John "Enger" Cheng serves as creative director of Inheritance. He is a Los Angeles-based artist, designer and illustrator. He graduated from the University of Southern California Roski School of Fine Arts and is co-founder of Winnow+Glean. You can see his illustrative work and store at madebyenger.com.
Spanish and American colonizers brought whiteness upon our lands. Today, whiteness lingers as a ghost, and many Filipinos struggle to see beyond it, cursed with an inferiority complex that strives for the white ideal — an ideal that can never truly be achieved.
“Journey to the Midwest” is a retelling of my father’s immigration story in the style of the classical Chinese novel, "Journey to the West".
One way to think about the impact of trauma is to consider the impact accidents have on a car. If a car crashes, it will most likely require fixing. Repeated crashes will most likely lead to even greater issues, not only externally, but also internally. Even if the car can still run, it’s likely that without intervention, its capacity to remain functional will be limited and quickly depleted.
When I started embracing loss, death, and grief more openly, I found myself feeling a sense of freedom that I did not know before. I was suddenly more available to my own grief and the grief of others. I learned to be gracious with the me whom I have left behind.
The journey of freeing myself from the money ghosts and even befriending them has been like a spiraling staircase. I may be walking up or down the stairs and still uncover layers. It has not been a straightforward ride. It has required shifting and de-conditioning my sense of self before being motivated to seek out money mindset therapy and financial literacy work that does not reinforce prosperity gospel, bootstrap mentality, binary thinking, or economic injustice.
My spirituality today is still ever-evolving, but I am each and both and all my ancestors at the same time. I think this is indicative of our world and how, even with our differences, we can learn so much from one another and live peacefully side by side.