Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

“I didn’t get to meet you. I didn’t even get to see you. All I had were two simple lines… And they meant the world to me.”

To this day I still imagine what could have been. I would be six months with a swelling belly on this very day in which I publish this piece. I would know if I’m having a girl or a boy. I would have baby clothes, toys, and bottles riddled around the house, unsure of where I would store them away in our tiny duplex. All these things I almost had, but lost.

I think back to the first month when two simple lines brought us so much unbelievably joy. I remember how big my husband smiled while pulling me into…

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Dear Mom,

I am hurting.

I know you’ve envisioned a certain kind of life for your kids. You fled with your family to the Thai refugee camps and resettled in America with nothing — no language, capital, or familiarity. Through hardships and struggle, you eventually cultivated something for yourself in America.

I know deep down you are the way you are because of the traumas of poverty, war, and the workings of the Hmong patriarchy between you and your own mom — all which you have had to navigate and continue to.

Because of your history, you attempt to vicariously…

Photo by Vlad Kutepov on Unsplash

A reflection from my very first publication on Medium two years ago.

My relationship with my mom is like a wound on the body: although in some ways it has healed, a scar remains.

For a long time I held a deep grudge against her for the bitterness and tears that compiled in my life. It is finally now that I am able and learning to unpack the past.

I’ve come to comprehend that life is far more complex than what we think we know. What I mean is, we are used to hearing the cliche “Life is complex.” But…

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There is a story which I have not told many people. It is a story filled with shame and embarrassment. Yet, it is an experience which embodies privilege, parental love, and balancing distrust and growth between parents and children.

When I was eighteen years old and just a few months into my very first relationship, my father caught my ex-boyfriend and me in my bedroom. I can still remember the rush of emotions that coursed through my body. The guilt, humiliation, and fear can still be felt as if it all happened yesterday. …

Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash

When I established this Medium account about a year ago, I named myself Mx. Vang. I was using “Mx” as a political statement to interrupt heteronormativity. However, as I’ve encountered more discourse around the usages of “Mx,” I have decided to change my name to Baoku after some reflection.

For one, I do not identify within the gender nonconforming or non-binary spectrum. Although I continually work on being conscious of binary-ness, I do not want to use a classifier that does not pertain to me, as I do not live with or struggle with the experiences of the aforementioned. Additionally…

What does it mean to be a bad Hmong womxn? Does the label pluck at a strand of your heartstring which seeks to serve justice for the good ones? Why must the fire of bad Hmong womxn be fearfully extinguished by the saviors of goodness?

To be a bad Hmong womxn does not take away from the goodness of your mother or your grandmother. To be a bad Hmong womxn means hearing the sighs of the womxn around us who buried their voice in exchange for survival.

To be a bad Hmong womxn does not mean forgetting the history or…

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Lately I have been thinking about how to be a better writer, how to make my voice heard, and how to make a difference. Although some of these thoughts may sound far-reaching, I’ve always wanted to write content that other Hmong folx could identify with. For example, I’ve read content by non-Hmong folx about their experiences with mental illness, but I would think about how and if it would be different if a Hmong person had written it.

What kinds of personal experiences would a Hmong person allude to in order to detail their feelings? What Hmong cultural factors may…

“lighted eat what makes you happy neon signage” by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Every time my mom calls me to ask how I’m surviving in another state and in graduate school (to answer that question: barely) she likes to ask “So have you lost any more weight?” Knowing that I’m on my own and now on a tight budget she likes to “tease” me about weight-loss. Although being the overly self-conscious and yet bitter person that I am, I played along with her anyway and said, “I guess, I mean I put on a shirt the other day and it seemed more loose than usual.” That did the trick and the conversation quickly…

TW/CW: rape, sexual assault

“blood moon” by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

The Ghost of Your Love Haunts Me

You sit next to me on the couch, harmlessly. No one is home except you and me. The white walls around us seem to close in, trapping me like an animal. I start to feel uncomfortable, but I smile at you, unsure of what to do. Suddenly, the couch we’re sitting on shrinks and I feel a heaviness on top of me. Your body topples mine, your eyes undressing me with every blink. I squirm and fight, begging you to stop. You don’t hear me. No, you do, but you ignore my pleas. I feel your…

“man on beach during sunset” by Charlie Hang on Unsplash

Dear Dad,

The quiet, stubborn, and yet fair father figure in my life. I am writing this letter because it’s hard to have a conversation with you since you are a Hmong man and I am your Hmong daughter. These patriarchal Hmong rules have put boundaries between us, but it hasn’t kept me from noticing your distinct ways of loving us daughters.

Growing up as a Hmong daughter I resented how I had to clean up after you. Even Pog [Grandma] would yell at me, “Koj yog ib tug ntxhais, koj yuav tsum tu tom qab lawv.”


Hmong womxn | Feminist | Surviving & Healing

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