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I have a tendency to ramble and I have an erratic, non-chronological style of writing so please forgive me if it seems like I jump around a lot and it feels like somethings are repeating. It’s just how my mind works. Sorry ahead of time. xD

Also: language and possible trigger warning.

Lately I’ve been more depressed than usual.

Pokémon GO is out and yet I’m still leaving the house less than before (if that was even possible).

I’ve started showering 2-3 times a day again. I shower when I wake up, before/if I go out, and again before I go to bed. “If you’re feeling depressed take a shower and change clothes!” Yeah I think I’m a major contributor to why California is in a drought at this rate. I don’t have enough clothes to sustain 20+ outfits a week. I threw 80% of them out when I lost weight, but haven’t really bought anything new since.

I’ve lost interest in most of the games I play as well. League and DotA2 are uninstalled. Well I’ll reinstall DotA2 to watch TI6 but I’ll probably uninstall again after. I only recently reinstalled Overwatch because Sumi asked to play. The Overwatch addiction is gone, and now I only use it for the “social but not needing to leave your room to be social” aspect of gaming.

Food doesn’t taste the same… and everybody knows how much I love food. Most things are bland and the only enjoyment I get out of it is eating with others. Some days I don’t even eat unless Chau yells at me to eat.

I’m not having fun with life any more. No I’m not suicidal, never that. I just feel like I’m drifting from day to day until school starts. Hoping that once I start school again my life gets more interesting. Even then I’m doubtful.

There’s been a lack of interest in most things and the things that I do show interest in are lacking that Khoi attention that I usually give.

It’s kind of funny, after I wrote that piece in December I went back into a funk less than a month later. I thought I was going to be happier. I was going to dinner with friends more often, hanging out with groups more often and just going out more often in general. I was legitimately happy for the first time in years.

I said I’d be more open to asking for help but if anything I’ve withdrawn more.

I’ve distanced myself from my closest friends and tried to find reasons to hate myself more. Being alone with your thoughts while being depressed is a fucking terrible thing. I have taken to becoming a self-loathing narcissist. I’ve taken to blaming myself for everything. I’ve taken to hating everything I do. At the same time, I’ve taken to loving and priding myself to the point I won’t admit that I’m in this downward spiral of despair.

After much consideration, I’ve determined my current bout of depression that’s spanned the last 8 months boils down to two things: expectations and the dichotomy between the current Khoi and the Khoi that I want to be.

Oftentimes I feel so fake. I feel like I’m playing the role of Khoi rather than being Khoi. It makes me question who Khoi is. Then I realize I’m still such a different Khoi to different people. It’s because I wear so many masks I am often left unsure of who Khoi is. This allows for people that don’t like me to create Khois that fit their narratives.

I hate it when people call me “nice.” In my mind there aren’t many truly nice people. Most “nice” people wear masks and are really snakes in disguise. They have ulterior motives and want something for their actions. I’ve done things for people and taken blame for people’s mistakes that have gone above and beyond what is expected from our friendships that will never see the light of day. Half of those people won’t remember a thing but I harbor no ill will towards them. I do things because I want to.

“You need to learn to say ‘no.'”

Chau said one of the things I should learn to do this year is say “No.” 8 months later and I still hesitate saying “no.”

A part of me helps people because I like helping people. I legitimately like helping people. Hell, I love helping people. There’s no better feeling than helping people who can’t offer anything back. At the same time it’s wasted. I don’t even need all the fingers on both hands to count the people who are actually down for me. I need better judgment of who and when to help people.

My mom tried to “talk” to me and have an intervention earlier this year. “Stop doing things for people who can’t and won’t help you.” Family and distant friends already think I’m self-centered and selfish, but it’s true I need to focus on myself. Out of all the friends I’ve mentioned to my mother in the past, the only ones she’s said nice things about are “Chau and that Japanese girl that moved back to Hawaii.” I don’t talk to my mother much. When I do, I almost never complain to her. Yet, it is still those two she has a positive opinion of. It’s kind of funny, though. Chau and Sumi are two of the people I’d do anything for if asked but they’re also some of the few that would never ask me for favors.

“You need to make time for and think about yourself.”

Chau always says I need to be more selfish. If I keep making time for other people I never make time for myself. I’ve wasted years taking care of people’s day to day without a thank you. I don’t do it for the gratitude but sometimes a simple acknowledgment goes a long way. I’ve wasted years helping other people follow their dreams without even thinking about mine. I’ve cancelled plans to help people who had a “major problem” that ended up being minor. Friends and family alike seem ungrateful because it’s expected of me. “It’s just who Khoi is.” I hear this so often that it’s become expected of me.

Sometimes I feel I’m stretched too thin but that’s just who I am. Another part of me wants to be helpful to as many people as I can because I feel like I wouldn’t have many if any friends or acquaintances if I wasn’t willing to help everybody I can. It’s why I’m so quick to do things at a person’s request. It’s why I’m so quick to buy games for friends to play with me. It’s why I’m so quick to drive dozens of miles when I know people are too lazy to drive. It’s why I’m so quick to pay for a whole dinner party when going out to eat. I feel like I need to pay them to spend time with me or else they’ll feel they wasted their time with that quiet fatass who hardly talks, and when he does says something stupid.

There’s always this thought at the back of my head. If I don’t go above and beyond I’ll never be able to hold onto any friends.

Well yeah, I know Chau, both Sumis, Gina and a few other friends will be there because they genuinely care about me but what can I say about the others? Even then, sometimes I feel like I’m drifting away from my closest friends. Contact with people I like talking to is lessening. What used to be all day is now a few choice words a few weeks at a time. The amount of time I hang out with people I like spending time with is becoming nonexistent. I see them less than once a month if at all.

So I have to go above and beyond for everybody else. But sometimes going above and beyond feels fake. You’re trying too hard. You’re exhausting them. You’re smothering them. You’re not giving them room to breathe. You’re not letting them stand on their two feet. You’re just going to create this cycle of dependency or at worse, disdain.

This… this isn’t normal or healthy. Even when I help everything and everybody, if I’m not willing to help myself I end up feeling like shit.

You spend your entire life with yourself. Yet you’re the least happy person all the while helping other people be happy? I feel so lonely when I’m alone. I feel lonely when I’m with people. I feel lonely in a room full of people. I feel lonely if one or two key people are missing. It just doesn’t feel the same without them.

I have to learn to love myself. I spend so much time at home locked in my room recharging from helping other people I just feel alone.

It’s funny, though. People seem to love or hate the Khoi that runs his mouth. Once the initial reaction and abrasive behavior is the norm people seem to warm up to me. That’s become expected behaviour for me. People like me when I’m this loud mouth kid. It’s not who I am, or at least who I want to be. I keep doing it because people seem to believe this Khoi is more real than the Khoi that’s nice and caters to people.

“Be nice, that’s the natural you.”

Chau wants people to have a more accurate assessment of me. But what is that assessment? On first impression I’m either totally quiet and standoffish, or a dick. This Khoi also feels fake. I feel I need to be verbally aggressive to make up for my passiveness in other aspects of life. I feel I need to be aggressive to be remembered. I feel I need to be aggressive or else people’s first reaction would be to take advantage. Whereas some people think I’m nice to make up for my aggressiveness it’s actually the opposite.

I feel I need to make jokes at everybody’s expense because sometimes that awkward silence is just that much more awkward when I’m not with the right people. On the flip side, I feel that much more compelled to shut people up because sometimes silence is what I’m comfortable with. Silence is much more comfortable than hearing idiots run their mouths for hours on end. There aren’t many people I can be alone with without feeling awkward so I have no idea how to act in most situations.

“I don’t want people’s first impression [of you] to be like ‘Wow, he’s a dick.'”

Chau caught on that I misrepresent myself and it really isn’t a good thing. Like I said before I am always wary of people who are nice. Not many genuinely altruistic people. I don’t want people to think I want something because I don’t. It’s dumb that my natural response is to be an asshole but that’s what I’ve adapted to over the years to offset the assumptions.

My best friend is female. A majority of my friends are female. Most of the people I talk to on a daily basis are female. It’s not because I’m thirsty. I don’t think there’s anybody out there that actually knows me that honestly thinks I’m thirsty. I’ve probably only flirted with like 5 girls in the past 5 years? And 3 of them were within a one year period. I’ve always grown up around girls. 2 older sisters, dozens more female cousins than male cousins, more aunts than uncles, and my father always at work so most parental interaction was with my mom. It’s just natural for me to interact with females more than guys.

The asshole behaviour is also to counteract these other assumptions. If I was always nice wouldn’t their boyfriends be suspicious of me? Wouldn’t they make assumptions? I know I’m trusted by the people that matter to me, but sometimes the assumptions from everybody else is something I’d rather not deal with.

There’s the assumption that I’m an outgoing person. Sometimes I feel like I overshare just to hide how much I’m actually hiding. Yeah I post a lot of food pics and check-ins on social media, but it’s just a coverup. It’s only an affirmation to myself “I actually left the house today. Aren’t you proud of me?” People seem to attribute that to an extravagant, wasteful lifestyle.  Maybe it’s better for people to think negatively about me than to know I lock myself at home most of the time. Maybe it’s better for people to assume one thing rather than the other. Either way the assumptions are weighing down on my actual social life or lackthereof.

There’s these people who think I lack compassion. Just because these are the things I don’t share on social media it makes me an apathetic person. Just because I acted in my friend’s best interest to protect her I lack compassion. Who fed friends when they had no food in their belly? Who housed people when they had no roof over their head? Who picked their drunkasses up at 3am so they wouldn’t drive drunk? Who’s donated thousands to multiple churches, temples and charities over the last 6 years? Who’s actually volunteered at homeless shelters? I might not be a keyboard activist like some people but to say I lack compassion just shows that these people seem to projecting their insecurities on an already insecure person. I’m glad that what little time I had to spend with my father when he was alive taught me how to be a better man. I know my actions speak louder than words but it’s laughable that people feel they can make these assumptions of me through one interaction.

Then there’s the people that think I’m gay. Liking Disney apparently makes you gay. Being around so many females apparently makes you gay. Not finding specific females attractive makes you gay. Not having feelings for your best friend apparently makes you gay. Ironing your clothes apparently makes you gay. Changing your sheets more than once a month apparently makes you gay. Worrying about your skincare apparently makes you gay. Not having a girlfriend in 6 years apparently makes you gay. Singing in the car apparently makes you gay. Not taking advantage of a depressed girl apparently makes you gay. Orange being your favorite color also apparently makes you gay. I have nothing against gay people, but I’m not gay and I never will be. It’s just more of these assumptions that people seem to fill in because they don’t know better.

“You shouldn’t have to explain yourself to anybody.”

Chau says the only person I need to explain and justify my actions to is myself. I know I don’t, but I have this compulsion to “fix” things. Maybe it’s why I try so hard to help people. I want to fix their problems. At the same time this applies to my explanations. I want to “fix” what people think of me. I know I don’t need to justify my actions but I don’t want people to be wrong about me. Maybe this is what she means. Letting go of this compulsion to justify. I can’t make everybody happy and if I have to explain why I’m happy and why I’m doing anything to everybody it takes out the enjoyment of life.

“You have to stop caring about what people think about you.”

Chau thinks I care about other people’s opinion more than I care about my own. It’s affecting my self-esteem and my perception of myself.

I really wish I could stop caring about what people think. At some point that was me. I didn’t give a fuck, shit or a damn about anybody else’s opinion. The only opinions that mattered were mine and the two people I kept close.

This is another point of frustration for me. I feel as though I’ve regressed in the past two years. I’ve started to move away from who I want to be. In an ideal world I can be the person I want to be, but faking it until you make it doesn’t work when I already feel fake for other reasons as stated above.

I’m not a very religious person but this prayer always resonated with me.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And Wisdom to know the difference.”

That… that used to define Khoi. That was the one tenet I lived by.

Yes, I was sometimes frustrated but I was never angry. I was able to discern what I could and could not change then I was able to let go of the things out of my control. What’s the point of being angry?

But I slowly allowed frustration to become anger. I was already depressed but seeing other friends depressed frustrated me because I wouldn’t know how to help them. The Khoi I wanted to be would know how to help them. The Khoi I wanted to be would know when to give up on them… but this Khoi? He wasted effort.

Sometimes friends put themselves in easily rectifiable situations but wouldn’t be open to suggestions. Your girlfriend is pissing you off? Talk it over with her. Nah, she’s acting stupid and I hate her. Your boyfriend verbally abuses you week after week? Get him help. No it’s just how he is and I love him.  Your girlfriend cheated on you? Leave her. Nah she said it’s only this one time. Your aunt is stealing money from your family? Confront her. No I don’t want the drama. Your wife punches and claws you? Men can be abused too. Nah, it’s okay. I don’t want to come off as weak. Your boss won’t pay you overtime even when you’re legally obligated to be paid for the time? Take it up with HR. I’m afraid I might get fired. I get it, sometimes when you’re in the situation yourself you lose sight of what’s clearly in front of you. Repeating myself for months at a time is what frustrates me. It’s like why do you ask me for advice if you never take it? Sometimes people just want to rant. Sometimes people want to be heard. Sometimes people want to be understood. Then there’s sometimes people actually ask for advice then completely ignore it.

The Khoi I want to be would know to stop listening to them within a week. It’s just wasted efforts, but for some reason I showed empathy far longer than I should have. It was draining.

I used to say what was on my mind. Now I hold reservations and am hesitant to express my true feelings. Granted, I probably needed to filter myself more but at least I didn’t suppress my actual emotions and intentions. The Khoi I wanted to be wouldn’t be afraid to voice my opinions but without the vocabulary that gets him in trouble and embarasses his best friend.

“You apologize too much and it makes people uncomfortable.”

I used to never apologize. A part of it was me never giving a shit if I hurt people that I didn’t really care about, and another part of it was me knowing I would try to fix and improve the situation and there was no point in an apology. Words mean less than actions. Now I apologize too much. Almost every other sentence from me is an apology. I have to apologize for my actions.  I have to apologize for my incompetency. I have to apologize for my existence. I hate having to apologize as much as I do. Actually, I don’t need to apologize. I hate feeling the need to apologize as much as I do.

I used to have clear goals and motivations. I used to have so much drive and ambitions but now I’m just… coasting. I’m just floating around. What did I want? I wanted to provide for my friends and family. I used to have plans and steps I followed to attain those goals.

Sumi came to Los Angeles at the end of June for a mini-vacation. Her visit came at a good time. I was in a rut and hadn’t left the house in a long time besides pasta and wine with Chau and friends earlier that month. I needed to get out of the house. Spending time with her helped me reminisce and remember the past isn’t always a bad thing. We had fun (or at least I did). I felt bad because I had NO idea of what to do while she was visiting. The only thing on my mind that wasn’t somber thoughts is food. I don’t want someone else to blame me for getting people fat.

In three years she’s changed and became an even more awesome person. At the same time I feel like I didn’t change where I needed to change and got worse in areas I shouldn’t have. She’s a great person and doing great things and well… well I’m just Khoi. She’s shown me how much someone already great could improve in 3 years time. Hopefully the next time we meet (hopefully in less than three years this time please) someone shitty like me would improve to become a good person.

This “reunion” reaffirmed my goals. Even to this day one of my goals is to move all my close friends (back) to California or give them that option. I want to get Mike (Cup) out of the hell that is Florida. I want to move Allison out of the frozen wasteland of Kanedaland. I want to move Sumi back from the land of pineapples and Stitch. Plenty of others but I just want my friends close. The best way to do that is to provide a source of income so friends can self-sustain and live here. Hand-outs are often the worst things you can do for people you care about. The best way to obtain income is to create jobs. I was on my way to doing that but because I got sidetracked with personal problems and I lost motivation. I closed up shop and breached contracts that I had to pay for in the long run. This is one of the goals I must fulfill. I can’t let this one get away or fail.

Her visit really threw me for a loop, though. It was years since I last saw her and when she left we weren’t that great of friends. Our friendship rehabilitated through online interactions but there was this reminder upon actually seeing her face to face again. There was this stark realization that it wasn’t just an online friendship. When she was last here, I wasn’t “allowed” to be her close or good friend. Hell, I wasn’t even “allowed” to be her friend. This person doing the “allowing” seemed to think I couldn’t be her friend.

Looking back, that person was full of shit. They were projecting their inability to be her friend without ulterior motives onto me. Maybe it wasn’t projecting. Maybe it was jealousy of the friendship that was developing. Maybe it was the fear that she didn’t need them as much as they’d like. Maybe it was the insecurity of the situation at hand. Maybe it was them trying to… Nah I know now that person isn’t a good person. Duplicitous in nature. Thirst in its purest. Why try to find their reasoning when none of the reasons are logical? Doesn’t matter why they did it because none of the reasons were good or pure in intentions.

I was reminded of how I allowed other people to meddle with my perceptions, the perceptions I had of others and the perceptions I had for myself. As much as I’d like to blame them for the situation I have nobody to blame but myself for believing. I should know better. Instead of asking her directly, I assumed what the person doing the “allowing” was acting on her behalf. I allowed this to happen myself. I’m a cynic but at that point in time I had less faith in myself than I had in others.

This actually happened again recently… Multiple times. I keep allowing people to change my perception of myself. I actually started to believe what others were saying. It’s pathetic, really. Why do I allow these people who shouldn’t mean a damn thing to me keep changing how Khoi perceives Khoi? They’re not changing the masks I wear, they’re changing who I think is underneath them.

I wear so many different masks that I’ve lost my identity.

The only person I’m 100% real with is Chau… or at least I used to think I was. For the longest time I felt I could tell her anything. A n y t h i n g. For a point in time I felt like she could do the same.

I’ve said it before but I have a lot of issues. Medical issues, health issues, emotional issues, mental issues, family issues, personal issues, trust issues. She didn’t mind, but at some point in time I got the notion in my head that I was overburdening her. You’re annoying her. You’re not a good friend to her. You’re taking her kindness for granted. She’s not going to want to be your friend any more if you’re this weak shit.

So, I lied and hid a lot of my problems from her. Lying is a slippery slope. Once you hide or lie about one thing it’s easy to snowball to more lies and hide more things.

“You’re honest to a fault, sometimes too honest.”

It’s ironic isn’t it? The one person who I’ve said I would never lie to became the person I lied to the most.

With the lies came my reluctance to address the annoyances. In our many years of friendships there was never any fight or argument because what needed to be said was said when they came up. Any annoyances or grievances between us would be addressed directly. We’re adults and if it’s honest why would you get angry. Address it, admit mistakes, improve and make an effort to correct mistakes. Talk.

A part of me was afraid since there wasn’t the regular line of communication any more addressing things would lead to an end of a friendship. Another (dumb) part of me felt it was more productive to let shit build up and say it all at once instead of taking time from our days to address everything. I mean, that’s what we used to do. Why am I letting these immature kids’ habits affect mine? Dumb, right? Gina once told me great friendships are not about not having problems but instead how you deal with them. For so long we dealt with them (in my opinion) perfectly, but it was my own hesitance that lead to this bumpy road of build ups and hiccups. It’s not the big things that destroy friendships, it’s the accumulation of small things. Insecurity from expectations, assumptions and skewed perceptions almost derailed a friendship that mattered so much to me.

Chau is my best friend and I think of Chau like a sister. No, I take that back. She is my sister. Hell, she’s closer to me than any of my blood sisters are and probably ever will be. This is not a slight at them, but a statement of the honest truth. The 10+ year age gap between my sisters and I, and the difference in upbringing didn’t help.

Like a true best friend, Chau can tell when I’m hiding stuff from her, but she trusted me enough to assume the truth would come out eventually and not let it get to her. One of my goals for this year was to not rely on her as much, but I went about it in terrible way. All my problems big and small I just kept inside instead of telling someone and if I told someone it wouldn’t be her.

In my loneliness I reached out for friendships with a lot of people. Reaching out was a good thing because I learned to talk to more people, but it was also a bad thing because my standards were lowered. I ignored a lot of red flags I normally would have caught in the past. In my eagerness to find friendships I also adopted behaviors I hated.

I often ranted to people who didn’t share the mindset Chau and I shared so my mindset and thought process slowly changed over time for the worse. I became more immature. I started to hold more grudges. I started to blame my problems on others. I started to care more about things I shouldn’t.  I started to take less actions and talk more. I hated what I became even more than before I started talking to her less.

At some point I recognized I was becoming worse but I still didn’t want to talk to Chau about it.

I remembered one of our earlier conversations when we were becoming closer friends. I told her I wanted to drop the useless people from my life. She felt the same way. Useless people are a waste of time and space in an already crowded life of responsibilities. Remembering this, I felt like I was going to be dropped soon if I wasn’t able to be strong.

I was ashamed of what I had become. I started hanging out with her less. I started talking to her less in general. I deliberately did things to avoid her. I deprived her of options and made decisions for her.

I justified it by saying I didn’t want her to worry. I justified it by saying she wouldn’t want to be friends with the person I had become. I realize now it’s not a noble thing to make decisions for others. I do it in their best interest but without their input. Hell sometimes I even deny them the options. As someone who hates not having control I realize how annoying this can be.

It’s her choice and ultimately her decision.

She has the choice to ignore me. She has the choice to end conversations. She has the choice to leave this friendship but she hasn’t. We’ve been through thick and thin. If we’re as close as we think we are, I should have more faith in her capacity to care. If I respected her as much as I say I do, I should have trusted her more. Instead of I’ve hurt her feelings, her pride and our trust by denying her the truth. I’m the only one to blame here.

Bye bye Butterfree

“You need to learn to let go.”

When things came to a head I really hated that person I became. Frustration due to a situation I had created as well as the inability to articulate my feelings lead to three of the shittiest weeks of my life. I felt the most alone I’ve felt in years. I felt like I lost a friend . I felt like I lost my best friend. I felt like I lost my sister. In my desolation, I said ridiculous things to other friends. I made assumptions that they hated me. I said things to Chau that I should never have said. If anybody else had said those things to Chau I would end them. Without hesitation.

After I calmed down and had my moments of clarity I talked to them. I expected friendships to end or to be greatly damaged.

Unexpectedly, they forgave me. I feel terrible for not having faith in them. I should really have more faith in my friends. They know I’m not always going to be this unbreakable emotionless person. I expected them to drop me for being weak.

Most surprisingly at the time, Chau forgave me as well. The person who I said the worst things to. I didn’t deserve her forgiveness, I felt I had to atone.

If she’s forgiven me why do I keep letting guilt take hold of me? It’s not noble to make yourself feel guilty. It’s not noble to pity yourself. So why do I do it? If anything it just makes you and other people hate you more. I gotta let go of my own issues.

At the same time, I know she doesn’t just mean let go of my own guilt. I need to let go of resentment. I need to let go of hate. Things are in the past, learn from it then leave it. That’s how I was at one point, why am I like this now? I’m a stronger person than most, don’t look down on people just learn to not be like the people that you dislike.

I have this tendency to overthink. Obviously. I mean I’ve written how many words here? I need that peace of mind and constantly thinking about the past and the things I don’t want to be doesn’t help me grow.

Chau has tried to teach me over the years how to be a better person, but I’ve always been reluctant. I’m as stubborn as hell. Maybe that’s why Snorlax/Kabigon is my spirit animal. As annoyed as I get when people don’t listen to me, I can only imagine how annoyed she must be repeating the same shit year after year.

Chau has done so much for me. When I started my last business and people said I would fail, it was Chau who kept me on track and helped me prove them wrong. When I had girl problems and was going to do something regrettable, it was Chau who helped me not compromise my morals. When I got personal problems that interfered with work, it was Chau who helped me stay focused. When I wasn’t happy with my 80+ hour work weeks any more, it was Chau that helped me see there was no shame in knowing when to quit. When I was extremely depressed, it was Chau who helped me get me back on my feet. When I wanted to lose weight and people didn’t think I’d even lose 10 lbs, it was Chau who helped me lose 90. When I was spending ridiculous amounts of money to impress people who I shouldn’t have cared about, it was Chau who called me out on it and made me cease the behavior.

I was able to do all things because I had such a great friend. I honestly don’t deserve such a good friend.

I need to learn to be great, so we can both be great. I’ll never be able to repay her for all she’s done but the biggest thank you I can give her is actual progress in my personal development.

I can’t expect my little big sister to hold my hand my entire life. I have to make strides on my own, but it’s also knowing that I can’t do it all alone. I know now intentionally denying her access to my life was stupid. I also know now over reliance on her is stupid.

Like I said earlier, my current depression originates from the dichotomy between the current Khoi and the Khoi I want to be. But where do I go? In what direction do I grow?

It’s obvious the Khoi that needs to grow and change is the Khoi beneath all the masks.

Earlier I said if anybody else said those cruel and malicious things to Chau I would end them. I needed to kill that Khoi. I’m never suicidal but that Khoi had to die.

All that anger has to die. No good comes from anger. It makes me think and act irrationally.

All that resentment has to die. There’s no point in holding onto everything. Resenting someone doesn’t do anything to help me. It just makes me think about it more which would lead to anger. I’m only hurting myself.

All that manipulative behaviour has to die. I’m not a god. Why do I feel I can make better decisions on their behalf? Why did I feel I can control situations?

All that lack of communication has to die. If I’m not communicating how am I supposed to expect people to know what I want and feel?

That Khoi could not be allowed to exist. That Khoi has to die.

“Your life isn’t yours if you’re constantly worrying about what others think.”

I kept saying “Chau wants” and “Chau says” but honestly those are things I myself wanted at a point in time. These are things I still want but I’ve temporarily lost my way. I wanted to improve, she was just there to echo my positive actions and try to deafen my negative habits. She only wants the best for me so it’s time for me to want the best for me as well.

Learning and realizing what’s best for me is hard, but I’m starting to realize there are a lot of people in my life who aren’t the best to have around. I need to do what’s in my best interest and limit or cut them off. I used to be able to cut people off easily, but now more than ever most of my friends are connected one way or another. Everybody knows everybody. You know how awkward it would be to cut people off? How much drama that would cause? I guess the best I can do is limit my interactions with them. Slowly contact them less. Slowly respond less. Until that constant interaction is gone or so infrequent they don’t affect me any more.

There are people I pick up bad habits from. Habits that they embody and encourage things I don’t want. In my moments of weakness I often justify my pitiful actions as “Well So-And-So does it so can I.” That’s not good. I know I’m better than that. Why use them as an excuse for my bad behavior? Own up to it, and if they really are a cause for my bad behavior don’t learn from them. I’m waaaaaay above peer pressure. Why would I let these behaviors change mine?

There are people who annoy or have wronged me. Sometimes it’s hard because the bad things they’ve done in the past still affect me to this day. Listening to Chau and my own wishes, I need to let go and not let their past actions affect my current ones. Forgiving people is honestly one of the best things I can do, but I still hesitate doing it. Forgiving people releases me from those thoughts in the back of my head. Negative thoughts and those annoying questions only hurt me not the other person. Close the chapter and move on. Then there are people I hesitate cutting off because of some of the positive things they’ve done for me in the past. There’s a whole chain of people who have wronged me but ultimately lead me to meeting some of my closest friends. I feel like I owe it to them to keep them around or else I would have never had the people who are currently in my life. I also realize I don’t owe them shit. Why should I keep them around if they’re more of a headache now than they were before? Sometimes actions of the past are just that. If I can forgive someone for wronging me and closing that chapter, I can learn to thank someone for their past actions but acknowledge they’re a non-factor in my present and future.

There’s people who aren’t bad people, but interactions with them brings down my mental and emotional state. I’m already constantly depressed. I can’t handle another depressed person for an extended period of time. Having dealt with multiple people going through depression and people who have had thoughts of suicide, I couldn’t imagine how much I was weighing down on my friends. Especially Chau. I can’t even begin to imagine how much weight I was putting on her shoulders.

“I don’t know how to talk to you. You’re one of the people I know who are actually depressed. I want to help you but I don’t know how and sometimes I feel like I’m making things worse.”

As a depressed person, I know the feeling of hopelessness and melancholy well enough on my own. Two depressed people is a recipe for disaster. It becomes a pity party. You feel bad for why they’re feeling down, then you made them sad for sharing why you’re down. Then now you’re both more sad than before and none of it helps. You just bounce off the negativity between each other until you get more and more depressed. As a depressed person I want to help everybody because anybody and everybody can use a hand, but I as a depressed person I feel like people are dragging me down and making me feel even worse about my own depression.

Some people are a lot closer to the edge than I am. I’m nowhere near it. I’ll never know how to talk someone down that’s suicidal. I’ve never been there, and me not being able to help situations makes me feel even worse. It might seem selfish, but I can’t help them as I am. I have to handle myself first. Fight through this depression and become a great person so I can help the people that need it. It’s just not something I can deal with in my life right now.

There are people who don’t think there really is a problem. Snap out of it. You just need to stop being a bitch. There’s no such thing as depression. Why are you such a pussy? It’s one of the reasons why I’ve always been so hesitant to seek professional help. Even in my own family mental health issues don’t actually exist. You just need to get over it. It frustrates me that what I can and cannot do with my own money for my own mental health is under the judging eyes of family. It frustrates me when there’s people who say things like, “It can always be worse.” Yes, it can be, but that doesn’t mean every other person’s plight doesn’t matter. Hell it just makes things worse because you think of all the hypothetical situations of things that can happen to you.

There are people don’t want what’s best for me, they only want what’s best for them. Helping them less got me cut off from a few friends and family already. Maybe it helped me realize they weren’t people I wanted around to begin with if my measure of worth was how much I was able and willing to do for them. When I told people I wanted time for myself, they say I’m being selfish. When I can’t give everybody a ride, they call me unhelpful. When I don’t want to listen to your relationship problems, they say I only care about my own problems.  When I tell people I can’t lend them money, they say I’m greedy. I won’t name who, but this family member came to me and said  (In Vietnamese) “Your mother gave us gold bars while in Vietnam and helped us buy our house. What have you done for me?” The fuck kind of entitled shit is that? I don’t owe you a damn thing. If anything you owe me and my mother. People constantly find reasons to cut me off once I’ve outlived my usefulness. They cut me off. Well, now I need to cut people off who take me for granted.

There’s people in my life who are only a pair of eyes. They stare. They judge. They assume. They comment. They snicker. They talk behind my back.  But like eyes, they shouldn’t actually have mouths. I shouldn’t listen to people who only make assumptions. “Friends” and family alike, they can only affect me if I let them.

At one point in time I really did believe family meant everything. They still mean a lot, but not nearly as much as I put an emphasis on before. My father instilled in me the belief that I had to do what I can when I can for my family. You’re the head boy. You’re the one that has to take care of the family. You’re the one that has to carry on the family name. If you don’t do well by your family who are you?

Family started to carry a negative connotation for me.

Family is who wants me to have a wife and kids soon. If I’m going to spend the rest of my life with someone it’s not going to be someone who likes the current Khoi. That person has shitty taste. It’s gonna be one helluva journey if they’re going to be there while I go through my highs and lows to get where I want to be. No one’s ready for that shit. Let’s be honest. I don’t like most children. I like well behaved children. I like my sisters’ kids. I like my cousin Nguyen’s kids. I like some of my friends’ kids but otherwise… they’re mostly a source of annoyance for me. Loud mouthed brats running around making a ruckus. It’s not the kids’ faults. Their parents just suck at being parents. I’m afraid of being a bad parent. I mean there’s no guide book for that. What makes a good child to one person would make a bad child to another. I’m nowhere close to ready for that, but my extended family is expecting it. Plus I think I like my money and freedom more than I like kids.

Family isn’t who cares the most about you. Obligation to care is one thing but it’s the people who choose to care about me who mean the most. Family is who cares the most about what you do and what you can do for them. Family isn’t the ones who will be there for you unconditionally. Family is who passes judgment because they think they know what’s best for you. Family isn’t who wants to take the time to understand you. Family is who assumes they know better. Family is who looks down on you for making your own choices. Family is who gossips about your mother and sisters but smiles to their faces. Family is who yells at you for confronting rather than bad mouthing behind their backs like they love to do. People tell you to respect your elders but I’m learning to respect actions more than age.

Chau’s my sister in addition to being my best friend because of how close we are. I love her like a sister but I’m so tired of family lately. I projected the expectations my family had for me onto her and those are expectations I can’t even expect myself to fulfill any more. I projected my own expectations of family onto her as well.

Expectations are really a horrible thing. When they’re met they become a standard, when they’re not met they are a source of disappointment and more frustration.

If I keep living my life according to their expectations am I really living my own life? I’m expected to do all these things but at what point does it stop being “Khoi’s life” and more of “Khoi’s life as dictated and directed by Family Members A-Z and Friends 3-30.” If your life isn’t all that great, why would I want to do what you’re telling me? I’ve suppressed my ego and confidence for a while, but I’ll be damned if I want to lead a mediocre life. I was a lot happier and doing a lot better when I was able to recognize I was better than the people who tried to keep me down. Insecure people tried to kill my ego and confidence for so long. They don’t want to see people do better than them. They didn’t like it when I was getting smarter, getting thinner, and getting happier. They wanted their lives to be the benchmark when I was someone who was going to be and do things far beyond their reach.

It’s always the people who have no lives and lead boring existences who have the most time to judge and assume about me. I’ve allowed them to alter my perception of myself yet again.

I have to be the Khoi I want to be without worrying about what people who don’t matter think. I know I have a better moral compass than most people and if my ego gets out of hand Chau and both Sumis will be there to knock it down a few levels. It’s not like I’m going to be the world’s biggest asshole once I start doing what I want. Those are people I choose to let in my life. I know they’re great friends to help me as I grow. I don’t need a lot of friends as long as I have enough great ones.

The Khoi I want to be is the Khoi that is aware. Aware of his strengths and his weaknesses. Aware of his place among his family and friends. Aware of what he says and does. Aware of what it is that makes him happy. Aware of who it is that is actually important in his life. Aware that acceptance is more beneficial to judgment for my own happiness. Aware that he has great friends that care about him. Aware that change takes time.

I’m not that Khoi yet, but I really want to be him soon. I just know I have to start by being myself first. It’s frustrating to see myself regress in some ways. It’s frustrating to see how slowly I’m actually progressing.  It’s encouraging to see that I’ve made some progress but it’s frustrating to see how far away I am from being who I want to be. I am hopeful, though 🙂


Author Khoi

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