Happy One-year Publishversary to my book baby! I am a proud Mauthor of “I Did Not Miss the Boat”!
(Credit to my friend, Amy M. Le, who came up with these words and I love them!)
Having a book published is like having a baby, if you are a mother or an author, I am sure you can relate. In the past, many of my close friends in the corporate world sowed a seed in my head that my life story is a piece of history that needed to be told. I was grateful for their encouragement but never thought I would have the courage or the capability to write it myself. Perhaps I would hire a ghostwriter someday, I contemplated.
The truth is I was not mentally ready to be vulnerable to expose my personal life to the public. I was afraid of being judged or looked down on. After all, who wants to flip her shirt to show people her scars! (As my mother often said)
My mind shifted when I launched my first window drapery business in 2005. I learned that people remember you and like you for who you are, not on the surface but as a whole package of your authentic self through your life history.
It gave me comfort to think that my insignificant life story might be able to help people understand why refugees fled their own birth countries. How they had to face a tremendous number of risks and uncertainties to obtain freedom. In my family’s case, there were three generations of diaspora from China to Vietnam to America. The PTSD in our family was constantly escalated from these generational bondages.
In 2009, when I joined Toastmasters for the first time, I was impregnated with the idea that someday I would be brave enough to bring the message of my story to the world. It was the longest pregnancy of my life. It took eleven years and a pandemic for me to give birth to my memoir in Sept 2020.
So much has been happening in a year since the launch of my book! COVID confinement has led to many online speaking opportunities. I had participated in dozens of podcast interviews from all over the United States and even a few overseas. I also have given virtual presentations to various organizations and groups such as the River Falls Public Library in Wisconsin, The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs in Orlando, The Tavares Public Library, and the Oklahoma City Writers, Inc (OCWI) just to name a few.
It was an honor to be the in-person keynote speaker at the Toastmaster District 84 Conference in May of 2021. The connections and feedback were positively overwhelmingly filled with love, compassion, and kindness. I love how my story inspires others to re-examine theirs, to reflect on the goodness of their families, the hidden advantages of their past misfortune circumstances, so they too can thrive.
I look forward to impacting more people in various organizations and associations around the country or abroad to bring them the message of hope and courage. It felt wonderful to have people came up to me and tell me that I had motivated them to write their stories, share the lessons they learn in their past traumas.
My one-year-old memoir also has legs. It traveled to Switzerland, Japan, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, and many other countries, thanks to Amazon. I have no idea who cuddled my baby at night, but I appreciate the amazing kudos via emails and reviews on Amazon. They inspire me to be brave enough to step out of my comfort zone to achieve more than my limiting beliefs. In return, I can inspire my readers, my audience, my clients to do the same.
In late July, my family and I were able to go back to Onamia, Minnesota to pay tribute to the town and the people who welcomed us with opened arms with affection and love forty-one years ago. They showered us with kindness and demonstrated that human loves have no skin color distinctions. My book baby was christening and debut at the town library and at our Bethany Lutheran (our sponsored) Church. Reconnecting with those who touched our hearts and accepted us without knowing what we had been through made it a very emotional ride for me and my family, but it made us feel complete.
I am thrilled that my memoir has the capability of giving them a deeper insight into the people they support. I feel blessed to have this opportunity to give them our gratitude in person. I am forever grateful for those who took us in our most desperate situation as foreigners when we first came to this country.