I’ve grown to resent the systemic inequities that have forced so many Filipina women to leave our homeland in order to serve and give care to foreign families while having to leave their very own children behind – all while working tirelessly and often for less pay, and while having to navigate complex, expensive, and exploitative immigration systems. Not necessarily out of the goodness of our hearts or passion or even true choice, but out of economic necessity, survival, and the promise of better opportunities.
And so I guess what I really resented was what I always knew was lurking underneath these responses. When we rip away that momentary glimmer of connection, that response to my ethnicity is the quiet (often unknowing and unintentional) implication that I am lesser than, that my people and my community are lesser than.
In the midst of this pandemic, I am forced to reckon even more deeply with these hard realities as I hear the stories of so many Filipinos – my kababayan, my own pamilya, and my mga kaibigan – who are risking their lives at the very front lines of this crisis to give care.
“I hope you’ll still laugh at my jokes when I have dementia,” I said to my husband Ryan on an evening walk not long after my thirty-fourth birthday....