I’m sitting in DIA waiting for my plane to DC. Along with me are the ceramic tablets that my cousin Margo gave me a couple of weeks ago in Lodi – they were commissioned by Uncle Harry (in Hong Kong? China?) and are 30 pound large photos inscribed on white ceramic of my two grandparents on my mother’s side, who died in China and whom I never knew.
Perhaps there are the familial dralas coming along with them – my heritage from China – ones that I never knew but Chinese dralas that seem to be coming at me full-force ever since I went to Japan – 2 years ago – and Hong Kong – last year – and India Thailand and Taiwan – earlier this year.
In California there’s a palpable feeling of the Asian identity that I didn’t have so much growing up – more was a token or smaller community in DC – and certainly don’t have in Colorado. Along with the recognition of Asian faces and gestures is the felt somatic sense of being with what is familiar – not worrying about “do I fit in?” Or can I pass as a white person? (Since I’m not black and so much of the narrative in Colorado is black/Latina vs white).
Emanating from this felt sense are the patterns of thinking, ways of gesturing, and slightly “irrelevant” stance that Asians often take in the US – as if saying “I’m good, serious, and competitive – but also funny – so don’t take me TOO seriously and I’m certainly not a threat to you”. Ha ha
Returning to the tablets – they are heavy and large (30 pounds and 10×15” or so) – intended for my mother – who is the elder in the family now. They have a weighty quality – not just in size and heaviness, but also in family and lineage of Chine-ness.
December 18, 2019