Maybe some people don’t want to know the truth. Maybe some want to live in this world unaware of issues and problems that we face. Though we all may not face it directly day to day, know that when it impacts a part of a community far from us, from another part of the world even, realize that it will eventually reach us and impact us in some way. When one community is hurting, so are we.
My cousin Sumalee and I performed a spoken word called “Let’s Talk About” utilizing blindfolds to cover our eyes to communicate an intentional message to our audience. It references our Hmong community’s blind eye, or lack of knowledge about mental health, and this prolonged issue that has impacted our community.
This unspoken pain we hold within us. These feelings of “worthlessness,” “not being good enough.” These traumas we carry around on our shoulders, the pain and suffering we endure to hold a family together, putting on a smile to let our family, and friends know we are okay, when our hearts are telling us the truth. Because our community has the inability or lack the knowledge to deal with these intense emotions, the raw and sometimes ugly truth about our innate nature of being a human being, we are taught as a community to mask ourselves in order to in-authentically thrive among our people.
This right here is the root to all our problems. This masking and veiling our eyes to the truth of ourselves and the problems that arise around us. If we begin to open our hearts, ask the right questions, and act with love and empathy, this hole we’ve created within our community could slowly heal.
Sometimes, someone who is hurting just needs to know someone cares that they EXIST; someone to just act in kindness and give them a little push to keep moving forward towards their best life.
Our Hmong parents who were born of the older generation are wonderful and we understand through their sacrifices that they love us, but they sometimes are not the best at showing and expressing their love and appreciation, which in turn, strains our relationship. Who do we go to, when high expectations are put on us to be perfect and to always put on your best face and be respectful to others even when we may feel highly uncomfortable or feeling so much emotions inside?
Some people want to live with blindfolds on. But, if we continue to walk around unaware of our true reality, someone will force those blindfolds off and rip our eyes out to truly strip away our choice to acknowledge the truth. Scary isn’t it?
Since we still have eyes, and this metaphor isn’t necessarily stating our physical eyes, but our consciousness to our reality and issues, and the ability to see the truth and work together towards a more positive and pro-active way to take on mental health, why not do it? We cannot lose another Hmong brother or Hmong sister to mental health issues that could have been prevented, if they got proper help, or someone reached out to them.
We cannot lose another Hmong brother or Hmong sister to mental health issues that formed from low self-confidence, high pressures to save face, being limited with a few choices on how to take their path in life, or feeling like there is or was a lack of love.
This lack of direction, love, and not being seen or understood drives many people to end their lives, because they see themselves of no worth and value.
But life is beautiful, precious, and limited. We are put here to live out our best selves, and we have to create more spaces to commune and talk. Really. Just talk. Talk about real stuff, and real issues that we deal with daily, that stops us from being a good mother, good brother, or good friend. We have to be able to take off the blindfolds, and deal with our problems. When we don’t work through our own problems, we cannot help others work through theirs.
So I say, let’s take off our blindfolds, and accept the truth as it is, and work towards a reality with happier and healthier individuals who are able to handle their emotions and the flows of life.
❤ Wabi Sabi