Asian-chested is not an oxymoron

Laser Hair Removal in South Korea

I’ve done several of the hair-removal methods.

Shaving, check. Giant raised follicles and stubble-like results, check.

Epilator, check. Pretty good, actually. Still using my first epilator that I bought about ten years ago.

Waxing, check. Relaxing music in a clean environment, being single-mindedly fussed over, smooooooth vagina, check. Only issue was ingrowns from hell, and the tsk tsk every time my waxing expert saw them. Enjoyed these times.

Well, time for the next level: laser hair removal. The thought of permanent hairlessness is appealing. I very much prefer to be smooth. I found a place in Daejeon (a major city in central South Korea) called IAAN clinic with an English-speaking doctor and booked myself for a 7pm weekday/night/evening appointment.

Generally, Dr. Jung explained, it took 5 sessions to get 75% of the hair, varying by individual, and he would recommend more based on the situation, but I’m leaving Korea soon and can only fit in three sessions.

I’m receiving treatment for my underarms and Brazilian area (vagina, but they don’t call it that in the office).

I went in quite early, at 6:45. The front desk doesn’t speak fluent English but the nurses are good enough to communicate very reliably. I filled in a simple form and the doctor brought me in to talk. He explained a little about pre-care and after-care and asked if I had any questions. I changed into the provided tank top and gown. The doctor lasered my underarms and then the nurses did the Brazilian.

So I thought that I’d be in pretty good shape pain-wise, having done waxing for the past year. The extent of pain is similar but the pain is of a different kind. It felt kind of like tweezing the hairs, but with tiny lightsabers as tweezers.

Anyway, I was out by 7:30, and I’ll have my next appointment in a month!


Was not very sexually active.

Then was.
Therefore, needed birth control.
Do not have a reliable enough schedule to be responsible with pills.
Therefore, alternative.
Walked into a clinic to ask about options, having read up on IUDs, rings, and implants.
I walked out forty minutes later with a Mirena in my uterus.

I’m really glad I didn’t know what it looked like before agreeing to stick it up my body. I knew what it did, just not that it looked like… that.

Insertion was painful but not unbearable. I let out a bunch of groans and calm vocalizations to let them know that HEY THERE I FEEL THAT.
and I kept feeling it for a few hours. They shot me in the butt with something–maybe a safety round of birth control since I later read up on the ideal dates for Mirena insertion and I was a couple days out of it.
It was a little over 350,000 won. That’s a bit over 280 US dollars, 255 euros, or 200 British pounds.
Spotting immediately following–they gave me a pantyliner.
They sent me to the pharmacy to pick up a day of pills. There I really started feeling it. Low, heavy, concentrated cramps right where they worked on, cold sweat and slight nausea. I was leaning back on the chair waiting for my prescription to be filled, and breathing slowly to try to avoid jarring and putting pressure on that part of my body.
I’d planned to walk home and run errands on the way. Usually, if I don’t walk, I bus. I couldn’t even do that, knowing the walk home from the bus stop. I took a taxi and must have looked like shit, because the taxi driver was being super nice-uncle-y.
“We’re almost there.”
“I think it’s a bit more tha-“
“I know, I mean you should wake up.”
He took me straight up to the lot.
“You should go in, take your medicine, and rest right away.”
Sometimes people are super sweet.
As soon as I dragged myself up the stairs (there was actual dragging here), I called up a friend and asked him to buy me porridge. Again, must have sounded like shit because he sounded worried and offered to help more. Whimpered my way to my door and inhaled two Advil right away. Lots of bloaty cramps and all that.
I tried some period-cramp methods. Hot tea-good. Hot water bottle-heavenly. Bed-no other place in the world would suffice. Also caught up on a football game. My underdog team winning helped immensely.
In perspective, though, my pain threshold is incredibly LOW. I suck at taking pain.
Second day. Mild, very very mild cramps resembling gas cramps.
Third day… I feel on top of the fucking world.
A month in: I’m happy knowing that I’m not going to get pregnant. But the constant spotting is a little annoying. I wanted to be one of those people who completely lost their periods. I do have my trusty Lunette, though, and I have some sea sponges on the way that I want to try out.
Several months in: Spotting went away after about two weeks. I had a short period, and stuck in the sea sponge in. Worked pretty well! More in-depth writings about the sea sponge to come (I promise). Amidst the mildest of mild anxiety episodes, the secure knowledge that I am protected from pregnancy is sweet, sweet comfort.

Lepel Fiore

Let’s get back to bra things!

I haven’t bought anything new for a while because my current drawer, with my staples like CK Romances and Cleo Lucys, have been taking good care of me. But because of some of them falling apart, lots of them getting discolored, and me just also wanting some shiny new playthings, I hopped back onto ebay to see what was going on.

Hey… where’d all the Lucy’s go?????

When did Freya come out with all this stuff???

Who’s this Lepel character and why’s she all over the place?

I clearly have not kept up.

I vaguely remember seeing Lepel during my last stage of bra-buying, but wasn’t it all non-professional photos on mannequins?

This time around, they were professional stock photos, models and all,61mEp8Qc-EL._UX385_ and sold by one of my usual ebay stores (shout-out to the ever-reliable Belle Lingerie!) so I grabbed a nice black padded Fiore balcony.

It’s good.

Really, it’s good.

It’s comfortable and supportive, and simple enough to be a reliable day-to-day bra, while detailed enough to work with slightly fancier occasions.

There’s a small, barely visible stretch of rubber elastic along the top of the cup, but it doesn’t push down aDSC00519t all.

I’m relieved that it’s solid black. I’ve been snipping off the colorful little decorations at the top of the cup of almost all my bras lately, and it’s great that I don’t have to worry about that here.

One caveat is that the straps are a little too far apart, but not unbearably so.


The caveat is so negligible, in fact, that I went and bought two more Fiores (a red-and-black, and a blue, full-cup, both unpadded and just as comfortable). Yeah, it’s a good bra. I usually don’t like full-cup, either, but they feel great.

I should have gone with my normal 28GG, though. I bought all of these in 30G, feeling like I’d gained weight and needed the extra length in the band. Nope.

This is probably why I found it, actually. I went back to search 28GGs, and well, hello again Freya!

I guess the selection for my actual size hasn’t really changed.


Happy New Year, and best wishes for all of us!

Leaving for Better Places

I’m leaving. I love the city where I live, and I’m grateful for what it’s given and taught and shown me but I’m also finally recognizing how it fucking kicks me in the face sometimes. I can’t avoid it, as long as I work and live here, but I can certainly spend my weekends outside, with different people in different cities.

I’ve been doing that.

And it’s been freeing.

And I feel myself getting better.

Yesterday I walked across a bridge that I’ve walked hundreds of times, and I had to stop and stare at the trees because the autumn colors were breathtaking, and I realized that I didn’t even know how long it’s been since I’ve found colors pretty.

I love you. And while I’m loving the illusion of you, the reality of you has been treating me like shit. I’ll spend the time–pay the cost of hours–to go to places and people who spend their care and love on me. Because I’ve found trust, and I’m feeling it again, and it feels so damn good.

I’m on the verge of feeling safe again.


A Lucky Bout of Depression

Of all times, of all places, of all situations in which to find myself suffering from numbing depression, I think I’m quite lucky.

I feel abandoned, but I have the language and the expressions to express this. Sometimes I find the nerve to express this to the people who I feel have abandoned me–and a few times, they’ve responded. It doesn’t help that they do or don’t. When they say to keep reaching out, and that they’re around to help, I can’t believe them. But the words are there. And I know that for so many other people, there aren’t even these words to disbelieve.

I have a whole, healthy family. My parents are happy and healthy. And my not telling them about this situation of mine is my way of making them worry a little less about me. And I can hold onto that. As hard as it is, as useless and stupid and uncapable as I feel sometimes, I know I can take care of myself, because I’ve done it. And even from here I’ll take care of myself just enough so that I won’t disappoint them. They’re probably biased but there’s a family in my life who I can make proud of me.

I may not have taken the step to get professional help yet–I can’t make the time quite yet. But I have the option. I consider it a good thing that I live independently for this manic pit of emotional exhaustion. I don’t have to think about asking my parent’s input on going to find a mental health professional. I don’t have to figure out transportation, because I can get around in this city on my own.

It’s a good thing I live alone. I used to be able to control where and when I collapsed from physical exhaustion; I could make sure that I got home and closed the door behind me before passing out in a dead heap on the ground. I can’t control my nervous breakdowns in quite the same way but I can hold in the immature angsty screaming and the clumsy falling out of various pieces of furniture until I’m alone at home.

Can’t control when though; a few nights ago, I was having an insanely bad breakdown at 4 or 5 in the morning when I should have been dead tired. I’d been writing a paper for grad school until late, late enough that I should have just dropped motionless into bed. But I crawled in and instead of passing into sleep from overusing my brain, I shook. Just lay there shaking. I could hear the bed rattling. And then followed the nope, guess I’m not sleeping, and the screaming, and the breathing problems, and the falling out of chairs and the falling over the floor and the panic.

Good things. This is about how this is a good time in my life for this to happen.

I have resources. I can’t fix what’s going on in my head but I can poke at it and try to get reactions from it. I can go into a massive number of websites–reddit’s twoxchromosomes, depression, board games sections, fitness have been on top of my list lately. I can learn about others’ stories, and I can see how others deal and how others have met good and bad people. And I have started using Spotify. And this has come into a weird loop of procrastination but also focusing on something else. I grabbed almost all of the songs from a reddit thread about songs that made women feel bad ass, and created a 8 hour playlist on Spotify, and I’ve been listening to it and learning more about my music tastes away from people and my personal history and it’s me and I’ve called it anthem and it’s mine damn it because I don’t feel bad ass right now and these are the anthems that will fucking get me there kicking and screaming and sobbing but I’ll get there.

Joss Whedon’s Found Families

My favorite TV writer is, by far, Joss Whedon. I didn’t get to grow up watching Buffy, but the summer I graduated college coincided with an Amazon sale for all of his work. Having heard my friends sing his praises, I jumped on that sale and engulfed myself in Buffy, Angel, Dollhouse, and Firefly.

Joss Whedon uses these shows to confront issues that plague the minds of modern society. While other writers may concern themselves with being politically correct, finely controversial, and just inventive enough, he digs out the problems that are relevant to the lives of normal people like me, and fights them on screen for me.

His trademark issue is strong feminism. He writes strong, well-rounded, unique female characters who move his stories as heroes, villains, supporting characters, and people. His shows also face issues about rape, about dating, about abuse, about manipulation.

And his characters show love. Friendship. Family. Loyalty. Passion. Dedication. Justice. Honesty. Determination.

These come together in another one of Joss Whedon’s trademarks: found families.

His main characters often come from broken families, don’t have a home, or have ambiguous origins. However, they seek out and create an ensemble, who over a course of time, becomes a family unit. Supportive, loyal, and occasionally frustrating. A family.

Out of all the features of his shows, I connect with and admire the found families the most. I don’t come from a broken home, not at all, but I’m a proponent of having a haven that’s created with purpose, populated by people you’ve come close enough to be a family unit of friends.

I thought I was pretty good at finding my family.

And then my life went to shit.

I turned around to grab their hands.

After all, they’re family, they’re there to help, they always say so.

“I’m here for you.” “I’m 100% your friend.” “If you ever need anything, just speak up.”

I’m speaking up.

No one is here.

I guess we’re only friends when it’s convenient.

Safe Places

I’ve been having problems. Lots of problems. Solvable problems. I haven’t solved them. I’m struggling.

With anxiety, and with depression.

For the past several months, I’ve been suffering panic attacks and anxiety attacks. I teeter on the verge of nervous breakdowns and have broken down, in the privacy of my home, in front of friends, in front of work colleagues; I can’t control it, and this lack of control causes more anxiety.

There are worries about work, pressure from being in grad school, emotional problems, adulting issues, problems from living overseas and alone for so long. They all came crashing down back in March and I haven’t recovered. I’ve been trying. So hard. I’m aware of when I’m stressed, and when I’m sad, and when I need help. I’ve been asking for this help from my friends, and I know that my next step is to talk to a professional therapist.

The part I hate most about my personal battle with depression is that I’ve been honeymooning in an “I’m comfortable in my skin, and I’m happy with my life and the people around me” phase for years. I haven’t had a sincere FML thought since high school. Not being that person who is satisfied with her life direction is really scary, and feels so unnatural. Where did my high go?

I found a high this weekend. Rediscovered, I guess.

I’m still playing Ultimate Frisbee. I haven’t stopped. But the fun of it does stop every once in a while. The last season was so rough. For all of our team, for our cohesiveness as a group of friends, for me, and for my emotions. I didn’t enjoy it as much as a game should be enjoyed, and I didn’t enjoy it half as much as my first season. I was struggling. With a game!

This weekend, Independence weekend, was a hat tournament. I’d been debating all week whether or not to drag my depressed, struggling self to it, because this was the week I’d finally found and accepted the label of “hey guys, I suffer from depression and anxiety because all the things I read about it online are clicking in my brain and making me cry unsatisfied tears!“. I didn’t want to darken my Frisbee experience with it.

And then I found that I’d been put on a team of strangers. I knew exactly one name, and I didn’t even remember why I had him on facebook. Meanwhile, my friends all had been placed with two or three of each other, at least. I got angry and messaged my friend, who’d organized the event, and in a not-at-all elegant fashion, bombarded her with ” I’ve had a shit week, please put me on this other team, I don’t have the energy for playing with a bunch of strangers, I might not come play.” She rejected my request in the morning which made me angrier. I’m depressed, and I’m struggling. And I’m asking you for something, which isn’t easy. Why won’t you help me?

I don’t have problems getting along with people. But it does take energy, and I haven’t had energy for anything for so long.

And then I showed up. And I met them, and they were pretty nice. And we played. And they were INCLUSIVE. We were a skilled team, and we worked together, and we were supportive, and dependable, and we had fun.

I’ve kind of forgotten those feelings.

Or perhaps I’ve simply failed to identify them with my routine interactions. But these initial strangers, who I came to play with, rely on, and celebrate with, became my friends. They were, for a weekend, my team. No emotional baggage, no history. Just a weekend. Two days of great people collected together to play some really fun Ultimate games.

I can’t breathe sometimes. And in pursuit of that safe place where I can breathe, I’ve been trying to find my way back into my comfort zone. Maybe it’s not with the people I’ve been relying on before. As much as I love them, maybe it’s time for new friends and new places. I can’t think of where I’d get the energy to do so, but maybe it’s time to make a new comfort zone.

Perspectives: Stronger Than The Boys

I grew up in a very hybrid household. I think that’s the right word for it. Chinese/Hong Kong-based family with increasing influences of American and Western ideas and attitudes as my brother and I grew up. One effect of this was compliments.

Compliments do not flow well in my family. This meant that until a few years ago, I was extremely uncomfortable giving compliments and even more uncomfortable receiving them. When my parents praise me, I have a moment of shock to register what their intent is before I actually get to process what they’re saying to me.

My mom’s getting more generous with compliments. Dad too. Like I said, we started out with the ‘tough love’ foundation and have been adding in positive reinforcement. So I was focused on the “this is praise!” part of the message before I realized what premises the message assumed.

I’ve somehow become the adventurer of the family. Going to new places, doing new things. Sometimes it’s because I’m curious about new things, new places. Sometimes it’s because I’ve been socialized to push my comfort zone and just feel obligated to put myself in an uncomfortable but potentially educational environment. Sometimes I just want to be able to go and do something that no one I know has done before. Sometimes it just feels like something I could do, so why the hell not?

A combination of these reasons led me to take a trip to Nepal last summer. My mom sent me this in an email:

“I am so proud of you. You are so brave, sometimes I feel you do something stronger than the boys.”

I hear this and am proud. I’m making my mom proud! That’s what I want to do as a daughter.

But why do I have to be stronger than boys? Ovaries of steel, not balls of steel. I can be strong and tough and lovable and comfortable and free while still identifying completely as a woman, just as any other person could be those things and identify as any gender they like. But here, in this message and in most of society still, “BOY“, “MEN“, “MALE” are the first standard, the most convenient standard. The standard. Am I strong? Sure. What about compared to a guy? Because, you know, the automatic standard for strength, and stability, and coolness, and sturdiness, and unwaveringness is GUY.

I’m aware of this standard. I’m aware that it’s not ideal. I’m aware that I’m my own person.


Why do I feel the need to be stronger than boys?

Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidyingtumblr_nh0c3gGpVl1r5wz8zo1_1280

The book by Kondo Marie

Books claim to be enlightening, mind-opening and life-changing all the damn time. In fiction, in histories, in science books, I’ll readily believe that my perspective on something will be different by the end of a read. On a self-help book, on a lifestyle book, I’m more doubtful. Aren’t they just trying to sell themselves? However, this one I’ve read and applied has so far proven influential for at least one big sweep. It’s one of the best turns my lifestyle has taken, and I’m working on making it last.

As the title indicates, the book is about making your living space clean and organized (and how it will greatly and positively impact the rest of your life). Keeping any space organized has never really been my thing. Clothes and hairties and socks and cups and random things everywhere! Slightly better when I have a roommate, but only for courtesy’s sake. Not in my nature to keep thins in visual order, right?

Wrong, according to Kondo Marie. She might be right.

In her book, she goes through her personal journey in discovering her foolproof method of tidying, and then describes gently how to use this KonMari method. It’s not a long read, and the tone is light and unassuming. I lent the book to my neighbor and recent best friend as soon as I finished it.

p22-odonoghue-marie-kondo-a-20141012The method boils down to this essential–as you go through every object you own (there’s a system for this–again, I recommend reading the book!!). Hold it in your hands. If if gives you joy and fulfills you in the now–not once upon a time, and not in some hypothetical future, then keep it.

Anything you don’t specifically choose to keep, say thank you to it for fulfilling your life at one point (especially for sentimental objects that you kept for no other reason) and throw/donate it out. It’s done its job.

What’s left is a living space of only objects and ideas that specifically pertain to your current self–which is a lot less /STUFF/ than before, most likely. At that point, you assign places to things and things to places and let them live in their peaceful homes, homes that they go back to after they do their jobs for the day.

It’s one big event, by the way, not a “spend five minutes each day of your life on decluttering your home”. The throw-things-out party is one, big emotionally-draining project that may span days, perhaps weeks. Mine–just a single-person studio, living initially out of a suitcase, abroad–took nearly two weeks. I was stunned at the sheer amount of clothes I donated.

Here’s an article from the Wall Street Journal about her book:

and an interview:

I haven’t had the chance to watch it, but she had a Google talk as well!

Well worth the read, well worth the change. Give it a try!

Happy New Year

This blog is not one of those that you check your schedule to see, “Hey, it’s Monday! Let’s go check out CHK’s new post.” It’s one of those that keep information up so that people can find me through search engines when they want specific information. I may not have intended it to be this way, but I’ve built this system to work.

(The above is just something that I’m trying to keep in mind for myself.)

Honestly, I don’t have the passion or expertise to blog regularly. And I only want to write when I have both.

That’s what I’m going to do!

That means that I may step a bit away from bras and breasts. The name of this site is CurvyHK, not Bras from That Girl. What I write should be what’s relevant and what’s current to me, as a woman, as a Chinese-American, as a person who’s in the life situation that I am now. (And just for the record–it’s a darn good life situation.)

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