Good News! I'm No Longer Pre-Diabetic!

Last year I read a pretty harrowing article in the L.A. Times about how Asian Americans, and especially Filipinos, have a disproportionately higher risk of getting diabetes at younger ages and lower weights than other ethnicities. 

My dad has diabetes. My mom had gestational diabetes. My grandfather died of diabetes. Diabetes runs on both sides of my family, so I know that I have a high risk of getting it too, especially when you consider my diet (I eat a shit ton of white rice, I love dessert, and I didn't start eating vegetables or drinking water until college). 

So, I got tested last year during my annual, and sure enough, my A1C tested at 5.8 - lower on the diagnosis spectrum, but nevertheless a positive test result for pre-diabetes. 

I'm not a "dieting" kind of person, mostly because I love food and all the best kinds tend to be fried or comprised largely of fat or sugar or carbs. But I'm also not stupid, so over the past year I've been making small dietary changes wherever I can. I stopped eating dessert everyday/after every meal. I stopped drinking boba and soda and sneak leafy greens into my daily diet by blending them into smoothies. I learned how to cook some staple healthy recipes, lessened the amount of white rice I eat on a weekly basis, and started eating more vegetables by roasting them into submission. I also worked out with a personal trainer for a couple months and learned how to lift weights and get some light cardio in without having to mindlessly run on a treadmill (which I fucking hate). 

Since I got tested last year, I'm happy to say that I've lost 10 lbs, dropped my percentage of body fat from 29% to 19%, and my A1C has dropped to 5.5! A modest dip, sure, but it means I'm no longer pre-diabetic, so I'm still counting it as a win. I know I could probably cut my sugar and white rice intake further, but really the most valuable lesson I've taken away from this experience is how to make small changes here and there to pave a path towards a sustainable, healthier lifestyle. 

I'm sharing my story not to gloat, but to encourage my other Asian American, and especially Filipino friends, to get tested for diabetes if you haven't already. I have a small frame - being 4"11 and weighing 100-ish lbs, I appear to be a skinny, healthy person, but that hasn't always been the case. I'm a great example that you can be young and petite and still have shitty, mushy insides that are prone to diabetes.

So get tested! And let me know how it goes.* 

*or don't, we don't need to be on the level of sharing our medical histories, it's cool

Practicing "Yes"

I consider myself a pretty controlled and calculating person. There's very little that I do or say without a shit ton of research and thoughtful planning in advance. This behavior bleeds into the way I perceive and react to everything - like if I'm frustrated about something or feel that someone's slighted me, I'll sit down and write out every possible angle that could explain why I'm having such a strong emotional reaction or that analyzes what the other person's perspective in the situation could be. Basically what I'm saying is I overthink fucking everything. 

But there have been several times in my life where I've felt unsteady or in flux where I've thought - fuck it - and spontaneously said "yes" to invitations without much extra thought or planning. These invitations have led to some of my most memorable experiences. 

When I studied abroad in Spain, I said "yes" when my friends decided to go to the apartment of a group of young Italians we'd met that night at a club, and though none of them spoke English, we bonded over our shared interests in alcohol and dancing. Back in 2010 after a Fake Blood show in SF, I said "yes" when another group of friends decided to hop in a stranger's limo and head to a mansion in Pac Heights owned by one of the cofounders of PayPal, where we saw the beginnings of an orgy before deciding to make a very well-timed exit. Saying "yes" led me to adopting Jojo without even meeting him, and in the past year, saying "yes" has taken me on a date with a 47-year old to an underground salsa club, to my first dance hall class, to Austin, to another memorable first date at the free concert series at Santa Monica Pier, and now, to Paris and Berlin, a trip I booked less than a month in advance and which I leave for in a few hours.

I know I've basically been this emoji --> 😩  in recent entries, but the reason I haven't written in two weeks is because I've been busy not being depressed and living my life and shit, and I've actually been doing well. Writing, for me, is like vomiting after drinking - once I get it out of my system, I immediately feel better. I've also been doing a lot of yoga, taking daily meditative walks, and telling my life story to anyone with the patience to listen to it (thanks, friends!), and all of this has helped me recenter myself and find perspective/peace when it comes to the variety of shit that's been stressing me recently.

I still have moments where I question what the fuck I'm doing, but the good news is that I feel like I've had a productive last few weeks crystallizing an idea of who I want to be and what I want my future to look like. It won't be easy - of course it won't - but I at least now have a renewed enthusiasm to embrace the unknown and to settle into the uncomfortable, despite how much doing so goes against my nature. 

I just don't have time to be scared or to feel unsure of myself. Who does? Saying "yes" has gotten me this far, and so far I've enjoyed a pretty successful career, long, loving relationships, and enough memories to fill hundreds of pages.

I'm looking forward to more "yes" experiences. 

Special Thanks to My Badass Network of Friends

I had a whole blog here and it was almost done, twice, and then the copy was inexplicably deleted, twice, as I was writing it, so now I just fucking give up. 

Basically what it said was thank you to everyone who's reached out to me over the past couple of weeks - family members, close friends, friends I used to be close to but fell out of touch with, friends I never talk to but always have a blast with whenever we happen to be drinking at the same place, friends I met once, like, 7 years ago and haven't spoken to since, and everyone in between. Not sure what I did to deserve such beautiful people in my life, but I appreciate the fact that you're in it. 

And if you ever need someone to talk to - you, whoever's reading this - I'd love to return the favor. If you feel like shit and need someone to talk to, I'm your girl. If you want to rant about an ex, I live for that shit. Or if you just feel weird and unhappy and don't really know why and don't know how to talk about it but feel like you should do something about it but don't really know what, hit me up. We don't even have to know each other that well. Because there's nothing I love more than asking people uncomfortable questions and prying into their histories and getting them to tell me all of their secrets. It sounds creepy, but trust me, you want to get that shit out and you'll find no judgment here. Because I'm a fucking weirdo and absolutely nothing phases me. 

So yeah, thanks. Thanks for your kindness, for letting me sob into your ear, and for helping me avoid paying for therapy. Because I'm on Obamacare and I'm not 100% that shit is even covered.

You guys are great, A+ human beings and I love you. 

A Stranger's Eyes

I could feel the coldness wafting off of you as I walked through the door. The warmth I'd grown accustomed to was suddenly absent from your skin. You may have thought I didn't notice the way you almost imperceptibly recoiled when I reached out to touch you, but it was in that moment that I knew what would soon come. 

During the night we walked side-by-side, but not hand-in-hand or arm-over-shoulder. With your hands in your pockets, your posture mirrored our conversation, stiff and formal. Again I could sense that my invitation to your body had been rescinded, could feel the possibility that this might be the last time I'd see you.  

At the end of the night I wondered, are these your eyes looking back at me or are they a stranger's? Where is the person who would hold me tightly and leave trails of kisses along my shoulders? Where is the person who would search for any excuse to make contact with my skin - delicate fingers through my hair and heavy palms on my hip bones? Where is the person I thought I knew? 

Even while standing directly in front of me you were so far away, the look in your eyes giving away your distance. You were unrecognizable, cold and unfeeling, a closed door that was once so open and inviting. When you walked away mid-conversation, the outline of your back in the dark an implicit goodbye, I felt my heart split and sink into my stomach. I choked on so many words that night that only the worst of them came out. 

It's difficult to remember the look on your face, the way it felt when you looked at me with a stranger's eyes. To have that image be the one imprinted on my memory, instead of your slow, sneaky smile, your tenderness, your softness. And what I must have looked like to you, looking back at you with such incredulity and fury, the pitch of my voice getting higher, icier.  

As I reflect on the events that led up to that moment, I wonder if I had said something differently, approached you differently, could have forced myself to feel differently, perhaps you wouldn't have been such a stranger that night. Perhaps warmth would have continued to roll off of you and fill the space between us with heat, perhaps we would not have met that night with you already so tired and weary (of me). 

In the meantime, I am filled to the brim with sadness; I overflow, my eyes like dams, swollen and bursting. And as tempting as it is to hole up into myself, to bury my sadness deep within, I'm allowing myself to feel this, to cry, to grieve, to process. The guilt, the grief, the fear, the remorse - I feel all of it in heavy waves that lift me up and bring me crashing back to shore. 

I'm devastated about what's been lost, but I know over time the sadness will ebb away, as will the guilt and the grief. And what will remain is a better version of myself, perhaps a little more weathered and ravaged by love, but nevertheless more open and committed and resilient. 

I wish you nothing but the same.