Meet a Maker: Mee Thao
1. What are the three qualities that got you to where you are today?
The three qualities that have gotten me to where I am now are stubbornness, hopefulness, and patience. If I wasn’t so stubborn in not conforming to the ways of what those around me were saying, holding onto hope in the blessings of persevering, and patience to see the manifestation of the blessing, I wouldn’t ever gotten this far and wouldn’t be who I am today.
2. What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
I think every girl grows up pretending to be a lot of things, but you realize that it was just pretend and something fun to do. At least for me it was. As I reflect on this, the first career that I really ever had a passion for was to become a singer/actress.
3. What inspired you to start doing what you do now?
What inspired me to start doing what I do now was from having my first child. In the early years of having my first child, I struggled with working, college, and health problems. It, ultimately, lead me to stay at home. As I stayed home, I began to craft and found a love for crafting. My love for crafting lead me to designing.
4. Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
I get my inspiration from life lessons, culture, and my Christian beliefs. Then, Pinterest and Youtube helps me put my ideas together.
5. Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
Quebec may be the most interesting place I have been to so far. I just love how the city there was able to preserve their history. I was most amazed by all the hard work,love, and care put into having flowers everywhere and the landscaping. It didn’t matter where we went in Quebec, it was clean and the homes and yards were so well maintained.
6. If you were home on a rainy Sunday afternoon, what movie would you most want to see on television?
I, honestly, don’t have an answer for what movie I would like to see on television. I’ll stick to my Korean dramas. Haha!
7. What’s your favorite time of the day?
My favorite time of day would be the evenings. I don’t know why but that's when I have more energy and I’m able to get more things done.
8. What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
As of right now, songwriting is knocking on the door. I just cannot write a song without music. So learning the piano is on my list but I haven’t put the hammer down on this. You can I say could write songs without learning the piano but I just don’t see that happening.
9. What skills would you like to master?
Singing in all ranges and all genre is a skill I would love to master.
10. What are some small things that make your day better?
Naps, alone time, and praying makes my day better. I’m with my kids most of the day and so finding time alone makes me a better person to care for the kids and the tasks at hand.
11. If you got a free check for $5,000, how would you use it?
I would definitely put the $5000 into the embroidery machine that I have been eyeing.
12. Who inspires you to be better?
My children are what inspires me to be better and to do better. If I can’t set a good example for them, who will? When all else and everyone else fails them, they can at least look back at what example mommy and daddy has shown them.
13. What’s one thing that you are exceptionally good at?
I have never considered myself exceptionally good at anything in particular. I’m just average. If I had to choose, listening to others would be the best thing I could do. It doesn’t require much work to listen.
14. What’s one thing that you are epically bad at?
I’m epically bad at having a sense of humor. I don’t catch onto jokes or sarcasm. So it gets awkward. Well, speaking in general is epically bad for me!
15. If you could compete in an Olympic sport, what would it be?
Figure Skating! There’s something so beautiful in figure skating.
16. What’s a favorite book of yours?
The Bible would be my favorite book. Every time I read something from the Bible, God reveals new things to me, even if I have read the same passage hundreds of times.
17. What do you like most about where you currently live?
It’s slow and quiet. That’s definitely a con in living here if you are looking for amusement but it’s a great place to raise a family.
18. If you could live in a foreign place, where would it be?
Definitely, Korea or Japan. I couldn’t possibly choose between them.
19. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
I would tell my 18 year old self not to worry. It’s going to be okay; so do what you enjoy. No one is going to live your life for you.
20. What changes would you like to see in the Hmong culture?
I would like to see more of our mothers seeing themselves in their own daughters and daughter in law’s situation of being mistreated by their husbands, families, and in laws. Our mothers know firsthand how badly they were treated when they were married into a family but yet they treat their daughters and daughter in laws that same way. Our mothers carry on the expectation of women serving men and they enforce and instill that onto their children. Afterall, majority of the time our Hmong women are the main caretaker. They allow their sons to carry on the mindset that women are solely there to please them and cater to them. Our mothers don’t see their daughters and daughter in laws as equals to begin with.
We may hear about how our Hmong men mistreat our Hmong women but we don’t ever think that It could be the result of our own mothers enabling our Hmong men, our sons, to physically and emotionally abuse our women. Our culture elevates our sons and treats them as Kings and Gods that are born to give them honor, glory, and a luxurious life. Too often, when tragedies happen the son is exempt in their responsibility and the daughters are left to take care of the problems and left to take care of their parents as well are their in laws.
Of course, we do have the daughter in laws that completely abandons their in laws, but that’s a different story. I would never want my daughter in law to feel like they are slaves for my wants and needs and that they don’t have any rights or say for anything. Same goes for my own daughters being slaves to their in laws. If our mothers want to put up with the abuse from their husbands, that’s fine but don’t carry that to the next generation. Be the change.
21. What is your favorite thing about being Hmong?
My favorite thing about being Hmong is the community. Being one big family. Sharing all our joys and sorrows together.