WE ARE ENOUGH
For 30 years of my life, I always have very low self-esteem. I usually criticized myself for everything happened around my life — from my family, my relationship, and my company. I don’t feel that I’m pretty enough, or talented enough, or nice enough!
Even when I earned some small success, and got recognized by “Forbes Vietnam 30 Under 30” — I still feel shameful because I don’t think I’m good enough. I feel that my works have been very minimal and not impactful compared to other members in the group. Instead of feeling happy, I feel pressure to achieve more.
And a year later, I felt burned out, and I quit my 6-figure income job …
Only 7 months later — while I was still searching for myself in the forest and in between projects, I received the news about my cancer diagnosis. It’s like a strong splash of water into my face. I was forced to accept that I won’t have enough time, for feeling grief, for self-pitifulness, for regrets.
The time behind me is certainly a lot longer than the time in front of me!
However, I indeed had lots of great time in my 20s compared to other people. But why should I keep comparing?
Cancer has taught me to open up myself more with others. I stopped compared myself with others, but rather with my own very self. Today, I walked 200 steps more than yesterday. Today, I ate one more soup than yesterday. Today, I read one more scientific article than yesterday. Just like that …
I also had low self-esteem because of my disease. During early time of my treatment, I had lots of rash to the point that I cannot recognized myself in the mirror. I had so much mouth-sore that I had to eat all blended food.
And my appearance had became the last thing I worried about … I need to survive; and more important, I need to live first!
Since my diagnosis, I have met, and hear many beautiful stories about love, friendships, and relationships. There are many stories about how partners becoming strength for each others to over come hardships during treatments, and recovery. I started paying attention of small precious moments that I never concern myself to before.
In the past three years, I had meet and hear more encouragement from my friends than the previous 30 years. Hardships, somehow, pull us together a bit closer!
Whether in Vietnam or the US, the social challenge always exists, in education, or healthcare. We should not ignore or deny them, but we should face time head on — and that’s the only way for us to look forward to the future. And that’s how Vietnamese cancer patients should face and fight their disease!
During treatments, cancer patients usually lost their hair, eyebrows, and even eyelashes. Chemotherapy and radiation usually have great impact on their skin tone, and energy levels. However, the beauty of women should not just be their appearance.
The beauty is always in the eye of the lovers …
Not just cancer, many Vietnamese woman has to overcome more social challenge like lack of education, broken marriage, or family pressures. Each of those can lower our self-esteem, meet new friends, and enjoy lives to the fullest!
This photoshoot is done with my friends in Forbes Vietnam 30 Under 30 in my last trip to Vietnam, including my long-time friend Joe Brown, vlogger JVevermind, and musician Pham Toan Thang. This is our gift to all the Vietnamese women this year!
We are enough!
-Los Angeles, Oct 19th, 2019-