When We Don’t Want Others To Belong

  I’m looking for spaces that are a homecoming. I’m realizing it’s not easy to find places of true belonging and it’s even harder to be a person who offers it. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t want to belong, but I know many who want to disconnect, to distance, to separate and […]

Dear Portia: How Do You Find Belonging When Your Ancestry Is Erased?

Dear Portia, Where do you place your footing when the footprints of your ancestors have been erased? Gentrification has/is pushing out the remnant of my marginalized community that was once here-do I fight to stay or do I wave my flag in surrender? GW Hello GW,  You ask such a poignant and important question around […]

When Belonging Doesn’t Mean Sameness

I don’t like coffee. There, I said it. I read blogs and listen to podcasts. I’ve seen the memes. Women who are younger than me – a lot younger than me- who write books, wear great earrings, who all seem to know each other. And they all seem to love coffee. Somehow I’ve told myself […]

The Battle for Belonging

At night these mostly bare walls with fresh paint echo more than they used to, bouncing each memory of the past six years back through my unquiet mind. The crickets and tree frogs sing a melody that is as commonplace to me here as the call to prayer and honking cars was when we lived […]

Finding My Place, One Avocado at a Time

I do not yet know how to belong to a place. It always happens in the in-between space of small conversations, the way the light hits just so, or the accumulated miles where your route “home” becomes something you can do in your sleep. It happens when what was “different” from “there” instead just “is.” […]

Naming the Longing

Adjacent to the parking lot of our condominium building, sat a clump of pine trees with fine, green needles and dripping sap. The landscapers planted the trees in such a way that, once grown, they formed a canopy above a small, oval opening. If one looked hard enough, and squinted against the sunlight, one might […]

I Don’t Fit a Label

When it comes to race and culture, I am confused just like I am with most things in life. I have so many roots that it makes it very hard for anyone to put a label on me. It makes most people uncomfortable. We like our labels; we like to know exactly what or who […]

Always a Foreigner, Never Home

My face is the filter through which people see me. It can’t be helped. When people look at me, they see an Asian girl. To some, it’s the face of familiarity, but to most it’s the face of a foreigner. It creates distance, division, and tension. It brings up questions of heritage and place and […]

When We All Just Want to Be Known

Fifty of us invaded their driveway on Tuesday night. Card tables and ice chests and camping chairs decorated the pavement, along with stacks of paper plates and plastic silverware and Red Solo cups. The grill sizzled, red and gray coals in wait for chicken apple sausages and hot dogs from the local butcher. We scrawled […]