Category Archives: Experience

#WalangHiya: A Promise to Heal

I didn’t want our love to be political. It wasn’t radical or revolutionary—it was just ours. I refused to write our relationship as an allegory for oppression, for colonization. But we didn’t exist in a vacuum. We were not magically in love, off in a fantasy world. Rather, we were the perfect allegory for the colonizer and the colonized. Eventually, I wrote a poem called “White Man’s Love,” a nod to Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” (which was actually about the United States and the Philippines), in which I wrote, tongue-in-cheek, I just happened to be brown, and he just happened to be white.

Similarly, this poem, “atonement,” nods to the first song my ex wrote about me, in which he co-opted my mental illness and suicidal ideation as his own pain. Continue reading

Living #WalangHiya with Brown Courage // Tapaang Ang Loob Ko

[Before you read this post, I highly recommend that you watch the video first.]

I gave this presentation  last year during a TED talk-like event at my school. I was in graduate school working to obtain a Masters in Mental Health counseling. This presentation was a first step for me in living, claiming and embracing #WalangHiya. As a Filipina, it takes a lot of courage for me to speak my truths into the world even about something that seems simple like makeup. Continue reading

The Call for Emotional Labor

I’ve spent half of my week sick in bed: chugging fluids, downing Vitamin C, closing my eyes while drowning out the world with music and Bob’s Burgers. My friend, Mary had gotten sick the day after the Womxn’s March but miraculously, I felt a hunnid. I thought I had managed to steer clear but turns out, the one day I didn’t wear my poncho scarf, is the one day the rain pours, the wind roars and germs are rampant.

But I do think there is more to me getting sick than that scientific explanation.

Last year, when I was a Jesuit Volunteer, the combination of being away from my home, friends and family, living with white folks whose unchecked entitlement made me feel inhuman, and working at a job where black and brown staff particularly womxn were taken advantage of at every turn – I got colds more frequently than normal. Despite my best efforts to self-care by journaling, making music, talking with friends, going to mass or just getting out of the house, the stress of my life would get to me and I would end up stuck in bed with a bad cold.

Now, it’s the combination of… Continue reading

Walang Hiya: A Filipinx American Womxn’s Reflections on the 2017 DC Women’s March

After flip-flopping for months about whether to go to D.C. for the Women’s March, I committed and bought a bus ticket a few weeks ago. Despite my initial pull to stay and organize in New York, I settled on an even greater pull to travel the five hours to participate in the march — mainly to observe the current state of the national womxn’s movement in-person.

Mainstream media’s been over-covering world-record breaking attendances and warm feelings about starting positive change so I thought I’d change it up and add a Filipinx American womxn of color’s perspective to the mix with a list of realities I experienced and observed: Continue reading

Professionalism: The Art of Compartmentalizing

Professionalism

In my Filipinx American organizing spaces, we sometimes check-in by sharing personal updates on one of the five P’s:

  • Pinansya/Pag-aaral (finance/school)
  • Pamilya/Kaibigan (Family/Friends)
  • Pag-ibig (Love)
  • Pag-kilos (Revolution Work)
  • Pagkalusugan (Health)

The last time we did this, the facilitator mentioned when choosing only one, you could still talk about the other four P’s. A simple reminder to us that we don’t have to compartmentalize because the different aspects of our lives are interconnected.

Lately, I’ve been working on recognizing and naming the interconnectedness of my life. It’s my way of actively working to resist compartmentalization, a process I now view as a product of imperialistic and patriarchal socialization — a realization three years in the making. Continue reading