Monday, March 28, 2011
All of my history sits right here in this body.
Diaspora. Untold unwanted migrations. Plane tickets stuffed into suitcases. Leaving behind families for the good of the children they were taking with them, we were taking with us. A chance at a better education, and a choice to leave our hair uncovered and paint our lips. Leaving behind Mamani and her house that she still travels to, alone, at the age of 82. (Every. Year.) Leaving Baba behind. The story is right here, under my eyelids, in my uncovered hair. In my yearnings that you'll RSVP when I invite you to a party. "Come be my community, I'm a refugee. I've been displaced, I search for place. For home. I don't want to be alone."
The day that boy pushed me down and called me a "fat ho," in front of fifteen to twenty other people, half of whom were "men" - not a one of whom stood up to say, "No. That wasn't right." Not a one of whom offered a hand to help me to my feet. Scott, from college: here is that story. Right here in this belly, in these fat cells, fed by chocolate and beer and home-cooked meals. It won't burn off. You live in my belly.
Right here in these arms and shoulders. Part muscle, part jiggle, but with keen awareness of where the muscle goes, how the jiggle moves. Every dance class in which the teacher put me in the back, even though I was almost always one of the best three dancers in the room. My thighs too large for the front of the formation, my belly too soft for the small shirts, costumes for the competitions. Every last time they put me in the back, lives right here in these arms.
The things I don't tell an interviewer I can do. The things I know and have learned, that don't go on a resume. The moments when they say, "What do you know about this thing?" And instead of exuding confidence, telling them what I have learned, what I believe, and who I am, I focus on how limited my experience is. This insecurity lives on my face, in my mouth, in my voice, on my feet. Why do I lie and say I can't do when I know that I can? The story of not being good enough permeates my skin, my being.
All of the stories, all of my self, manifest, in this body. The good ones, too. The beautiful stories of laughter and love and bravery and connection and progress and movement live here. In these teeth, in these hands, in these knees and in the width of my hips. Stories of a complex identity co-mingle, form a body, a spirit, a mind, a self. In this present form, I am also my history
(and the promise of what is to come)