Floreta and I met through the 20-Something Bloggers group, and I was instantly captivated by her way with words and images. (Also her little panda logo is pretty cute!) She’s a poetess, and such a bold and free spirit. She’s not afraid to be a strong woman, nor to bare her softer side.
I’m so excited to have such a smart, sassy, talented girl guest blogging for me. Thanks, Floreta!
I am a first generational immigrant to the United States. My mom and me moved from the Philippines to the Pacific Northwest when I was only three and I have lived here ever since. Living in predominantly white suburbs all my life, I have had the unique experience of growing up “white” in brown (yellow?) skin. At first, it was tough because I didn’t lose my accent until about the 5th or 6th grade. Generally, I didn’t encounter much hatred or racism towards myself that I was aware of. I would think of myself as an American, and even though I knew I was Asian, I thought and viewed the world from a “white” Caucasian lens. I was (and perhaps still am) a white Asian.
There was an extended period in my life where I hated being Asian. I hated where I came from. I hated being Filipino or Filipino-American. Why? I’m not sure exactly. Perhaps it has something to do with Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Simply put, I wanted to be white and beautiful. I wanted blonde hair, and blue eyes. I wanted to be taller. I wanted to be someone I’m not. I truly thought I was ugly and felt deeply ashamed of my heritage. Even though I have a different nose than most Filipinos, I hated the way my ethnicities flat-nose looked like and being associated with it. I hated my chinky eyes. I hated the way the language and intonations sounded like. I hated the loud, boisterous tsismis gossip. I hated the gold bling jewelry and potlucks. I hated it all.
Not surprisingly, this coincided with the pre-teen/early teenage angst years, and somewhere along the way, I began to bridge gaps and be proud of who I was and where I came from, without being ethnocentric. All the things I hated turned into things that I loved and embraced about myself and my culture as I realized this served as part of my uniqueness and personal experience. This was my history and where I came from. I realized that I should embrace it, not hide it.
Lately, I have been wanting to bridge more gaps and come back home. I mean home to my island. Cebu. I have not been back in six years. I want to watch my cousins grow up, or at least be a part of their lives, so that they can know who I am. I want to become fluent again, since I was too young to remember the language once I learned English in less than a year. I want to become more Asian. Even though this would be a boldly brave move of independence, I want to experience the sense of community that comes with Asian culture rather than the American Rugged Independence that is such a paradigm here. Most importantly, I just want a change, and change of pace and to be able to travel Asia and journey to self-discovery. I am writing it here, now, so I can commit it in writing, on digitalized computer screen. I am scared. Scared shitless of making giant leaps. Scared of taking action. Scared of making a commitment. Scared of a lot of things. But the time has come to take risks and blossom, rather than remain tight in a bud. I don’t know how or why, but I have a strong feeling and intuition that this needs to be my next step. Everything will work itself out as long as I start the momentum. It is that start that I have a hard time with.
This is me trying for momentum.
All that I say and think should not be for nothing.
Momentum has to shift and action has to take place.
Step 1: Commitment
Step 2: Research
Step 3: Visa application
Step 4: Apply for jobs/ Get interviews set
Step 5: Sell/move my Stuff
Step 6: Purchase one-way ticket
Step 7: Pack
Step 8: Get on plane
Or something like that.
Is it really that easy?