DISCLAIMER: I write this post as a cis-gender womxn of the Filipin* diaspora with the intention that it uplifts a conversation that appears to be happening within the global Filipin* community in small pockets on the Internet. Please note, this post may have an uncomfortable impact for readers who identify as trans and/or as Filipinos living in the Philippines. I write this post — not to provide an answer to whether or not members of the global Filipin* community should self-identify as Filipinx — but rather to shed some light on my own process in understanding the term “Filipinx” and this ongoing conversation within our community, which I have had the privilege of witnessing and being a part of within my own circles.
This post has been nearly a month in the making. It’s taken many conversations and re-writes in an attempt to get to the heart of this on-going conversation and my own process. I hope that by sharing what I have learned and what I know, you find some peace within your own process.
When I started this blog, I intentionally chose to use “Filipinx” American because of a conversation I had with a non-binary Filipin* friend of mine a few months earlier. They had called me into a conversation about why I used the term Filipino in my Facebook posts given its oppressive connotations.
I’m back! This post took me over a month to have the courage to publish. I struggled to be gentle, tender and loving to myself as I wrote this as I’m baring the current status of my soul to you, lovely readers, so please, be gentle.
I unintentionally took a break from my #2017Project during the month of April. March had been full as I curated daily content for the Reclaiming #WalangHiya digital platform. When April came, I didn’t do a great job of setting aside intentional writing time. That, and a lot happened.
Winter, Lent and Easter came and went. I gave up alcohol for Lent. I spent time confronting myself through daily reflection. I decided to enter a committed monogamous relationship. I worked every weekend. I went to Atlanta for the first time and for my first work conference. I started job searching, got an offer, accepted another offer, put my two weeks in and worked my last day last week. In the midst of all this, I experienced intense anxiety and a few mental breakdowns. At one point, I started to tell my friends that I was ready to return to the West Coast. Now, I’m starting to wrap my head around the fact that I am staying longer in New York than I initially expected.
While I was discerning over whether to stay in New York or go home, my good friend and beloved editor, Mary paused me to mull over the following: 1) when life gets difficult, I have a habit of saying I’m going to return to the West Coast, and 2) something seems to keep me here in New York. It doesn’t seem or feel like I’m ready to leave simply because I’m saying I want to move back to the West Coast during a period of desolation.
And despite my anxiety, stress and frustration at the time, I knew Mary was right. Continue reading →
I wrote this song as an homage to the revolutionary songs of the Philippines specifically, “Bayan Ko.” I think Pinays exemplified by the women in my family specifically, carry a resilience that has kept my family together for generations, and it always seemed so magical to me. I wrote this song to honor the women in my family, and to remind them as well as myself, that in world of the white male gaze, we have so much to offer.
My birth mom sent me to Canada for a better life and education. Because I was only four, there was no way of understanding that. All I understood was that I wasn’t going to see her. At an age that required nurturing and love, what I received instead was confusion. Instead of family, there were strangers. Instead of love, there was anger and hate. Rather than gaining self-confidence, I learned that I was unworthy and became deeply insecure and fearful. This, coupled my growing understanding that I looked different too. This sense of not fitting in, of not belonging, stayed with me everywhere I went — even more so after visiting the Philippines 10 years later. Who I thought I was didn’t seem to fit the description anywhere. I began feeling that I was simply an outsider in every community I discovered and it didn’t help that I was constantly reminded of my differences. Continue reading →
I remember standing at the bus stop feeling like a melon because a random stranger had asked my mother this question. She was offended, as anyone rightly would be. I was left with a sense that despite my mix I could never truly express my Filipinxness. I felt ashamed.
When we think about identity, we usually focus on what we can see. If you were to look at me, you would probably be able to tell that I’m biracial. Living in London I have always had a sense of multiculturalism, which I know I am so blessed to have but growing up there was always a need to outwardly show where I am from. Continue reading →