Category Archives: Formations

Decolonization: An Ethos

Hello my shameless readers. It’s near the end of July and I’m finally ready to share some writing again. Since my last post on the term Filipinx, I took time to reflect on the resulting online and offline conversations. I kept hearing the term “decolonized,” which got me thinking, am I decolonized?

Here’s where I’m at with my understanding:

Amongst my peers, decolonization refers to the process of mental and physical labor against the Western empires. Beyond that:

Decolonization is an ethos, a characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community. (S/O to my friend Veronica for introducing the term ethos to me). Decolonization is a dynamic way of being (because we humans are not static). It is a recognition of our colonized history and an intentional and impactful way of living one’s life to move us into a new era, one that is not centered on the systemic oppression of people to increase an empire’s wealth and power. Continue reading

Why I Stay in New York

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

A Filipinx American Womxn’s Journey to Womxnism

A few weeks ago, I witnessed a teenage couple verbally fighting on the subway. The girl looked like she was on the verge of tears as her boyfriend prodded her to open up about why she was upset. At one point, he threw out a taunting hypothetical, “If I was in a room alone with ___some other girl’s name___, would that bother you?”

“Well, would anything happen…?”

“I mean, we’re alone. So say something does. Would that bother you?”

As I listened to this conversation, I’m thinking (1) what an asshole (2) someone needs to tell this girl that she is worthy of better. I could feel the same hesitation emanating from her that I felt years ago when I attempted on multiple occasions to break up with an ex. My problem was that I feared I was not worthy of someone else.

At the next stop, the boy got off the subway. My heart raced as I pondered my place in this situation: say something or not? Subway conversations are rare especially in New York, where people (usually) avoid talking to each other. Eventually, it was the knowledge that if I was in her shoes, I would have been thankful for some validation from the universe. That, and I could feel the regret building within me if I stayed silent. So I turned around and said, “Hi, I overheard your conversation. I hope you know that you are enough on your own and you deserve better.”

There’s a combination of factors that contributed to this moment: my Catholic guilt, my Jesuit education’s call to social justice, my growing courage, and most of all: my identity as a womxnist. 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