Past Entries

What It’s Like Living in Vietnam During a Global Pandemic

Imagine you heard lightning strike outside your house, and it was so loud, and so close, that you got scared. Yet, you were so cozy under your covers in the comfort of your home, that you felt safe from harm and were able to drift back to sleep. That’s kind of how it feels living in Vietnam during a global pandemic. 

I’ll be honest, sometimes the people here do things that make me question their sanity, intelligence, and morals, but when it comes to addressing and taking action during a crisis, Vietnam doesn’t fuck around. In fact, they are the leading example of how to handle a pandemic thus far. Even though if the pandemic escalated here, their health infrastructure would collapse harder than I do on my bed after a day teaching toddlers, this country is underrated. They are some of the most resourceful people I have ever met, and their ability to unite during times of need is admirable. Coming together is what you’d expect would happen in times like these, but when you observe other parts of the world, it’s not as common as you’d hope. 

When people ask where I’m from on dating apps, I respond with a poop emoji followed by the American flag. I believe that’s a justified response considering the US is a literal burning mass of shit at the moment. Although I think it went from burning to denigrated at this point. Vietnam in comparison to America looks like Bruce Lee standing next to Lindsey Lohan during her drug binge. (Although I know Bruce Lee is not Vietnamese, and Donald Trump is a bigger laughingstock than Lindsey Lohan ever was, let’s continue.) Yet, barely anyone is talking about how superior Vietnam is…Sounds familiar *cough* Vietnam War. 

People listen here, and the leaders take action swiftly and logically. What a concept! Many people think, “As a communist country, of course they’d listen! They’d die or be put in jail otherwise!” That’s not the case. First of all, I listen because I’d rather not be fined or yelled at in a language where I only know how to count to three, and say beer. Most importantly, we’re not a bunch of entitled people who are in denial about the severity of what’s going on. That’s not to say everyone else is entitled or in denial, but too many are.

I’m grateful every day to be living in this country. I feel safe, and life continues to move on as it did before, minus tourism obviously. I feel so much sympathy for so many other countries, but not as much empathy as I usually do in most situations. That is because I only was worried for my health for a week, and to be in fear every day is unfathomable. I hope that the rest of the world follows suit. If you’re reading this, pretend you’re living in a communist country and put on your damn mask as though you’d be fined up the ass otherwise.

Your Girl Was Ghosted

Your girl was ghosted. I’m talking Scooby Doo Ghosted. Like, I want to solve the God damn mystery. Although I’m pretty sure I know why, the only way to solve this entirely is to move on. However, this topic is still worth exploring. 

So, why do we ghost? I’m not going to lie, even though I was so salty about being ghosted myself, that’s not to say I didn’t do something similar to someone else the following week. The situations were vastly different though, so I still think I deserve an explanation and apology from that fuck boi. Anyways, there are many reasons we do it and I honestly believe in some cases, it is for the best, but not in mine and not in many others. 

Here’s what happened to me… I didn’t want to marry the dude. I would have been fine calling him “Thursday night” or having him in my contacts as “Netflix and fuck”. He, however, probably assumed otherwise considering the speed in which things progressed. You know how things can be as an expat. Day one swipe right, day two Netflix and chill, and by the end of the week you live together and he’s shitting with the door open. Consequently, instead of simply expressing his concerns or what he wanted, he went from Magic Mike to Houdini, and disappeared. At least that’s my assumption. What would have been ideal is not having to come up with an assumption because someone was mature enough to express himself and his needs/wants. 

Ghosting is the easy way out, but is it the right way out? In cases where there has been some type of connection developed and it moved beyond acquaintances, then ghosting is a cop out to avoid expressing yourself like a mature adult. It’s more of a mind fuck to try to figure out what happened than to hear the truth. So, in many cases it’s selfish and inconsiderate. As I said, I’m no saint, I’ve been there done that, but it’s important to do what you can to improve your own communications skills, and own up to how you feel.

More importantly, if you’re on the ghosted end of the spectrum, if they’re not mature enough to give you a response or explanation in the first place, what makes you think you’re going to get the kind of response or closure you’re looking for if you attempt to pry it out of them? It’s like trying to calm down Karen mid conversation with the manager. It would probably cause more harm than good.

You won’t always be able to get the closure you deserve. However, you are able to move forward regardless by closing that door and allowing new ones to open. So, in short, communicate instead of ghost, and don’t ever chase a ghost for answers. Thank you, next. 

Unfucking Myself

I think it’s safe to say we’re all a little fucked up. Thanks mom and dad. Ultimately though, we are the ones responsible for unfucking ourselves to become the person that our fucked-upness has inspired us to be.

On a scale of one to fucked, lately I’d say I’ve been at a “fuck”. That’s to say I like my life and have a lot of great things going on for me right now. I’m content, yet, there may have been more than a few times this week where I’ve done or felt something that made me think “Fuck.” Lately the fucks have been getting louder, but let me explain why nothing could be better than a good “FUCK!”

Sometimes, we choose to let things bother us for too long. We hold on even when the lesson or resistance that served its purpose has expired. Then the fucks get louder and louder until *BAM* you suddenly feel like a hangry Hulk.

When we forget how powerful we are, we fuck ourselves over by thinking sloppily and sitting in self pity. It creates negative momentum until the next thing you know, you’re looking like a hopeless romantic who’s single on valentines day. However, there’s so much beauty and opportunity in those times. Those fucks are essentially wake up calls. It’s an invitation to positively transform your life by using your focus to make beneficial changes in your thoughts and behaviors. It’s life’s way of telling you it’s time to get back into alignment. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I’m a little deaf, but once I tune in and listen, step aside because I’m going from a hangry Hulk to Wonder Woman.

Unfucking ourselves is even more satisfying than a good fuck because you don’t need to rely on anyone else. More importantly, the amount of self motivation and power conjured during the unfucking is more liberating and empowering than I can put into words. When life seems to be fucking you over, acknowledge that this is your wakeup call to unfuck yourself and create the life you’ve been wanting to live.

Addiction: Old Habits Die Hard

A20D1498-8BC8-450D-A1F7-2CD635E1BD42Today marks year 8 since I left a rehabilitation center for eating disorders. That’s not to say it’s all been smooth sailing since. In fact, at times the waters have been rockier than Chris Brown and Rihanna’s relationship.

The past few months, I’ve been having the time of my life. I have an incredible group of friends, I’m making money, having fun, and blah blah blah. Yet, unbeknownst to the world, there was still an internal struggle with my old friend ED. (Eating Disorder) Although I haven’t “relapsed” as many would say, I have certainly regressed in terms of my behaviors, feelings, and thinking.

I look at ED as some abusive ex partner that continues to slide back into my DMs. It’s like ED can see my glow up, and can’t resist swooping back in. ED sends out a message, and I ignorantly open the new inbox notification that says… “I miss you.” I want to respond with a poop emoji but next thing you know a heart has been sent and we’re talking till 2AM. 

It’s clear to me that these moments come when something within me is out of alignment. Regardless of how good life is, when I feel too much uncertainty, or a lack of trust in myself or life… *knock knock knock* Here comes ED with his never ending list of food suggestions and criticisms to “help” and control me. Can you blame me for feeling like life has had a fair amount of uncertainty these days? #2020 #isthisreallyhappening

Eating disorders are all about control, so this is my sick and twisted way to cope with the lack of control I feel in my own life. Then, this coping mechanism turns into a habit, and if I’m not careful, a relapse.

It goes a little something like… “You know you want to try that cookie. Go for it. Treat yo’self! You should finish them. Thick is the new fit so I’ve heard.” … “Can’t believe how much you ate. You’re going to be able to feed a Mormon family with the amount of rolls you’re going to have on you tomorrow. You better find a meal to skip soon.”

More often than not, it’s quite counter productive as you can imagine. I end up feeling like Gollum without a ring, but much fatter. (I don’t know why I write so many references from The Lord Of The Rings when I haven’t even seen all of the movies.)

Do I worry about relapsing in the future? I’d be lying if I said no. Heck, I worried today at the vegan buffet. That said, I refuse to let ED win. ED has ruined relationships of mine, and nearly took my life. Yet ED has also taught me some of my most valuable lessons and insights. I do not hate ED. In fact, I love ED for all of the strength and growth it has given me, but I also do not want ED to be an active part of my life again. 

I’m here to say It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to regrettably respond to a DM every once in a while. You learn from it all. Just make sure you don’t take the loser back completely.

 

Dear James Pt. 2

125EA89C-93D7-41F2-A740-9CF987A6A577Dear James, 

It’s been about a month. I thought I’d be over you leaving by now. Not completely, obviously, but I didn’t think the thought of you would still bring tears to my eyes. I listened to a song about death on the back of a motorbike in the rain. My tears blended perfectly into the world you’re no longer a part of. Last week my phone ran out of storage. I went to make some more room and saw our WhatsApp conversation was taking up some of the most space. I shouldn’t have clicked on our conversation. I had to leave my friends to cry like a little bitch. You probably would have made fun of me and then followed up with wise words to make me feel better like you used to. 

I’m afraid, James. Your death made me face that I too could leave before my time. Before my dreams and desires come to fruition. Before I manifest the goals that I feel are so close, yet so far. It taught me a lot though. Be so at peace with what I’ve created, that if I joined you today, wherever the fuck you are, I’d be happy with what I’ve done. To be fair, I am happy with what I’ve done, but feel like there’s so much more I need to do. I wanted some of those moments to be with you. 

I’m reminded by you constantly. This time last year, we were hanging out every day together. It’s rainy season. Remember how we got stuck in that down pour in the middle of nowhere and we had to pull over in some shed until it passed? Where was that? Phong Nha? Ninh Binh? You would know, but I don’t think I ever will.

I’ve seen a stupid amount of things on Facebook I’ve wanted to share with you. Should I send them anyways? Would you know I’m sending them? Do you know I’m writing this now? A sign would be pretty dope. You used to make fun of me for that kind of “slang”. Did you know that my catchphrase is “tragic” and all my friends know it? They don’t all know it’s because of you. 

I see the tchotchke you gave me every day. It hasn’t left my bedside table since I got it. That was so selfless of you. I wish I told you how much that meant to me. I have a gift I was planning to give you next time you visited. What should I do with it now? 

Now that you’re gone, I’m stuck with a lot of questions that can’t be answered. I’m forced to think more about the meaning of this thing called life, and to be honest, I don’t know what to make of it anymore. Life was better with you in it. I guess that’s the goal. To leave life making the world better having been a part of it. Rest in Paradise, James. 

The Devil Wears Lululemon

pexels-photo-206515Whatever we’re wearing, the devil wears too. There’s a devil out there that’s created by you! 

Hold back the tears, and don’t be sad. Being a devil doesn’t have to be bad.

The reason the devil is something you fear, is because you’ve pushed away a part of you that is so dear. 

Don’t worry if you are a bit confused, because I still have some more explaining to do.

I will show you an example that will make things clear, and prove that the devil doesn’t have to stay here…

I was feeling as single as a dollar bill, and felt a huge void that I needed to fill.

“Why am I still so down and alone, why can’t I find true love with a hot guy to bone?”

The Devil was at it again in my mind, giving me lots of problems to find.

“Something must be wrong with me, I can’t find a man. what am I doing wrong, I don’t  understand!”

I thought once I was loved I would feel complete, and there was something within me I’d first have to defeat.

Once again the devil was back to work, and I was being driven completely berserk! 

Nothing is broken or needs to be defeated, when I accept the darkest parts of me, I’ll realize I’ve always been completed.

I was rejecting the part of me that felt unloved and undesired, rather than asking that part of me what it required.

All it was seeking was self acceptance and compassion. Was I listening to some devil just because I liked her fashion?

When you push away a part of you that wants to be accepted, you create a large void and you will feel rejected.

It feels like rejection because that’s what it is. The devil feeds off that shit and comes across as a wiz. 

Don’t feed the Devil whether it wears sweats or shoes by Kanye West. Give the true you some love because you deserve the very best. 

Dear James

BC4D3798-4E67-4935-B757-8A304FF057F7Here I am, crying in a classroom closet while my students eat snack. Meanwhile, doing all I can to not snack myself into a coma to cope with the pain of knowing you’re gone. What about your plans to see me in Vietnam and travel more of the world together? What about your goals you talked to me about last week? 10 days ago to be exact. Not to be a creeper or anything, but I did just look back at our message history. Sorry, I swear I genuinely forgot to respond to your last message. The guilt is eating away at me. I know you’re not mad at me for that though, and I’m not mad at you for leaving too soon either.

How could I be mad at you? You’ve brought so much joy into my life. I have never met anyone else who I had such fluid, fun, banter with. We’ve shared so many unforgettable adventures. It sucks that we won’t make more together or reminisce about them on the phone again. Who’s going to make fun of me all the time now? Actually, I’m sure other people will, but never like you. No one was like you.

I am mad though. I’m mad I forgot to respond. I’m mad I didn’t check in more. I’m mad that such a good person had only a short time to spread their light. I am mad that your Go Pro camera is loaded with photos and videos of us that I’ll never be able to see and cherish.

So many people cherished you, James. Your energy lit up the room, even if  you were passed out on a bean bag chair in the corner after a long day of travels. Some of the most fond memories that I’ve ever had in my life were with you by my side. I think you knew that, but I wish I told you.

Now I’ll never figure out the spaghetti song we made up when we were drunk in Hoi An. I was counting on you to remind me and make me laugh like you always do… or did. Fuck James, this just doesn’t seem real or right.

Do you remember watching the lightning in Sapa? That was a magical night. Remember that time we almost died in Ninh Binh? We talked about it last month, so of course you do. That is, if you can hear me now… What about the first day we met? I would lose my debit card a million times if I knew it would result in me needing to beg strangers for money and miraculously meet someone as incredible as you again.

I can get on with people pretty easily, but you took me by surprise. It was like I knew you my whole life. You’re like a brother to me. Forever my soul family.

You’re too good of a dude to go so soon.

Rest in paradise James Maguire 21.11.1996 – 15.7.2020

 

Emotionally Unavailable Man Magnet

F37B3620-60FD-405D-90A9-60FFE8E4E818Have you ever wondered why you’re in another situationship/relationship/fling with a guy who has the maturity or emotional intelligence of a fetus? Or, perhaps you continue to date someone who is controlling or manipulative. Whatever the case may be, I can relate when it comes to attracting a similar type of person. I’d like to introduce myself. Hello, I’m Emotionally Unavailable Man Magnet.

Currently, my crush is emotionally unavailable for a plethora of reasons, but I think the fact that he has a girlfriend is a good place to start. My last crush had just gotten out of a 6 year relationship with the love of his life who left him for another girl. I think it’s safe to say he had some kinks to iron out. I could go on for eons but you get the point.

A few months ago, I was talking to a fellow human being, (I was going to say friend, but that would have been a lie.) when he unexpectedly read me faster than Harry Potter back in 1998. I felt naked, and although I’m pretty sure I literally was at the time, I’m speaking figuratively. 

Why? Well, somehow we got on the topic of relationships. After he spoke of his past love/ trainreck of an ex fiancé back when he was 18, I mentioned how I’d never been in love. That’s when the reading glasses came on. He took a drag of his cigarette from my bedroom porch before he spoke.

“You probably started to fall for someone back when you were like 15, and before anything could actually happen, he hurt you, and now you never let yourself go that far because you don’t want to get hurt again.” I sat at the edge of my bed with my mouth wide open. He smirked like he just spoiled the ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince without my consent. 

Instantly, my mind was flooded with thoughts and memories that made my heart ache. I began to ruminate about the boy I liked when I was 15, and how that became the catalyst for self harm and a suicide attempt. I also questioned if that connection could possibly still be affecting me over a decade later. To be honest, it wouldn’t have been the first time I asked myself that. I started to regret swiping right on this dude that was now pouring himself another drink while I sat in a state of inner turmoil. 

I began to ask myself, is the reason I crush on emotionally unavailable men because I unconsciously feel safer from harm? Is that why I tend to attract those experiences? Could going down this rabbit hole solve anything? The answer to the latter is possibly, but why not tell myself a new story instead? Maybe that was true, but that was then and this is now. Now, I don’t need a magic potion or wand to start shifting my perspective on life and love. It won’t be as easy as saying “Wingardiujm Leviosa!” but acknowledging that it is safe for me to be open to love, and more importantly, paying attention to my passions and projects rather than penis, will steer me in the right direction.

It’s time to tell ourselves the stories we want to read. I’m throwing away that old emotionally unavailable man magnet tale. I am a magnet for personal development and opportunities for positive change. I’d like to reintroduce myself. Hello, I’m Brooke Lyn Landon, and I’m a magnet for forward movement, and continuously creating a life of fulfillment.

I Just Wanna Be Fuckin’ Happy

photo-1588031710692-25195b092ab1

I was minding my own business, on the back of a motorbike heading out of Tay Ho, Vietnam, when my Spotify shuffled to a random song by Julia Michaels. “What kind of sorcery is this?” I thought to myself as I gazed down to find out the artist and title. The song is called “Happy”, but it’s not about rainbows, butterflies, or drugs. The song is about sadness and heartache. She sang it in a way that touched me in my feels. It’s not often a song will turn me into a total softie while bobbing my head back and forth like I’m preparing for a mosh. However, the reason I was taken aback wasn’t because of that.

Why would a song about heartbreak, and not being happy, resonate with me so much when my life is good? That song essentially put me into a time machine, and flew me back to my cringy yet significantly trimmer and more youthful 16-year-old self. It made me think about times that I didn’t particularly want to go back to, and question many of my life choices. Yet, I still pressed repeat when I knew the song was coming to an end.

The next time I heard her sing the chorus, “I just wanna be fuckin’ happy.”, I asked myself what I had probably been suppressing for a long time. Am I really fucking happy? The fact that I asked that question was enough to know the answer was no. Don’t get me wrong, my life is great. I’m surrounded by an incredible community and wonderful friends. I love my family and have created a beautiful life for myself. I have a good life and I’m happy, but I’m not really fucking happy.

By that I mean, I still have voids I’m trying to fill. I still believe that my life will be better once I start my own business, or once I’m waking up every morning next to the doppelgänger of Leonardo DiCaprio from Titanic. (Yes, specifying Titanic rather than The Revenant makes a big difference in my book.) A part of me feels empty because I’ve created a life where the future, and things outside of myself, hold my conditional happiness. I was and am living a great life, but what’s keeping me from being really fucking happy is complete acceptance and gratitude for what is, regardless of other things I want that have yet to manifest in my life.

I am choosing in this moment to put my value and focus on different things. To bring my attention to the good that I have now rather than what I want in the future. That’s not to say I can’t have dreams and desires, but what I need to do is stop putting so much hype, hope, or worry on the future, that I feel my present is less valuable. Wanting more from life is fine and normal. However, needing something more to feel better, is not a goal we should strive for, yet we seem to have collectively agreed it’s alright.

Many think that in order to change your life, get what you want, and be fucking happy, we have to do something different. Although that’s not wrong, it’s not where to begin. It’s not about doing or having. It’s about being. Who do we have to become? Who do we have to be to change? We have been brought up in a world revolved around doing, but we won’t be taking the right actions if we haven’t become the right person first.

I am choosing to become more grateful and appreciative for what is. I am going to become more present and mindful. I am going to observe my thoughts, feel my feelings, and accept them without resistance. I am going to chill the fuck out and be fucking happy not by changing what I do or have, but who I am. Then, I’ll be truly fucking happy.

Does This Movement Matter?

2B371882-84D4-486C-9CE0-3C12EE967310Does this movement matter? Um duh, but clickbait is a thing. That said, this may be one of the hardest blog posts I’ve ever written. Mind you, I’ve published blog posts about my biggest fears and insecurities, put people on blast, exposed my sex life and addictions, and posted a blog about my relapse just days after. Then, why is this so difficult? 

I’ve always been an open person. When it comes to talking about me, I have no shortage of things to say. However, what’s going on in the US right now, being a white privileged female, living in Vietnam, feels so far from me. I want to know what to say, but I don’t. My heart hurts for the world and the people of color who have so many obstacles in our society, but I could never claim to understand what they’re going through. In the past when riots like this in my country broke out, I stayed silent because I felt my voice wouldn’t make a difference. I hid and took advantage of my white privilege by closing my eyes and ears to the truth that our society was and still is so fucked. 

Don’t think so? In 2018, the median income for an African American household was $41,361 U.S. dollars compared to $70,642 for non-Hispanic white households. About 40% of homelessness in the U.S. is African American even though they only make up 13% of the population, and the poverty rate is 20.8%, which is more than double the poverty rate  for white people. (8.1%) We haven’t even started talking about racism. 78% of African Americans think they’re being treated unfairly and 15.8% of black students in the US reported experiencing race-based bullying or harassment.

Black lives matter. But why talk about it if what I say won’t really make a difference? Because that’s only what I thought, but what I thought may not be true. That goes for us all. It’s so easy to think we can’t make a difference. “Who am I to make the world better?” “There’s no hope.” “This will end soon enough without my help.” etc. There are millions of copouts as to why we don’t need to speak up or act out. Deep down though, we know it feels wrong to be complacent because we’re lying to ourselves when we say we can’t make a difference. I’m not telling you to go climb the Empire State Building, and cause a scene. Our actions don’t have to be big or acknowledged by the masses to make a difference. More simple acts of kindness can make an impactful change. 

I will never forget September 11th for many reasons, but one being what happened to my mother that morning. She was in a grocery store parking lot on 9/11. She noticed a man of color, in torn and worn-out clothes, looking distraught. He looked homeless. She could have easily looked the other way to go about her business and get her shopping done. Instead, she asked if he was okay. He told her that his son worked on the 98th floor of the first tower that fell. He tried contacting him all morning but hadn’t heard back. Needless to say, his son’s life was likely lost that day. For the next ten minutes, my mother and this stranger embraced, crying into each others arms. 

Imagine how much that man needed soneone’s support in that moment. Not to mention, how that one act of kindness stuck with me nearly 20 years later. Shit, that made me feel old. Anyways, you get the point. Show up and show your support in whatever way you can because you can make a difference. Black lives matter, and what you do to support their lives matters too.