Don’t let others tell your story for you

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“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there” — as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering — the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.”

Byron Katie, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

In second grade I had a classmate who heard me speak Vietnamese for the first time. He went on to point out my Asianness every single day after, so I nearly broke his arm.

It was snack…

We all have the power to transform the mundane into something memorable

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I am prone to unrest and occasionally like to invite chaos into my life. So when two of my girlfriends and I were simultaneously going through heartbreak, I devised a plan: we would cut and dye our hair, burn the scraps in a firepit, and speak our goals into existence over the flames while passing a bottle of Snoop Dogg’s 19 Crimes. Like phoenixes, we’d rise from the ashes as brand new women — or something like that.

Reality had me squatting over a firepit with an electric lighter, attempting to set flame to a pile of hair symbolically doused…

What I wish I knew before dating

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When I look into the past to pinpoint where it all went wrong, hindsight brings me back to the floor of my ex-boyfriend’s bathroom.

I was a junior in high school who spent the bulk of my time on Tumblr when I wasn’t hanging out with my boyfriend. Like most teenagers, I didn’t understand my emotions nor did I have a healthy way of processing them — so I released my frustrations into the digital void with a private Tumblr account.

“No, stop! Give it back to me,” I pleaded repeatedly as my ex ripped my phone from my hands.

Are you still punishing yourself for not knowing better?

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“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” — Maya Angelou

There are plenty of things I’ve done that I’m not proud of. Like most people, I carry the burden of mistakes I made when I didn’t know better. But for me, shame was more than a moment of embarrassment or guilt. Toxic shame attacked my sense of identity and poisoned my inner dialogue.

I learned at an early age that pursuing wants over needs was selfish. Putting yourself first is out of the question when your family is struggling to…

It’s not a question of whether you’re whole, it’s about uncovering and dusting off the parts of you hidden away.

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Days before I submitted my two-week notice, a coworker told me “I think you need to find yourself.” I was back at my parents’ house right after graduating college, working a job that had no relation to my degree. Meanwhile, all my friends were flourishing in new cities with the same morale as Emily in Paris — or so it seemed.

If we’re a combination of the people we surround ourselves with, I became a heterogeneous mixture of a middle-aged couple that escaped communism, an angsty teen with a newfound edge for defiance, and coworkers twice my age who reluctantly…

Kim Pham

Artist. Writer. Podcaster. YouTuber. Creator.

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