I was born in the Philippines, and grew up in New York City’s East Village. In the 1980s, I was a club kid, starting from when I was 12. I was out seven nights a week, breaking day everyday (yes, it drove my mother crazy). I found zen in ’88, but continued to club, going to morning meditations in my silver disco outfit. My friends and I glittered in the zendo.
In the 1990s, I became politicized (on how that happened is another story). I started to form a worldview, to understand what’s up with all the protests at Tompkins Square Park, to see the root cause (socioeconomic!) of why my mother had to leave the Philippines and her family in 1971 to work as a nurse in NYC. In the 1990s and 2000s, I was involved (I mean seriously involved) in a badass women’s political organization. That involvement, the sisterhood was pure joy, even when we were physically, emotionally exhausted from work on heavy-duty issues like rape by US military men, trafficking of women and children, abduction and murder of union leaders. When I say pure joy, I mean the deep joy of collective effort, of being a part of something that matters, something much bigger than one’s self.
Today, still developing my worldview (which must be dynamic because rigidity equals being dogmatic, closed-minded), I like to think that writing is my political act.
I am proud to be a member of a 18-year old women’s writing group, aka the Sari-Sari Women of Color Arts Coup. Writing is a communal practice!
Much gratitude to all my teachers, students, comrades. When it comes to writing as a practice—a way to study the mind and enter this human life—I owe everything I know to my dearest teacher and friend Natalie Goldberg.
Check out some of my writing here.