In the midst of this suffering
I give you permission to feel joy
Joy for no purpose other than
Sinking into the crisp wind ruffling your
Exposed hands, the sharp summer sun
Dancing through the rustling trees
Cresting over the dome of city hall
in this land first settled by indigenous tribes
and colonized by white settlers
On this land, your joy is welcome and your
anguish seen, you are invited to show up in your
fullness, forgetting and remembering who
you are in each moment, each breath
In this Asian skin, the color of roasted sunflowers
after a long laze in the sun, you breathe on behalf
of those not here – your grandfather, whose very hands
labored in liquor stores so that you could stand freely,
your father at home in his not knowing, your
teachers and friends on their own paths of lost
and found. You are breathing. It is a privilege
not afforded to all.
On this land, a black man in his death
wakes us from this sleep of complacency
and ignorance, shielded from suffering out of
privilege. My sunflower skin – once systematically
removed from this land during wartime – is now
a privilege. I can now fuck your men, go to your
schools, code at your companies, play at your
parks, your restaurants, your land.
White man, you've deemed me acceptable
and so I in the Asian body am silent, silently grateful
to be a privileged minority, protected because there is
another to blame, to hate, to separate.
Black bodies are dying
Palestinian lands erased
and I in this pale yellow body
cower in my shame. Who am I to experience joy when
others suffer police brutality, murder,
destruction of home and all they hold dear?
Why do I have the privilege of joy?
Part of me wants to drown in the solidarity of suffering
to deny myself the pleasure of rest or
wellbeing while the world burns – and yet this is
futile, vapid, a white fragility carried by a sunflower girl
I carry my fragility with soft and gentle hands,
knowing that crocodile tears evaporate at the
slightest taste of sun, that true solidarity is not a
post on social media but long-term sustainable action
based in love, joy, a well of wellbeing that allows me to
show up again and again for others with
a peaceful heart and open mind. To do otherwise is to
perpetuate damage out of a longing to
belong to another's suffering.
Fighting for justice doesn’t look a certain way.
Sometimes it does not look like fighting, or justice,
or action. The true fight is to step forward into
love when fear is arising as separation and hate, to
kneel on shaking knees with palms up to the sky
asking for guidance from the source of truth within
The yoke of slavery has been borne by the black body
for 500 years and it must end. This conviction is in my bones
and I will fight to see justice delivered. Not from the heavens
but from my own body, resting in a place of wellbeing and
peace. From the collective body of the people living on this land
each of us with our palms up, asking our gods for deliverance
This is my inheritance, and I am ready.
Have faith, dear one. Step into the waiting fullness
that is yours to embody. You will know what is yours to do.