Sunday, June 22, 2008

This past week, I've been having email and personal conversations with younger Fil Am women friends. Something compels me to share this here as I feel that there is a nudge from the universe to offer this to the table of our common ground.

a pregnant challenge from M:

Leny, what we need is a healing center. We need something that will address the mental health issues of FilAms (like me) who are constantly having to deal with the push and pull of the Filipino and American cultures. Psychotherapy or counseling is usually not used by Fil Ams because there are hardly any practising Fil Am therapists out there or even if there are, they are not specifically trained to deal with the issues in an ethnic-specific way. That is not their training. On the other hand, I'm aware that Filipinos are known for alternative healing therapies. Where are those healers in the Fil Am community? I've been trying to heal myself through indigenous spirituality and I've been able to do this (sweat lodges) with my Native American friends but I'm looking for something that is mine as a Filipina.

and this from K:

...from my experience, it is most difficult for white folks to lay their privilege down, especially after acknowledging that they even have it. i think it is so hard to even recognize it, that after they do that work, it's like they want to rest on their laurels...

have had several close co-workers like this. and of course my former spouse. and the most painful part of this, is that i felt like they wanted me to be okay with their resting. and when i wasn't okay and suggested that that was actually the "easy"part and they must keep going, such resentment ensued.

as i type this, i realize that there are not many spaces for white folks in transition in that way. and that folks of color should not be the ones to hold them in that space. (at least not THIS folk of color!) i think super conscious white allies could be helpful here to hold that space, and give kudos for the work that's been done, and rouse them again to their feet and keep walkin'...

in my process with the ex, i was so wounded i couldn't encourage him to keep walking without being so angry and rageful that i had to be the one to do it. why couldn't he get that his well-being and freedom ALSO depended on him doing that work? i was so pissed that he expected me to hold that transition space for him. and when i asked him to keep walking with me, he ultimately said that he didn't have to. ugh. painful memories. i realize now that maybe he was asking me to hold that space as his spouse. i couldn't see past my woundedness of being a woman, a woman of color, an immigrant, a nurse. of course, i was his spouse back then and i am also all those other things.

what comes first? what should come first? we never had the space or the sophistication to have ongoing conversations about those things. we could only have them in the presence of our therapist. itwas too hard to do it on our own. wow, thanks for writing me Leny. all this stuff is pouring out of me as i write this.

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