Chasing My Sunset

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It feels so weird to start writing again! I hope everyone had a great summer and you’re well rested.

I apologized for being a way for this long, but there were things happening in my life that made it hard for me to keep up with blogging, plus I hit a point where I found myself tired of it.

I was repeating the same cycle again, like I did on my first blog. Something just didn’t feel right or was still lacking that made it hard for me to continue. I thought it was best to take a break and think through things. Things like should I even continue to blog, what were my plans for the future and where I was in my life.

It was a painful and dreadful process. Luckily, some clarity did come out of it.

A friend of mine told me recently that I reminded her of the character in “Eat Pray Love”, a memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. I seen the movie before years ago, I didn’t remember much about it, so I decided to watch it again last weekend and my friend was right. I resonated a lot with the character this time. Leaving everything behind and go on quest to find myself sounds very tempting right now!

Let’s cut to the chase: I’m going to start a new blog soon, but it won’t be about beauty anymore. If I’d write about beauty, it’d be in a different way. The new blog is going to about
-life as a dreamer (working on your goals)
-life as a single
-life as a woman
-living an authentic life

The good news is if you had enjoyed my Thinking Out Loud topics, I have a feeling you’d enjoy my new blog – so stay subscribed.

At one point I thought, it’d be best for me to quit blogging all together. I thought I wasn’t good enough and my voice alone wouldn’t be enough to attract readers. Then I got messages from people who read my blog, and the feedback was incredible. I still can’t believe that someone stayed up all night to read my blog. That got me speechless.

Believe it or not, even with the feedback like that, I was still hesitating to come back. So I procrastinated, until one day I got a strong feeling that I needed to continue writing and start a new blog. I even got a new name for it.

When the new blog is ready, I’ll send you a newsletter about it. Stay tuned.

Stick With It

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No matter what, stick with it.

It’s like hearing cowbell ringing from every direction. I never like hearing people telling me what to do – I’m a grown woman, let me decide what I want to do.

I’ve heard people tell each other to stick around and shouldn’t disturb their lives by quitting, but when the best thing to do, from my point of view, is to throw in the towel.

I just started working full-time and the work is physically demanding. It’s only a summer job, but I’m hesitant about am I able to keep up with it. I’ve been thinking about quitting ever since I started there and one of the major turnoffs is most of the employees are very unhappy about the work.

On my first day, someone told me not to accept the job because it’s not worth it, “it’s terrible. You don’t want to stay here. Leave while you can.”

From the 4:30am wakeup calls to the muscle soreness from heavy lifting and standing 8 hours a day, and not much time for bathroom breaks – believe me, it’s very tempting to quit.

It’s only a summer job, right? Who cares if I leave now, when they already expect I’ll be gone after summer. They can always replace me with another loser.

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The first week went by quickly like insomnia combined with body aches – it was achingly slow. The first couple days of work, I couldn’t lift a thing. Everything was too heavy for me.

The second week started with shaky hands, muscles still sore and I felt like my body was getting weaker. Plus by then, I’ve heard enough of complaints about the job and that I shouldn’t stay there.

Then something really interesting happened right after I admitted, it’s very possible that I’m not able to continue
“Oh, don’t leave. You have a good job here, why do you want to leave a good job?”
“But this isn’t a good job, and I’m not the right person for it either. I’m slowing everyone down, because I can’t do half the work here. And I’m only working temporary, might as well look for another job.”
“You have a good job here. The job that pays you, it’s a good job. Stick with it.”

This was the conversation I had with almost every single person who told me how much they hated the job. Even my mom told me to stick with it, when less than a week ago, she told me to quit because it’s too rough.

When I finally made my decision to leave, they all wanted to stop me
“Stick with it. Just suffer through it, this is working life. It supposed to be hard.”
“You got a job and you supposed to stick with it. It’s not right to leave a paying job.”

I have muscle soreness from the heavy lifting, so I’ve asked them about it and how they recovered. The answers I got were all the women suffered from muscle pains and it’s continuous because they don’t have time to fully recover.

And every time they thought of leaving, something or someone always held them back. Either they were promised the conditions were going to get better soon and if they quit now, they’re giving up a good job for someone else. Most of them have worked there since the beginning, yet nothing has improved.

Or everyone was against their leaving, because you supposed to stick with it. Nobody leaves a paying job. You just don’t quit, it’s not an option.

People always complain. Negativity attracts one another and it just grows.

But I want to focus on how many people rather stay in pain and misery, than get called a quitter and jump to another possible pain – the pain of unknown what the future may hold for them after they’ve quit.

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I’m very familiar with this situation. A few months ago I quit a very comfortable, great paying 9-5 job to chase after my dream. The idea sounded effing crazy, I know.

Because I knew I was going take the jump, I panicked and to had everyone in my life questioning and trying to stop me from doing it – the decision came with great resistant to say at least. I am happy that I did it, though, my dream hasn’t come true yet and I’m running out of gummy bears to count my days with.

The whole lousy job scene reminds me of how many situations we should have given in, when we already been around long enough to know that it’s not worth it and it’s not working. Still, we stick with it.

There were many things in my life, I wished I’ve quit sooner but I didn’t have the guts to do it. But there were also times that I wish I didn’t give up.

Do you know anyone who’s in a marriage that she hates being in?
Do you know a friend who works in a dreadful job and that the thought of waking up in the morning to go to work feels like torture?
Have you talked to anyone who admitted that the next thing everyone expects him to do in his life, didn’t feel right to him?
Have you ever been in a relationship, where you knew it wasn’t right for you, whether it was bad timing or you’re with the wrong person – but you couldn’t get out of it?

The sad part is I may have just described you in one of the above situations.

I get what it feels like not knowing how you’re going to survive next month, if you leave your sucky job now. But if there’s a slightest chance that you believe you have the power to change your own world, do it. You don’t have to do it all now, but you have to start at some point.

The people that I now work with, I don’t think they understand that they’re creating their own personal hell. I don’t think anybody should suffer through life. That’s not a way to live.

If you find yourself using negative words or feeling negative emotions when talking about your relationship, work, school or life…Ask yourself, why stick with it?

It’s true, we grow through pain. But it’s never going to happen when you are comfortable with your pain.

Tell Me I’m Beautiful

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In my recent post, I admitted that I’m not feeling good about my skin right now. And there are a few things that have caused me to feel more insecure about it.

You know what I’ve noticed? That most women give power to other people to make them feel beautiful. Probably, because we are seeking acceptance.

Some kind of validation, that we’re beautiful in someone’s eyes, or in most cases, in anyone’s eyes. So what’s wrong with this?

I don’t like to feel weak, and I hate it even more when someone has that power over me. Especially somebody that, I don’t even know.

Do I need someone to tell me how pretty I look, so I can feel good about myself?

Compliments are always nice to get, but if my self-worth depends on them, then there got to be something wrong with that.

The compliment made me happy, because I have actually allowed someone to put a value on me. It’s a cheap way to boost my confidence. So why did this happen?

Let’s recap:

I have a bad breakout on my skin, then I got a terrible haircut and the guy who been giving me non-stop flirty looks before, finally saw me without makeup and with my recent hairdo, and totally gave me a cold shoulder right after. Like seriously, dude?

And when I said a terrible haircut…do you remember that “Friends” episode, where Phoebe accidentally gave Monica the wrong haircut? Yup, I’m Monica/Dustin Hoffman now.

But that’s not the worse. It’s the guy that bothers me.

The guy who I don’t even know, the guy that I’m not even interested in from the beginning. I got all the attention from him in my better skin and hair day, but as soon as those things were stripped away from me, he treated me like I’m a walk by cockroach. A little melodramatic, but you got the point.

I know, because I was already feeling bad about how I look and when that happened, it added up to the low self-esteem.

But I see this with many girls and women too, how we just give up that power to anyone to make us feel worthy.

I see how someone’s face lights up when she received a compliment about her look, or the disappointment in her face when she doesn’t hear one, especially when she’s taken time to get ready. Or when her friend get complimented and she doesn’t – yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

And it’s not only the people we know that have that effect on us. But even strangers have the power to make us feel bad, about being ourselves.

I want to take that power back.

Men stand differently in this than us. Most men don’t care about it because they don’t expect compliments.

But women do.

Women are used to get compliments and attentions and if they suddenly stop, we immediately ask ourselves “What’s wrong with me? Don’t I look good today?”

We think getting admiring looks and being told that we’re beautiful, are part of our birthright. When instead, we should treat them like sugar in our coffee. Yes, it does make the coffee taste better but do we really need it?

If you’re used to the attention, most likely that’s how you measure yourself too. This could become a bad case of addiction, if you only live for compliments.

I think the only way to cure this need for attention is to practice self-love, and stop seeking validation in the wrong places.

I need to remind myself (everyday), that I am worthy, even with my bad skin and hair.

But there’s also another reason, why it is important to gain that power back.

It’s for rainy days, like when someone tries to make you feel shit about yourself, but it won’t crush you, because you know your self-worth, and you don’t allow anyone to step all over it.

It’s like super power.

Awww, thanks Ryan. Now take off your shirt.

What is Good Enough?

I give up

I think we measure ourselves too much.

In our mind, we always aim too high.

I think it’s a bad thing, if that’s the reason stopping you for doing something.

I want to be able to do and learn many things in my life. I’ve always wanted to do that.

But in the past, I never thought of pursuing them.

I thought I’d never be good enough. I thought I could never become great at these things that I want to try.

So, why even bother to?

This kind of thinking stuck with me for a really long time, for almost my entire life.

I know a lot of people have desires to try new things in life, but they rarely go for them.

People are afraid of investing time and money into something that they might fail at. That’s a legitimate fear. The feeling of disappointment is usually connected to failure.

Reality is we measure ourselves not to what we think is good, but to what other people think is good. And by good, I mean excellent, like “you have a natural gift” type of excellent.

Most of us are wired this way ever since we were a child. Our parents, teachers and coaches were the ones who set the bar for us. If you failed, you never heard the end of it.

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And that stuck with us for a really long time.

Sure, thinking this way is not all bad, because it enables us to push ourselves further, to try our best in life.

It’s all or nothing. But the side effect of thinking this way, make most people choose the nothing rather than the let down.

I remember the talk that I had with my friend about getting new hobbies. We’re talking about different things that we’d love to learn, or generally curious about.

And he said something that reshaped my thinking,

“If I can, I want to learn about everything. Try something new every month. Think how cool it is that you’ll know a little bit about everything. You can just take the first class and see how you’d grow into it, and if it doesn’t keep your interest then move on to the next. But still, you’ve learned something. Imagine, how many stuff you’d know?”

I loved the fact that, he never once mentioned about how good he wanted to become and his expectations, but the experience he’d gain from trying something new. He also understood that it’s about discovering something you didn’t know before that you’d enjoy doing by expanding yourself.

If I don’t do something, because of the fear of I can’t be good at it, isn’t that kind of a failure on its own?

How much I get out of it and what I can accomplish with it should be what matter the most.

I believe we are born with natural gifts in us, I think we all have more than one gift. It just the matter of how devoted we are to these things.

Here’s a challenge for you, try this with something that you already love to do. Now, think of yourself doing the thing that you love and try to suck at it.

That’s right, try really hard to do a lousy job at the thing you enjoy more than anything in this world and see how it goes.

I bet you can’t do it, can you? It’s like asking you to hate your favorite food while you’re chewing it in your mouth. It’s not about can you be bad at it, it’s about how much you don’t want to.

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When you’ve found something that is really yours, it doesn’t matter how bad you are at the beginning. If you know you can own it, there’s no way you going to let yourself be bad at it. It becomes who you are.

I think we shouldn’t be afraid of failures – easier said than done, I know. We should be afraid of all the things that we don’t get to fail at. Without those, how will we ever know what makes us happy?

I don’t think I’m the best at anything in my life right now. But there are many things that I have yet to try, so my story is still being written.

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Gay Love

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I had a few topics in mind that I wanted to write for V-day. But I didn’t feel inspire enough to pour down the words.

I took a break from writing and watched some movies. They were all about gay love.

The movies were A Single ManWeekend and Brokeback Mountain.

All three movies were sad.

Is it just me, or most gay movies have this bizarre mood to them that the film makers are trying so hard to make it feel artistic?

But then I asked myself, does this feeling come from seeing two men in love and lust for one another, something that in our society is still treated as taboo? Or is this the work of the director – is it them or is it us?

I think it’s both. But our brain has a big part of making it feel weird because it’s unfamiliar to us.
It’s what we’re used to consider out of the norm.

I always thought when a woman falls in love with a man, it’s the most vulnerable thing that she can do. But seeing a man surrendering to his love for another man is an eye opener.

I’m not used to see a man feeling so vulnerable, and emotional toward another man.

Something that was almost painful to watch.

You see, we’re still living in a time that people say
Love – Gay love
Marriage – Gay marriage

The world says “We don’t want to be a part of that.”

But aren’t we also saying that gay love shouldn’t be considered real love?
That must hurts.

A man should not be weak, or shows his weaknesses.
A man should not be emotional, or shows his emotions.
A man should be the provider, the leader – the stronger.

To be in love is to put yourself in the most vulnerable state. It’s like take me as I am now as my walls come down.

I cannot imagine to fall in love with anyone without a sense of vulnerability.

You can’t fully love someone, if you’re not ready to take the pain of what could or could not come from it.

But to a gay man, it’s a much greater risk. To him is “I’m ready to get judged and possibly get killed, but I don’t want to hide anymore, and you’re the one, who makes me feel this way.”

It’s powerful. It’s like Rome & Juliet.

Jonathan & Dwayne | A story about love. from Celia Hilton on Vimeo.

Let Me Introduce Myself

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…I’m Helen aka Helz, if you haven’t already catch it ;)

OK, where do we start…

You know what? I have to admit that it’s hard for me to express myself through writing.

I’ve been blogging for almost 2 years, yet I’m not satisfied how I’ve been presenting myself here.

It’s damn hard.

English is my third language– I hardly get to use it.

I’m also a private person in real life.

I want to be able to say what I really want to say and to connect with you. And I struggle with that, because I don’t know when it’s OK to talk more about myself.

I want to be comfortable with my words, and with myself. And I want you to be part of this too.

So I guess it’s now or never: 23 things I’ve never told you about me. Let’s get personal, shall we?

1. My Vietnamese name is Hoa (it means flower).

But I’ve been going by the name of Helen most of my life. The name wasn’t given to me by my parents. I got it from my very first English teacher and right away felt instant bonding with the name.

Till this day, I still believe that that name was meant for me. I don’t feel that way about my Viet name.

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2. After learning about Saturn Return and currently going through it, I guess that makes me a believer of astrology.

3. I’m kind of superstitious.

I hate admitting it and I don’t believe in everything out there.

But if there’s a chance that I might jinx something, then most likely I wouldn’t do it.

4. I can’t swim to save my own life. It’s one of my biggest fears.

But I love being in the water, I hope I learn to swim one day. Being underwater makes me feel calm and refreshed.

5. I don’t exercise or eat healthily. I know it’s bad.

6. I have a degree in hairdressing. But I didn’t find passion doing hair.

I’ve worked many different jobs, I also knew none of them were my true calling.

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7. At the moment I’m starting my own business.

All these years I’ve been working for other people and I’ve learned a lot in every job that I’ve been.
It’s a shame that it took me a long time to finally take the jump, and go after what I want to do and what I really believe in. But I also understand that I needed to go through that, before I can get to this stage.

I guess turning 30 got a lot to do with it. But for the record, I’m still freaking out.

8. I’m scared of ghosts and dark places. They are scary!

9. I rarely watch TV any more.

10. I’m an introvert, social situations make me feel awkward.

I’m a homebody. I don’t like crowded places and meeting new people make me nervous.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to meet new people. I like getting to know someone privately because it allows me to focus on them more.

11. I can laugh all day.

Great sense of humor is something that I find very attractive in people. I love connecting with someone on that level.

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12. Big love for stand-up comedy.

Some of my favorite stand-up comedians are: Kevin Hart, Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Aries Spears and Bill Burr.

13. I don’t have any tattoos, but I always wanted to get one.

14. I’ve got my belly pierced on my 18th birthday and I still have it. I think of it is a part of me and I want to keep it forever.

15. I have a special needs brother.

He has autism and is non-verbal. I’ve been helping my parents taking care of him for as long as I can remember. He’s one of the reasons why I still live at home. Sometime it feels like taking care of your own child.

Loving and caring for someone who has special needs is unconditional. Because you have to love and care, and give beyond life, just to get so little back.

16. I started blogging mainly because I was getting into beauty stuff.

I thought it’d be cool to meet new people with common interest that way.

17. The 2nd reason why I wanted to start a blog was I wanted to use my English.

Like I’ve told you before, I don’t use English in my everyday life. So I had to find a way to use it.

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18. I’m always single. Yes, I’m that chick lol.

I rather let someone down or to be let down, than being in a relationship that’s not right for me. I hate and fear relationship chaos and drama.

Of course, now that I’m getting older, I yearn to have someone to call my own. The timing (now) might not perfect, but I like to trust it when it happens.

19. Not many people know this, but I’m terrified of cats.

They give me the creeps. Plus I’m badly allergic to cat’s hair, gives me more reason to steer far away from them.

20. A couple of my most embarrassing moments involve farting in public.

Now you know, and I must kill you.

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21. I’m an emotional eater. Does that sound as bad as I’m a serial killer?

I stress, I eat. I’m sad, I eat. I’m happy, I eat. Or maybe I just like to eat.

22. I appreciate movies that can make you really feel.

I think we can learn a lot by observing on-screen relationships and how they’re presented to us.

23. In my experience, the best dates are usually casual and spontaneous.

Creative men are hot. And fun.