When I was ten years old, my father lost me. Like a set of misplaced keys, or the wallet he was certain he put down on the kitchen table, he set me down, and when he returned, I was gone.
The child of migrant parents, I grew up walking in two worlds, fitting comfortably into neither. In the 1980s beauty role models who looked like me were non-existent in the western society my family made their home. They were equally absent in the culture of my heritage.
Huzzah! It’s January 26th in Australia. The day our nation officially goes into meltdown every year over whether we should celebrate or not.
Gather round, grab a bean bag, get comfortable. I’ve got some things to get off my chest, so let’s start with my story of expatriation and repatriation.
On the 1st of February 1975, my parents and I arrived in Australia from Brunei as new migrants. My mother was 41, my father 47. I wasn’t yet 6 years old. My siblings would join us from India a few months later as we set out to reunite the family. Through a series of circumstances and choices, we found ourselves uprooted both from the home my parents had created in Brunei, and from the boarding schools my siblings had called home for so many years. We were flung together, casting about for a foothold in our new country, our new home, trying to stitch up the edges of a family.
So, you’ve been on Facebook and Twitter over the last two days, and maybe you’ve seen your US friends posting furiously about Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. You might’ve read many articles and watched the videos (if you are not Black, then I encourage you strongly to watch the videos. They are harrowing, but necessary for an understanding of how Black people in the US are treated regularly). And now you’re enraged, heartsore, a whirlwind of emotions, but you don’t know what to do next.
It’s miserable weather here in Houston. Day 2 of a raging thunderstorm sees the dogs cowering next to me at my writing table, and the children home.
Last night was more than a little rough, with periodic alarms from flash flood warnings punctuating my sleep, and an automated phone call from the school at 4.29am (I checked) to report countywide school closures due to flooding and power outages. So today I’ve been catching up on reading various articles.
It’s Wednesday and already it’s been a long week. With one thing after another piling up and nagging at me to catch up and keep up. There’s a point here, bear with me! My clever, funny, powerhouse friend Avital runs a weekly column over at SheKnows called Ask A Raging Feminist. Each week Avital asks a group of intelligent, funny, strong women a different question. I’ve had the great pleasure of contributing a few times. These are women I admire and love, so I feel very fortunate to be counted amongst their ranks.