I've been taking lots of slow, deep breaths. As someone who's been conditioned to stay quiet and keep the peace, the recent fatal acts in Atlanta, along with ongoing hate crimes committed against Asian elders, have catapulted me - out of pain, fear, and outrage - to fully step into a new space - one where I am disturbing the peace and speaking out against the racism that my Asian & Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community continues to face.
From a recent post I've written:
"I've felt unsettled for months, but this week's events were the tipping point. Now it's time for me to break my silence. Even as an Asian-American woman born and raised in San Francisco, a cultural melting pot in the 80s, I have been the target of racism and fetishism and never had the guts to speak out against this.
I kept quiet because that was the norm - being part of a culture where children are taught to remain quiet in order to keep the peace. I internalized my experiences and remained silent, thinking that no one would want to hear me complain.
Because no matter how much suffering we endured, we were told by our parents that they and our ancestors suffered far greater pain and that we are lucky and should be grateful to be an "American."
Now, in light of the recent shootings and increasing worry for my father - a 80 year old man who is afraid to step outside and show his skin on the streets - the floodgates have finally burst open."
Spreading Asian Love
In an effort to speak out more and embrace the intersection of my cultural heritage and life's work, my focus will be on spreading Asian love.
Love for my culture, my heritage, my ancestors and all the wisdom they've imparted.
Stepping into my role as a holistic health + clean beauty advocate to celebrate the numerous contributions that Asian cultures have made to our modern society.
Honoring the Asian plant-based ingredients and healing practices that have been such an important part of my beauty and wellness offerings.
Providing more education to increase awareness, diversity, and representation in this space.
Doing my part to amplify Asian + AAPI voices because I can say with certainty that my people are just as, if not more, fed up with remaining silent.
One of my biggest sources of inspiration
In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month, and to highlight one of the biggest sources of inspiration in my life…
I'd like to introduce you to my mom, Monica Liu: an insatiably curious woman who loves food, travel, shopping and speaks her mind...all the time :)
My mom also has the biggest heart and has been instrumental in the success of my business since the beginning.
She immigrated to San Francisco from Taiwan in 1970, when she was 21 years old.
My mom didn't know anyone except my dad, didn't speak or understand any English, and had to figure out to adjust to her new home and a new culture completely different than what she was used to
Although she picked up English very quickly (thanks to watching countless episodes of soap operas w/ closed captioning), my mom still held onto many traditions from her cultural heritage -- cooking Chinese herbal remedies, getting acupuncture and cupping regularly, and practicing qi gong & meditation for health and vitality.
It's never too late to follow your dreams
My mom worked in accounting & real estate up until I graduated from college, when she decided to, at 59 years old, pursue her passion for Chinese healing modalities and enroll in a Traditional Chinese Medicine program.
After 8 grueling years of school, my mom received her doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and became a licensed acupuncturist & herbalist at the ripe young age of 67 (pictured in the first row, second from right).
These traditional Chinese healing modalities that my mom (and her mother and grandmother) have practiced their entire lives...
Have been my biggest sources of inspiration for Free Flow Botanicals' offerings -- plant-based skincare products and beauty tools like gua sha inspired by traditional Asian beauty rituals and healing practices.
I'm grateful that my mom still helps out with my business and continues to teach me her favorite Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques -- gua sha, acupressure, and cupping.
These traditional healing practices have been a part of my family for many generations, and I can't wait to share them with you.
What's next for this Asian American small business owner?
I'll be partnering with fellow advocates to amplify Asian + AAPI voices in clean beauty and beyond...
Exploring traditional practices of medicine, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and how they have influenced the clean beauty industry.
I’ll be sharing more about my experiences growing up as a Asian American, and life as an AAPI business owner.
And I will continue to honor my ancestors - my parents as well as those no longer in this earthly realm but whose spirits I can still connect with...
As well as fellow AAPI small business owners, activists, and community organizers who are doing so much to stop #aapihate and spread #aapilove.
A heartfelt thank you
Those of you who have reached out, emailed me, texted me, or contacted me on social media -- thank you so much for your kind words and support. You are a trusted ally, and I'm incredibly grateful to be in this community with you.
And if you feel called to connect with me, to share your thoughts or are curious about anything I've shared here -- please don't hesitate reach out or leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!