We officially moved to east LA in April! It is so nice that we finally settled in since for the past 6 months before that I was driving back and forth non-stop from San Diego to LA every week . My body was so exhausted from moving, I literally just stayed home on my couch for weeks. I didn't film many new videos, and I took a much needed break from social media. I had some down time to allow my brain to chill out and deactivate for a little while. I stopped focusing on my career plans, didn't go to any acting classes or casting workshops for a month, and it felt great just living life with my family!
We live in an area where all the Asians congregate, so there are plenty of Chinese, Korean, Japanese restaurants and cafes to choose from! All within ten minutes driving distance! The not so exciting side to living in this area is that all the Chinese people assumes I speak Mandarin, which I wish, so it gets pretty annoying when they give me this dirty look like "What!? You don't speak Chinese?!" I don't even want to explain myself by saying, "I speak Cantonese. I'm from Hong Kong." I just want to tell them "This is America, I speak English." Secretly, I wish I spoke fluent Mandarin. I can sing in Mandarin though.
The flip side is that I often get asked "where are you from?" by well meaning, curious White people who are trying to make small talk. The last time someone asked me that question at a Vegas tradeshow I replied, "Here." He persisted to ask me again, "Really? Where are you really from?" I replied, "Here." Then he stopped for a moment, started talking about something else with my friend, and then asked me again!! It's so annoying. All my Asian friends have experienced this. ALL OF THEM. For real. Attention well meaning, curious White people: PLEASE STOP ASKING ME THAT QUESTION. I know you don't mean any harm by it, but perhaps we can have a conversation about a nice restaurant or a cool music video. Sorry you won't get to use the only two Mandarin words you know like, "NEE HAW!" ("hello" in mandarin) on me. I already feel like I'm always the foreigner.
If you have seen my award winning one woman show, "Second Chances For Grace" you will know that I have a history of depression. After being diagnosed with two auto-immune diseases when I was fifteen, I became severely fatigued and suicidal. My metabolism was shot to hell, I gained ten pounds and completely lost my zest for life. Tormented by insecurity about my body, I was obsessed with food. A decade later, I'm still discovering new ways to manage my mood swings and it takes EFFORT to love myself.
I have been called "over sensitive" plenty of times in my life by those close to me. I'm proud to be "over sensitive" because this gift of sensitivity allows me to step into someone else's shoes and become the character I'm playing. I guess that is why I love acting! There is no place to hide if GREAT, MEMORABLE, LIFE CHANGING acting is the aim. I have to be completely emotionally naked in front of an audience and the camera. And because of my love for storytelling, the only way I can keep acting is if I manage my depression in a healthy, drug free lifestyle. I make myself take small steps of loving myself everyday, whether it is giving myself a hug, telling myself I'm doing my best, dancing with my son in the living room or writing my thoughts down in a notebook.
If you are suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts, I feel for you. When we are in that dark hole, it just feels never ending. When you get out of that hole, you are afraid to go back in again. Life is like a cycle of making it through these episodes. All your energy is focused on getting through the next hour or day.
I have never taken prescription drugs for my depression or seen a therapist to discuss my issues. My family didn't believe in depression. They thought I was being a stupid complainer. I finally received some much needed therapy sessions post pregnancy. My birth clinic referred me to my therapist and she helped me manage the overwhelming feelings I had from becoming a new mom. I was so afraid I would pass on my auto-immune disease genes to my son. It was free for new mothers to help them facilitate their feelings and cope with postpartum depression. The best part I took away from those sessions was having her validation. She pretty much acknowledged everything I was going through and asked me, "This must be a lot to deal with for you huh?" There was no judgement, no quick fixes, she gently encouraged me to plan what I wanted to accomplish on any given day by writing them down as a list and checking them off so I can see clearly what I have accomplished.
I have been filming some episodes for my Youtube series. I can't wait to share it with you all!
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Love Yourself Champ, Transformer on Screen & Stage, Mommy of Sky, Asians in Media Activist, Producer.