5 days after I released Plhis Suab during the J4 weekend in Minnesota, I posted 162 words of gratitude for you.
But 162 words wasn’t enough for me.
I’m a person who believes the word is one of the deepest forms of love and gratitude. I would take five long paragraphs over five sparkling diamond rings any day. If I have ever said something to you with glistening eyes - online, on paper, or in person - it’s my heart sending you love.
And this letter, is my heart sending you love - only much longer than a Facebook post.
Dear My Beloved Fan,
10 years ago on July 1, 2006, I debuted with my first record, Nyob Ib Sab in Minnesota. I remember the multiple performances I put on at my booth and the people that stood in front of me as I sung (many who didn't know my name). A few of them walked up to get this new artist’s album.
But most walked away.
That same weekend, I remember my first public performance of my song, Niam on the J4 entertainment stage, and how emotional it was for me. A few days later, a friend shared a video someone had posted on YouTube of my performance. Comments were made left and right. A few said they were in tears.
But most left degrading comments about my body.
These are my first memories of being a new recording artist. It was a mix of emotions and heart with rejection and body-shaming. Without a doubt, the latter took a big toll on my spirit.
Fast forward to 10 years later on July 2, 2016, I released my third album, Plhis Suab in Minnesota. And here’s what I remember (based on actual events):
You knew my name. (Yeah!)
You came to me with the warmest smile on your face.
You grabbed a CD. No questions asked.
Your brother flew out from Australia for J4, so you had him pick up Plhis Suab for you.
Your eyes lit up when I came out from the back to greet you.
You told me your daughter, your husband, your mom, your dad, your boyfriend loves my music.
You picked up my CD, and left your change because you wanted to support me.
You looked me straight in the eyes like it’d been a long time, and hugged me super tight.
You sent your nephew and had him pick up three copies for you and your girlfriends.
You got my CD without knowing what the other 11 songs were about.
You came back to me with my CD and money in hand, because you’re confident you didn’t pay yet.
You told me you drove all the way from Milwaukee, WI just to get a copy of Plhis Suab.
You told me, “I want you to keep going. Please don’t ever stop.” Twice.
You told me, “I love you.”
All of this I remember, and I didn’t even perform for you. ;D
10 years later, I finally got to see myself in your eyes.
You showed me your trust in me as an artist and human being.
You showed me that I am more than the love handles on my body.
You showed me your love and appreciation for music that speaks to your heart.
You showed me that my dreams are worth fighting for.
You showed me that I must always believe in myself, because you believe in me.
The word is a deep expression of love and gratitude, but the one thing it isn’t, is enough. There will never be enough words to express how much YOU, my beloved supporter, fan, listener & reader, mean to me.
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for sticking by me, supporting me, sending me positive energy & words, hugging me, loving me, taking photos with me, sharing stories with me, & listening to me for the past decade.
Because of you, I know we'll have many more decades to create memories together.
Ua tsaug ntau ntau nawb mog. Thank you so very much. With my deepest love and until next time…
P.S. That was 687 words of love & gratitude for you. :D If you felt it, please leave me a comment below. I wanna hear from YOU!