Twenty years in the United States and I still haven’t visited my homeland of the Philippines. My parents wanted me to succeed in an American education, get a job in the medical field, and have lots of money. I’m incredibly grateful that my parents supported my artistic endeavors. And many times in my later years, I wanted to go back and reconnect with my roots, but if I left the United States, I’d commit a felony and will not be allowed to reenter the US for the next 20-30 years. And ironically, as I sit here stuffing my face with birthday cake, Im illegally occupying the US with the potential of stealing American jobs. Then the invisible “They” came up with DACA, better known as Dreamers, which is a romantic way to persuade the donkeys and the elephants that Dreamers should be granted a social security, so they can pay taxes, so that on paper, we look like we’re contributing to the toxic system we call capitalism. Dreamers are immigrant children brought to the US by their parents, and failed to gain residency. My family of seven flew to California under my pop’s working visa. They later expired because our sponsor backed out of our application last minute in fear of the aftermath of 9/11. Eighteen years later, we discovered that our sponsor backed out because the background check would lead to exposing his criminal activity in insurance fraud. He’s now in jail.
The romanticism of being a “Dreamer” slaps me in the face when a white man proudly puts his arms over my shoulders and introduces me as an exotic trophy. Or when college applications use me as the token undocumented student to accessorize their demographics. Or when the American education conditioned me to act like the perfect multi-tasking, productive, go-go-go citizen, but then strip me of opportunity because I don’t have a green card.
Im 25 now and as frustrated as I sound about all this, I’m grateful to feel as grounded as I am compared to the many years of hiding like a chameleon. Im grateful to my journey and how much it has shaped my identity. And it’s silly to have finally shed the blindfold and realize that life is abundant with opportunity. It’s challenged me to hone my creativity to manifest my own bridges, and that attitude has definitely shaped Gaea Bound! Im off to the beach now, thank you for reading, and Happy Unbirthday to You!
My Birthday List:
Bulk supply of paper
Universal free contraceptives
Meet Jason Mamoa
I want Adobo to reincarnate to a phoenix
One of those yurt tents
I guess a green card