Three nights ago, I attended the Is America In The Heart? New Filipinx Literature event at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in NYC. Coming back into this space is always warm and welcoming, as a former intern for this incredible organization that supports emerging and established Asian American writers and literature. Even more so, the line-up for the event featured Luis H. Francia, Joseph O. Legaspi, Gina Apostol, and debut author Elaine Castillo, for the release of her first novel, America is Not the Heart (Viking, 2018) and discussions on Fil-Am literature and diasporic writing.
Tag: filipino american
For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is rediscovered. […] Interdependency between women is the way to a freedom which allows the ‘I’ to ‘be’, not in order to be used, but in order to be creative. This is a difference between the passive ‘be’ and the active ‘being’. — Audre Lorde, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”
It has been two years since RAISED PINAY premiered at the Philippine Consulate General and at NYU in New York City. (As of the publication of this post, a second iteration of Raised Pinay, featuring a new all-Pinay cast, premiered this year at St. John’s University in Queens and at MayDay Space in Brooklyn.)
I intended to write this post after the shows ended, as a reflection on the process leading up to that point. But then time passed and many things came up that kept me from writing about it. Coming back to this, I decided to discuss what has happened since Raised Pinay and how much I have changed. It is fitting to discuss Raised Pinay this way, not just from a performer’s standpoint, but from an actual “raised Pinay” standpoint; this was more than just a “show” but a necessary healing process and a turning point in my life.
Raised Pinay was a rite of passage into my womanhood, in the context of ‘the Filipino’.
When I think of my plans for the future, I always ask myself, “For whom am I doing this for?”
I could say it is for myself, for my family, or for the community–all of which are noble reasons in trying to accomplish set goals. But down to the core, I am thinking of someone specific.
I am doing this for “that lonely Filipino kid”.
The one who feels like they don’t belong anywhere.
The one that cannot seem to blend in with any crowd.
The one always in a corner, alone, watching the other kids play.
The one causing concern for adults at parties and gatherings.
The one whose parents tried to encourage to be more social.
There may have been other Filipino kids–many or fewer in count, but are nonetheless existent–but that lonely Filipino kid doesn’t feel totally connected to them.