2017..

As the days get closer to the new year, I made a promise to try as many new things that I possibly can, including things that may scare me. This commitment is not only for 2017, but it is a commitment that I am going to make for the rest of my life.

The reason for this is because I’ve been living my life with the same day-to-day routine out of comfort. I was comfortable not knowing the unknown. I was comfortable with shutting the rest of the world out. I was comfortable being able to predict my days. Comfort was the ultimate thing that I held onto for so long…. but it is time to change my pattern. It is time for me to challenge myself in ways that I’ve never done before, to get out of my comfort zone, and to see as many new things and meet as many people that I can.

My new years resolution is to be who I want to be without any apologies. I will no longer apologize for my mistakes that I have made in the past or even for the mistakes that I will probably make in the future. I will no longer apologize for exploring the world and for keeping my options open. I will no longer apologize for being a socialite despite what people say or think. I will no longer apologize for being myself, and I refuse to hide or deprive myself of who I truly am. I will no longer apologize for the hurtful words that people say about me because it is not a reflection of who I am, but a reflection of who they are. I will not apologize for severing ties with anyone who brings nothing but negativity and hate in my life. I will not apologize for surrounding myself with inspiring, beautiful, and strong individuals. I will not apologize for having confidence in myself. And I will not apologize for loving myself.

There are many amazing things that are coming up that I wish I can tell the world now, but I have to remain patient and keep it a secret until when the time is right. All I can say is, I am excited for what’s to come and I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunities that are waiting for me. This is definitely the time to shine, not just for me but for you too.

Family

They are the people that are quick to call you out when you are wrong. They are the people that are brave enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear. They are the people that can cut you deep like a knife with their words and with their actions. They are the people that can make you learn the definition of hate. They are the people that can impact the way you see life and how you feel about people.

Family can be filled with many imperfections and may lack certain things, but we can’t deny that they are the main foundation as to what makes us who we are.

We also can’t deny, that they are the people that still love you when you’re at your worst even if it’s sometimes hard to see. They are the people that have seen us go through various stages of our lives. They are the people that knew us before everyone else. They are the people that you continue to make your mistakes with, and with time they welcome you back with open arms. They are the people that will support you even if it’s from a distance or in silence. They are the people that will always push you to do better, and they will continue to push until you’re at your fullest potential. They are your eyes and ears when you can’t see or hear.

They are the people that we don’t get to choose, but they are the people that we will have ties with forever. And sadly, they are the people that most of us continue to take for granted.

In the end, you realize that they are the people that you can’t EVER live without. You eventually learn to accept that not only are you human, but they are too.

Who am I?

It’s normal to feel lost. Unfortunately, I’ve been feeling lost my whole life. You would think that at age 25, you would have experienced enough to have the answers to everything. Truth is, 25 is still an extremely young age. This whole time I kept thinking that by age 25, I should have my bachelors. I should have my dream career. I should have my own place. I should have my own car. I should have a serious relationship by now. I should have my life together because time was “running out.” I’m not sure where I got all of these thoughts from, but I now understand that I was basing my life off of society and others’ opinions.

I have to remind myself that although I don’t have my bachelors yet, I have a year left before I graduate. Even though I’m no where close to where I want to be when it comes to my dream career, I am at least a step closer than I was yesterday. Even though I still live with my parents at home and drive my mom’s car, at least I have supportive parents that would do anything in their power to help me succeed. Even though I’m still single, at least I can take this time now to really focus on myself and to become the woman that I’ve always dreamed of.

After going through series of unhealthy relationships, I found that the main reason for them failing was because I didn’t know who I was. I only knew myself as their girlfriend, as their lover, as their caretaker, and as their provider. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself “who am I” during those times and all I could say was my significant other’s name. Truth is, having a strong sense of identity plays a role in everything whether it’s a relationship, career, and anything else that you can imagine. Without it, it is hard to nurture what you love and care for.

This reminds me of back in August when I attended a Hmong Women Empowerment retreat. We did an exercise where we partnered up with someone random. One person would ask the other person “who are you” while the other person would state everything that they are. It could be anything from where you’re from, what you define yourself as, what you like to eat, what hobbies/interests you’re into, so on. If the person answering couldn’t answer anymore, the person asking the question will repeatedly ask the same question until the time ran out.

Today I decided to take the time to re-do this exercise and I’ve come up with more things. If you ask who I am, my answers are:

I am a Hmong-American woman that wants to make a change in how our Hmong women and girls are viewed in society.

I am a Hmong-American woman that wants to uplift all of my Hmong women and girls by helping them succeed and reach their fullest potential.

I am a daughter who isn’t perfect and I don’t always make the best decisions, but I am a daughter that my parents trust wholeheartedly. Someday, I’ll be the one to take care of them.

I am the sister that will fight alongside my siblings and protect them with everything I have even if they don’t do it for me.

I am the loyal friend that will stick by your side through everything that you do — good or bad — because I will always believe and see the best in you.

I am a lover that loves too hard and too deep, but with the purest intentions.

I am a student at UW-River Falls majoring in Marketing Communications and minoring in International Studies. I hope to further my education and get my masters.

I am a survivor of depression, suicide, and domestic violence.

I am loved by many, and I love every single one of them because I have SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE. Love is limitless.

I am strong because I always find a way to turn my life back around… even if it takes me a little more time.

I am beautiful even with the scars that I carry on my body. Every scar tells a powerful story that I want to someday share with the rest of the world.

I am the unspoken truth.

I am me….. Gloria Yang.