a month is not equality.

i don’t recall when i
stopped saying
“girl”.

all i know
is i am a
womxn now.

not because i feel it,
but because
it’s what they see.

they treat me,
tear me,
rearrange me
into “woman”.

–am sometimes
“bitch”,
sometimes
“girl”.

never
human
or whole.

am told that because i am
womxn,
i am
worth
less.

and still,
I am expected
to go high,
to hold my head up.

as if I wasn’t fed lies
called
“equality”.

look.

if we were so equal,
why are we still raped by
the same mouths
that say
we’re revered?

if we were so equal,
why are our bodies legislated
rather than
loved?

if we were so equal,
why are we forced
to smile politely
and take unwarranted advances
as compliments?

the pain and triumph
of womxn
cannot be fixed to 30 days,
a month.

only in the west
do we try and
celebrate our
oppression
away.

if this is the equality
you give me,
i will tell you
to take it back–
that i will
rearrange it
like you rearrange me

–turn womxn’s history
into her story,
my story,
our story.

toastmasters

in fifth grade she stumbled in;
met blonde-haired,
blue-eyed
America.

traded calligraphic characters,
ink and brush,
for foreign-sounding syllables,
exchanging L’s and R’s
like she could trade her accent for respect.

changed her name to something more
pronounceable.
didn’t know that
her name wasn’t the only foreign thing about her.

fast forward years and lives and loves later.

she still stumbles,
catches herself,
but questions nothing.

she is told to make speeches,
writes the sentences herself,
recites words from memory;

asks for my help,
but she does not need it.

she knows
she does not need to sound perfect
to have something to say.

Happy TunesDay: Collection 34 – A Thank You in Racial Solidarity

This is a different kind of TunesDay.  I am taking this time as a thank you–a sharing of weight and burden. It is an expression and acknowledgement of the unbearable struggle that my Black and brown family constantly endure.

I am unbelievably grateful to every single person, across racial plains, who has taught me about solidarity, Black struggle, and what that means in creating a better world.

You have shared your triumphs and your pitfalls. You told us about your losses and fears. And sometimes, often times, we do not believe them.

It makes me incredibly emotional to know that there are people who do not value our shared humanity, who hijack every opportunity for learning and turn it into defensive ignorance.

Still, you speak your truths as if your lives depend on it, because it does.

It was never and is never your job to keep teaching and keep educating those around you. But still, you do. And I have benefited from that every step of the way. I promise to do more teaching. To let you take a break and stop your wounds from reopening.

Your resounding resilience comforts me.  It tells me that despite oppression, hatred, and magnitudes of barriers, it is always possible to overcome.  It tells me that eastern Asian womxn like myself can also be strong and outspoken. You tell me that my voice also matters.  You confirm that racism and exoticism isn’t just in my head; that it impacts as all–some in worse ways than other. But we never play oppression olympics. We’re not at Rio. We never displace or remove or hide.  You always let us express our shared frustrations and our differences. In doing so, you uplift us all, without question or compromise.

There are no words to explain how thankful I am for the womxn of color, especially in the Black struggle, who teach me, guide me, and love me in spite of my missteps and high learning curve.

We rise because of you.

So this is just a thank you, plain and simple.  Because even though thank you’s don’t change the world, you still need to hear it.  You need to know that your work and your presence matters.  Thank you, a million times over.  I have learned to love myself because of you and in turn, I will do everything in my power to ensure you too feel love, safety, and acceptance in this society that constantly tears us down.

With a love that knows no bounds,
Christina