Things I Would Have Told Myself

Dear Past Vian (or future Vian),

  1. You are beautiful: When people tell you your eyebrows are too thick and your skin is too dark and tease you for having body hair–don’t listen. You are you. You were never meant to look like the skinny cis white girls in the advertisements and T.V. shows you watched and internalized. Yes, you’ll never be white and your hair will never be straight or blonde but that’s not a bad thing. You are individual and different just like anyone else in this world. There are people in this world that you have yet to meet who will have to teach you of this fact, the fact that you are not white and that is perfectly fine.
  2. Don’t ever let people tell you who you are and how you should act: Remember how Mrs. Buchanan would always yell at you when you weren’t acting “lady-like?” tellmewaht
    Don’t listen. She and no one else besides you can tell you who you are. Even when you don’t feel like a lady or like “one of the girls” all the time I want you to know that those feelings are very valid. In a few years you’ll learn about a lot and even meet a lot of people who feel the same way that you do, but for now I want you to stay strong and always remember that you are valid and you are loved and you deserve to be loved.
  3. Question everything: You are so inquisitive about everything, always asking instead of accepting everything as fact. Never be ashamed in asking because most often than not the people telling you what don’t really know why themselves which can cause them to lie about the why, but not usually out of malice or spite but because they are ashamed of not knowing. Never be ashamed of wanting to learn or admitting your ignorance. Be true to who you are because in the end you’ll learn much more from yourself and those around you.
  4. You are valid: At this point in your life you’re probably surrounding yourself with a lot of white people and that’s not a bad thing but in surrounding yourself with people you WANT to be like instead of people SIMILAR to you might make you feel like your experiences are wrong, bad, or different. Just because your friends don’t experience or understand what you are going through doesn’t make you bad or weird but yes, you are different. What is conventionally normal is a very small box that you simply do not fit into and that’s okay. A lot of people don’t fit into that box but what’s important is that you don’t force yourself to fit in the box. Acknowledge and understand and learn what makes you difference and move forward. Oh also you make better friends, like you’ll meet someone very soon who teaches you more about who you are than you could ever imagine and they do this simply by existing in your life (I KNOW, it sounds way too good to believe, but I promise I’m not making that up.)
  5. Yes, you are Asian-Pacific Islander: Yeah I see you pretending you’re white. I mean LOOK at your skin for a second and I mean really look at it. Do you see white? I understand the need to assimilate especially when everyone screams “ching chong” in your face and make you feel ashamed for getting good grades but please…..stop. It’s hurting you deep down where you can’t see, trust me. It’s hurting you. Looking in the mirror and coming home to your mom’s broken English gets more and more painful the more you believe that who you are is wrong so please for your sake, stop trying to erase who you are. Your Vietnamese heritage is NOTHING to be ashamed of and you’ll meet a lot of people who will have to teach you this as well. It’s taken me years to move forward past those years of torment but I am. I love who I am. I love everything that I am, my smile, my hands, my style, my skin shade, my music taste (YES! You eventually grow past Minh telling you your music sucks too!!!), my heritage, EVERYTHING.
  6. It won’t be easy: Remember how Baba always told you that life isn’t easy and you always dismissed him for being an old cynic? Yeah…sorry to be the one to tell you this but that was like the one thing he was right about. Life can’t be managed the way you want to, you’ll learn that the hard way. You’ll break down a few times, even lock yourself in your closet more than a handful of times but through all of the times that you believed killing yourself was the only option I want to tell you, I’m here. I’ve made it and there are so many beautiful things in this world I really don’t want you to miss out on. You probably don’t believe me as you read this but you’re really just gonna have to trust me (and I know that’s hard for you too.)
  7. Believe in people: Okay, look, I know you’ve been hurt more than a few times by people that you thought you could trust, people who were very close to you, but I want you to trust in people again. I know, it’s hard for me to just say that and have you miraculously be okay with everything but this is important. You’re going to meet someone who will impact your life greatly and they’ll ask that you trust them and you won’t be able to the first few times and it’ll break your heart every time. Spare yourself the heartache and just believe in them. I’m not even asking you to believe in everyone! You can believe in just one person, that’s cool, but I want you to at least believe in someone and trust that they won’t hurt you, at least not out of malice anyway.

Okay, that’s it. That’s pretty much everything I wanted to tell you, or the most important stuff anyway. I’m not telling you this to correct the past or change what you’ve done because that stuff is pretty much set in stone. You’re going to trip up a LOT with or without me telling you all this but I guess I just wanted to give you some hope. Hope for better days even when things get really bad (and trust me, they will.)

Reasons I Didn’t Go to PRIDE Parade

Trigger Warning: transphobia, racism, mentions of violence, bullying

This isn’t something about how I’m shaming those of you who have attended and support and love PRIDE parade. This and everything on my entire blog is entirely my opinion and if you don’t have the same opinion as me then, that’s perfectly fine, I respect you and your opinion even if I may not agree with you and I ask that you share that same respect with me.
So without further ado, let’s just jump into this.

Today marks the 25th annual Austin PRIDE Parade, a fun celebration of…something, I’m assuming pride.

This year I have intentionally decided to not attend pride–BUT VIAN DON’T YOU IDENTIFY AS LGBTQIA+???

Oh! Rando reader! You are totally right! I do…but not always pridefully. It’s hard to celebrate pride in who I am..when I’m not always proud of who I am.

On the fourth day of school I was stereotyped as a “model minority” and consequentially shamed for my culture. It’s hard to be proud of a good grade or looking cute in glasses when you’re constantly worrying that you’re holding up racist stereotypes by simply existing.

It’s hard to be proud of my gender when my mom asked  if she “raised me wrong” when I came out to her. It’s hard to stand up tall when the transgender panic defense consistently excuses the actions of cold blooded murderers on the grounds of transphobia.

I’m not privileged with the ability to forget my identities because I hear them talked about, shamed, tokenized, stereotyped, argued about, policed ALL the time. My race is the first thing people see, which forces me to be hyper aware of my actions; what I say, what I do, everything because you never know if it’ll set off a racist or transphobic tangent about how “I should go back to my country” or how I’m not “trans enough.”

I’m not even proud of the state of LGBTQIA+ issues. The majority of social justice that exists is focused primarily on white people. Non intersectional social justice is more prevalent while other issues are being erased like BlackLivesMatter, NotOneMoreTransMurder, I Stand with Planned Parenthood, and the list goes on and on because…we’re not done yet. Marriage Equality was a big huge step in the right direction but remember how the Supreme Court ruling was 5-4…I wouldn’t be surprised if another similar case came up in the courts again.

We’re not even close to being done.

And sure, the existence of Pride Parades were prevalent even before Marriage Equality was legalized but for me, personally, I’m not really in a celebratory mood.

For me, there’s nothing really to celebrate.

Say it LOUD and CLEAR


There. I said it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I think that it’s finally time that I step out of my bubble of feared silence and be proud of who I am.

I am genderfluid and I am proud and I am beautiful and I am strong and I am trans. This is who I am and I refuse to be ashamed about it anymore.

Living trans in this cis-centric world can definitely be terrifying….especially when the gay-transgender panic defense exists, when people can invalidate your gender time and time again, when you can look at yourself everyday and must CHOOSE to love yourself and your body because the only alternative, hating yourself, is harder.


Being trans can be scary and difficult and sometimes I do sink into, “IhatemyselfIhatewhoIamIhatemybodyIhatebeingdifferent” but this is who I am and no longer will I hate myself. Self-love is hard…but hating myself…it was just so much harder.

Catch ya later, friends.

MMW: [Bambi by Tokyo Police Club]

MMVBambiAs always, the lyrics to Bambi by Tokyo Police Club

Heyyyyyyy, this looks pretty–sketchy…to me… HAH. ahem. Yup. I’ve been at this for about a week, and  I think it’s pretty complete, don’t you? …If you said “no,” well, wrong answer bub.

I’ve been thinkin……..when school start I won’t have as much free to draw as I’ve been able to these past few months… so expect less updates and less…quality (hahaha) for the entire school year. Not to mention this is also my senior year of high school so I’ll be busy with college applications and that whole mess. Yaaaaaaaaaaay…ugh.

Thank you so much for reading and supporting all the work I do! I’ll probably be active on twitter (@jubnuggets) if you still wanna see art and other shenanigans.

Alright well, see ya kiddos later!

Project FlowerHead

On twitter a few days ago I was stirring up hearts and minds with this dumb as heck tweet:

roseinmyeyesJust kidding. If anything my drawing stirred up only my own mind. It sort of inspired this idea to draw MORE FLOWER HEADS!

So I did.

The next day I got to work on sketching out my idea.


It took a lot of references….. This project taught me that as long as I’m learning it’s okay to ask for help. In the end we don’t know everything and that is okay! (layer2 is actually 3 references-in-one…I had to merge them together so they could actually fit in the screen cap….)

A million references and two layers later my conceptual sketch was complete!flowersktch

Next on the agenda was line art. Now, I’ve been having some issues with my line art which I’m still trying to work through.flowerheadlineart

One major one is closing lines: I’m not sure what about closing lines gives me so much trouble and I don’t even know how important it is to close lines! I watched a digital speed paint once where the artist does their line art and then fills in the shapes to color which is WAY faster than the way I color. I color by using a large sized binary pen and color a little past the lines and then go back and erase the excess. I like this method not only because I’m used to it but also it forces me to focus on the little details in the line art and make sure I don’t miss any spots when coloring.

And after a couple days of work:flowerhead

I’m not super practiced in coloring skin tone but last minute I made the artistic choice to go with the skin tone that most matches the origins of the flowers. So the sunflower has Native American toned skin, the tiger lily and the cherry blossom are both different tones of Asian and Pacific Islander and lastly the dahlia has Central American toned skin. I actually found it very difficult matching skin tones and choosing realistic looking skin colors. Looking at the color picker versus how the color looks in the context of skin are very different things that I still need to work on.

Anyway, some final thoughts: It was really important for me to represent API people since I’m API and I hardly ever talk about it. In my art I personally feel I have an obligation to represent my community and all of my identities including my gender fluid identity not to mention other oppressed minorities.
On a less serious note: I want that ‘trash lord’ shirt so bad….UGH. Honestly, whenever I design outfits and clothes for my art I always want those clothes to exist. I’m lookin’ at all of you fashion designers out there: HIT ME UP I WANNA MAKE SWEET AS HECK CLOTHES. And since we’re talking about my **sarcasm** SWEEEET sense of style, LOOK at those sweet as heck swing dancing shoes. I had a vague idea of the shoes I wanted to draw but when I looked them up…I just–I want those shoes.

Alright, I’m all done. If you’re an artist (OR a fashion designer) and you have any advice leave a comment below and lemme know what’s up with the what’s up.
Later skaters, have a lovely week!