The Materialization of Abuse: My Story (Blog 1)

“This man was so bad, that you had a baby with him, married him a month later, and moved him into your house?!” This was what my husband’s attorney said to me as I sat in the witness stand, trying to conceal anxiety and fear of the woman whose intentions were to badger and discredit my testimony. What was running through my head? I knew that no matter what I said, no matter what the truth was, these people had their heart set out to do the ‘legal thing’ regardless of right or wrong. She was representing her client, and doing a good job at that, while she objected and trounced my lawyer into speechlessness. As a result, I lost. I was denied the right to a restraining order against my husband, because as the judge declared, my testimony was not credible. They were looking for a man who slugged his wife around and beat her when he became angered. They were looking for a stereotype, and that wasn’t my husband. He was the exact opposite and he had more creative ways.

I want to apologize beforehand to you, the reader, if what I say may not seem clear or I reveal some ideas that are contrary. I do, however, intend to speak truth to my story.  I am tired of being embarrassed, ashamed, and confused about what happened and is still happening to me.  I don’t know what I will get out of telling my story, except maybe understanding and hopefully above all, awareness.  It can happen to anyone from any race, ethnicity, cultural background, socioeconomic status, personality, or state of mind.  Some of us escape just in time, but if you’re like me, you got stuck.  You just couldn’t move out from the quicksand in that swamp that you thought was harmless to step into, as long as you had something to hold on to, you’ll never sink too deep to where you can’t get out.  It happens.  The truth, I feel that many people who had the authority over this course of my life didn’t understand or believe because they only saw what others have legalized as ‘fact’. Being trusted and deemed honest has never meant so much to me until my life began to change and these events began to unfold. I held on to it with every inch of my being. The following is my story.

We met at a local pool hall and right away, I was smitten by his good looks and charm. He had an athletic build and wore a cap lowered just above the eyes, giving him a mysterious, pleasing persona. But what stood out from underneath his physical appeal was how natural it was for me to talk to him. He was very friendly and didn’t hint arrogance or unkindness in any way, so I spoke to him without hesitation or timidity.

Our conversations were about God and work, and I was having a great time because I felt I could just be myself. More so, I was excited that a great looking guy was talking to me – an average woman.

Soon, we started hanging out at his apartment with his roommate. It was a time in my life when my beliefs and actions were quite incongruous, so many times I suppressed knowing that reality by pretending it was okay because it was only temporary.

Temporary. When things are temporary, you don’t invest time in it and you watch the clock run its course and wait until it’s over. At least that’s how I dealt with situations that aren’t necessarily pleasing but are only here for a short period of time. But what was going to happen to me was anything but temporary.

To be continued…

Do People Really Change?

“People don’t really change,” says a relationship expert troll to princess Elsa in Disney’s Frozen.  Yes, I just quoted a children’s movie, but for the first time, there is some real truth here for people of all ages.  Somehow when we women (yes, this happens to men too but I will stick to the female protagonist in this story for now) hear miraculous stories of individuals who were once bad, misfits, or convicts change into a redeemed person with better moral character, we think to ourselves,  wow, that’s great!  And we sometimes even draw divine conclusions like, “God must have touched his life.”  And you know something, God probably did.  And then to add to the confusion, we watch movies…worse…romantic chick flicks.  Gosh,  I love myself a good chick flick.  I can laugh and cry at the same time, while subconsciously idolizing the couple’s love for one another, and then fantasizing that maybe one day my knight in shining armor will come sweep me off my feet.  That perfect God-fearing, kind but confident guy who is just a ideal short of realistic.  Yes, you’re laughing or thinking “how ridiculous” but hey, it’s the sad truth lol, and that’s what the romantic comedy movie industry banks on.  And there are those movies where the guy started out arrogant or criminal, or something unlikable in real life, and when he meets the woman of his dreams, he begins to change and finally, before the credits fade in, his true heart of gold is revealed and they live happily ever after.   Seriously true love or not?  Here’s how this pot of confusion is stewed –  we take the true stories of change and combine them with the chick flick stories of change and begin to believe that the current boyfriend who you don’t like or love entirely will eventually change.  If you just love him more, he will change.  If you just show him a better life in you, he will change.  If he sees God in your life, he will change.  Well I hate to break it to you, and I hate to break it to me, but from personal experience – they don’t change.   People don’t really change.  What you see is what you get.  People change themselves if they truly want to and that only happens if they see a serious need for it.  Most people don’t see a serious need for change and sometimes are not motivated enough to do so.  Sometimes if they do change, it’s a superficial metamorphosis just to temporarily appease you.  Those stories of men becoming better people are stories told time and time again because they’re rare.  No one likes to share a story that happens all the time.  You’ve heard of that particular example of change because it unqiue.  Yes, people do change, but only a few good batch actually do.  One has to really question,  am I with the few or the majority.   To continue playing the melody of this tune,  if one has to ask that question,  then one is hoping the other will change, and that’s no good.

Introductions – WHO WE ARE

Hello, my name is Loretta and I am a Christian Hmong American woman.  First and foremost, my faith in Christ means the whole world to me because in my heart, I know there’s a personal God who loved me first before I even discovered Him.  There have been times in my life where I’ve wandered and made mistakes, but my soul always leads me back to God.  I am definitely not perfect, but so imperfect that I need a wonderful and loving God to be my savior.

I am also a Hmong woman.  Although I’ve become acculturated, as most 2nd generation folks do, I look at my mother and it reminds me of my culture and people, and how much they’ve endured in Laos before escaping to Thailand and finally relocating in America to call it home.  I do speak, read, and write Hmong, but mostly conversational language.  However, my head voice is in English, e.g. I think and dream in English.  There are many things I love about being Hmong and many things I don’t agree with, but I feel the same about being American, too.  I believe every culture has its flaws and it’s up to us as individuals to use our morals and values to gauge what we want to keep as tradition.

Last year, I was given a miracle that I didn’t even deserve – my beautiful baby girl who is now 1 year old.  She is a blessing and she herself is going to become a woman of different cultures.  I always loved kids (although most who know me often think the contrary because I’m not oohing and aahing over children like most people around me do) but I now look at children differently – more compassionately, because in each of them, I see my baby girl.  I think I now know why people say you don’t know until you have your own kids.

I work in a public profession that continues to help me grow as an individual – teaching me about myself, others, and the world we live in.

I’ve gone through some unique trials and tribulations, and I say unique because most people I know cannot relate to some situations I’ve been through, but I know many readers will.

I hope this gives you an idea of who I am as to give you a context of what I write on this blog.  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING!!

What is Voices in the RAW?

Similar to most acronyms, RAW has a double meaning.  The first meaning stems from the definition of the word raw – in the flesh, as true as it gets, original, and open.   The second meaning is what the acronym stands for of course – Real Asian Woman.  The “real” part simply means that we want to be real with you and our experiences are authentic and as real as it gets.  My good friend, Deejay, and I wanted to create a blog where we are free to talk about topics involving our faith, Hmong culture, singlehood, marriage life, parenthood, food, society, and anything under the sun.  One thing Deejay and I have in common is that we’re quite honest about our thoughts and feelings, and we love sharing our opinions.  Sometimes we’ll be posting about everyday life situations, which may seem trivial, and other times our posts will involve more serious topics.  We hope that our voice will be heard by someone who can relate and someone who needs to be understood.  We desire to create a place where people can be open and honest about real-life issues.  We also hope that our voice will represent many of you readers who want to be heard.  Our voice is in the raw – open and honest about life.