A poem from Lily Luo.
This poem came out of the many conversations I’ve had, with friends of mine who were dealing with similar questions about their identities, with myself as I tried to reconcile all the different, vibrant, complex parts of my being, with those who were a bit older than me who had asked themselves the same questions, and with those younger than me who were starting to ask themselves their own questions. I wrote it as a love letter to them, to myself, and to anyone who ever finds themselves in the Borderlands, as Gloria Anzaldúa imagines them. Often it seems as though the world has so many tools to break us, but then I’m reminded–we have poetry.
Love Letter to all the Queer, Christian, Asians Who Have Come To Me For Advice: For Those Times I Can’t Be There To Hold Your Heart
(Italicized are from Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza and poetry by Rupi Kaur)
You are going to be okay
You deserve to live
In a place that not only tolerates
But celebrates all of you.
We think we have to choose
As if the world ever gave us easy decisions
As if the boundaries we think are set in stone
Have always been there,
Will always remain.
Why then would they invest so much
In protecting their fragile understandings of the self?
Why do I frighten you?
Who am I asking that to?
This is my home
this thin edge
of barbed wire.
How do you make a home
Out of a place that drives you wild?
How do you contain
The (r)evolutions playing out in your body?
Let me tell you a secret:
There is no way to contain it
It will always make you wild
The real task
Is embracing the savage reality of your existence
To recognize the beautiful
Clashing of cultures,
Creation of new worlds,
That you can be.
But let me backtrack:
Maybe you feel
Between a feeling and an action
Maybe all this
Feels more like destruction
There is a pain that can be productive
And one that destroys everything in its path
The struggle has always been inner
And we are asked to keep it that way
But what is the point
Of keeping your head buried in the sand
When they are beating your body
You want it to stop.
You want the world to stop.
So you have a moment to understand
What it is that you want
But it will not.
It will not stop weaving
Cautionary tales out of your life
No matter how many times
You want to scream out
I am a person too
The first step
Is not to stop the world
That will come later
Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes
Which in turn come before changes in society
Nothing real happens
Unless it is first imagined by us
So what kind of reality can you imagine?
What kind of living
That is thriving and not surviving?
Living does not mean
Pushing the unacceptable parts of yourself
Into the shadows
Living does not mean
Putting all that we are
Into neat categories
Labeled by the same hand
That tells us
Time and time again
We should be grateful
To be allowed to exist
I am grateful
For my mother who loves me so intensely it hurts
For a God who is often used to contain me
For these books
That saved my sanity
Opened the locked places in me
Taught me first to survive
How to soar
You see, the world is too beautiful
Not to be felt
You are too magnificent
Not to be shared
I cannot promise it will be easy
since day one
you already had everything you needed within yourself
it’s the world that convinced you
you did not
Now you must start the
The enviable task
Your own brilliance.