Unsplash Image by Avinash Kumar

Un-Containing Asian/Americanness: This is a Love Letter to Us, Asian/Americans

This is part five in a collection of five imperfectly scribbled parts. For contextual grounding, please visit the landing page.

In asking how #StopAsianHate can be a site of struggle that situates Asian/Americans inside of movements, I’m also asking how #StopAsianHate can be a site of love and abolition too. How are we situating ourselves in the radical love of Asian/Americanness that has less to do with food and culture, and more to do with our memories and becoming?

If we seek it out, there is beauty and generosity in the limitations of language: #StopAsianHate compelled me (alongside others and perhaps even you) to pause and struggle with this discomfort, to ask:

What are we trying to embody, mobilize, organize, heal, and dream into the politics of our being?

What kind of world are we building when #StopAsianHate becomes its own site of struggle for transformation and becoming?

How are we organizing for what we dream of rather than what we stand against?

Curiosity begets love. And love begets spaciousness — the literal and transcendent space for these social, historical, and political locations of situating ourselves within the beautiful struggle of being Asian/American. Knowingly or not, this is the love letter we are writing together, the constellations of care that educator Margarita Ren urges to “speak our histories into regenerating cycles of abundant love.”

For every before, there is an after. The same is true in reverse. I’m curious about our after, which is not a static state or ending but an ever expanding theory of our entangled futures together. After begets more befores, followed by more afters and more afters after that. So — our love story is to love this struggle into being, into becoming, into entanglement. We are the past, present, and future all the time.

In embodying this collection of writings, I was entangled the week before, during, and after the Atlanta shooting. I felt the past, present, and future simultaneously. I felt the unfettered sadness of an entire pandemic year detonating in this seemingly insignificant week, now forever significant in the past, present, and future. The adrenaline from the week gave me purpose and rage but its waning soured into a sadness without a bottom. The hardest part is never during but in its after, in the quiet moments of trying to piece ourselves and our parts back together. I cried often and when I wasn’t crying, the sadness raged inside of me.

Looking back now, all the grief of a single moment braided together as past, present, and future became tender sites for our enduring entanglement.

Remember this love: us struggling is us becoming. Our love is a testament. An entanglement of our intimate Asian/Americanness with our collective Asian/American-being. To struggle is a politics of love.

We remain fierce and gentle historians of our lives, our multiplicities, our peoples, our sites of ever becoming.

This is the last part in this collection (for now). If you haven’t read the coda, please return to the landing page for a temporary sense of closure.

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