for raychel : )

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“May We Raise Them”
By Raychelle Duazo

Something a lil different for PFAD.

The top photo is from the 60s, and it depicts my Ninang, Lola, and Mama. My Mama told me this was taken for her high school graduation. Her & her family are from Olongapo. So pretty, no? It’s easily one of my top 5 favorite photos ever.

There are plenty of things I will never understand as a Filipina growing up in America. My mother tells me stories still. And there are plenty of barriers between us – being queer, being weird in general, being so unconventional about everything – that act as a precursor to angst, microaggressions, and misunderstanding, but! But. Despite everything, I have so much love for these people, especially my Mama, for giving me something very great.

When she was younger, she wanted to be a doctor, but my Lola never took her seriously because they were poor. But growing up, my mother made absolutely sure that I knew I could be anything I wanted & that I could have everything I wanted. She reminded me all the time, and like most POC moms, signed me up for everything: art classes (thanks Ma), piano lessons, swimming lessons…she even sought out art contests for me to enter.

My mother told me I was “…a genius, sobrang matalino, at mahusay sa lahat. Sana pwede ka maging famous” and helped instill in me dreams & goals bigger than this entire universe. Can you believe that? As a girl, as someone’s daughter – that’s so fucking powerful. And I still hold onto that, every single day. I still want to be all of it. 

Love to my Mama, for pushing through life even though she didn’t get to fulfill some of her dreams; for making space, giving me ambitions (and a big ego tbh), and consistently telling me I can achieve mine. Such a real love.

Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.