It’s been a trying time. Academically, professionally, politically. Within the context of all the things that are going on—I have also been going through what feels like another growth spurt of self-identity and progress. More than ever I have dissected and dived head first into an aspect of my identity I thought I was firmly rooted in but it is becoming clearer and clearer that I’m not. That I have A LOT more to learn about my identity as a Filipinx-American. The history, my roots, my community, myself.

It’s been hard in the context that I find myself living in. I’m going through a very passionate that borders anger phase of this self-development. There’s a lot more pain in it too. I’ve teared up more times reading phrases and books the more I understand my parents behavior, my upbringing, and my culture within the context of history.

Passionate pain and anger as I find the words to describe my experiences, to understand my family better, to wonder who is providing language for the new waves of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th generations. I’m thinking mostly of my nieces and nephews. My little sister. My community. It’s bringing up a lot of questions—some I’m finding answers for and some that I firmly believe no one else has really cared to investigate.

I’m so excited to see where this leads to. I’ve always been rooted in the fact that I knew when I was 12 that this was what I was going to do. Colonial mentality just played a role in derailing me from taking the fastest path to get there. I tend to learn the hard way by first investigating all the other options to make sure that it sure as hell is not the path I want to go down. Now, the coin is midair as I toss it to decide what and to whom I want to dedicate my career goals towards. In that moment, it became clear that my cultural and ethnic values towards my community and family is only getting stronger. My heart will always belong to them. To the best of my abilities, I will give back to them.