Living History

Location

Someone once told me that history was useless.

And even though I loved history -

loved it like a child loves her bedtime stories,

falling asleep to dreams of battles and triumphs so long ago,

where evil dwelled as an unbound monster only in the past -

I thought they were right.

But they, and I, were wrong.

I did not truly love history then.

I did not love it like a part of me, like all of me -

until I understood why chink hurt so much when that white boy turned to me

why my immigrant mother got disgusted looks

why people pulled their eyes in a slant at me

why in these moments, I felt as though I was stripped away -

and I cried so much when I learned about the Civil Rights movement,

feminism, Hellen Keller, with countless others locked in

revolutions for humanity -

not because the fight was over, but because it yet lives

and wondered why history class never mentioned people like me -

deaf, Chinese and American, female,

- unless it was to point out those very aspects, as if that was all I (and they) were good for, 

why I never saw someone like me on the TV screen, and thought for years

I wasn't pure Chinese, because I was so "dark for an Asian" as non-Asians commented,

why the people

the government

books and media

never saw that I existed, and history didn't, either, until I learned

more history, more living history, more of the world beyond myself

understanding why things were the way they were, and

who I am because of that.

History is so much more than a useless story to me.   

I do not love history like a child adores her fairytales, but

I love history -

love it like the painful light of a rising sun against opening eyes

like a bitter medicine I need to swallow,

to taste truth

to feel myself

to know my right

to live. 

Comments

Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741