December 2016

December 2016

Updated by
Tou SaiKo Lee

Self-Belief and The Fire Inside
I made more time for writing creatively. I felt free, I believe it unlocked this energy of obsessive writing, editing and expressing. I made time to think about myself and even with humility, I come to a realization of how to utilize my influence to help others. I have also been full of ideas of what I can create in poetry and music. I also have dreams to preserve culture and language along with more ideas to uplift my neighborhood community. I always think about if I ever had the time I would make these a reality and now are moments I believe in my heart that I can truly achieve the reality of these ideas. I am taking a break from performing and just focusing on my creativity. It's been inspirational to not just write, but research what I want to express through listening to more story-telling or reading more about the content. Most importantly, I am exploring my culture through my own journey and I have been thinking of how to create resources to help others get connected to language. I am taking more notice of the importance to socially connect. Even talking to more people around the community that come up to me to speak, be heard and to collaborate. I took a really good look at myself to really move forward with all the passion I have in ideas and projects. 

The journey of self-care and healing. 
Self-Care takes a while to truly embrace and even when we think of pursuing it, many of us do not know how to even start. I got back into martial arts as a way of calming my nerves and provoking my physicality. I made time for it and I invested to really center myself since it’s been over ten years after being a practitioner. I have been consciously putting myself around positive people in my life and being more aware to distance myself from those that may have negative influence. I have been exploring the depression in reaction to the community work that I been involved with for year. Even with the strength and courage of community advocacy, there needed to be more reflection and regeneration. I have also been digging deeper into feelings of anger. I thought about being attacked in elementary school for being culturally different and a refugee child. I remember growing up around gangs and violence. I also thought about how significant these memories are in fueling the community and social justice work that I’ve been involved with. With this discovery, I been more motivated towards healing through therapy, through cultural spirituality and movement based meditation. 

Vision of cultural connection. 
I have been learning Hmong language and culture from a coach named Tzianeng Vang once a week. Tzianeng is not taking the approach of teaching the reading and writing. He is focused on sharing knowledge of culture through the way we speak to each other in our native language. He was out-casted by certain members of generation because he did not pursue power or greed in leadership. Tzianeng has been a champion of cultural preservation through the arts. Needless to say, I am very influenced by him and his fresh ideas. I have made way with the music to invigorate language project. I have reached out to artists, found a sound engineer and drafted up a plan. Since I am learning how to read, write and speak Hmong language through songwriting, I am putting together a team to create this resource of an entire music album to promote Hmong language and share it to many communities around the city, then country, then countries around the world. The teachers and administrators that know about this project are very excited about it happening. The animated project is also taking into effect. In my process for bringing people together to take this on, I am learning how to bring the best out of others as well as planning with each individual to be successful. This is not just team building, it is also team development through individual connections that will contribute towards group goals. Now with my trip to Southeast Asian to Hmong villages in the mountains, I am striving to deepen even more of my cultural knowledge. 

Self-Development 
I have been feeling guilty about leaving behind my neighborhood based community work. I have held on as long as I could. Dr. Joi Lewis, a former Bush Fellow and neighbor of mine mentioned that if I think of individuals in the neighborhood such as Seitu Jones, he explored his vision in other parts of the world and does a lot outside of Frogtown but he brings these experiences and abilities back to the neighborhood and he is even stronger when he does it after gaining his incredible worldly experiences. This advice was very valuable for me to move forward.