No one story can encapsulate all that I am and all that I can or will do.
And yet, I suppose an introduction may be helpful in bringing us a little closer, in humanizing me with you.
I am a daughter of an artist/screen printer and seamstress/manicurist–both creatives in my eyes–yet I grew up with little encouragement to create.
Perhaps this was due to my father’s failed screen printing business in the United States when I was 4-years-old, juxtaposing his rather successful and affluent art business in Vietnam before I was born.
The financial devastation left my parents experiencing immense loss, adding to their already difficult and traumatizing life conditions from the battles and bombing from the Vietnam War.
Whatever the case may be, my mother insisted I did not draw as a child and discouraged me from becoming an artist, referencing to my father’s unemployment when I told her I wanted to become an artist at 16-years-old.
“You won’t be able to make money as an artist,” she said. “Just look at your father.”
Those words convinced me that an art career was nonviable and I began drawing less and less.
I grew up intuitively knowing that creating art filled me with joy. I began drawing around 6-years-old after watching my sister draw, and I enjoyed creating art ever since.
Many of my teachers complimented my art projects and consistently gave their positive impression of my artistic abilities with my parents, with which they would simply smile politely.
However, when I was seen drawing at home, my mother would tell me to stop.
“Stop drawing,” she would say. “It’s not productive nor useful to draw.”
I felt shameful for drawing.
And eventually shame for doing art.
I would still draw from time-to-time, but the shame nearly stopped me from creating altogether.
While studying Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior at University of California, Davis, I found my inner spirit pulling me towards creating art again.
And so I took some oil painting and drawing classes in college, away from my mother’s gaze.
Even as I moved home and held part-time jobs at after-school tutoring programs, teaching science, math, and art, I found myself moving towards a life creating art.
I circled back to taking art classes at my community college and found the courage to slowly transition out of teaching into creating and selling my artwork at conventions.
These three years selling at conventions proved to be an incredibly powerful and life-changing experience for me:
I created artwork I would’t have, if not for the encouraging words and genuine enthusiasm and kindness from other convention artists and attendees.
I made friends, who were artists and art appreciators just like me, actively creating or supporting other creators emotionally and financially.
And I experienced love and security for the first time from someone I met at a convention, which continues to ground and guide me in deepening my compassion for myself, my parents, and other human beings.
Looking back now, I encountered many cycles of doubt, many periods of depression, and many moments of worthlessness, fear, and shame while creating and enjoying art.
But I’m still here, learning, growing, and creating, all while practicing love and kindness for all the years I felt lost, alone, helpless, and afraid to create.
I do not hate my parents for the trials I’ve been through, although I did for a bit of time.
I do not regret falling in love someone with whom we eventually decided to part ways.
These experiences–and many more–have added tremendous value to my life.
And I wouldn’t take any of them back.
I see now that I am much more resilient, compassionate, and loving because I have experienced difficult emotions and situation, and learned to accept them, not as who I am, but as a collection of human experiences.
My story continues on through my creations–my writing, my artwork, and my resources–for you.
And while these creations are created through me, they are not me.
Which makes sharing them with you, here on this website and my social media accounts, a much more enjoyable experience.
Thank you for reading, for learning, and for being here with me.
I appreciate you.
What I Love, What I Believe
I love people,
I believe in love,
And I am committed to enhancing people’s lives through words and art.
Here is what I know for sure:
That all human beings are beautiful, inside and out.
That despite our outward appearances, personalities, possessions, labels, and titles,
We all have something in common:
We are all capable of feeling.
Fear and pain;
Guilt and shame;
Anger and sadness.
But despite feeling these emotions,
We are NOT these emotions.
We only experience emotions.
And experiencing ANY kind of emotion makes us human.
And being human is BEAUTIFUL.
So let your emotions BE.
Do not run away from them.
Do not ignore them.
Just be there FOR them.
Just as you would for someone you love.
Simply hold space for your emotions.
Feel through them,
Acknowledge and recognize them,
Just as they are.
“Hello Sadness, how are you?”
“Hello Fear, what would you like to say?”
“Hi Anger, is there something you need?”
Feel as much as you can,
Through your hands,
Are there tears in your eyes?
Then let them flow.
How are you breathing?
Notice your breath.
Notice your body.
And with practice,
You may just feel a little lighter,
Stand a little taller,
And love a little deeper.
All with more joy, peace and kindness to yourself and to those around you.
I wish you well on your healing and self-loving journey.
A Message for You
Wherever you come from
And however you came here,
I am happy to have you.
Sharing my emotions and experiences through my creations bring me great joy and fulfillment.
So please enjoy your stay.
You are free to feel and free to be.
Just as you are.
A breathing, gentle human being.
You are loved.
You are accepted.
You are humanly perfect,
Just as you are.
With love and tenderness,