Friday, April 25, 2014

The Journey So Far...So Good

I sometimes reflect on my postings over the last 2-3 years. I re-started writing on my blog when I became unemployed 3 years ago. Being stuck in California, a brand new place with no friends and hardly any acquaintances, failing miserably at the job that enabled me to move here and kerplunking my way out of ever EVEN applying to law school led to some serious confidence issues. I was so blue that I wasn't even blue, I was black, I had a black emo soul (complete with side bangs and crappy music). Everything sucked and I had no idea how to build myself up. This is something I chronicle somewhat often on this blog, I do it because frankly, that's what made this blog really happen. Actually its what made everything that is happening in my life now happen.

My emo self can best be illustrated by Spongebob with a visually impairing haircut

I actually had to  a chance to reflect on this in front of a group of students just this week. This past Monday I was a guest lecturer for a Asian American Studies Class on South Asian Diaspora at UC Berkeley.  I presented on South Asian activism and was invited to do so be a fellow activist and professor who found my contact through the emails I sent as part of ASATA (the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action). There was a moment when she had me fill out a honorarium form, in case I could get paid for the presentation as a guest, which made me reflect back on when I worked at UC Berkeley and was the admin person processing the honorarium forms. Now I was filling one out myself, waiting for someone else to process it. Funny how things circle back around.

Okay, not really, but whatever
In this class I was to talk about my own story, on the inspiration behind my activist, how I became an activist, my struggles and triumphs, and all the work I've done.  I should have just given them this blog link and called it a day, but then I wouldn't have had the chance to blab on for 90 minutes straight. Hence the name of my blog would be moot.

Here are the awesome college students who got to hear me talk, and talk and talk =D

When I started to go over my activism, what it's done and what it has meant to me I realize that 90 minutes wasn't close to being enough time to go over it all. And just coz I can't stop talking ( well yea there's that) but also because I have done SO much. I am not saying that to brag. Actually it's a little scary, as I looked into the faces of these bright and shiny young people, I realized that they probably thought I was insane. I mean my activism has been all over the place. After I first became unemployed in 2010, my life was basically one huge journey of trying anything and everything my activist heart desired. Did I want to work on women's issues? How about the situation in Burma? What about Muslim Americans and civil rights? Or South Asian Women's poetry? Photojournalism? Blogging? Democratic Politics? Empowerment of the African Community? How about all of the above?!! No seriously, I did all of the above and more at the same time. That's a LOT, and frankly it's a bit nuts.

Good question Uncle Sam, good question...
But isn't that what you're supposed to be like in your 20's? Experimental? I guess instead of experimenting with drugs, or people, I experimented with activism. I was like an activism mad scientist. It was my 'thing', but I didn't know what issue was MY issue in particular. So I figured I would try them out, sort of like the guess and check method from grade school. Now that law school was out of the question, it was a whole new beginning with tons of possibilities and opportunities and I took all of them.

I spoke to the students about my work with the young Democrats, about getting involved for the first time in local politics by helping on a Oakland city council campaign and joining the board of the East Bay Young Democrats. I spoke about helping to co-found the Black Young Democrats of the East Bay, after naming and addressing the need for cultivating young black leadership in this area. I spoke about being a writer and performer for Yoni Ki Baat, the South Asian Vagina monologues for two years. YKB as it is known has spread throughout the country, but I have been honored to share the stage with and befriended the inspiring women who started it all here in the Bay Area. I spoke about my API organizing, my political blogging for Hyphen, my adventures at the DNC and how I eventually was able to serve on the leadership of NAPAWF. All of that is documented on this blog. I think that's so special. It's an open journal for the world to read, and one that I look to as my journey continues.

I have no idea
 All of this activism was part of my crazy process, but this crazy process was recently recognized as I was selected as part of something called the GOOD 100. I had no idea what this was, but apparently its a quartlerly magazine that outlines people and projects that have done good throughout the world.

Look Ma, I'm in a magazine!
And I made their 100 people who are making a difference in the world for 2014. I was floored, i was shocked, they called me  a big mouth. it was all very fitting. I have to admit, it is pretty cool to be chosen along with a supermodel, the daughter of a president and other kickass people from all over the world. I feel like I am a bit underwhelming compared to these people but hey, I've got to learn to own it (it meaning being awesome without apologizing which honestly, can be so hard to do!).

NAPAWF Power Up Summit! We rock!

So the journey continues, the weeks before the GOOD 100 and my guest lecture saw me take part in my first NAPAWF (National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum)'s Power up! summit as a board member, where we got promptly snowed out in the crazy non stop blizzards that the East Coast had to offer this year. I also was honored to join in the New American Leaders Project training for immigrant leaders who want to be in leadership positions, especially those that want to run for office.

Yay for being leaders, yay for being diverse yay for being diverse leaders! NALP's New Jersey training ya'll

Does this mean I'll run for office one day? What did I just say about the guess and check method? I'm still guessing I suppose, we'll see if any of it finally checks out one day....