There are some days that I just don't want to be Filipina.
Not that there is any shame in being one.
But just me... just for me. Sometimes I feel that way because I know that I don't fit the assumptions that others have made for Filipinas.
Usually I feel that way because my Filipino friends are not as inclusive to my non-Filipino friends as they are to me.
I imagine that if I were not Filipina, then I could stop being not-Filipina-enough.
I could stop being too light-skinned and then too dark-skinned,
because I imagine that if I were not Filipina then my skin would just be
I wouldn't be told that my hair should be long because it's pretty like that,
that I should try more to be a Filipina beauty.
I wouldn't be told that I have "Filipino legs", and I wouldn't have to know that that is an insult... my legs would just be mine.
I could invite my friends to parties and not have to explain why they are the only non-Filipinos there.
I could bring a guy home without the first question out of my parents' mouth being "Is he Filipino?" Maybe they'd think to first ask "Is he a good boy, does he treat you well?"
And maybe a Filipino or Filipina employee that I meet at the store would be nice to me, but nice to my friend, too, and offer that extra cup of soup with their order of rice and chicken.
I know what you're thinking,
I need to stop with this self-pity,
but I know that in the end, I'll shoulder whatever sack of assumptions and expectations you have for Filipinas,
I'll be nice to you, hospitable to Filipinos,
Respect my lolos and my lolas, teach the Filipino children the values that my
Filipino parents taught their Filipina children
Yes, I'll do all this, but I'll do you one better,
I'll be nice to you, hospitable to my neighbors
Respect my elders, regardless their nation, their community,
I'll teach children the values that my
Parents taught their children
with my same smile, even, I'll do it in stride
After back and forth and back forth, I now wonder,
Am I as alone as I feel?
Am I beside myself
Talking to myself
Hearing only myself
Or are you out there, someone else, and will you share yourself with me?