What Home Told Me

noun_720520_ccI’m finally huddled up in my Brooklyn apartment, keeping warm and staying away from the blanket of snow that now covers the city of New York. I’ve been back in the Big Apple for about five days now but today’s the first day I have energy to breathe and reflect on my trip home to Seattle and what it feels like to be back in New York.

Breathe.

I love the Pacific Northwest. Often, I yearn for the slow pace of life, fresh air, nature, the occasional smiles of fellow public transportation passengers on the bus, the random coffee shop stranger conversations, coffee, 12th man pride on game day, the general environmentally conscious attitude, and the ability to slow down and chill.

I was the most excited I’ve ever been to go home this trip. I knew I needed a break from my never-ending fast paced struggle of a New York life to take a moment to breathe and take stock of what I’ve been doing. It was the first time I’ve been back since I unexpectedly started my new job in October so I was excited to catch up with friends, with family and with myself.

Time with family has become precious. My parents, aunties and uncles are getting older so I’ve been working on taking in as much history and wisdom as I can muster. I tried my best to speak only Tagalog to my parents. I took notes on the history of my family tree on both sides. I asked my parents to share more stories from his youth to hopefully share with future generations. The more that I am away, the more I realize that I am the legacy of my parents, who have sacrificed so much for me to be here in the United States. Their stories shape mine and I need to pay my respect to that.

I also reached a point when I realized I don’t want to return home yetContinue reading

An Ode to 2016

2016 was shitty in a lot of ways. I spent the majority of this year away from home. Lived with five folks that made me want to tear my hair out more often than not. I had to learn how to resist coastal and racial assimilation. And despite my attempts to thwart assimilation, I let myself go in a lot of ways in New York. I left my first paying job out of college after one month.The devil has been pulling strings by getting the worst men possible placed into crucial leadership roles. I missed my family’s annual Christmas party.

At the same time, 2016 was a groundbreaking year for me. In 2013, I started to build a wall for every bridge I tried to build. I spent years frustrated with who I was, with my past mistakes and with where I was going. I left college frustrated, anxious and also excited for the prospect of a year of being away from home for the first time.

And it was the most challenging year of my life so far…full of incredible resiliency & growth. Continue reading

Formation II: Mantras & Their Sources

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I have several phrases or mantras (a Hindu and Buddhist term referring to a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation) that I repeat often to myself and to others. It’s really only in the last year that I’ve noticed how these phrases keep me grounded and remind me that I’m part of something greater than myself.

Given the number of times I’ve repeated myself in the last few years, I thought I’d write my top phrases down and share them, their sources, and the ways they influence my everyday. If you have any that you live by, please share! I’d love to read them.  Continue reading

Defining and Understanding “Politics”

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This past Monday, I was interviewed by a Hunter College student on how my identity as a Filipinx American Womxn impacts my political engagement. Her first question was “How do you define ‘politics?'” Thank goodness I had the questions beforehand because it took me a while to develop an answer. My definition is a long-winded response produced by my lifelong and on-going process Continue reading

Owning Up to Anti-Blackness

From "Your Asian Isn't Quiet"

Photo from “Your Asian Isn’t Quiet”

Recently, my black co-worker called me out for making a racist remark. It was a moment of restorative justice for both of us.

Having been someone who has encountered white fragility far more times than I’d like, I knew this was a moment to practice what I preach by owning up to my shortcomings. The few moments in my life when I’ve had the courage to call out present-day subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) racism, I was met with defensiveness and excuses, which led to greater frustration and pain for me.

Remembering my own frustration with well-intentioned white folks, I reminded myself that the best way to respond to when someone calls you a racist is to listen. Because you probably did do something racist and the right thing to do is learn how to do better next time. Because not everyone will always be so willing to walk you through your racist shortcomings. Continue reading

© 2015