Solidarity Process with Tou Saik and The Cedar

Click link to watch FB LIVE at 7:30 pm CT: https://www.facebook.com/thecedar/videos/824865151608751

Not on FB? Stream on YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF30LttR9lY

Hello beautiful people. Please do tune in tonight at 7:30pm on the Cedar Public Access Channel to watch The Solidarity Process curated by Tou Saik Unites as he worked with The Cedar Cultural Center as Black and Asian artists collaborated to create artistic pieces together in solidarity.

See you there. Peace and Love.

Embracing body hair

Where do I begin…. 

With this hair on my skin….

Its everywhere

Everybody stares in awe

You’re a girl

Why do you have hair

In between your eyesblck n white

Above your lips

Your arms

Legs

Arm Pits!

I cower in shame

Maybe I will never be a real girl

I shave and pluck

And nair my hair away

I have to be a real girl

I shave and pluck

And nair my insecurities away

I have to be like what they want

I shave and pluck

And nair myself away

Who am I

Where do I begin

With this hair on my skin

I will embrace it

It’s natural

It’s beautiful

It’s okay

To have hair

I don’t care

If I’m not who they want

If I have hair under my arms

I’ll raise it up proud

Tais always told me to keep it anyways

So let me listen to her for once

And not be ashamed of

The hair on my skin

That’s when I’ll begin

To truly love myself

Know myself

And be okay with who I really am

Not for them

Or for you

But for me

In this skin that I’m in.

❤ Cydi

Taking Back my Body Series – Regaining the power men took from me

For all the boys who I’ve laid with. It’s like you took a piece of me with you. I wasn’t even complete when you came to me. Now I’m left with even less then what I’ve started.

How do I allow anyone to wait at my door mat, touching my door knobs, finding the key, coming into my home, eating my food, laying on my couch, and pretending like my home is theirs, when I’m not even present in my home.

This is a slap to the face for the guy that grabbed my crotch when I was dancing on the cage. Just because I’m dancing doesn’t mean I want you to touch me. This is a slap to the face for those two men who slapped my ass on the street in Minneapolis. My leathery leggings did not imply I wanted to be groped on the streets. I said nothing to them, and the girls around me said nothing either. I let them take my power.

This is a slap to the face for the guy that slapped my ass in Las Vegas. I wanted to have fun and have a dance off with you. I didn’t understand that by us having fun and dancing, you thought you could violate me. I ran away feeling so upset. But this was the moment I took my power back. I walked up right to you. I looked you in the eyes. I knew no one will stand up for me. I demanded an apology. And you apologized. I said “Never Think You can Touch a Women Like that again.”

To the first boy I was in love with. What gave you the right to try to go into my shirt and touch my beautiful nipples. You thought it was a joke when I wouldn’t let you. It wasn’t a joke. I’m just so used to men taking advantage of me.

I’m so scared. I’m so afraid.

It was like every man I met, all they wanted was to touch me. They didn’t bother getting to know who I was on the inside.  I screamed “See me for me!” Not just for my body. I cried, “See me for me!” “Please see me!”

This is why I hesitate to engage in anything with men, because it seems like everything I do, it’s a que for them to touch me.

The only man I trust with my body, is my father. Someone who will never shame me for my body, someone who brought this body into existence. Someone who loves me for me.

To all the boys I was in a relationship with, I’m taking back my body. Though you’ve nested in me and seen every part of me.

When you hear, I’m taking back my body, what comes into your mind? Think for a second.

Reclaiming your body after society owned it, different boys, strange men, who’s taken it, may seem hard. Do I even want this torn up body anymore, after it’s gone through this much. Is she even worth to save? Nobody sees me worth it. People cringe at the thought of me. But most importantly, despite how others see me, how do I see myself? Do I love myself? I must love myself, because if I even have the thought to try and reclaim my  body, that means I know I’m worth it.

I am worth it. You are worth it. It’s time for us to start seeing it for ourselves.

I’m Movin out-Ish: Journey to Adulting

Hello all, Cydi here. I just want to say first of how proud I am to be almost at my quarter of a century mark. Blessed to be alive.

Sooooo…. I am 24 going on 25, BUT, I’m still in the basement of my parent’s home. Darn. BUT, that’s nothing to feel bad about. I used to beat myself down about this. I so badly wanted to move out at 22 right after college, but found myself stuck in complacency for years physically and mentally. It’s that hybrid millenial-Gen Z struggle; The struggle of finding meaning and sense in a world full of boundless options, and luxurious labels and titles; Adulting in this ever so fast-growing world has beat me down bloody to be honest. But, I can tell you now I’m MOVING OUT! Ishhh. 

I lacked direction. I lacked purpose. I lacked self-love.

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Cheerleading in 2014 at my University, trying to gain a sense of self.

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Peer advising in 2015 at my University, werkin’ hard to be a Leader!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I grew out of my old labels; college student, president of my college club, and a leader on campus. I Initially soaked in a warm small pond, but was thrown abruptly into a huge cold ocean called the “REAL ADULT WORLD,” and I had no idea how to survive or thrive there. I lost all my labels and identities that validated me as worthy and enough. I kept trying to re-define myself or retain some parts of me I once had, but I found myself giving up easily when faced with constant nos and rejections. So, I went and sought validation from unhealthy people.

 

GLADLY, that whole big high intensity crisis is over for the most part.

I took on the motto Wabi Sabi since 2016, but started to consciously incorporate it into my daily life just only this year. Things are finally looking up for me. My first step to freedom. MOVING OUT.

 

Well kinda. My mom and I are renovating the basement into my own studio. Yay! Yep. I’m paying rent, pet rent, and we’re writing a whole contract. It’s ALMOST the real deal. I’m making moves. Yes!

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Before photo of the space. Renovating in progress.

Truth be told, I want to be free as a bird and COMPLETELY move out, but my finances tell me otherwise. Another downer, but I realize to not be so hard on myself and take what is given to me and shed light to it. I made the crucial decision to stay with my parents until I finish my massage program. I know others do not have the privilege like I do to stay home. I do feel extremely blessed and grateful to have parents who are supporting me.

 

Healing, re-discovering, and learning to truly invest and love yourself takes time and patience.

I believe everyone has their own story and their own journey, and it took me three years to finally pick up momentum onto my rightful path. This is my story and I want to create my chapters in full vivid images. I’m at a great time in my life, though I always strive for better, for more, but whose to say when I get there, I’ll actually be happy? I’ve learned to really take each day at a time, and try my best to enjoy the process versus always focusing on the end goal.

I NEED to relax.

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I need to enjoy the moment. I need to stop rushing to the future. I catch myself all the time already imagining how my new little basement studio will look like, already decorated and renovated; I’m already thinking of the possibilities after my massage program is over, which means……. 2020 will be over. SLOWW DOWN CYDI. I feel the positive changes happening. I have to trust in the process.

I’m working on my addiction to being productive and self-blame for not reaching my unrealistic expectations for myself. I am learning. I am reflecting.

So friends! Just give me like 2 months. This homey studio of mines will soon be ready for gatherings! (of course taking in account of Covid-19). I am on the journey to adulting and healing. I am craving to LIVE and striving for PURPOSE, GENUINE LOVE, AND FREEDOM. And I know I’ll get there with the steps I’m taking. If you’re going through the same crisis, I know you can embark on your journey too and succeed in the end.

It’s like Telling Ghandi to be like Barack Obama.

Never compare yourself to someone else’s success.  You have your own special qualities and unique path in life. Everyone’s greatest life and purpose looks different yet equally valuable. Don’t sit on the life you want. Dream it into reality. Manifest it.

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Cast members and friends during our Face to Face show at Park Square Theatre back in March 2020. Blessed.

2020 is almost half way done. And I have been blessed with so many treats and opportunities. This is only the beginning because my body and heart continues to tell me there is still something I’m not catching on to. As I continue, I hope I’ll be able to discover what that is. There has been so many significant moments in 2020 already, so let’s continue on this journey. I’m Livin’ Wabi Sabi.

 

Peace and Love

Cydi

#metoo? – Sexual Assault can be confusing. It comes in many forms.

metoo#metoo? With a question mark, is something we experience all too often. What I experienced, was it really rape? Was it really wrong? Does that even count? I’m probably just being emotional and dramatic like what EVERYONE tells me. But Hell no. You’re experience is validated. And if it FEELS WRONG, IT IS WRONG.

What I’m about to share may be triggering and traumatic to survivors. I have never really told anyone these stories due to shame or confusion to whether it was “sexual assault.” And most times, I blamed myself. But, I share this in hopes that young girls & women, young boys, and female-identifying individuals like me become aware of what sexual assault is, educate themselves on how to stay in healthy relationships, take care of themselves, use their voice to say NO, and KNOW that I hear them, see them, and is here for them. Here goes nothing. 

#metoo? There is a relative that is significantly older than me. The girls around tell me stories of what he’s done to them. I’m afraid of him. So one day outside when we are all playing, he picks me up and puts me on his shoulders. I am 10. I’m afraid. I am filled with so much nervousness and anxiety. He’s spinning me, and I am afraid, but I laugh and act like it’s fun though I am super afraid. I don’t know how to say I dislike it. I just don’t want to be alone with him.

One time during camping, he keeps trying to be close to me, maybe following me? Giving me more attention than he should. I am still 10. I’m so scared. We are all in a tent telling stories. He puts his head on my lap. I am frozen. Everyone watches but they don’t do anything. I just smile as if I’m okay. My face is burning and my heart is beating. I WANT HIM OFF OF ME. I DON’T LIKE IT, but I don’t know how to stand up for myself and I don’t want to make a scene in front of everyone.…..

#metoo? You know that feeling when the word “no”, or “stop” is stuck in your throat. You’re not sure on how to exactly respond to a sexual situation. I am 16. This person is older than me. He asks me to do certain sexual things. I am super uncomfortable, anxious, and do not want to do it. But I don’t know how to respond. I am scared to say no. I feel really pressured to say yes. What if I say no? What happens? He isn’t a bad person, just someone who is older than me with a different mindset on sex. I feel as if he took advantage of my innocence and lack of understanding. I’ve made out, and did some sexual things before this, but nothing to this extent. I think that these are things I have to do if I like a person. I don’t really know or understand what sex really means either? Just a thought. I didn’t even know where my vagina hole was until I turned 15. I just keep saying yes to things that make me super uncomfortable throughout our relationship. No one ever taught me to say no. I feel powerless. I feel continuous disgust, and shame for myself, but I am not sure because the message I get at this age from my peers, is that you are supposed to be having sex at this time. But I feel weird, and numb, and wrong. Having sex? Isn’t this what I’m supposed to be doing when I’m with someone?

#metoo? One day I finally have the courage to tell this person, I don’t want to have sex anymore. I don’t think he understands. When we are alone, he would keep forcing me to have sex with him. I am high on adrenaline and panic. I scream and struggle. I tell him I don’t want to. My voice sounds helpless. I said don’t you remember, I don’t want to have sex anymore. But he keeps touching me and forcing me into his arms so he could penetrate me. I feel so helpless as this person fondles me and is on top of me, literally putting all his weight on me. That day I accept that no matter how much I DO NOT want to give up my body, guys would always coerce me to give up myself. I have no say or power to decide who and when they can enter or touch my body. So I continue to have sex with him.

#metoo? A few years past. We aren’t together anymore. He takes me home from the club. I did not come there with him or hang out with him there, and I don’t remember consenting to him taking me home? But who knows, I’m drunk. He takes me home, but comes to sleep with me without my consent and has sex with me while I’m half-passed out. I know what is happening. I feel so much disgust and push him off drunkenly. He isn’t able to finish.

#metoo? There is a boy I am really infatuated with. I allow him to have sex with me. Because I like him a lot. LIKE A LOT. (though I didn’t even want to). I was scared to say no in fear he would not like me anymore. I remember being outside our school. He harshly reaches into my shirt and grabs my breast. I jerk away. I feel so violated. This is someone I really like? Why is he being this way to me? This is not right.

#metoo? There is a person I love and am in a relationship with. I knock on his door one day. He smells of the drug substance he likes to use. He looks a little out of it. I want to check in on how he is doing since I didn’t see him much that day. He pulls me in. This is closer to the beginning of our relationship. We have been having sex. This week, maybe a little too much. I am feeling quite sore down there and know I want to rest. He is smiling and pushes me and pushes me until I fall onto the bed. I tell him I don’t want to. He is just trying to sound silly, harmless, and comforting. But I tell him no. I am still sore and I don’t want to. Yet he precedes to get on top of me. I close my legs together. I tell him please not to do it. It is as if my cries pushes him on more to do it. He pulls down my pants as I struggle. He says he doesn’t understand why he likes having sex with me so much. I am trying to push him off and he struggles to penetrate me. After a few attempts, he is finally able to. It hurts immensely. I close my eyes and my whole body tenses up because of the pain. It is burning over and over. The only thing I can do is hold on to him because of the pain and bare it until he wants to be done. I wonder is that rape? I’m not sure. But I feel horrible. That day, I realize, that in our relationship, I have no power over my body. I don’t have the right to say no. I give myself to him whenever he wants. I feel worthless. I feel powerless. It confirms that my voice, my thoughts, and my feelings, as how I felt as a child was true. The message I internalize is that no one truly cared about how I felt or what I needed in order to care for myself. Not even the person I love.

I used to feel immense shame about these situations. I still sometimes do and constantly get re-triggered as I am now working in a profession where I am implementing a sexual violence prevention program and am reading up on all the information.

I’m sad to say that there are more instances than what I’ve shared. I blamed myself because I let them do it to me. I blamed myself for not being strong enough. BUT ALL THESE THINGS. WASN’T MY FAULT. I KNOW NOW.

I’m not here to make myself seem innocent of any wrong doings nor am I trying to demonize these people, as I’ve continued to heal from these situations and have found deep compassion and forgiveness for these individuals, yet IT DOES NOT JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS. 

I am telling my story, because I know I am not the only one that experienced these kind of things in my intimate relationships. I used to think it WASN’T rape or sexual assault because they were someone I liked, I willingly allowed them to, or they were my intimate partners. Many times I said YES, because I was scared. I didn’t fully understand what it was, and felt like I HAD to say yes.

But that’s what makes it confusing, because they also did good things for me and this made me re-think and question if what they did was wrong? But I want to tell you, if you ever feel GUILTY, SHAMEFUL, HIGH/INTENSE NERVOUSNESS AND ANXIETY, NUMB, OR SCARED when engaging in sex, sexual activity, OR EVEN CONSENTING, that is coercion and pressure. DON’T DO IT. That’s not TRUE CONSENT in my eyes. You should feel good when you say yes. BE AWARE LADIES. You MAY NOT REALIZE there and then, but IT WILL CAUSE YOU UNSETTLING TRAUMA that you will have to deal with later on; FEELINGS OF WORTHLESSNESS, POWERLESSNESS, LOW-CONFIDENCE, CHASING VALIDATION FROM MEN, SUICIDE.

If you judge me then this isn’t for you. I share this because at 16, I wished someone cared enough to ask me how I was doing, or if I was feeling comfortable in my relationships. I was scared and did not have an older person who was there to openly listen to me without judgment. I just kept putting myself into unhealthy situations where I got sexually assaulted over and over without realizing it.

This is NOT my battered story nor am I seeking sympathy. I want to share my story, to show you, my beautiful girl, no matter what has happened to you, how you feel about yourself, bad things you’ve done and endured, you can always rise up from everything and become whole, healthy, and fulfilled. You can begin embarking on your true path and despite anything, you can find healing.

Daaamn You’re Beautiful. Don’t ever forget that. Take your Body Back. It’s yours.

Wabi Sabi

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. #metoo?

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A Powerful all Hmong Women Collective Story-Telling

parksquarehmongwomen.jpg2Since February, I’ve had the pleasure to work with four wonderful Hmong women  to rehearse for our show, Face to Face: Hmong Women’s Experiences with Park Square Theatre. It’s amazing to commune with women who share the same identity as me, but see that we carry ourselves in our own unique and powerful way, but can still come together to create an amazing team.

Through our collective story telling, we address topics including mental health and depression, bullying, domestic and sexual violence, gender identity, beauty standards and more; real stories that many of us in our community also have experienced.

I’ve also had the pleasure to work closely with the writers Katie Ka Vang and Sarah Zatz, and our wonderful stage manager Ashley Raper.

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Photo Credits to fellow performer Pang Foua Xiong

It’s been a healing and truly re-energizing experience to be in a space where our stories are honored, welcomed, and received.

I’m excited to share that our show is coming up next week and would love to have you come support!

Especially my Hmong brothers and sisters. I would love to see you there. Purchase your ticket below.

  Peace and Love

Wabi Sabi

Ticket Link

Parking Info

Bald Asian Women Project: Empowerment Photo shoot & more

DAM* YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL CREATIVE EMPOWERMENT PHOTO SHOOT- Calling for Bald Asian Women/who want/plan to go bald of all SHAPES, SIZES, TEXTURES, AND SPICES!

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No need to be a America’s Next Top Model. I want you as you come. ❤ 

In part of Wabi Sabi’s Dam* You’re Beautiful movement, I am calling out to current bald Asian women, or women who want or plan to go bald between the months of Jan-Feb 2020.

Project description

Location

This project is based in the Twin-cities, MN, but is open to anyone who may want to participate. The Photo shoot will most likely take place in a studio. Video may take place in other places outside of studio. TBD

WHO Can Participate?

5-6 bald/close shaven Asian women will be chosen for this creative empowerment project. Bald women of all ages, sizes, Asian ethnicities and abilities are encouraged to participate! I am striving for all different types of beauty to be highlighted.

What the Project will entail

Women who are chosen for the project will participate in a photo shoot, and be open to share their story behind their decision to go bald. They may be interviewed and videoed and be asked to participate in a short creative video project as well. There may be some additional meeting sessions before the photo shoot to gather with all women to share stories and get to know one another.

Photo shoot will consist of the women in nude under garments and holding the Dam* You’re Beautiful sign. Nice Clean and Simple. ❤

This will be a non-paid participation project, but models will be given a free DYB T-shirt and socks.

Photo shoot date, meeting times are TBD. More information will be posted later.

Purpose:

  • To empower Asian women to embrace their authentic beauty inside and out.
  • To capture the essence and story behind each woman’s decision to be a beautiful bald Asian woman
  • To question the idea of beauty in mainstream USA AND ASIAN beauty standards

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If you are interested in participating or know someone who may be perfect for this creative project please contact on one of the mediums below. Peace and Love ❤

Email: wabisabic.y.s@gmail.com

Facebook: Wabi Sabi

Instagram: WabiSabi_Cys

Peace and Love

Wabi Sabi

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Cydi Ywj Siab Yang created the blog Wabi Sabi to share her writing and art pieces to promote healing, positivity, triumph, growth, and self-love. It is an empowering blog that also encourages imperfect beauty. To find perfection in the imperfection. To reveal to the beautiful women of this world, how perfect they are in the eyes of the universe, with every unique flaw they hold on their bodies and soul. Wabi Sabi exists to show every women and girl their already perfect selves in their imperfect selves, and to empower them to use their natural born gifts to pursue their passion and purpose to reach the highest, best version of themselves.

DAM* YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL strives to encourage women to tell one another DAM* YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL! But in order for this to happen, each individual woman has to tell that to herself and see her own authentic unique beauty she holds within. Once she discovers her true beauty, we then can commune as women to encourage one another to see ourselves as imperfect beautiful beings.

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It will not take only 1 Day, 1 Week, or 1 Year to Let go of Someone you Love

 

This is for the person I love. The person I have to let go. This is for the person I fought to show my love to, and wanted to be loved by so badly. It will not take only 1 day, 1 week, or 1 year to let you go.

Two years ago, when I walked away, I thought it would be easy, because of all the stress you put me under. But, it’s been two years, and I still cannot forget you.

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“Contemplating”

I constantly compare how others make me feel to how you make me feel. I constantly compare how other’s touch is like to yours; compare the laughter I share with others, with the laughter I shared with you.

The sweetest moments I miss are the ones when I’m sleeping on your chest or when we are sleeping turning away from one another but you turn over and pull me into your arms in the middle of the night like a little child needing his teddy bear;

or when we’d drink coffee and stay up all night until 4:00 am, scheming our future plans about opening a restaurant together, and all the different types of dishes we’d serve there. It wouldn’t be just an ordinary type of place to enjoy. It would be filled with excitement, and our love.

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“Grasping for you. Please Take my Hand”

I wanted to love you. I wanted to protect you. I wanted to be everything you never had, because you were everything I never had.

You were the mother’s encouragement I never received.

A brother’s protection I never felt.

A sister’s listening ear I never knew of.

A father’s warm hug I stopped receiving.

 

Watching you grow and learn how to navigate the world was a joy to me. I know you and I weren’t perfect, but I knew we loved each other.

I know I’m imperfect, but you saw that in me, and saw me worthy to love. Even at my lowest points, you still looked at me with joyful eyes, always telling me I was enough. But as we separated, you changed. Your feelings changed. You don’t love me the same way. You don’t see me the same way.

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“Can’t Help but to keep looking back to you”

I still yearn to hold you, touch you, kiss you, be around your warm presence, but the side you’ll never show me holds you back from ever being present with me.

You strive to be something, to mean something to the world, but I want you to know, that you meant something to me. You were something to me.

I ask you, why can’t you just spend time with me without asking me to do something for you. I wondered all along from the beginning, if what you felt for me was ever real, or were you just using me to fill the darkness inside you, the lack that you could not fill yourself.

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“Bending over Backwards for You”

You used me in every way. And yet, I still love you I forgive you, and I still cannot forget the way your hands feel on my thigh, the way your face brushes against my cheek, the way your splooshy lips kiss me softly on every part of my body.

My skin loves to stick to you.

All I can do is love you, and maybe that is not enough for you. And you will continue to search for the thing that you don’t have. But once you get there, hopefully you don’t look back to see that you lost someone who loved you deeply.

Maybe you don’t love me. Maybe you did just use me because I gave so much to you. But I can’t help but still love you. But I know. I have to let you go. Wash you away from my skin, day by day, until I can look forward and not yearn for your presence, or daydream about going somewhere tropical with you, because your presence warms me like Hawaii.

I have to let you go love.

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“Looking Forward”

Wishing you only Peace and Love.

Wabi Sabi

 

DYB Workshop #3: Transcending Negative Self-Talk

Hello Beautifuls. Since we were not able to discuss Negative Self-Talk in the last workshop, we are going to have one full workshop on this!
Negative self-talk is detrimental to our growth and well-being. We have to wonder, when did this negative belief of ourselves sprout? Did we believe this when we were born, or did someone plant it into our minds? For this workshop, we are going to break down the root of negative self-talk, help each individual understand the negative self-perception is not you, and how can we turn it into a positive view of ourselves. I am so excited for this workshop!
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Time: 6-8pm
location: Amherst Wilder Foundation, Meeting Room 2510, 451 Lexington Pkwy N, St Paul, MN 55104
What you can bring: You’re own pillow, blanket, Journal
Things to Expect at the workshop:
Vulnerability, openness, and being Hella Real ❤
We will have a quick 5 minute meditation session either at the beginning or at the end of the workshop.
There will always be discussion groups where we can discuss with small groups on the specific topic.
Also expect to be interactive, reflective, and enjoy it.
Light snacks will be provided.
Please reserve your spot by clicking HERE.
Check out my
FACEBOOK: WABI SABI
INSTAGRAM: WABISABI_CYS
YOUTUBE: WABI SABI
Peace and Love.
Wabi Sabi