Add to Heart: What to Keep, What to Leave 2023

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The aunties are taking their annual pause to reflect on what they want to keep in the new year, and what they want to leave behind. And boy, has so much changed: friendships, family, a new baby! Here’s what they’re “adding to heart” in 2023.

Please note, Add To Cart contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.

To see all products mentioned in this episode, head to @addtocartpod on Instagram. To purchase any of the products, see below.

  • Don’t miss the Nat Geo series “Limitless” with the great looking Chris Hemsworth
  • As the aunties reflect on family life, this is a great moment to watch Kulap’s documentary “Origin Story” where she explores her tangled family tree
  • To find the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Guide Book, check out Kulap and SuChin’s Amazon Storefronts for their favorite items from 2022 (and onwards!)

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Kulap Vilaysack, SuChin Pak

SuChin Pak  00:10

Welcome back, everyone. We hope you had a beautiful, happy, healthy, joyful holiday.

Kulap Vilaysack  00:21

Take a breath, take a breath.

SuChin Pak  00:24

Just take it, I’m taking a deep, deep from my sacrum, you know the sacrum? That’s right, straight up to my to the tippy top of my head, inhaling the positivity, inhaling moments of growth, inhaling all the love and exhaling what are we exhaling just the fucking bullshit. You know?

Kulap Vilaysack  00:46

That shit we don’t need.

SuChin Pak  00:49

And this is sort of a new year tradition for us. Right? Like, we are here. Now we’ve gone through what? What is the chaos of the end of last year? Especially chaotic for us as we furiously Add to Cart and put all the finishing touches. I mean, of course it could did that in Oct one. I probably just got to it.

Kulap Vilaysack  01:16

Well, that said I have planned stages.

SuChin Pak  01:19

That’s right, stages, so you run a marathon, you run a marathon.

Kulap Vilaysack  01:24

Much like staying I practice tantric that was sex but with Christmas. Come back Su, it’s 2023.

SuChin Pak  01:37

I mean, tantric Christmas, if that doesn’t end up somewhere I hashtag, I don’t understand. I don’t understand how hashtags work then. And I don’t. So this is us. This is us in the new year, the 2023. Reflections version of us whatever you want to call it.

Kulap Vilaysack  01:56

What’s your name?

SuChin Pak  01:57

My name is Zuzu Pak, formerly FKA Susu, FKA SuChin Pak, now known as Zuzu Pak.

Kulap Vilaysack  02:11

And I am the 2023 version of Kuku Vilaysack, and this is the 2023 version of add to cart or perhaps for today, it can be called Add to heart, reflect on the year that has gone by look ahead at the next 365 days.

SuChin Pak  02:34

365 days, 365 to have more deranged routines to buy more things that will fill the void for two seconds. So welcome to our installment, our annual installment of what to keep and what to leave for the new year. Wow, we have done this three times. By the way, I don’t want to talk about it for too much. Because guess what, that made it on my list? So let’s get into it.

Kulap Vilaysack  03:07

Okay, so, Sue, I actually, I was talking to my therapist yesterday. And I was like, I’m having a hard time with this Add to Cart assignment. I am like, me has made me so present, I really can’t see that much behind me or that much in front of me. And I found myself having a hard time being introspective. And she was like let’s talk about right now. This shall be what the session is about. And I was thinking about how like, the investment that I put in myself really starting probably my 30s, right. And when I say in myself, I mean in like real like various therapies, various modalities there is I like to put it woman in the mirroring and then subsequently the investments I put into my relationships has made me wealthy beyond measure and I have seen this year, started put it in like financial terms, but like, like the dividends of like that work and that care, and that sort of mutual nurturing with my relationships, like the level of people who have shown up for me this year who have supported me who I think that’s why, you know, I was able to or the way that I feel right now, which I’m not stressed out like I’m not when we talk about like me being a mom and like where I’m at I don’t know have stress during my day. I lucked out with a very cool fun, baby. But it’s but I can say that because, like, I went through fucking hell I did, but I had, but it wasn’t without a shit ton of support. So that’s kind of like the biggest thing and I’m like, Oh, wow, like, like, and just every quadrant of my life. Like, the messy stuff, and the hard stuff that I went through and made, I see how it’s helping my present. And I am just absolutely grateful for my friendships. And then, like my relationships, like they’re so important to me. And like they are what, like, makes it kind of all worth it. Yeah.

SuChin Pak  06:08

And if I’m not incorrect in understanding, you’re also saying that those relationships also work for you. You know what I mean? Like you’re getting so much out of these investments. Can you give like, just a small, almost like, seemingly insignificant example of this?

Kulap Vilaysack  06:30

I think I just go back to and I’m sorry, if I repeated myself, I have mommy brain. I don’t remember the things that I’ve said on this podcast. Like, I have to ask Claire to send me links all of the time. Of like, what did I say a month ago? What did I say last show? I don’t remember anything anymore. We’ve discussed it. Not the sharpest ginsu knife.

SuChin Pak  06:53

Oh, finally, finally, I just it feels like I can almost sit here at eye level. Everybody’s c minus is at different places. You know, like why C minus does not look like you’re a C minus. So let’s just be clear on that.

Kulap Vilaysack  07:11

It’s all relative. It’s all relative. But I think about like, when I turned 30, and that milestone birthday, and just really gonna huddle like what’s going on? Like, I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know who I am. I don’t have any strong female relationships. I yearn for them. I don’t know how to do them. Most of my relationships are dudes, I love those dudes. But you know, there’s like, there is a bit of, there’s different, it’s different. Yeah, it’s just different. It I value, and I still have a lot of amazing male friendships. But it’s different. Like, it just is.

SuChin Pak  07:49

I can’t even imagine you without your powerful female friendships that you know your Wiccan tribe. Like that’s crazy to me. That was something that you had to have intentionality around.

Kulap Vilaysack  08:05

Yeah, it was like a lot of leaps of faith, a lot of being uncomfortable. It was a lot of being vulnerable. And it’s sometimes I get to a place to where I forget all that I’ve done to get to where I’m at. And because I just want to like beat the big bad and move on and like not talk about it. But it is this is an episode of introspection, and it’s episode of looking back and seeing how far we’ve come. And now to be at a place where I can think about it not just in years, but in terms of decades. Yeah, it’s like wild because it’s like, even with you sue like we’ve known each other we’ve really gotten to know each other. Let’s be honest, these three years, like these three years, yeah, we had a good time and stuff, but like we’ve dove you know, we’ve dove, like and you’ve wanted to snorkel on and I’ve held you by the ankles, I was like, we’re gonna go scuba diving. But many times, I was drowning, and Su needed to take us up to the surface. And that’s a great friendship. And I feel like that my relationship with you is such a beautiful, like, it’s just like, oh, yeah, yes. This book, it’s this book My friend got for my other friend’s baby. That’s kind of like cynical and jaded. I gotta say that for Sue. Yeah, it’s like, it’s just like an automatic thing. Like, you know, like, I was gonna almost Su and so and it’s just like, it’s been so I mean, I guess Is it organic? If it’s something that we’ve agreed to do and sent signed contracts to do. It has become this unfolding, and I can’t use one of my dearest friends.

SuChin Pak  09:47

It doesn’t end by the way organic relationships rarely come out of professional relationships.

Kulap Vilaysack  09:59

And I think comes from the UCB school stuff. It’s like maybe. And by the way, I’ve had it the other way. Where people I haven’t chosen work, show relationships. And now I’m remembering that. So it look, yeah, yes, I don’t take it for granted is what I’m trying to say.

SuChin Pak  10:18

I really am interested in this, like, female friendship piece, because I can also relate to you. And I think that for our listeners, especially our younger listeners, who also could have like, Oh, this is a tricky thing to navigate.

Kulap Vilaysack  10:36

Well, I mean, it’s the clearest, obvious thing. And I think anybody who knows me for a second as maybe perhaps watch the documentary origin story, the root of it is obviously my relationship with my mother. Like, that’s the, that is the beginning. And, and having that clarity is good is key, it’s key.

SuChin Pak  11:03

So what I’ve learned is, I came to a really big, like, light bulb moment with my mother this past year. And I’m gonna try to articulate it because I haven’t really done this yet. But for those of you who’ve been listening, know that, you know, my parents moved four minutes away. I’ve always had a rocky relationship back and forth with my mom, and I haven’t lived near her since I moved away, you know what I mean, after college, like, after that I, we always lived, you know, I lived in New York primarily, or LA. And our relationship was, I would have defined it as kind of great, especially for Asian immigrant, you know, typical relationships, we would talk almost every single day, check in, we laughed, it was, it was fun. It was I told her things about my life, I thought we had a great relationship. And then she moved four minutes away. And this relationship has just fallen apart. And with my dad’s health problems, and now she’s dealing with her own health problems, it’s just been really confusing for me. Because I always thought we had this kind of bond. And to see that not really, like, there’s a lot of tension there. And I was like, wow, I have so much resentment from when I was a teenager. And when I was younger, about my relationship with my mom, how strict she was, how punishment and guilt were the two ends of, you know, the emotional support that I had from her and how over the years, I’ve in therapy, and in my own relationships, how I’ve had to really struggle and work through some of that. And I’m seeing the root of it with her. And I think, up until recently, I was I really blamed her for that. I was like, well, you know, I you know why I have rage problems. Maybe because I was raged out for the first, you know, 18 years of my life every single day, every single time I heard my mother come through the door, I was bracing for raging. And so that was sort of my attitude. And I think that on top of a lot of other things, our relationship has really fallen apart. So cut to my dad having health issues and really me having to step in on that level. And it’s been very tricky, because, you know, my mother needs me but she doesn’t want to need me. She really hates that she needs me and she’s very resentful that she needs me and yet she needs me and yet and I’m doing all of this with knowing that all of it is not welcome.  Ending up on apartment in Minnesota. Right You know what I mean? Your sisters know it you know what we know this right? So here I am. Here I am. Here I am doing all of this and being like, I mean I’m never gonna get a thank you not only am I not gonna get a thank you I’m gonna get a fuck you. And yet here I am showing up so I got to this really, really calm place. And I know it’s the right direction and I’ve just entered this space you guys so I have no idea what’s in front of me. But I know what’s right. Because everything in my body calms down. When I’m here, and the space I arrived to was that my relationship with my mother is not about healing that relationship. It’s about accepting the relationship as it is right now. With nothing changed, and I am good enough in that. So I came to this place where I said, wow, even with all of this, I’m still gonna show up. I’m still gonna go to the hospital, I’m still gonna buy the groceries, I’m still going to pay the bills, I’m still going to, you know, make sure their garbage goes out every Monday night. And you know what? That’s fucking awesome.

Kulap Vilaysack  15:57

What I hear and what I absolutely can relate to is that I almost wonder if it’s a reframing of my relationship with my mom has fallen apart to it has evolved. And what I’m hearing the evolution and the transition is what you were describing was as if you were saying almost kind of a role reversal. You were describing how, let’s say your teens will act very soon. And you do the things even though they complain, even though you know, this is good for you. This is right for you, you do them, even if they don’t accept it, or they think they know better, right. And that’s how you’re describing your mom at this moment. How I also agree and something that I’ve come to I’ve come to the healing that I’ve done in regards to my mom has been more about the self that and really about between us.

SuChin Pak  16:52

Correct. That’s the difference.

Kulap Vilaysack  16:55

Yeah. And for me, that is something I brought up my therapist yesterday, but something to talk about. And she was like, I really feel like there is this wall. There’s this wall, and this wall isn’t coming down between her and I. And it’s a wall that I put up. And it will always be up. If that wall is up, then I can tend to the things that she needs. But it’s an it’s a surface. It’s a surface thing. I love my mom on my help my mom, care my mom, but there is.

SuChin Pak  17:34

But that wall, like you said in one of our episodes that was such it added to this understanding that wall is there to protect you that you know, you talked about it earlier. What did you say it protected me from raging against others. Remember, we were talking about this with your daughter? And I felt very isolated at the end of last year. And you were like, well, that isolation is good for everyone. You know, it’s good for your daughter, because but that wall is good for my mom. That wall is good for me. Because I think that here is the understanding is that we talk a lot about healing relationships and coming to terms with our relationships and really trying to understand a relationship at some relationships aren’t that way. That’s not where yes, not all relationships require that not all relationships should have that. And I think a lot of times with our parents, and especially with our situation, an archetype of parents, boundaries do not exist in our culture, physical, financial, spiritual, emotional, we are but extensions of physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially extensions of our parents. That is how we have been raised. And so that wall is the boundary that we all need. As Yeah, as humans as individuals as wanting to be empowered, as ourselves. We need those walls.

Kulap Vilaysack  19:11

And to add to what you’re saying. It’s like, it’s also unfair to ask our parents who have had the circumstances to meet us, where we’re at.

Kulap Vilaysack  19:22

That’s right. They can’t.

Kulap Vilaysack  19:24

They don’t have the tools, the skills, nor the desire, but that’s a sign.

SuChin Pak  19:38

We had this huge falling out. I had set up my unit when they bought this house. I had set up my office there, remember? And so well, I had overheard a conversation. And my mother was bitching about the fact that I had this space in her house. My first reaction was.

Kulap Vilaysack  20:03

Listening. Was it sweet?

SuChin Pak  20:08

Well, why don’t I close the account then? Why don’t we settle the bill? Yeah, I mean, it you know what I mean? I didn’t speak for I think it was almost 12 days. Because I every time I would close my eyes, just the amount of rage, the indignation. The how dare you, the outcry that pushed me into this space. And so I didn’t do all the things that I was going to reactively do. And so it has been very interesting, like dismantling this office, in her house without any conversation between us. But me slowly doing it over time, and trying to give the space back to her. But also give the space back to her in a way that’s not like, well, here it is an empty room. Because that’s my parent, my parents can’t buy furniture. My parents can’t, would know what to do what that room, but also trying to think, oh, what could they really use in this room? You know, my dad needs a reading room. I think that’s, it could be great for that. They need a little extra storage, all of that doing all of that. So it’s still doing all the things. Accepting what is and, and I think that and this can get really dark. You know, I’m looking at my parents, you know, and I’m like, how many years do I have left? I mean, really, you know what I mean? How many years do we have left? And I said to myself in this space of clarity, I said if something were to happen, and this was my last day with my mother, I’m at peace.

Kulap Vilaysack  22:02

Well, it goes back to what we were in, we discuss all the time which is like would you rather be right?

SuChin Pak  22:12

Sometimes, but not this time.

Kulap Vilaysack  22:14

Sometimes. Of course, we enjoy it. But it just like, the need to be right is for children and sociopaths.

SuChin Pak  22:26

That’s great. That’s great. But anyway, so that’s what I’ve learned. It’s a big one for me, because I have been struggling with this for eight years. And I do. Like I said, I’m not sure what’s ahead of me, but I do feel like we’re gonna get to a really good place.

Kulap Vilaysack  22:48

I know it. I know it and like, you know, our parents don’t understand boundaries. But that while you’re scrubbing is a boundary that you have set. that’s your boundary. Okay, so let’s get into what we want to take from 2022 with us into 2023. And I mentioned a little bit before but I want to keep being present. And it’s because of Emmy. I mean, I see her change. It’s not even week to week at this point. Like she’s like her growth is like exponential and it’s so important that I’m with her and to see it, and she’s infinitely more interesting than just about anything else. Like, truly, aside from sidenote limitless, a, Darren Aronofsky produced a series with Chris Hemsworth.

SuChin Pak  24:03

Oh my god, I saw that. Kai watched the whole thing. He was obsessed. He binge on it for two days over Thanksgiving and then I watched the last episode.

Kulap Vilaysack  24:16

Yeah, honestly go back to the one I think I’m gonna watch it again like honestly like it was so crazy. So much of what I’m going to like what I’m thinking about in 2023 is Chris Hemsworth and limitless.

SuChin Pak  24:32

You guys it’s such a good watch.

Kulap Vilaysack  24:34

It’s such a good watch and different kids cuz I mean moms because Chris is shirtless a lot.

SuChin Pak  24:42

Well, wow, by the way, his wife, really also very easy on my eyes.

Kulap Vilaysack  24:50

Yeah, everyone looks good, guys. Everybody looks great. Okay, hold on. That was a side note, but add to cart clear. Chris Hemsworth Add to Cart Chris Hemsworth limitless NatGeo Disney plus, the other week. The other thing that I want to bring up is like my friend ever asked me like, oh, how’s Emmy. What’s motherhood? What is you know? And like, I look at my daughter, and she is a celebration to me. In my life what I’ve been through, I really take things for granted. And it’s just if I do I really make a, I really make a point to apologize or to course correct very quickly. And when I see my daughter, and I see your smile, and I think about all that we been through to get to this point, the years almost a decade, the challenges I had of like, doing all of the things that I was supposed to, but it’s not working. And then it then it did. And then it did. And when that happens, where do you do you celebrate. You celebrate, you have to like, I really believe that every w be italic, be it lowercase, you celebrate. And that’s capitalized. Like that is my mode. And that’s what I want to continue to do. And that’s how I feel. Um, and with that in mind, I am going to have to like, right now what I’m doing is I’m with me. I don’t know, I’m a little resistant to bring in another person. At this time. I want to be with her. What is always hard for me is that, like I my work my work like and, yeah, but I don’t like but I do but I don’t think, right? I like it. Thank God for Add to Cart, I’ve just defined myself so much about but by work and what I want to do with my work in it is hard to kind of just go well, like this is also you want it now too. And I feel like I am becoming something new. And I feel, I felt these at times in moments, my life was just like, oh, cool, obviously, obviously, you just become a mom. So that’s going to be part of it. That is absolutely a catalyst. But I can feel inside of me something shifting. And when I mean that is like I think a shift in what I am in what I think is important, like what my values are. But I also the level of letting go that I’ve done in these two months has been both a spiritual but also like physical. It’s been physical, like this misuse that I work with, who I’ve been working with, like, almost, and he came over like week two or something to give me like he does like major like sports miss, like, it’s not even like, just pat pat. And by the way, your girl loves a deep-dish. Like I want I want to I want to tap out, you keep going until I tap. Like, put me to sleep. That’s what I want. That’s what I need. And he was like cool up, you’re like, it’s like you normally my back is a brick. And he’ll break it up and then 10 minutes later back to that. He’s like, you just feel like a totally different person. And he’s like, it’s only gonna get more and more like that. So there’s a lot of, you know, I just feel just so many a molecular level that things are changing. And with that, it’s like, it’s time to just like burn that which does not serve me it’s like, I want to be really mindful and thoughtful of what my next steps are in my career. And be really like, it’s gotta be different. Whatever it is, it’s different. It’s still in an entertainment, but I gotta it’s got it, there’s got to be some sort of shift here. Because the definition of insanity is doing things over and over expecting a different result. And the thing is, is like I’m not the same. And so what is the next and so I pulled a card, and I mentioned this in another episode of last minute gifts, and I pulled a card from the wild unknown animal spirit guide book, and it’s Panther, and Panther is the annihilation of the unnecessary it’s purging and the Panther won’t stand to see our growth or energy stagnate. Instead, it pounces into our lives and causes all kinds of havoc with the ultimate intention of bringing us towards a more fulfilling life. It’s unexpected, uncomfortable and sometimes feels devastating. But I After all, the dust clears, it’s easy to see the Panthers wisdom at work. We’ve all been through these experiences, and they’ve made us better people trust that the Panthers journey always leads to a brighter place. So to bring it into balance is to get rid of the unnecessary and like, that’s how I feel like this is like being there was your is going to be a clearing and like there’s not going to be a lot of hemming and hawing and noise around that. It’s just going to be what is what is like the priorities in the crib upstairs.

SuChin Pak  30:34

Yeah, I completely relate. Because when I was when my kids were that age, I was not in this moment of clarity. I was living in this terrible hell of like, wanting to work feeling like I had to work. And then also like, dealing with newborn. I mean.

Kulap Vilaysack  30:52

Also, I want to acknowledge that I’m in a position of extreme privilege.

SuChin Pak  30:56

Yeah, of course, we both are. And so now I finally have woken up from that place, and my kids are eight and 10. And I’m like, oh, no, I’m not missing it. There’s a big part of me that will always feel like I missed the first eight years of their lives. And so now I’m like, doubling down. So I agree with you. So what I learned and what I take at the same, I think that I mean, I think that mom thing is pretty big. into two categories. There’s enough for two cups for two cups of this. And so I’m gonna get to what I’m leaving behind. Okay, okay, great. And I’m leaving behind is ordering too much at a restaurant.

Kulap Vilaysack  31:39

Great. That’s great.

SuChin Pak  31:42

Let’s do it. Not doing it anymore.

Kulap Vilaysack  31:44

It is ingrained in our culture. Always over ordering.

SuChin Pak  31:53

Wanting just a bite of everything. And so I the last time I did this, I just did this the other night. I went out with my kids course order to this beautiful Italian restaurant order to Margarita pizzas, because that’s what they had the closest to cheese. My kids took one look at it. And they said what is that? It’s too much red. These are quotes from my daughter. It’s too much red. Because Margarita is just dollops of fresh mozzarella. On the most delicious it you know, and it was like a pizza place. 140 years they’ve been making this pizza.

Kulap Vilaysack  32:28

They want beige and white foods.

SuChin Pak  32:30

Too much red. And so I had a giant pizza I one pizza by myself. And then I had the giant pizza leftover and I brought it to a neighbor. And I said what have I done? So I’m going to stop doing that. And the root of that, to just kind of put a point on it. I was like, Why do I do this? I do this because I have the mentality of not enough. Never enough no abundance kit. I don’t know when we’ll get this again. So let me do all of it now. Number two, this is a sneaky one Ku, look out for this one did not see this one coming up when I was introspecting for this episode. I was eating at a restaurant with my parents, especially when I was younger. I don’t have any memories of it. I’m sure we did it. So when I got older and could do that, I would take my mother out to restaurants and she wouldn’t order any food. You know, she would just say I’m just going to have a little bit of yours and it drove me crazy. But also I was embarrassed because I was like I don’t want this White waiter to think we are two, you know, immigrants I cannot pay for meals and so I got into the habit of ordering everything on the menu so that they would know back at the house that I can pay the check.

Kulap Vilaysack  34:04

That is an excavation, we talked about this in a previous episode, but it’s never about the thing. Never about the thing.

SuChin Pak  34:17

So anyway, that was a big thing for me. And I’m just leaving that behind for so many reasons, including that reason that I’m good enough to sit in this restaurant and have just exactly what I want to eat. And that’s good enough.

Kulap Vilaysack  34:41

Yes, it is. Here, here. Okay, well, with that we will wrap up today and strive to be our best selves in 2023. Whatever that may be.

SuChin Pak  35:01

To be seen and also no pressure. No pressure, this is c minus okay, we’re not going to check your work.

Kulap Vilaysack  35:12

Well first of all, how we turned out you guys will all be unfolding with you guys to bear witness and we wish you all the best in your own journey of deciding what to take and what to leave it always means so much to us to be able to share this space with you all.

SuChin Pak  35:27

And that was one of the things I didn’t get to because we almost ran out of time was you know keeping this you know keeping this show like, there are moments where I’m like oh does it still serve me and then this year I’m like I don’t know what I would have, without these check ins but I don’t know what I would have done without filling carts you know just really still being totally fascinated and fulfilled by carts. It is not, not, not fascinating to me/

Kulap Vilaysack  36:00

To like to both fill and be fulfilled I mean, what greater relationship.

SuChin Pak  36:09

Fill and fulfilled by these. So another year with cuckoo by my side with you guys all here super grateful.

Kulap Vilaysack  36:22

Here’s to another year of Auntie behavior another year of friendship and another year of adding to cart bye everyone.

CREDITS  36:46

ADD TO CART is a production of Lemonada Media. Our producer is Claire Jones and our mix is by Ivan Kuraev and Veronica Rodriguez. The music is by Wasahhbii and produced by La Made It and Oh So Familiar with additional music by APM music. Executive producers are Kulap Vilaysack, SuChin Pak, Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs. Be sure to check out all the items we mentioned today on our Instagram at @AddToCartPod. Also, please take a moment to rate, review, and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcast.

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