Do not remove yourself the right to be complex and diverse. It is in your complexity, that I understand me more. It is in your uniqueness, that I learn to love deeper. So please..
But I’ve been thinking a lot about sameness, and difference, and belonging. I cant help it. I’ve been dealing a lot with the idea of belonging. where did I come from? can I call this home?
It begins in the Philippines but was brought here to Canada. While the language barrier and upbringing causes other Filipinos to call me Canadian, my skin and eyes and last name tell everyone else I am not Canadian so they ask, “where are you from”? but the question that haunts me is “where will you let me belong”? Does it matter where it began, when it continues on somewhere else? It is both yes and no. And for first and second generation Canadians, the burdens, and the voids are heavy when the answer is both.
I share blood with those who grew up in the Philippines and are spending the rest of their lives in Canada. Their history is not erased, they can call themselves Filipinos. They can trace their home with their memory, through the jungle, up the mountains, or through the slummier streets, to a bright blue door. It is one of their many homes, they look wistfully as they tell me so. But they’ve spent more years here in Canada then back ‘home’. What does that mean? A Filipino in Canada, a Canadian Filipino. So what does that mean? It seems they are at liberty to choose, their history lets them.
My memories are not the same, I did not grow up with people who thought I looked like them. I grew up with the question “where are you from?” My face a question before I even had a history. So now I ask again, “where will you let me belong?” Once in the 11th grade, someone asked me if I was half white because my English was so fucking good, and I laughed in English because that was all I knew.