Stir Fry of Emotions – Fighting the Stigma


I was on a business trip not long ago. We had a 3.5 day annual company conference filled with key-note speakers, company information and team building.

One of the team building was quite emotional. We broke out into small groups of 8-10 people and had to discuss our highest and lowest moments of our lives.

Ouch. Not easy. It’s sometimes difficult to even come clean with friends and family. But to be vulnerable in front of co-workers is a different level all together.

Yet, I decided to go first… I told my group, with a quick apology of not-so-pleasant news I was about to disperse, of my suicidal state a few years ago.

There’s one thing I have learned, dealing with anxiety disorder and depression – it’s a battle to break through the stigma on a daily basis. And it’s so easy not to realize the person next to you is suffering mental illness. I just read 2 of the 3 main symptoms of depression can not be seen so most people are walking around with no support, no treatment and at the risk of falling deeper into the hole.

It is NOT easy to talk about myself out in the open.

So what pushed me?

Knowing if I can open up and just not care of what will be said behind my back (should that happen it would be out of my control), will help one person who is suffering alone hear what I have to say, which may lead to that person getting help, well, it’s worth it.

I not only talked about what I went through – but about how I got help. And while it did not get rid of my anxiety and depression, as there are triggers everywhere which will not cease in my lifetime, I at least know how to get help now. I was able to talk about something extremely important:


It’s not as easy as I’m painting it. But should my words give even a glimmer of hope to the one suffering beside me, isn’t the vulnerability worth it?


It’s Official – I’ve Lost My Mind


Oh. My. GOD!!!

So I just emailed this private dance studio not far from my work place. I’ve been searching for hip-hop classes for my daughter and I’ve found a lot of these private dance studios that not only do hip-hop but dabble in k-pop hip-hop.

The only challenge was finding most places create ‘teams’ for actual amateur dance competitions.

Heeeell NO!!! So not what she is looking for! She just wants to do this for fun.

This studio has a drop-in class schedule with classes ranging from Level 0 to Level 2. Obviously, Level 0 meant for beginners. Though I have an inkling it’s not going to be filled with beginners. As always, you’re going to find a class filled with a variety of levels depending how long people have been dropping in on said class. Still, you can either pay as you go ($15 per class) or buy 12, 24, 48 classes per card, thereby saving more money in the end. I’m sure there’s a time limit. For example, all 12 classes must be taken within a 6 month period. It’s still promising though – there’s at least 2 or 3 beginner classes each week to choose from. And it allows some flexibility with our schedule.

It peaked my curiosity, alright? And you know what they say. Curiosity killed the Cat.

I’m not saying I’m going to die. But my body is not like what it used to be so. So yeah. I’ve decided I’m going to do this with my daughter.

I’m both excited and nervous. More excited than nervous. I mean, if history should repeat itself, I’ve often been able to catch on with new choreography. The nervousness is just based on the fact I have not taken any dance classes for so long. The last time I did was to learn Latin Ballroom.

Of course, I’ll update my progress here but – wish me luck! My daughter will not have time to do this until after her science project is done and she really wants us to do this together! I think it will be fun. 🙂

When I Just Want to be Left with My Kpop

I feel a little bad for admitting this. Whenever I go to the gym on weekend mornings, which is considered my biggest workout of the week (I use Saturday as the jump start of my workout week) there is this older lady (80-ish). In some ways, I really like her – she reminds me of what I hope to be like when I am in my senior years, stilling hitting the gym at an ungodly hour to get my workout done, leaving the rest of day to do, well, whatever!

The only thing is when I go to the gym, aside from some small pleasantries and greetings, I really want to be left alone. The purpose of going to the gym is to get a really good workout in, but as I can do that at home as well, I also use it as a place to escape and just be lost in my own thoughts.

I’ve created a few playlist on my iPod Shuffle for the purpose of my workouts. And I love listening to my tunes while I workout! It’s like my sanctuary.

Yet there’s that lady – who’s always there every weekend mornings. I can’t go later (I don’t have time to and she stays there for the entire morning anyway so adjusting my schedule an hour or so later does not help). She’s very sweet but boy does she talk! I have hinted to her so many times that my time there is limited. After all, I go early in the morning while the rest of my household sleeps in. Yet I want to be home for our family brunch.

And I feel bad for her. I do. She lost her husband earlier this year after being with him for over 60 years or something. I can’t imagine that being easy – I mean, it’s amazing she gets herself up every day to move on with life.

But today… today… oh man… she started to tell me her very active sex life she used to have with her husband! Now, I’m not a prude. I mean, I use to be a peer sex ed counselor while in university. I have heard EVERYTHING! I don’t judge – I never have. It’s just that there’s a difference from being in a counselor role when I’m educating people about STDs, birth control methods, sexual lifestyles, etc. It’s another thing when some one who is pretty much close to being a stranger to me, starts to just ramble off about what she used to do with her husband.

The thing is, I wasn’t embarrassed. Like I said, I’ve heard it all. I was simply bored and eager to listen to my music.


Plus, she wears so much perfume it makes my head light and my nose burn.

End of Summer – 2017

As we go into the last long weekend of the summer, I am saddened to be saying good-bye to such an amazing 2 months! It’s been awhile since I felt this way. Of course, I’ve enjoyed many past summer months but with work always being so crazy, it really just sort of blends into the next season for me.

This summer, though… there was something very different about this past summer, which I will get into at the end of the post. First, a re-cap of some of the memories we’ve made to end our warmer months of the year!


March boardwalk view from one of the trails.

We did go on our traditional, week-long camping trip. This time, we selected a new Provincial Park – Charleston Lake. Being a park with a lot of great nature trails, moderate to difficult hiking trails and many scenic canoeing routes (through the diverse amounts of islands in the bay), this was a very ideal park for us to go camping.

I was able to hit the trails three times on my own during the early mornings while the rest of the family slept in. I eventually got into vacation mode during the last half of the week and slept in as well but I usually am always the first to wake up. We also, as a family, hit three trails together. All in all, I tried to stay active since it was one week away from my usual workout routine.


Found a great hidden spot on a tiny isolated island. We stayed here for a quiet picnic.


Our last day paddling for an hour before we headed back to the city.

We managed to rent the canoe for two days. Day one was to find an isolated and deserted island for a picnic. Day two was the same afternoon we were heading back to the city. After packing everything up, we decided it was worth to rent and paddle for at least an hour before heading back. Both times did not disappoint!


The slowest ride on earth. Seriously – I was bored after being stuck/stalled for the 3rd time.


It’s traditional to go on the Ferris Wheel for a great view!

We arrived back for a 3-day weekend, just to give us some time to rest and relax before heading back to work the following week. We decided, since that Friday was going be the opening day of The Ex, to head there for the latter half of the day. The last time we went was 8 years ago. Chaeli doesn’t even remember any of it.

I always realize after spending some time at The Ex why we do not go every year. It’s expensive and really, pretty much the same thing each time. I imagine the next time Chaeli goes, it will be with her friends, leaving Doug and I at home (which will be fine by me).


Caprese salad – with fresh basil from the garden.

The rest of our days have been drinking wine, making the use of our fresh basil before it’s too late and listening to more k-pop. Which brings me to my final point…

I have had the best summer bonding with my daughter. Sure, k-pop helped as she introduced me to this fun and entertaining world. But the conversations that developed out of this shared fascination has been so wonderful.

I will cherish these summer memories forever. I hope she will too!

Why “13 Reasons Why Not” isn’t THAT Bad

I was skeptical at first. Really skeptical. And not because of all the controversial talk about how the series glamorizes teen suicide. I wasn’t worried about that – mainly because after doing my own reading on the internet, most articles who claimed professional psychiatrist stated this show could spur real life copy-cats, no where did they even give any reference of credibility of such professionals or case studies. Once again, alternate facts looms over us again.

And of the few supposed copy-cats that surfaced on the news after the series aired, there was no direct cause-and-effect relationship tied to show and real suicide victim. And the fact is – leaving a suicide note is not a new thing. Of course, with modern-day technology, letters are, I suppose, old school. Video and/or audio recording is probably more realistic these days.

The show, 13 Reasons Why, was not a great show and had mediocre acting (though I will say the main actor, Dylan Minnette, who’s character, Clay – who we watch as he unravels the mysteries from each tape – was my favorite). It captivated my attention enough to get me to watch all 13 episodes. Yet, 1/3rd into the show, I really was just wanting to get to the end so I could find out what lead to her suicide (the tapes gradually explained how they were all connected – but there appeared to be this looming doom which broke her soul at the very end).

Why I continued to watch the show was basically because of this:

While the suicide was a main focal point of the show, the issues that surrounded it was what people should be talking about: drugs, alcohol abuse, bullying and rape.

Especially the last two – bullying and rape (or assault of any kind).

So while the masses are upset with the show, fearing teens will be easily swayed to end their lives in a dramatic, revenge-like “trend”, I ask this… Would our teens feel a need to even consider suicide if they did not have to go to an institution day in and day out, facing such risks? When they go home, with social media being such a huge part of their lives, can they even escape it when they are not at school?

What are we as parents, the community and the school doing to prevent this warped, criminal behavior from happening? I say this because before this show even existed, this sad reality has happened before. The one I can’t get out my mind was the teen girl who was gang-raped by four of her classmates. The rapists took photos during the act and the photos went viral. Shortly after, she was bullied. Like 13 Reasons Why, she was called a slut and her reputation from good, sweet girl, flipped 180. Just like that. This poor teen suicide victim not only endured a horrible and criminal act, but then went through significantly, cruel bullying.

So for all the parents out there, outraged by this show, I ask this – what are WE doing to try and prevent this from happening in real life? If the issues on the show were not a real concern in our society, would there even BE such a show? Did we shape our culture/society to basically, give birth to the plot line of 13 Reasons Why?

I’m a bit dumbfounded why everyone seems to be pointing fingers at the show, stating it is too dangerous for teens to watch and lacks any accountability of the message. Yet what about the discussions this show has cultivated? Are we going to continue and point fingers at a fictional show (or novel which it was based off of) and ignore the fact that we have the power to make a change in society? What about the good that has come from all this controversy? What about the teens who created a project called “13 Reasons Why Not?”

People are also upset about this fictional teen leaving tapes – as if she was being selfish.

She was in pain. People who commit suicide are not thinking logically. They are not behaving normally. To blame the victim (for victimizing others in the aftermath) is a moot point. However, let me ask this – what if those tapes stop these people from making the same mistake to others? What if it is enough to bring charges down on the rapist(s)? What if it saves another life?

Honestly, before I watched the show I did not have a strong opinion of all the controversy surrounding the topic of 13 Reasons Why because it sounded like a pretty bad show. I don’t mean bad in that the subject was a horrible subject. I mean… it just sounded like a really bad show!

And, while it was not as bad as I imagined it to be, yeah, it was still bad.

I am not too swayed with this fear of teens glamorizing suicide. If they were in a suicidal state to begin with, the problem was there way before even watching this TV series.

The topics, however, were important to me. As a parent of a teen who has started discussing this show with friends (even though she has not seen it yet – she told me she is not interested at this point), I wanted to be prepared. I wanted to know what exactly happens so when she has questions or want to talk about it, I am hopefully, more ready than not.

Perhaps this show sort of sucked – but the topics are very real. We must stop the ignorance and get to the root of this problem. Increasing teen suicide rates are NOT due to this show. And we need to do something about it.