I've found a new home in myself.

"The goal of yoga is to encourage us to be a little better than we were before. We must actively seize every opportunity that helps us to progress. 

We must accept where we are and move in the direction we want to go." 

- T.K.V. Desikachar

I live my life with intensity and intention. It's perhaps one of my favorite characteristics about myself. When I decide to pursue something, I put all of my focus and energy into it - at times sacrificing physical or mental comfort to do so. I don't half-ass anything. 

I haven't written in a while because I've been busy, putting my effort and energy into my work and into my yoga practice and into my friendships. I've filled the empty spaces of my life and have been feeling really balanced and happy and settled as a result. Things have been going so well, it's almost obnoxious - to be this happy, to feel this grateful. 

But the first half of this year was challenging for me - I struggled a lot with issues of identity and direction, unsure of who I was or where I was headed or where I fit into the world. So I'm allowing myself to feel this and to bask in the fruits of the emotional work and plain old "work" work I've invested my time in over the last several months. I'm allowing myself to pause and reflect on what it took to get to this point. 

I've done a lot of fucking writing this year. A lot. Which is saying something, because I've always written a lot. But I've noticed an evolution in the way I approach my writing - probing myself to dive deeper and to be more honest with myself. What am I feeling? Why am I feeling it? Is this anxiety? Is this anger? Is this stress? Is this love? What are the specific, individual thoughts or ideas that are swirling around in my head that are contributing to this emotional response? What are the actions that are causing them? Can I isolate them? Can I name them? 

All of the intensity I put towards my work and my hobbies, I put in equal measure towards anything I'm feeling - love, anger, excitement. And going through this exercise whenever I'm feeling any significant emotion has helped me confront ugly truths about myself - like the fact that I tend to assume the worst in others when faced with a lack of information - and has prevented me from acting on some of my worst impulses. It's also helped me embrace the best parts of myself - my confidence, my drive, my willingness to be open. 

Being more honest with myself in my personal writing has also helped me be more vulnerable with others, leading to deeper, more satisfying interactions with the people in my life. I don't hide what I'm thinking or what I'm feeling anymore. My shit's all out there, available for your consumption. And I actually feel lighter, knowing that I've uncovered and shared all of myself, everything I have to offer. 

So yeah, this is a lot of words just to say that I've been feeling more balanced and focused as of late, and I can see this new ease contributing to the success in my work life and the growth in my yoga practice. I'm happy. I feel resettled in my skin, finding a new home in myself. I'm enjoying the stability that comes with the confidence of knowing who I am, and loving myself for it. 

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