This feature will touch your heart. I have known Tiffany for many years, she is the type of person that lights up any room with her positive energy and beautiful heart. So to have read her story, not only was I shocked, but that is when I understood the reason why she was put on this earth, and that is to inspire.
I am truly honored to share with you Tiffany's story of her life long traumas and how breathwork and meditation healed her soul ♥️
Part 1 - Parental Trauma
I remember vividly that summer evening when I was five in 1989, I was playing outside and the sun was setting. My godparents received a phone call stating that my mom was in the hospital and my dad was in jail. My dad attempted to end her life by pouring gas on her body while she was sleeping. He lit her on fire as she was trying to run away. I wasn’t with them when this happened. This was my roller coaster introduction to life and witness to what was, “love.”
My godparents are amazing humans. My mom and godmom are cousins. Since my godparents couldn’t have any children, they asked to raise me for good luck in hopes they can have children one day. My biological parents, H&C were overwhelmed with 4 children at the time agreed to the extra help to have my godparents D&T raise me.
D&T imprinted on me. I am their daughter, blood or not. They helped raise me. They’ve always done their best to keep my best interest at heart. My godparents raised me until I was ten. They did their best to provide for me.
In 1979, both my parents and godparents fled their country from the Vietnam War for a better life. War is not easy. It tears families apart. It instills trauma and fear.
I remember my mom saying her brother’s body was buried in the ground and decapitated.
They had no choice but to leave what they knew once was home. Leaving everything behind for a better future is not easy. Hiding in the mountains, in the darkness so that you won’t get caught and killed was the common scene. In order to survive, you had to keep moving. You had to be strong. My mom and godmom drifted for days on boats aimlessly in the vast Pacific Ocean hoping for a better day.
It was a different time back then. The world was compassionate and helpful to people escaping war. Japan took my mother in as a refugee. The Philippines accepted my godmom in as refugee. They were eventually sponsored to the United States of America, they struggled but adapted themselves to this new country. Perhaps in a future post, I can share that experience more in depth.
Let’s fast forward to 1989 – I was living with my godparents and will follow up shortly about that experience in Part 2.
After the horrific accident that happened to Mama H, my godparents would take me to the hospital to visit her and even to Twin Towers prison in Downtown, Los Angeles to visit my dad. Mama H was a warrior. With 85% of her body burned, she had to have over 40 skin grafts. The surgeons had to rebuild her face. She had to learn how to feed herself and walk all over again. She tried to kill herself in the hospital, but she told me she only stayed alive for her children. She never imagined immigrating to a country and at 29, life and her beauty stripped away. Before this, mama H was physically beautiful, Vietnamese mixed with French goddess. I believe she is the true epitome of resilience with all that she endured.
My dad C, did his time for 20 years. Mama H found the courage to forgive him. She even spoke in court to favor his release. I was her interpreter. I know what my father did was wrong but if my mother could find forgiveness, I can too.
Five years later in the summer I turned 10, Mama H got brainwashed by her boyfriend with garbage about her not being a real mother if she didn't raise me. Her boyfriend threatened that he would burn their house down if she didn’t agree with his demands. He decided it was time for me to go live with her and my siblings. In his opinion it would be better for me to be with my “real” family. For some reason, he thought if I was to stay with my godparents, I would end up pregnant and on the streets.
Mama H’s relationship with her boyfriend was unhealthy because it thrived on blame, manipulation, power control, abuse, alcohol, and drug usage. Her boyfriend was bad news. I stayed for a few years until I couldn’t handle it anymore. Mama H stayed in this unhealthy relationship as she was trying to navigate life and accept the love that she thought she deserved.
I remember her boyfriend as a man child, having many tantrums when things didn’t go his way and manipulating my mother. He would get drunk, overwhelmed with life and take it out on us. I became more rebellious. He’d get drunk and punch me in the face for no reason. There was an incident after an argument with him when I ran into my room and closed the door. He kicked the door open right into my face splitting my forehead.
I called the cops; my mom begged me to not say anything. One of her sayings was, “If you love me, you won’t do that.” So, in her mind, If I loved her, I would not report her boyfriend. I loved my mom so much that I lied. I covered the huge golf ball on my head with a baseball hat and pretended that the 911 call was an accident.
This was a new normal to my childhood that I was not ready for. Anyone in their right mind would know that this was not right. From 10-15, I had little contact with my godparents. I was forbidden by mom’s boyfriend.
We moved to Westminster my sophomore year. My mom and her monster would disappear for days at the casino to drown their traumas with alcohol, drugs and gambling addictions. I came to a point in life where I was failing most of my classes beginning sophomore year. I didn’t understand life and life didn’t understand me. I didn’t want to live anymore.
One day, I decided to take everything in the medicine cabinet. I took two handfuls of pills, downed it with a bottle of cough syrup. I went to bed hoping I wouldn’t wake up. I didn’t leave a note. Nothing... I just wanted to be done with all these emotions and pain. I woke up from my first suicide attempt. I slept long. No one noticed.
I kept moving on with life. I’ve never even told my family about my suicide attempts. That disaster drove me to give my biological mom an ultimatum. “Either you let me move out or I report you to social services.” She gave in, I moved out when I was 15.
I kept in contact with some friends from my old high school. One of them and their family opened their home to me and let me finish my sophomore – senior year staying with them. I can’t thank them enough and much gratitude for giving me a safe normal space.
I kept in contact with my biological mom and siblings. I started slowly mending my relationship with my godparents. I had so much guilt hurting my godparents when my mother ripped me away five years ago. I was working three jobs, playing sports, surviving, helping my mom financially with her bills. I felt that I needed to help Mama H for all that she’s been through.
After I graduated high school, I moved back with Mama H and siblings. Things got bad quickly. Her boyfriend was still up to no good. They thrived on their addictions together. I stayed around until it was too much again.
I couldn’t live anymore and attempted to commit suicide a 2nd time. Taking everything in the medicine cabinet and falling into a deep slumber. Again... no one noticed.
When I woke up, it was an opportunity to fight even harder for my life. I had so much anger and resentment to my mom for allowing all this abuse to happen and for not protecting her kids. I wanted to be strong for my mom, but I had so much resentment. I just wanted a normal life, was that so much to ask for?
I found the courage to file a restraining order after my last altercation with my mom’s boyfriend. I remember being on the ground and him kicking me. I got up to square with him. What kind of man does that stuff? He spat in my face and ran in the house and locked me out. I was so angry that I threw a brick through the front window of the townhome we were renting.
When he came back the last time, I called the cops with my restraining order and that was the last time I saw him. Filing the restraining order took everything, I didn’t care at that point if my Mama H hates me, because the violence, disrespect and toxic cycle had to stop.
Part 2 – Life with Godparents
A lot of my childhood, I blocked out because it's traumatic. The bits I remember are being a child of immigrant parents, I was left alone most of the time. They worked and did their best to provide for me and showed me love.
I used to have babysitters. I was a child when I was molested. Between the ages of 5-9, I was molested by three different perpetrators. My godmom would drop me off to my grandmas after school. On some occasions, grandma wouldn’t be around.
That’s when an uncle molested me, touched me inappropriately, I don’t remember much. I blocked most of it out. I had a neighbor who made me sit in his lap while he had an erection. I’m pretty sure he ejaculated in his pants. I remember an older uncle of my neighbor, squeezing my breast saying, “The more you let me squeeze your boobs, the bigger it will get. You need bigger big boobs to be accepted.” I was a child.
I used to cry when godmom dropped me off to grandmas. I didn’t know how to communicate what was happening to me. We moved when I was 9 to La Puente. I think that’s what saved me.
I didn’t tell my godmom the truth about what my uncle did to me until my 30’s. When I did tell her, my grandma’s health was failing. Godmom told me to stay hush about it, she really did not believe me until recently. Bastard sent me money for a wedding gift and it sure did trigger me. I confronted my godmom again for pressuring me to accept the money. I refused to accept money from anyone that hurt me.
My grandma is gone now. I don’t have to put a front, go to family functions and pretend like nothing happened. I opened my heart and told my aunt about this as well. It was a relief to hear that she believed me. I was a child, and as adults, they should have protected me. I told her that all I wanted was to move forward with my life and heal.
Part 3 – One Night in Las Vegas
I was the one who always paid attention to where my girlfriends were when we went out, making sure they were safe, making sure that someone was always in control.
We were on a trip to Vegas, the one time I put my guard down, I was raped. We had bottle service with our friends. I was drinking, enjoying myself, I left to use the bathroom and came back to find no one there. They got kicked out and when they left, they took everything. I didn’t have anything on me. No money, no phone, nothing. I was pretty drunk. I stayed around for a while, trying to locate them. I walked myself back to the hotel. The room was not under my name, I ended up waiting in the hotel lobby.
Two guys invited me back into their room. I can’t really remember that evening. I think in my head, I said I’ll hang out for an hour and try the room again, hoping that someone would be back by then. I’m not even sure if they put something in my drink.
I woke up in the bathroom being raped from behind. Everything was just a blur, I gave into it, let him finish and grabbed my stuff and left when we were done. In my mind that night, “Alright Tiff... that was your first one-night stand in Vegas, it’s not raped, shrug it off. You’re fine.”
I look back on it now, I should have said something. I survived as usual just like the many other disappointments I went through in life.
I didn’t tell my girlfriends when they got back into the room. I was ashamed that I got myself in that position. The one that was usually kept, it happened to her.
Part 4 – Healing Breath
Why do I tell you guys this now? It is in hopes that you would never feel so alone and ashamed to reach out for help. You don’t have to deal with all those emotions yourself. You are bigger than your mistakes. You are bigger than your fears. You are bigger than your shame. You are bigger than your trauma. You are bigger than your lineage trauma.
And in my sadness, I looked for love and acceptance in others. Hoping that I could save them, or they could save me. My heart was trying to navigate my traumas, not only my traumas but also traumas that I carried from my cultural lineage. I am so thankful for those who loved me and have been there for me. I am genuinely sorry if I have ever done anyone wrong. I was trying to figure me out. I’m still navigating that portion.
In my early 20’s a good friend introduced me to Bikram Yoga. This was the introduction to breathwork and meditation. When I would drown in my darkness, I would find myself on the yoga mat. I would find myself digging deeper on breathwork to heal, to feel enough.
I am a certified yoga instructor. I did several trainings to help me understand life and trauma better with movement and breath. Breathwork can influence a person’s mental, emotional, physical state. It can be therapeutic if you allow it to be. It can help with all those big emotions and your capacity of healing.
I carried on with life only wanting to find a sense of belonging. I had all of these emotions and then some of: anger, guilt, resentment, fear, grief, failure, sadness, pain, Bulimia, OCD, self-sabotage, reacting, deflecting; being on autopilot, “surviving”, people pleasing, anxiety, depression, feelings of not being enough, and talking to myself that it’s easier to be on my own. I was not good at relationships. I had trust issues especially with men obviously due from my past. The men that surrounded me growing up hurt others close to me and myself. I had to break that bias. My heart even in darkness did not want to give up on humanity. That light of hope has always tugged on me to genuinely be better. To leave this earth better than I came into it.
Part 5 – KamBufo
Recently I was able to release a lot of lineage trauma through KamBufo. This is a plant medicine ritual experience. It might not be for everyone, but it was so powerful and needed for my soul. I needed the deep healing. It was a moment as if I was the phoenix. I had to die several times to be reborn. I was able to experience this with my soulmate. I can’t really explain it to you, but it was life changing. I purged so much pain and trauma not just from myself but from my ancestors, what happened to my parents, things that I absorbed from being an empath.
Your past does not define you. Your parent’s trauma, ancestor’s traumas does not define you. I got to heal from all of that and release my inner child. I now get to show up as my own true self.
During my Bufo experience, I remember praying and begging all light workers and my ancestors to reach out for me, that I needed everyone more than ever, so I don’t fall down the rabbit hole. I prayed for them to please keep fighting for me, for I felt so defeated.
I felt everyone’s love during that experience routing for me. My intentions were strong to release all that trauma that I’ve carried for so long and to help with my fertility issues. I’m still processing this experience, but I can tell you that this has strengthened my love for my partner, parents and much gratitude for those around me giving me a safe space to heal.
I’ve never felt so supported in my lifetime. I allowed others to be there for me, more than ever before. I pray and wish that we all find that deep healing and peace.
Part 6 – My Practice
I meditate every morning to set my intentions for the day, to calm my brain. I meditate several times a day if I need that additional grounding. Meditating is a part of my healing process. I journal to release emotions and to give gratitude. It took me 37 years of life to get to where I am today.
I fought skin and bones to be here as I am. Life is hard, but it can be better when you don’t feel so alone. You don’t have to be strong all the time. Don’t forget to be kind to yourself and your failures. It’s an opportunity to be better. Remember to breathe, remember to allow yourself to feel whatever it is and to release it. Your voice, you being here on this earth and your heart matters. Emotions are a beautiful thing. Fall back to what is your why when you find yourself in that darkness. You are full of light and it takes constant work to stay there. Invite joy to meet your sorrow. Let in hope always. There is always room for more LOVE. Dare to keep your heart open. Actions are rooted in love, admiration and respect. Keep showing up, keep checking in on each other and having circle conversations. When you gather in joy and even in sadness, great things can be accomplished. Stand in your power even if you feel defeated. You get to break unhealthy generational cycles. You get to convert trauma into medicine. You get to give yourself to a greater purpose.
About Tiffany Quanh Nguyen Today
My name is Tiffany Quanh Nguyen. I am fearless, courageous and full of love. I try to handle all my experience with wisdom, with love and ease. I have a successful career in Public Health. I am a successful small business owner. I am so proud of my staff and husband cranking delicious meals day in and day out for Chinitos Tacos and Bfit Meals. I can’t wait to be a mother one day. I write these experiences to share deeply from my soul that you are never alone. Remember your breath, breathe out to surrender and release what is not serving you. You have a whole tribe out there rooting for you. Above all else, I pray that God uses every gift I have and everything I am to be the reason why even one person chooses not to give up.
People underestimate the POWER of having someone say, “I see you, and I’m not leaving.” For kids and adults, for our inner child- it’s everything. When people see our traumas and baggage and insist that we are enough, in all our brokenness and triggers, it simply is healing. We are enough, even when we feel broken. You must do the work. Healing is not easy. I meditate to heal. I meditate to keep the crazy at bay. Pun intended. Lol... Healing is different for everyone. Meditating is part of my healing journey. I can be trauma informed without being trauma consumed.
I don’t have to hold everything inside. I can’t heal everyone, but I get to heal myself. I can trust people even if I’ve been hurt in the past. Self-love is a daily practice. Creating safe boundaries and applying humor when necessary helps as well. Save your energy for you but create meaningful connections.
I’m sending everyone so much peace, joy and love. There is no right or wrong way to meditate.
Here are a few apps that I’d recommend: Calm; Insight Timer and Headspace.
If you are in darkness, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I will hold space for you. All my love.
- Tiffany Quanh Nguyen