In 17 days, I will be leaving for two months to study, research, and write in the Philippines, my parents homeland and the mysterious keeper of a large portion of my identity. I enrolled and was accepted into the Philippine Studies Program where I will be an independent researcher studying transnational feminism, solidarity, post colonial feminism, and the impact of westernized concepts of human rights on developing countries.
That's my academic reason.
My main reason is to go home, to find home, find me.
This trip is not a vacation, it's not an immersion program, it's a transformative leap of faith. I've never been to the Philippines and I am preparing for an experience that will lift me and my writing to an unprecedented state of clarity.
I was in New York this past weekend for a conference on Filipino activism and social justice and also for my orientation. Taking the 7 train to Queens, I walked into the Filipino Community Center. The sounds of Tagalog and the smell of the nearby Philippine bakery descended upon my senses and I breathed in what felt familiar. New York, sometimes, is pure magic in its offerings to both lose and find yourself. Magic, I tell you, it's magic.
The day was as I imagined - hopeful, awesome, delayed, and running 2 hours behind. But the spirit, the Sandiwa, the strength of the Filipino activists is alive, strong, and compelling. I've never been introduced to so many womyn who looked so much like me in my life. I met Pinays who I could have sworn I've met in previous lives; other Filipino American womyn who have yearned for something for which there is no word - something in between a sense of belonging and a feeling of fire. That is what I experienced n Saturday.
I've lived my life on knife. Split by the color of my skin and the color of my environment. I've only known existence on the periphery, and difference, and listening to mostly White folks tell me about their lives. And rules and concerns. It's time for something Else. It's time to understand what "my people" means to me and how I plan on living, existing, and writing my feminism into transparency so there are no secrets, misunderstandings or shame.
I am so proud, and excited, and in love.
My objective, my goals for this trip are simple - to examine the deepest unknown parts of my identity and strengthen my purpose in my writing, activism, and fight.
I hope to share with you what I find along the way.
In Solidarity -