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The rooster crows at dawn, except this rooster doesn’t crow. In fact, it’s not a rooster at all. But a box. It is just slightly larger than the hand of the Hmong man that listens to its muffled voices of a foreign language distorted, not only in his knowledge, but with static too. The red letters on this electric box reads 6:00.

His mind is awake but his eyes remain closed as he listens lying next to a woman. They lay in bed like they have for over fifty years. Every morning, roughly the same: both waiting for their bodies to catch up to the rise of the day. Her body wakes first. It always has. The night before, her long gray hair was released from the constraints of her elastic. She rolls out of bed and prepares for the new day by tying it back up. The knob, then the hinges, then the floors creak. Her footsteps travel across the special spot in the living room that goes “tha-thump!” — a signal to track where she has traveled. When she goes to the kitchen the pots and pans shifted and clanged just loud enough to know that in a few moments the first meal of the day would be ready. …

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“Am I fucking crazy?” I ask myself, gas lighting my own emotions based on the implication that women who express their feelings are unstable.

My mouth is just and dry. It is unable to digest dishonesty or lack of truth, which are essentially the same thing. It has acquired a specific taste of decency and yet it is indigestible to the egos of our culture.

I am a loud, blunt, confrontational Hmong woman. I trust myself enough to never do something I think I’ll regret. I don’t allow anyone to tell me how I should feel or do or act. I am who I am, unapologetically. Not to confuse it with the idea that I am never wrong, because I am. …

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He is Romeo and I am Juliet.

He is a Vang and so am I.

A war between names except this time, we have the same one.

We have the same last name and you’re not allowed to do that. Through generations of bloodlines and family trees, last names are a sacred bond. To date is taboo; it’s equivalent to dating your first cousin (though dating your relative with a different last name is more appropriate).

My hope has always been to find an ideal Hmong partner who is kind, patient, and understanding. I search for people who are passionate about life, deeply love their family and friends and are authentic with who they are. It is essential that they live for themselves and give me freedom to do the same. …


Jasmine Vang

Hmong American actor, writer, creator...

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