By Brianna Lusk
5:53 PM PDT, June 19, 2012
She remembers the day vividly. The last time she tried to take her life. As troubled as her heart was, her body wouldn’t give out on her. Instead, the rope did. It wasn’t the first time she had tried to give up.
She has no explanation for why she survived, except one.
“God was there,” Linda Ly says. “I thought I wasn’t any good. I got mad and decided ‘I’m going to make my own life.’ I decided to go straight forward, instead of being so negative, and maybe I would earn my way someday.”
It’s a difficult story to tell, as Linda’s story of coming to the United States as a young girl from war-torn Vietnam doesn’t mirror the simplistic “happily ever after” promised by the ideal American dream. Though she is now a business owner of her own nail salon and spa, Linda’s Nails & Spa in Brawley, Linda says she tries not to spend time dwelling on the devastating childhood that helped shape her faith and the remaking of her life.
Linda escaped Vietnam with her mother in 1981, traveling by boat through Malaysia before arriving in San Diego. Since her father sided with the U.S. and held a job as an administrator with the army, her family’s future was in danger.
Despite her parents’ separation, Linda explains, “Anyone fighting with the U.S. could not have a future in Vietnam at that time. A lot of people lost everything.”
But the troublesome relationship Linda had with her mother was just beginning. Even as a young girl, she suffered physical and mental abuse from the only parent she had to rely on, and by the seventh grade, she was in and out of the foster care system in San Diego.
“The Vietnam community in San Diego is very wide. She would find out where I was placed, and she would try to bring me home,” Linda remembers.
The loyalty she felt to her family kept her from leaving again and again, since her mother, who suffered from mental illness, threatened her life if her daughter abandoned her again. As difficult as it was, Linda says she did what she could just to try and finish her schooling and get out.
Read more about Linda Ly in the May/June 2012 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
Copyright © 2013, Imperial Valley Press