I write this to the women who feel they do not belong to the believing community as a result of what has happened to them or who they have discovered themselves to be, and to the women who feel as though femininity is a foreign or oppressive word.
I learned then that having not just a name for my struggles but having the right person learn this name as well was what could finally act as my shield against these thousands of tenterhooks that were pulling me apart. But it was a difficult process, filled with a hundred hotspots of shame, to accept that my private suspicion about ADHD needed to be verbalized by a white coat and printed into a file in order to access the privilege of medical resources and institutional protection.
In consideration of these and many other ways in which language is wielded, this issue explores the multi-dimensional meanings of naming and being named. There are limits and imaginations to language. There is subjugation and reclamation, clarity and obfuscation, power and possibility to reimagine. These stories name, rename, and unname such experiences.
In truth, my grievance with “coming out” is not with the metaphor itself. It is with language as a whole — the soullessness of its vehicle, its concreteness, its singular instinct to unravel a knot into a linear string of vowels and consonants. Language has disappointed me in its inability to capture my sexuality in every one of its stages, in all of its obscurity and uncertainty.
In God’s kingdom, as with all great gardeners, pruning is caring. Without pruning, my life will become something even I don’t want — an overgrown, prickly bush with no fruit to offer. In this challenging season, I’ve felt pruned and exposed of my misplaced hopes, and I am continuously reminded of a self-important agenda flowing in the undercurrents of my heart, rather than being drawn to relinquishing my own ways in surrender.
Then, a plague on my body, of too much of something no one can name. Mysterious are God’s ways, to send a plague but harden the heart, that we might see some glory.
In contemporary U.S. society, polarization and division are rampant. We have forgotten that we are all neighbors to one another, or in other words, that our destiny is inextricably interwoven. Being a neighbor implies we treat one another with dignity and respect, learning to value and cherish our cultural differences.
I have begun to wonder if those who deliver our eulogies are the storytellers of our lives and if our funerals are the official initiation of our legacies — the beginning of the curation of our lives into symbols by others. Death has been an incessant presence in my mind lately.
The arguments to “re-open” schools and revert to a pre-pandemic world reveal preexisting racist and classist disparities that have only grown starker with distance learning.
I’ve had my fair share of Christians over-spiritualizing my emotional and mental pain. Unbeknownst to me, these negative interactions with other Christians shaped my belief that mental health could only be appropriately addressed by mental health professionals.
추석 resists separation and isolation by grounding us in community. While it may not be in-person gatherings with lots of delicious food, and we may be by ourselves physically, we are deeply connected to each other through the observance of this day. We experience it as we pay respect to our beloved ancestors, the saints who are no longer with us, whether it is due to illness, time, accident, or violence.
Currently, I’m searching for this other Jesus — the brown-skinned Middle Eastern Jesus who was born in the margins, lived in the margins and died in the margins. The Jesus who never accumulated wealth, never owned a home, never pastored at a church, never married, and who worked a blue-collar job his whole life.
My father returned to the Philippines because he decided he couldn’t live here. When he left, he told me that he felt he could either be Filipino or human, and that in the United States, the former was incompatible with the latter. That is what colonialism and white supremacy do.
We face our fears, anxieties, worries, and try to learn from what they’re telling us.
I am reminded that community is found when we take risks and share authentically about our own culture, ethnic heritage, history, and stories. And as we share our stories, others are able to join us in community as well.
So much of the language we have around activism is militaristic, but if our struggle is going to last, it must center the relational ties that have sustained our communities from the very beginning.
These over-the-top acts of neighboring in Seoul, by people who would be strangers in any other context, weren’t driven by any utilitarian or ideological function. They didn’t demand that I somehow prove my belonging first before intruding into my life in ways usually reserved for intimate relationships.
Did my ancestors ever think of Oakland that way: as a place Native Americans once called their own? Perhaps they saw a wooden Indian in front of a cigar store, or a poster for a Wild West show, and somebody explained to them that those were the people who were here first.
Chinese grandmas, like mine, actually do have lighter carbon footprints than the average American. Those in San Francisco Chinatown, for instance, use half as much energy as other city residents. We can learn from their ways, both in their lifestyle and in their care.
Reading the plaques that detailed their stories of reclaiming tribal land and lifeways was both empowering and humbling. The connections between colonization and national parks became increasingly clear.
We share stories to stretch our collective imagination of what being a neighbor looks like in our cities, our nation, our world.
Sometimes, the way power is negotiated in social justice spaces looks like this: those with more societal power need to relinquish power, and those with less seek to gain more. The misconception is that there is a limited amount of power to share, and so it pits groups against one another. This leads to an endless cycle of bitterness and resentment.
Mourning practices are generations-old traditions of solidarity, honoring other family members, carrying out closely-held duties, and caring for our own spiritual wellness. If our instinct is to reject the practices so important to our neighbors, we will leave unaddressed pain to fester, decomposing our interdependence and trust.
This novel coronavirus and the continuing acts of racism don’t mark the first time nor the last time that our facade of flourishing will be disrupted by the reality of creation’s disintegration.
While I hope for the pandemic to end and for less lives to be put in danger, I also hope that the experience of quarantine, which has forcibly and suddenly shrunken our individual and collective freedoms and capacities, can be an opportunity for able-bodied folks to think about how this is, has always been, and will always be the “normal” that people with disabilities must live with.