Healing Out Lao’d is a global movement exploring the intersections of Lao diaspora storytelling x healing x tools for sustainability
More than a collection of Lao diapora stories, HOL is a community practice space and resource hub to support one’s holistic mental health and wellness needs! Rarely do media outlets shine light on the nuanced hxstory of the global Lao diaspora, and much less, the stories about healing and thriving in our communities. The opportunity to close this gap is what HOL essentially pursues.
What does it mean to be a part of the Lao diaspora?
What does it mean for future generations to access their authentic truths beyond surviving?
In no way does this space intend to replace or overlook the intergenerational traumas Lao folx have experienced overtime. Rather, it serves as a landing point for the Lao diaspora to acknowledge and nurture their truths, heal from past traumas, move forward with their lives. Stories curated in HOL episodes are intricate--raw--and authentic, just like the people it represents.
As a survivor, activist, and storyteller, I began my journey to support fellow Lao community members through directing my first short documentary film titled, Phetmixay Means Fighter, which highlights my own family’s refugee journey to the U.S. from Laos and Thailand. This brought awareness to a much neglected Lao narrative I yearned to see in mainstream media. Since its completion in 2016, I have screened it at 10+ universities, national conferences and film festivals.
I am proud of the reach its gotten, yet, wanted to document more stories and ones that were not just my own and through a means that was more accessible for generations similar to mine or younger. I initially wanted to get involved in higher educational social justice programming. However, the opportunities in front of me kept veering me towards wellness programming, 1x1 clinical therapy and eventually coaching. And although I enjoyed working with diverse communities with similar marginalizations as myself, I didn’t feel as complete. Moreso, the thought that I was neglecting my own Lao community by fulfilling my time in others did not sit well with me. I knew the needs such as intergenerational trauma from war violence and displacement were still so prevalent in my diaspora. After finally making this connection and having one conversation about bringing more healing spaces to the Lao diaspora with my big sis Kulap, born Healing Out Lao’d.
Healing Out Lao’d is truly a family and community space for all of us in the Lao diaspora to grow beyond surviving and thrive. So many times have I heard from Lao folx, especially in the 1.5 and 2nd generation, speak about their loneliness and wishing they had someone like themselves when they were younger. This very observation sparked my curiosity and made me question: how did you get to where you are if you didn’t have an older you? Hence, the practice tips and tools I ask HOL guests to share.
Many of us who were the first to be born on soil outside of Laos did not get that privilege to learn from folx who “did it already” because there was no such thing! Our parents and caregivers grew up with us in a foreign place we both navigated for the first time. I trust we did the best we could, but what happens when that is not enough? I have sought out my own fairshare of psychotherapy, coaching, and trauma-informed yoga to counter this lack of not feeling enough and believe me, it took so much inner work for me to get to where I am today to sustain myself and this greater healing movement.
For as long as HOL exists, I will do my best to capture the stories of the global Lao diaspora. From the ones that are heart wrenching to ones that will just make you feel whole and laugh out lao’d!!! Our stories are so nuanced, diverse, and much more interconnected than we can ever imagine. In much gratitude, I dedicate this space to all our younger selves and send so much love to the generations that have come before us. I want to make this space truly about healing intergenerationally. One that is for us, by us.
With love and huk pheng always,