This is a first draft, taking a crack at some questions.
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What if nobody reads me? But the dust that’s collected beneath the desk and ergonomic chair, but the recycling bin and office shredder, but the delete key, but the one subscriber to your blog, but your own eyes, checking in on herself again and again. You must write nonetheless.
What if my writing is too ethnic? Whose approval do you seek? Whose lens to view you? Do you write for white love? Do you write for them to laugh and point and clap their hands, to pat your little clever brown head. Do you think if they pin an award on your chest, they will elevate you to their heights. Do you think you will ever be one of them. When did you become their little dancing brown monkey, their dear little brown exceptionalism, their little brown white guilt absolver?
What if I just want to give up? Ask yourself: Why do you write? Ask yourself: Why do you write? Ask yourself: Why must you write? Ask yourself: What happens to the knots in your gut, your hands always clenching, your teeth grinding til your mouth bleeds? Ask yourself: What happens if you cannot write?
What if nobody reads me? But every young, hungry Pinay who crosses your path. Their eyes are so wide; they have never seen a Pinay like you before. You are a brown woman of letters. You speak like you have forgotten the fear of speaking, the harm speaking brings to brown women like you. They never knew brown women like you were real, hustling in their cities, speaking like you know. Because you know. Because you know that you know. They are holding your words so close to them, the way they were taught to hold God’s words close to their hearts. They breathe your pages because your pages are life-sustaining. They can’t bear for you to leave them.
What if nobody cares? But the dark corners of this room, but the three other brown people who have been conditionally permitted to enter this room with you. Do you remember how you clawed at them, pulled their hair, trampled them, and pushed yourself forward and into the room. How are you going to make them care about you now. You mistook yourself an honored guest. White people keep asking you to refill their glasses, to wash their soiled linens. They are impressed you are so agreeable, so consenting. They are impressed by how well you mimic their tongue. It’s like a song.
What if nobody cares? But every other brown sista fighting for air as she is trampled underfoot by some hair-pulling, step and fetch motherfucker. Your brown sista is tending to her broken skin. She might be concussed; you knocked the wind out of her.