Week 19 of #TWmemorymondays! Today is prompted by a conversation I had this past Saturday with @aiyanat .
She shared with me the history of how her grandparents met. Her grandfather was in Japan during WWII fighting in the military, and met a local Japanese woman. They later got married, and lived in America - had kids and grandchildren. So Aiyana is 1/4th Japanese.
There is this memory or reoccurance that sticks out to her. Ever since she was really young, when people realize that she's part Japanese, there is only one response: "Oh! Now I see it in your eyes!" Everytime, that reaction would make her gut churn. It was unsettling, but she didn't know why or even how to respond to that comment.
Growing up, Aiyana was really close to her Japanese grandma and was partially raised by her. (Swipe to see photos of Aiyana and her grandma.) She remembers so many things said about her and to her grandma that would be unsettling in her gut. Things like moving to America was the best thing that has ever happened to her or jokes of her never really being American. Aiyana never laughed along, and always felt in her gut that that wasn't ok.
When Aiyana was sharing all of this, it was so interesting how she described these "harmless" well intended rascist comments and how it felt in her body. Immediately followed with the awkwardness of not knowing how to respond.
I resognated with her story on many levels - how my body reacts. That tinge. That knot. That electric shock. One of the differences from Aiayna's story is that I DID laugh through so so SO many those comments. It would hurt me on the inside, and I would still laugh along (sometimes nervously). The most twisted instances was when I would numb that feeling and actually feel good about the rascist comments - like when I'm "complimented" on being so white. How twisted is that? Still! I knew deep down that it doesn't sit well in me.
That embodiment Aiyana felt as a child is beautiful, and we all need that. I want to be done laughing nervously! Her story makes me want to be more intuned to my body and sensitive to the physical attack words can have to the value of humans. Thank you for sharing!
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 19/53. 'Gut Feeling' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper