Don’t let ANYONEever make you feel ashamed of your beautiful eyes.
Embrace your Asian eyes – as slanted, chinky, slit-like, almond-shaped, exotic, beautiful – as they are. Especially when you smile.
Story of my life. If we had the internet growing up, I probably would have googled ‘How to round slanted eyes’.
Yes, it was because of ugly remarks from the ignorant white kid at school who called me a ‘chink’ and didn’t let me off the monkey bars. The boy in class who thought he ruled.
That’s when I became so conscious about my eyes. And that it may not be appealing to others. The day I didn’t want the world to look at me.
The day I didn’t want to be seen.
I’ve experienced racism at a young age until now. It didn’t stop at that boy. What about the group of teenage boys in University, yelling from across the street, asking if my clothes were clean from the laundromat – to go back where I came from – ‘chink’.
All the different layers of how it impacts my life – as a child, as a student, as a professional, as a mom, as a wife, as a person.
Too many stories to count. Too much anger to rant.
Honestly, I haven’t quite fought against it either because we were taught to use our Canadian birthright and education to fit in – like it’s supposed to save us from ignorance.
Every minority in the world experiences racism. There are even minorities within minorities. The cycle is vicious.
Why Does it Matter Now?
This moment serves as my right, as someone who has experienced being called a ‘chink’, to expose those for the wrong energy they breed.
Inspired by the #StopAsianHate on social media, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, I’m speaking out now to break the patterns.
I’ve been a target of discrimination because of my eyes. I’m Filipina Canadian with very slanted eyes and very fair skin. I can pass for every Asian because I look Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, or Tibetan, so I’m told.
I’m the nicest person in the world but if you want to call at me with your racist slurs then bring it!
My slanted eyes will cut you so deep you’ll understand the mysteriousness hiding behind them.
It doesn’t matter what background you are, you shouldn’t be discriminated against!
It matters because my children’s views of an innocent world are being tainted with the dark layers of the world with events in the news, in schools, within our city, and abroad.
They never knew what the word ‘racist’ meant until a year ago, even in our bi-racial family.
My son asked me if ‘racist’ was a bad word when he heard a video gamer say it online. I responded that it wasn’t a swear word but as soon as it came out of my mouth, I quickly changed it.
Yes, it is a bad word for a bad person. He had never heard of the word, so I explained to him.
It’s when a person doesn’t like someone because of the colour of their skin and their cultural background. He didn’t understand.
I began to role-play: “I don’t like you because you’re Filipino or Jamaican”.
He gave me this flabbergasted look as he scrunched his face in disbelief.
I just tainted his view of the world.
It matters for them. And how they have to learn to armour themselves with thick skin to deal with bullying, racism, and discrimination – which I thought was not so prevalent for their generation. How NAIVE of me!
I Am Not COVID-19
Last year when the virus was getting out of hand in China, the impact was in the news. I didn’t even consider how it would impact me from across the world.
I was in the local bookstore where I was browsing for a long time. Back and forth with a lot of items in my arms, sweating buckets in a winter jacket, standing by the art section.
The sales lady glanced at me a few times. I didn’t think anything of it.
I usually don’t like when salespeople bombard so it was fine that she didn’t offer any kind of help…but no greeting…no smile?
Until an older man walked up the steps towards us, not even two feet, and the lady immediately smiled, approached the man, and said, “Is there anything I can help you with today?”
Guess what hall pass he had?
My blood boiled until my eyes sank right into the depths of my soul. I took all of my things and headed towards the front cash at the other end of the store. When I passed her, she asked, “Find everything you were looking for?”
F@(King Biyatch…. “Yup”. I forced myself to mutter as I stormed off.
I should have told her SOMETHING. I should have done SOMETHING!
The same baggage followed me a few weeks later when we travelled to Cuba for a wedding. I was targeted at the Cuban airport by the staff and at the resort by some French-Canadian tourists.
My 10 year-old daughter witnessed this behaviour and instinctively knew what was going on. Tainted.
It was all in their eyes and their ignorant behaviour acting like I was Covid – all week long. Meanwhile, my husband who’s usually the target for being black, was fitting right in with the Cubans, oblivious to what was happening to me. Rightfully celebrating not having to worry about the colour of his skin while on vacation.
I am not a virus. Hate is the virus.
It’s the 21st Century
I shouldn’t have to be in this position in this century. I shouldn’t have to taint my children’s vision of an innocent world where I have to explain why I’m targeted at the bookstore, airport, or on vacation because of how I look.
I shouldn’t have to explain that there are some people out there who hate on people’s ethnicity.
I shouldn’t have to keep upping my family’s pride for being Filipino-Jamaican-Canadian just because other people decide to degrade out of hate.
We are proud of who we are with our ethnicity, our families, our children. We have culture. We have stories. Nothing to hate here.
It’s time to eliminate the hate. It’s harmful, it’s toxic, it’s FUCKING ridiculous.
I’M TIRED OF BEING ANGRY, I’M TIRED OF THE FUCKING IGNORANCE.
I TRIED TO WAIT UNTIL I WAS IN A BETTER PLACE TO WRITE WITHOUT THE ANGER ABOUT THIS SUBJECT.
EVERY NIGHT IN MY HOUSEHOLD, WE’RE ANGRY AFTER WATCHING THE NEWS, ANGRY IN HEATED DISCUSSION.
ANGRY WAKING UP TO MORE NEWS. ANGRY THAT WE CAN’T CONTROL OTHER PEOPLE’S IGNORANT ACTIONS.
ANGRY THAT THE WORLD IS ALLOWED TO BE THIS WAY!
Keep your hate to yourself. Don’t let it spill over to someone who has nothing to do with you. Fix that shit or Karma will come for you.
It’s time to Let Love Rule, like you hear in the songs. Listen to songs, listen to people, read books even if you don’t quite understand them. Let it move you. Shift your focus on worthwhile things (Thought Catalogue).
Learn to understand someone other than yourself. It’s in everyone, even if you have to dig deep to find it. This is where the power is. Change is for the better.
I believe it’s in there. There’s nothing to be afraid of… unless you cross a mother.
I wrote this to myself after I jumped ship, shortly after 9/11, from a corporate software company where I wrote software manuals. I found another position to maintain graphical user interfaces and write engineering processes.
No, this wasn’t doing it for me either.
It was the third page of my new journal that I committed to writing to figure out answers for my next steps to finding a balanced work life – meaning a work life where I was not always so bitter!
I didn’t want to have that constant cringing feeling every day going in to work. I only lived for the weekends. Was there something more out there?
I recently gave it a title in the summer of 2020, when I re-searched myself to start cataloguing content. After a deep conversation last night, this one’s for you:
I feel good when I accomplish
No stress, no frustration
That’s where I’m my best
When I’m equally balanced
And things are handled
Not left to be abandoned
Deal with things as they come
Work until the deal is done
Clear the aura without the huff and puff
You gotta take the shit when it gets rough
But when it’s over, it’s smooth sailing from there
Just went through a whirlwind of emotions. It all came fast and hard, barely giving me time to process……
Sunday – Worked all day on a story that I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Wrote, edited, edited, edited, edited, edited – cooked nuggets – fed kids – one load of laundry (max. for today because I’m writing) – graphics – one last look……
Sunday Night – Done, it’s good, I like it! Publish….done! Now connect with social media – create – copy – paste – post……
………………to the wrong friggin’ account !!!!! It was supposed to go only to my writer’s network!!! For FK sake!
Can’t turn back now. It’s done.
– Eeebie Jeebies –
Get out of comfort zone even if it feels gross.
Monday – Feel sick but determined to keep going despite the grossness in my stomach, like it’s floating and doesn’t know where to land.
Connect with my cousin who instantly makes me feel at ease. Warming up with fuzzy wuzzies. I love my family. Women uplifting women! And all the hilarious stories we have! Writing prompts out the wazoo. Stay tuned, more to come!
Monday Afternoon – Work stuff follow-up. Families need in-person service because virtual care is not feasible at this time.
Let me process…………………………………………………………….
OK, I’m in. Back to work out in the community in someone else’s bubble in their home.
Am I ready?
Flashback: Sitting in my car, parked in a parking lot across my work. It was the morning of September 11, 2001. I heard the breaking news on the radio and had to stop in disbelief. The day that triggered my first paradigm shift when I asked myself, “If the world were to deconstruct, how would I contribute to help rebuild?”
The beginning of a journey to search for a vocation that wasn’t just do-able but really satisfying at the end of the day. The time when I quit my job as a Technical Writer to pursue a more fulfilling career learning about people – children in particular – and their brain development in regard to speech and language, so that I could write for them.
Mission statement reinstated. Even if I’m a germaphobe and super paranoid about this virus, families still need support, especially in a pandemic. To go on a mission means that I have to burst my quarantine bubble – the safest place in this new world.
I have to shift my mentality to get prepped to go out in the community. Serving those who need speech-language therapy, specifically those who need devices to communicate.
There are children and youth out there who need a means to communicate so that their families can know what they’re thinking, beyond their interpreted body language, actions, sounds, and words. My mission statement has been the same, in between child-rearing and life, over the years.
Scared as hell but committed to doing my part. After processing and feeling the waves of emotions. Feeling hot and sick, to calm and at ease, from scared and resistant, to realizing and moving forward. This is what I signed up for when I sat in my car wondering, “What’s next?”
Paradise delivered in the mail. A surprise box of goodies from my sister-in-law to show appreciation for being a great mom and online teacher of the year, with a message so sweet, it melts my heart and moisturizes my eyes! Divine timing not even in disguise! But what did I do to even deserve this?!?
Btch, you better BURST THAT BUBBLE RIGHT ABOUT NOW!!!
YES!!!!!! I gladly accept to eat the dark chocolate while soaking in the tub, smelling like lavender while reading Drew Barrymore’s book, with a jasmine candle burning in the background, beside the rest of the goodies I see waiting for me to beautify.
Exactly what I need to calm my crashing waves to prepare me for this next shift about to occur. Energized with gratitude and fuel to move on.
Everywhere I’m turning Nothing seems complete I stand up and I’m searching For the better part of me I hang my head from sorrow State of humanity I wear it on my shoulders Gotta find the strength in me
Cause I am a Superwoman Yes I am Yes she is Even when I’m a mess I still put on a vest With an S on my chest Oh yes I’m a Superwoman
For all the mothers fighting For better days to come And all my women, all my women sitting here trying To come home before the sun And all my sisters Coming together Say yes I will Yes I can
‘Cause I am a Superwoman Yes I am Yes she is Even when I’m a mess I still put on a vest With an S on my chest Oh yes I’m a Superwoman
When I’m breaking down And I can’t be found And I start to get weak Cause no one knows Me underneath these clothes But I can…
Today is Pink Shirt Day across the globe to celebrate the notion of anti-bullying in schools. In the background of our kids’ virtual learning, I was immersed in the discussions about the different ways kids can show kindness to their classmates. Fuzzy wuzzy feelings.
How inspiring that all these classrooms in all these schools in all these cities in all these countries involved in this movement of being kind to each other.
I wish we had this awareness growing up, maybe it could have set some people straight. Yes, kids get bullied all the time. Yes, we need awareness of when it’s happening, and yes, we need to change the narrative. Then I searched to see what other shirt days we can look forward to support.
Orange Shirt Day
September 30, Orange Shirt Day is to honour Indigenous people who were victims of the Canadian Indian Residential School Systems that were meant to strip the youth of their culture to assimilate into Euro-Canadian society run by the Catholic churches.
From the 18th to 19th century, where Indigenous children were sent by government to be stripped of who they were to be more ‘Canadian’. This day is set to remember the mistakes that Canada had made towards these families and their children and to start increasing awareness of this disgusting racial discrimination.
Black Shirt Day
Non-existent except for in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where the Anti-Racism Coalition (ARC) of Vancouver launched the proposal of Black Shirt Day in BC for January 15th, Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday.
Despite the day not being officially declared due to deadline issues, Black Shirt Day was celebrated by students in BC, sporting their shirts so geniously designed with it’s multi-coloured raised fist logo. This day needs to be declared as a time to stand in solidarity for the dream of life without prejudice – especially in schools where young minds are absorbing – priming for real world.
This day could be one of the steps to help dissipate some anger, to start a new narrative, to shift mindsets within generations that no race is better than the other – we are all PEOPLE. The work had been started generations ago but honestly feels so uneventful in a society that’s supposed to be civilly advanced. I want a world where my kids won’t ever have to explain what the word ‘racist’ means to their children unless it’s about history.
Ministry of Education
School boards have proven that they can support students who initiate good will and have shown how one little act can change the world. Use this momentum to change the many disappointing things we have witnessed. Let’s act now! One simple click. One simple way to put forth the right energy where it needs to be! Make this happen so we can see you next year wearing your Black Shirts on January 15th 2022!