trying to make it through. The dementors continued to torment up to my late 20s. As I have continually mentioned in this blog, I had an Instagram worthy life on the outside but on the inside, I was tormented by my own demons.

I was working in a high profile Public Relations job (think The Devil Wears Prada) and I felt like a fish out of water. I liked the work, genuinely getting to know people, and helping share their stories but I did not particularly love the pressure to socialize. I wanted to connect with people in an authentic manner and not just because I wanted them to post about my product. It added to my already poor mental state. The pressure of the job plus the expectations of the people around me led me to slowly chip away on the inside. I was a ticking bomb and nobody knew.

In 2016, I fell in love, got married, and was momentarily freed from the dementors up until I rejoined the world again. By the end of 2016, I was an emotional mess, the dementors were winning and yes, thoughts of suicide has crossed my mind more than once. Having left with no options, my husband and I moved to the States and while it did not start out smoothly – being stripped away from everything made me refocus on what was important. With none of the pressures I have been carrying for as long as I can remember, I was free to become myself.

At one point in my life, I had everything a girl could ever want and yet, I was miserable on the inside. Today, a month shy of turning 30, I spend my days quietly doing the work of my hands, serving my husband, talking with God, and just enjoying life. I have learned to stop looking over my shoulder – that has helped a lot. I have stopped looking at what another person had and what I did not and that has made all the difference.

Thoughts are very important and I have learned to value meditation – of simply breathing in and out and thanking God for what is in front of me. All we need is today, God will take care of tomorrow. It all beings with gratitude and we have heard it said a million times that social media can be a form of torture because we see a world that we cannot have. But if there’s one thing I have learned, we do not really own anything, we are simply in the flow of things, and what we set out in the world, we get back.

I am not perfect and the dementors still come from time to time but by God’s grace, I am slowly overcoming it but only because people were bold enough to ask me how I was doing. So it helps to be persistent, to ask questions, to probe a bit even when people say they are fine. It is love that makes the world a better place and though we have all been hurt and some stories simply cannot be repaired, we can still love those who are present in our lives now and most importantly, we can learn to love ourselves and from there, we move forward and we believe that there is always always something to look forward to.


Before getting married, I was in a semi-relationship with a man who was suicidal. It was a relationship that was dark and heavy. He was so tired of the things that came his way and our relationship seemed like the only bright thing in his life. He held on to me for sunshine. However, the demons inside of him often won, leaving him with no choice but to end his relationship with me.

It hurt … like hell. And yet in those moments of despair on both my end and his, I chose to hold on to kindness. I reminded him that he was loved and that though we were no longer together, I always wished him well. He wanted to end his life so many times and though my reminders were mostly unwanted and deflected, I kept reminding him that the reasons to live outweighed the reasons to die. I kept pestering him and with love and kindness and to make the long story short, we did not end up together but he lived and now he is thriving.

It is so important to love people and pester them with love – you just never know how much it would help in the long run. The things you deposit into other people will go a long way – just keep believing and just in case you are thinking negative thoughts about yourself – just keep believing that greater days are ahead.


There’s something about Saturdays that just make you sit down and contemplate on life. As a child, I have always been a reader and a thinker. Long before cellphones kept us entertained on car rides, I often had my trusted walkman and a pair of earphones as my companions. I loved and adored just listening to music while driving around with my parents who managed to drag my brother and I everywhere. The habit continued onto adulthood as I switched from my parents’ car to ubers and buses.

Even today, I still carry that habit with me. There’s nothing like getting lost in your own thoughts and just letting your brain breathe. I had a point somewhere in that introduction and the real point of my blog entry but may have lost it somewhere.

In the past week, I discovered Saturn Rising – which is the ‘revamping’ of your life for the lack of a better word to usher in a new season. It’s funny to me sometimes how science and faith use the same words to describe same situations.

I do not want to bore with you the details of my recent life because I am still going through them. The story would better be told on the other side but I write to you today to let you know that even through the darkest seasons when we wrestle with the most difficult things (and there’s no minimizing what a person thinks is a difficult thing), we can still smile. It’s crazy how you can cry in one hour and laugh the next. It’s amazing how God built us for this chaotic life – He has equipped us with everything we need.

Just like most of my ‘blog’ entries, this is me just being raw and real as I have been since 2003.

Thank you my dear blogger world – I’ll have answers for you soon.

Keep Swimming

Life moves … fast.

One minute you’re eight years old and arguing with your parents about staying up late and the next you’re a full blown adult with major responsibilities. A lot of studies have said that our generation is in love with nostalgia – this is why we love remakes, sequels, and reunions. There is something inside of us that is constantly longing for what once was. It’s as if we are obsessed with either our past or our future, but never fully in the present.

It’s been a year since I moved away from home and my mom recently asked me this, “have you stopped missing home?”. The truth is, you never stop missing a chapter of your life that once was. I miss everything about home: the smell and comfort of my old bedroom, the ease of life because my parents were the ones burdened with responsibility, and just being in a city where everyone spoke your language. If I were being completely honest, I also missed the comfort of connections. But the past is always better in our heads. Living where I am now has once become a dream. In our heads, the dream is always prettier, more beautiful. What they do not tell you about the dream is the in-between. The struggle, the chasm in between jumps, and that gnawing feeling of going back to the familiar just because the unknown is too scary.

And yet, you stay. Because this is your dream and you must have left home for a reason. Because the power of something greater is infinitely more powerful than going home and remaining stagnant.

Yes you miss home but you thank God for opportunities to  create new memories. You cling on to hope and you fight.

Keep swimming.

Why #WomensRights is More Than Just a Hashtag

Any great blog entry starts with an inspiration and just as most writers would know, inspiration could come from just about anywhere.

For me, it hit me in the middle of a packed bus in the middle of Downtown Los Angeles as I finished Colleen Hoover’s It Ends with Us. The book, which I borrowed for the sole purpose of distracting myself from the world of adulting, stirred up emotions in me that I did not even realize I had.

I was fortunate enough to be raised in a home where love reigned. Where the men in my family were respectful of women and took responsibility in being protectors. They cherished and adored the women in the family. I have had my own personal story of abuse (the verbal and mental kind) that I wrote about three years ago. But as I finished It Ends with Us and Swear on This Life, I had the realization that my understanding of abuse went beyond my own personal tale.

There are many close to me who have suffered abuse in whatever form and seeing their stories of strength unfold led me to the realization on why fighting for women’s rights is so important. There are so many women out there who stay in abusive relationships because they have no other choice. Fighting for women’s rights and demanding for equality gives women a chance to build their own lives so they will not be controlled by men who are not worthy. It is more than just a trend on social media – it is a rooted desire to make the world a better place for women, where they are given opportunities to build an independent life so that they can leave whenever they no longer feel safe. When women are treated better, they are empowered to make better decisions that will keep them safe.

A woman close to my heart once experience the treachery of physical, emotional, and mental abuse. During her time, leaving the household was not acceptable. If you ask the women before us, they would be quick to tell you that they stayed because they knew no other way. But this woman, ahead of her time and at the tender age of 25, looked at her life and knew that there should be something better for her. She could have chosen to stay but by God’s grace and with nothing in her name – she walked away.

At the time she made the decision, people close to her questioned her and gave her the spiel, “He loves you, he will change. You must stay.” But this woman, full of determination decided that enough was enough and though she had sacrificed a few things, she knew she made the right decision for herself. Because she was equipped with a degree and job, she had the ability to stand up for herself and leave. Of course, just like any human being, she wishes a few things were different but at the core of who she is, she never once regretted walking away from a relationship that could have either ruined her or killed her.

She could have settled because at that time this is what society taught but she knew in her heart that this wasn’t the life she wanted or those who loved her could have wanted for her. With only faith and courage, she built a new life and soon found a love that respected her, loved her, and cherished her. God gifted her with a man who stood by her side no matter what and she witnessed what a real, loving relationship felt like. While I wish I could share more details of her story, I stop her for it is not my story to tell.

Instead today, I wish to honor my mother – who fought hard and bravely for her place of safety in the world. My mother knew that love did not have to hurt and she deserve to be taken care of even if she could very well take care of herself. I can only imagine the horrors she went through and what she had to overcome but she did it, even if she had to do it alone – she did it.

Today, I salute women like my mother and others like her. Today, we are slowly taking away the stigma of walking away from bad, abusive relationships and slowly stripping these types of men of their power.

For every woman who is still in relationships as such, I pray that God gives you the strength to overcome – you are not alone. Love does not hurt, does not sting, does not make you feel crouch in fear nor does it make you feel small – real love liberates and I pray today, you find the courage to choose to keep yourself safe.

Let us keep fighting for every woman in the world for it is through this united resolve that we overcome.

I end this with what I wrote three years ago:

“I am sharing this story to remind you beautiful woman reading this that you are not alone and that when a guy hurts you whether through his brute strength or his words, walk away. You were created to be loved and appreciated and believe me when I say that staying will not change him but even make the situation worse.

By loving yourself and being brave enough to walk away, you are stopping him from repeating the same behavior and at the same time, inspiring women everywhere that you don’t have to take what you don’t deserve. By taking the stand today, you at also making the world a better place for little girls to grow up in.”

Happy International Women’s Day.


This Valentine’s Day Embrace The Heartbreak.

It’s the year 2004 and I am sobbing in my room while watching My Best Friend’s Wedding. The reason? My ultimate crush, who asked me for kilig “be my prom date” ideas, did ask someone else out and it wasn’t me. Fast forward to 2008 where my first foray in dating (we watched Iron Man on our first date, it has been that long!) ended up in more tears and a disbelief in myself that stayed on for a really long time because he was verbally abusive and unkind. Seven years later, I am once again sobbing on my birthday because the beautiful, menacing boy dumped me on my birthday.

Dateless on prom night at sixteen.

Up until two years ago, I was pretty unlucky in love. I was never the first choice and I have had my fair share of jerks. I would constantly console myself with ice cream, One Tree Hill, and of course, crying to my baby brother, Carl.Those were the days wherein I would ferociously write in my journal without a care in the world. My sixteen year old self was determined to get her fairytale. In the chaos of life, there are days when I have forgotten or at least tucked away that sixteen year old in the back of my mind. Life has made me forget how she fought to keep her optimism and her belief that on the other side of all the pain, there was an answered prayer or pixie dust waiting. She was often rejected and yet, she kept going. I missed her a lot in the past year but I promise myself I would treat her more kindly and carry her closer than all the other mes I have been in the past ten years.

Me in my high school uniform!

My husband and I had quite the long drive last night and he had early 00s music blaring in the background and all of a sudden, without warning, the memories of my past life started flooding in. It felt like a movie because suddenly the memories of me crying and praying and just getting disappointed with my life came rushing in. And it took me a minute to return to reality. I was in Los Angeles with the husband I prayed to God about when I was seven (after watching Devon Sawa on Casper! My husband does look like him!) and yet, nobody can deny the many years of heartache I endured.

The moments do not hurt me anymore but instead, I say hello to them like an old friend. Pretty much like the Gabby and Sharon McDonald’s Commercial, it’s like saying to a friend that has taught you so much. That’s when I realized that while I hated heartbreak while I was in it, I don’t necessarily regret them or wish them to have been erased from my history. Last night, I was living the reality of what I have always believed – everything is essential, the good, and the bad, to your story.

You may be in a season where you are unattached or recovering from a heartache. And though it may seem like the season will never end, it will and you will be better for it.

Enjoy the moments of uncertainty. The moments where your heart is half broken and half hopeful. These moments may hurt you in the moment but their purpose is to develop you. The heart is extremely resilient and we grow through the moments that break us.

Looking back now – on all those moments that I had my heart broken and was devastated, I just look at them with trepidation. I did not go through them but I needed the lessons they brought with them. It has made me a completely different person and that makes me grateful. I have chosen to let each rejection mold me and make me who I am. It has made me more empathetic and kinder to myself and others (at least I try to be).

So in as much as you would like to take the easy way out – don’t. We go through things to learn from them and until we learn the lesson, we do not move to the next level. I am sorry for your pain but trust me when I say that it does get better.

Do not run away from your pain – embrace it as a season, do not fester in it but allow yourself to feel the pain and choose to grow. Everything in our lives is essential to a greater purpose we may or may not see.

Be strong enough to see you through this season because it is worth it, you are worth it.


Off the grid.

Could it be possible to be completely removed from the person you once were? I have been thinking more than usual lately (possibly because of all the meds due to the uncool bug I took on after Disneyland) about material things, social media, and what it takes to truly make us happy.

I have been wondering what drives people to a) use other people for their own benefit and b) even think of using other people to gain material wealth. I mean how much material wealth can one acquire before they tell themselves it is enough?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a comfortable life – but a comfortable life at the expense of others? How could you be proud of a life that’s constantly striving to acquire in the hopes of becoming better than others? After you get the bag (my own material kryptonite), what’s next? After you get the position, what’s next? After you reach the pinnacle of success, where do you rest or do you rest at all? After gaining the world, do you still have your soul?

These thoughts lingered in mind upon entering 2018. My life these days is very different compared to the glitz and glamour it used to be. There are no famous friends, there are no famous “almost boyfriends” who ditch you for beauty queens, and there are no events, parties, and celebrities. There are bus rides, good books, a quirky office setup, and an eight hour day. There’s hard work to be done but I never feel depleted – as if I am on a treadmill that never stops.

I am comfortable in my own skin. The mask I used to wear can no longer be found. I am completely who I am and while there are days where I still tend to be anxious or less optimistic than I hope I would be, I don’t really feel as stretched out as I used to be. I scroll less on social media (although I cannot resist cute dogs or cute babies or on sale items that I mentally purchase in my head) and when I do, I begin to ask myself, “what is this all for?”.

I told my mom the other day during our marathon Skype session how I have begun to care less about my curated Instagram feed and sometimes question myself when I do post something. Is this my authentic self? Is this who I truly am?

It may have taken years but I am beginning to be as real and raw as I feel. There are days when I hide what I feel and then explode at the most inconvenient times. I try to speak my truth when I feel it. I also have stopped explaining who I am and my choices.

There’s a solid inner peace that sometimes gets rattled but I am proud of the life I am currently living (aka the story of my recent life) and I am thankful.

The Story of My Recent Life

“The story of my recent life is” is a phrase that keeps repeating in my head as I type my end of the year blog.

I came across it on my good friend’s Instagram account and couldn’t help but repeat it in my head as I went through the last week of 2017.

The phrase is haunting in a way that only words can be. Something clicked inside of me and I was hit with the realization that yes, where I am today isn’t where I will be forever.

You see (and only if you haven’t realized by this time), I can be overly dramatic. My husband discovered this when I threw a mini tantrum when he told me to not wait in line for an hour to have a photo taken with Minnie Mouse during our trip to Disneyland. I have always wanted to be an actress growing up and I am a writer so if you add those two things up – you get an overly dramatic almost 30 year old.

So anyway back to what I was saying. Oh yeah, overly dramatic. So my point is sometimes I forget especially when times are tough that whatever this is won’t last forever. I seem to think that good times go by so fast while struggles take forever to leave. I forget that time moves at the same pace no matter what and where I am today is simply a reflection of my recent life and in this lifetime, you can have a million different definitions of your “recent life” and that is okay.

There is no rule, though society likes to tell us that, in defining your life. Commitment is a HUGE thing and of course we can’t skip-a-doo through life like a shifting wind but we are allowed to change our minds. What we like today may not be what inspires us in ten years and that is okay. We are allowed to be different versions of ourselves in this lifetime.

Having different versions of ourselves take courage as well. A life in motion requires constantly changing and that means letting go of different parts of ourselves and that requires both grace and humility. We cannot swiftly move from one phase to another without leaving unnecessary baggage behind – that includes our ego and our pride.

What is the story of my recent life? 

As 2017 draws to a close, I cannot help but realize that I have lived through many recent lives before today. I clung on to each life which became a problem because as with anything in life, you cannot fully enjoy what is in front of you if you do not learn how to let go. Aside from being overly dramatic, I also have difficulty letting go.

This year, I was left without a choice. My recent life is nothing like my former life and I used to have trouble accepting that but today with a few days left in 2017, I learn to let go more and more each day and trust that as the New Year dawns, new beginnings will rise again.

Christmas in Disneyland 2017

Disneyland has always been a magical place in my mind though it has been awhile since I have been there – fifteen years to be exact so imagine my glee when my husband and I decided to spend Christmas Weekend there. Everyone said it would be a crazy idea but we went and did it anyway (this sums up our relationship).

I won’t tell you that it wasn’t crazy because it definitely was – imagine a million kids and a lot of disgruntled parents drinking beer at 2 PM but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was the perfect weekend getaway (I had vacation depression right after!!) and I don’t regret spending my first holiday away from home in the happiest place on earth.

I also went on the craziest rides and conquered my fears, even though I was shaking and could barely move. So that is another metaphor for my recent life – taking the plunge though I am scared out of my wits.

Here are a few photos on the trip but check out the link above to see my husband’s creative video in the link above.





Winter 2017

It is the 21st day of December and officially the first day of winter. In less than a month, my husband and I will be celebrating our first, yes our first!, year living in the United States. For the past week, I have been holding back the tears but admittedly spent a good part of it crying any chance I got.

Being far away from home sucks for the lack of a better term. I miss giving my dad a hug every morning and car rides with my brother. I miss going downstairs and just feeling safe in the idea that I am home and I am safe. In the past year, I have stepped away from the comfortable life my parents provided for me in order to build my own life. And building one’s life is never easy nor safe. For the longest time, I have felt uneasy and I have craved for the sense of security I had felt when I was in my parents’ home. I was never the girl to take chances but this year, I gave it all. It came with a lot of rewards, struggles, and sacrifices. But never once did God’s peace leave me and when all else fails in my life, that is what I hold on to – His peace.

My greatest desire growing up was not to get married. My biggest desire was to take care of my family, especially my parents when they got older. However, the puzzle pieces did not seem to fit. Just like Moana, I felt like there was always something on the side of the world that was meant for me. I never would have the courage to go for it, I would have been too afraid to leave my family. God knew I needed a little push and here I am, almost 12 months in. I was confused – God did not give me my heart’s desire? Why weren’t my prayers answered? Yes, I did pray for a godly man but not one who would take me across the world because I needed to take care of my parents.

There are still a lot of questions that are left unanswered and I know that I may never get the answer to them anytime soon but I have always believed in following God’s peace wherever it led me to. And this year, it led me here. It led me to build my own family without abandoning the one I have known my whole life while learning to become a wife. I am grateful for my husband’s kind heart and for always putting me first. I do not say it enough but in the past year, my husband has showed me the reality of God’s love and His patience. There are many ways my heart has been changed by marriage but that is for another time, another story to tell.

I used to think God’s plan for me included something grand but maybe it is grand but just not in the world’s way. And that makes sense because God’s way has never been like the world’s anyway. I keep trusting His purpose, I keep trusting His heart, and I rest in the fact that He is good especially when I am not.

This year my greatest prayer has been to learn to be content in my own skin, my own life, and what God has blessed me with. So here’s a little cheer from The Highams – may your Christmas be merry and bright.