To All My Fellow Asian Americans
To all my fellow Asian Americans, I hear you. It is times like these when I get scared.
As a Filipino American, I become fearful of the fangs that racism can bring.
As bitter bites claw into our skin, our strength becomes tested with the poison of shame into our body’s blood flow.
Generations have revealed that this was how our lineages emerged:
We try to embrace our culture in an environment where often times, our culture is shunned.
When whiteness is seen as superior and all other colors are inferior,
it makes it impossible to feel good enough.
There are days when it feels impossible to simply be enough.
We become exhausted, and we have been privately tired for so long,
that we forget what it means to be alive.
But with the wings our ancestors gave us, we were made to fly.
From the gods and deities of the universe forgotten long ago,
we were made to reach towards the sky with endless and profound limitlessness,
for that is what we are.
Our ancestors lifted us up, so that we can lift others up.
This is the intersection of mental health and social justice: we cannot address systematic racism without addressing the inner turmoil that internalized shame and judgement can bring.
We live in a world of projection due to fear of vulnerability.
Being vulnerable means putting yourself out there; it is to be solid enough to overcome any internal shame, humiliation, and guilt caused from the outside. Although it is difficult, vulnerability is key to personal liberation. (This is why I wonder how so many people hide how they feel, instead of seeking help. Seeking help is a vulnerable act, but also a testimony to your STRENGTH!)
When vulnerability has become rare, people project their own insecurities onto other human beings.
Over time, human beings turn into oppressors when they are not comfortable in their own skin.
To be humble and confident is to be accepting of all; to be selfish and insecure is to feel superior over all.
Discomforting and unsettling energy settles into the oppressor, to nest into the oppressed.
In this light, oppression merely stems from shame of the self.
Internalized shame causes insecurities to turn into hate. And hatred of the self will spread tenfold onto others.
Even if these issues are unseen and subtle and invisible, the worst emotion to ever feel is invisibility.
We live in a world full of shame and invisibility,
so now…are we brave enough to heal and to be seen?
I am from the Philippines: the place of water lilies and rivers and beautiful blue coastal shores.
Where an abundance of coral reefs underwater and the tropical warmth of the sun fulfill me with a connection back to my roots.
I am from the most delicious mangoes, the most hospitable people I have ever met,
and the place where my ancestors have breathed their first and last breaths.
As I observe outwardly, I am from plentiful islands where I am surrounded by life itself:
She is deeply flowing, yet adaptable and flexible.
Accepting whatever comes in, and whatever comes out.
As she makes waves of revitalization and quenches our thirst for nourishment,
she reminds me to simply be.
Live as I am, to create my own ripple effect…
These past few weeks, I became engaged to read about my own cultural history, as well as the process of decolonization within my identity. It's what inspired to write about the gratitude I feel for the original home I was from.
I highly recommend digging into one's origins, for every Asian American out there. Personally, it has given me a great sense and source of comfort, and I feel like I belong more.
After all, by connecting back to our roots, we can bloom from where we were planted.
- Here is the latest book I've been reading about brief Filipino history and the process of decolonization. :)
When we have the courage to stop pretending and to do the inner work,
when we let go of faking and shapeshifting and repressing,
when we shed all the preconceptions we were brought up with,
and when we finally choose to become vulnerable,
we regain our inner power and strength and resilience.
When we choose to look in the mirror to pick up our tainted pieces back together,
we return to our wholeness that was already there.
When we actively try our best to understand for effective education and constructive empowerment,
tomorrow will feel better than today.
When we choose to embrace our Asian culture instead of constantly trying to prove our worth,
that is where the beauty of the world lies.
This is the path to our freedom.
Let yourself be free; it all starts with you.
Resources to Help:
- Kat <3