December 10th, 2012  (0)
A Woman’s Take on HBO Girls: Episode 9 Revisited
Posted by Khiem in: Advice, Articles

HBO Girls Season 2 will start soon in January.  I’m super excited!

And with that in mind, I am continuing my “Girl’s Commentary on HBO Girls” series of blogs, written by the very talented Thuy.

I have to say… I was very moved by Thuy’s writing.  In this piece, she shares a bit more of her family history with you and relates not only to the characters in the TV show but also to the original podcast commentary I made about episode 9 in regards to mending and healing your family relationships.

Without giving too much away, Thuy, take it away!

**********************************

Out of all the episodes, this is the one that I relate to the most.

As a writer like Hannah, sometimes I get caught up on making unfair comparisons too because it is so subjective.  On top of that, I also get the double whammy of being a girl and being Asian!  Not only do I get comparisons about my looks but also my grades, career, and financial status.

When you compare yourself to others, you easily fall into the trap of trying to do what you think other people will like.  I almost made the same mistake Hannah did when I had to do a TV pilot pitch in front of some network executives and agents.  There were twelve of us and I was the last one to go up.

I saw how some of the other writers threw on a lot of bells and whistles in their pitch and how some fell flat on their face.  I felt intimidated because I had nothing but myself and a couple note cards.

I stuck to my guns though.  I had to be true to myself.  I can’t pretend to be anyone else.

And… It worked!

The executives unanimously said that it was a great pitch and fellow writers came up to congratulate me.  The executives said that what sells is your passion and what is unique and personal to you.  You don’t need anything else.

Adam gave Hannah the best advice when he said:

Focus on being yourself.

Instead, she went into self-doubt when Ray told her that she needed to write about more important stuff like death and disease.  She listened to him and it backfired.  It wasn’t her.

The saying goes, “Write what you know.”

You could say the same applies in social settings, “Talk what you know”.

If it’s not, your confidence won’t shine and people can see right through that you’re not genuine.

“Why didn’t you read the story about the hoarder?  It was hilarious!,” her professor asked.

Hannah said, “I didn’t because it was trivial… and now I feel trivial.”

This happens to women in social circles too.

When asked about their profession, I hear this kind of response over and over again, “… oh it’s nothing… it’s boring.”  I say that to a guy when I want the conversation to cut short!

Whatever you have to say is not trivial.  Don’t ever belittle yourself or what you do.  As long as you speak with conviction and passion about something that is personal and relatable, you will capture your audience.

Passion is an infectious feeling.  Not so many people are as fortunate as Evan to have such great parents to make them feel not trivial.  Like Khiem said, you do need to heal your relationship with your parents for your personal relationships to become better.

Not enough people see that correlation.  Girls have it worse than boys when it comes to receiving wrong messages about sex, dating, and body image.

When I was in my teens, my mom would tell me that I was average-looking and that I would never get a doctor husband because of that.  Years later, I found out that she had been in love with a doctor but he wound up having a relationship with a model/actress instead!

I realized that it was my mom’s own self-perception and beliefs that she was projecting onto me.  She also told me that marriage would just lead to grief and pain but that’s because her relationship with my dad failed.

Sometimes when parents criticize you, it’s really because they see in you what they don’t like about themselves.

If I hadn’t surrounded myself with people who have healthy relationships and made them my role models, I would have held the same perception as my mom did.

I told a friend of mine how I kept getting into relationships with unavailable guys and how I had sought to end the cycle.

She told me:

Sorry but I think the reality is that every guy is unavailable. They’re either unavailable or dicks…or the (hypocritical) nice dick!

I beg to disagree.  I have a few married male friends and I have met their wives.  I hear stories about how they met and how highly they think of each other.  It gives me hope.

It takes a lot of work and sticking together through thick and thin to get to their level of happiness.

However, it is possible.

The reason you seek a partner who was unavailable is because you had at least one physically or emotionally unavailable parent.  You are subconsciously recreating that relationship in your adulthood so that you can relive it and heal those wounds this time around.  Unfortunately, they usually don’t heal and that’s why you keep getting into the same type of relationships.

In my case, my mom and dad separated when I was about two and a half years old and he passed away when I was twelve.  I never saw him after he and my mom parted ways.  How do you reconcile a relationship with your parents when they aren’t even around anymore?

I reconnected with my dad’s side of the family – all my aunts and uncles, and my half-siblings.  I learned more about my dad’s history.  I even learned that we both have a love of writing – he used to write poetry.

My mom told me that it was mutual that they split up.  When I was eighteen, I discovered that he had written a letter to me about six months after the split but he never mailed it out.  It was a letter about how much he loved and missed me.  It didn’t quite match up in my mind though. If he missed me so much, then why didn’t he fight to keep me?

Those answers were revealed when I met my aunt in Vancouver, my dad’s younger sister, for the first time.  She was amazed at my resemblance- both physically and personality-wise.  There was no doubt that I was his daughter.  She opened up about how he loved both my mom and me so much.

My mom was the one who had left him.

He didn’t want to let your mom go.  She was the love of his life.  He was a hopeless romantic.  He went searching for the both of you for two years but your mom left no clues.  He fell into a deep depression.  He couldn’t sleep.  He couldn’t eat…

That’s when it shifted for me.  I wasn’t the abandoned child.  He really did fight for me.

My perception of my romantic relationships shifted then too.  I used to feel overwhelming sadness when my boyfriend was being unavailable.

After that talk with my aunt, another incident happened when he was unavailable yet again.  Instead of feeling sadness that time around, I felt pissed and fed up!  I felt that I deserved better.

At that moment, I realized that I had grown and healed.

I didn’t need to be in the relationship anymore.

On the other hand, sometimes guys can try too hard to be there for you.  Guys always feel the need to fix things.  Most women don’t need that.

Khiem is right.  We want to be heard.  It’s a way for us to process our thoughts and feelings and to have an emotional connection with our guy.  Guys struggle with that because fixing things is their way of showing that they care and to feel valued.

My ex had the hardest time with that.  I literally had to train him for months to stop the urge to fix things for me.  He felt like he was doing nothing when he just listened.

He asked, “How am I supposed to respond then?”

I said, “You can say – yeah, that guy was a total jerk… or I can see how you’re so frustrated.  That sucks!”

Guys want to feel appreciated just as much as we women do.  At the end of the conversation, I would usually tell him, “Thank you. I feel a lot better now after talking to you. It made a difference.”

Then maybe the next day, I would tell him how I came up with a solution and my talk with him helped me sort through my thoughts.  It made him feel good that he was involved in the process.  He felt he was adding value.  He finally got it!

Add some value to your life by putting yourself out there.  Reconnect with your parents.  Learn to be true to yourself.  Express your passions.  Take some risks.  Take a chance on life.  Then, take a chance on love.

**********************************

If you’ve enjoyed the blog, post a comment!  I will be posting Thuy’s take on the final episode soon (aka before the end of the year).

In the meantime, if you have dating situations you want to talk about, email me.

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    July 10th, 2012  (0)
HBO Girls Season 1 Finale (Episode 10) Review
Posted by Khiem in: Advice, Podcast

I have a treat for you today!  Here’s the long overdue guy commentary to the incredible HBO Girls’ season finale!!!

Every week, I keep telling myself that I need to keep the podcast short, but with so much content in each episode, I just can’t seem to do so, especially with this one!  As expected, we were treated to some real surprises in episode 10, aptly entitled “She Did.”  Today, I spend close to an hour going over everything that drove me crazy in the episode and also everything that you can learn about embodying better, more confident behaviors.


Here are some of the topics I cover:

  • How it’s healthier to focus on productive thoughts rather than negative ones like guilt, self doubt, fear, judgment… for you to keep growing personally
  • How having a life philosophy or strong values you stand for can help you create a strong impressions on people.  Are you branding yourself?  Are you creating themes in your life?  What are you saying about yourself to the world?
  • How you can practice spontaneous storytelling by using a word generator
  • Why being overtly sexual only works when you are bold and can follow through with decisively strong intent
  • How to harness your own personal power by meaning the words that you say and by harnessing your edge
  • How keeping your cool ease people into trusting you more, opening up to you and allowing themselves to be led by you
  • How fear is a natural driving force in life and how the way you deal with it defines you
  • How what you say to people reflect how you feel about yourself… and that’s how people will perceive you
  • How to get over fear by taking small steps until you get past the uncomfortable feeling
  • Why you need to be mindful and aware of not only seeing but seizing opportunities when they present themselves

There’s a lot of golden nuggets in here.  Take notes and tell me what else you want to hear.  If you send me an email with questions, I may answer it live on the next podcast!

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    June 15th, 2012  (0)
HBO Girls Season 1 Episode 9 Review
Posted by Khiem in: Articles, Podcast, Product Reviews

This past Sunday’s episode 9 of HBO “Girls”, entitled “Leave Me Alone,” didn’t have a lot of dating themes but it was still exciting for me to watch it as I recognized a lot of my own doubts and insecurities from way back when.

The episode starts with Hannah going to a book launch event in honor of her former classmate Tally Schiffrin.  Immediately, Hannah starts the self loathing as she tries to process how Tally  (who’s supposedly a worse writer) could have managed to publish her own memoir “Leave Me Alone.”

I guess for Tally, having a boyfriend who killed himself on purpose by crashing his vintage car while on Percocet is enough of a base to write a memoir on but for Hannah, it becomes the basis for her jealousy. “She’s so lucky,” laments Hannah. “Your boyfriend should kill himself,” says Jessa. “You deserve it.”

Whether Jessa meant that or not, I couldn’t help but laugh.  The more I get to know Jessa, the more I become fond of her.  Marnie may be the motherly figure in Hannah’s life but Jessa is the only one who seems to not take Hannah too seriously and knows when to call her out.

Writing this now makes me realize why Jessa is such a great flirt.  The carelessness, aloofness, spontaneity in her attitude on life is what makes her most attractive.  Lots of people take dating too seriously and turns each new conversations into an interview and a chore instead of keeping things light and fun.

Skipping ahead, I want to express my love for Ray as well.  Ray started as a supporting character but I could see him develop into a a more leading role.  I am still waiting for him and Shoshanna to develop some form of romantic connection.  As it seems, Hannah is taking a job at Cafe Grumpy and Ray delivers his best lines as he sends her home to change her outfit.  I guess no one told Hannah that wearing a white dress to work in the food service is a big faux pas.

Hannah and Ray discussing outfit no-nos in the food industry

“Hannah, you are wearing a white dress!  Ok?  You’re essentially begging the world to fuck with you,” says Ray.  “Do you understand that?  You are daring a homeless person to wipe their blood on your breasts…  Forget all of the BBC you watch at home with your cats and pick out an appropriate outfit.”

Ray must be the most real guy on the show so far.  His few moments on screen have always been the most enjoyable for me.  His no-nonsense attitude is what makes him so relatable.  If Hannah is the voice of her generation, Ray is the voice of every guy out there as he reminds Hannah to pick “Just a nice cute top.”  “Stop by American Apparel if you need to and get a slim leg, jeans with a slim leg!  Slim leg!”

To finish off the episode, we witness a break-up between two of the major characters.  I don’t want to spoil it for you so go watch it and come back and listen to my podcast.

In this review, I speak about:

  • Comparing yourself to others vs being happy with yourself
  • When self-deprecating humor is detrimental to your dating chances of success
  • How people’s expectations of you influence you for the better or the worse
  • How mending your relationship with your parents can be a necessary step in your growth into a confident person
  • What women might be looking from you when they share, whine and complain about their day to you
  • Being grateful and taking chances in life
  • Doing more of the things you haven’t tried before.  If you aren’t doing things that are uncomfortable to you, you are not growing.
  • When to give out your house key to your significant other
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