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to jump higher

2014 May 18
by jlares

This is how it always went. Before we even had a chance to believe in Santa Claus, my dad told us he was fake. Santa Claus, Jesus, the Tooth Fairy, and Jordan Vs never existed in our house. When I ran in after a touch football triumph and told them I’d play quarterback for the Redskins, they laughed at me. When they beat that dream out of me, I  said I’d be a sportscaster on ESPN and I’ll never forget what my father said:

“They’ll never let someone with a face like you on television.”

To this day, I wake up at times, look in the mirror, and just stare, obsessed with the idea that the person I am in my head is something entirely different than what everyone else sees. That the way I look will prevent me from doing the things I want; that there really are sneetches with stars and I’m not one of them. I touch my face, I feel my skin, I check my color every day and I swear it all feels right. But then someone says something and that sense of security and identity is gone before I know it.

- Fresh off the boat: a memoir by Eddie Huang

And Fresh Off the Boat, the ABC sitcom based on Eddie Huang’s memoir is coming soon! Am I actually going to be watching American TV again?

Youth, the sky, and dreams

2014 April 26
by jlares


To state the obvious, I’ve been away from this blog for a year. Well, ok so I’ve been neglecting it for longer than that. But I’ve purposely been away from it since resigning from Sulu DC a year ago. Almost to the day. Leaving and letting go was a lot harder than I thought and I never expected that it would be hard for me to be surrounded by art and do art. You’d think it would have helped me heal faster. But instead it reminded me of what was and each day I could feel my confidence in my own art and it’s meaning in my life fade away.

Performing and starting an arts organization wasn’t in The Plan. I stumbled upon it while on the way to a different dream. And now that that particular unplanned dream has completed its course, do you go back to the old path? Or was the old path really the one you were supposed to be on and the last 4 years was the aberration?

2014 January 24
by jlares

I beg you…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer…

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Launch of GABRIELA DC – 10/26

2013 October 24
by jlares

GABRIELA Washington,D.C. Launch_Flyer

This Saturday I have the honor of hosting the launch party of GABRIELA DC (formerly called ILAW). As a newly formed chapter organization of GABRIELA USA, GABRIELA DC has addressed issues affecting day-to-day lives of Filipina womyn such as immigration reform, violence against women, and advocating an end to modern-day slavery.

The details:

THE WHERE | Augustana Lutheran Church Social Hall (2100 New Hampshire Ave NW – U Street Metro station is closest metro stop)

THE WHEN | Saturday, October 26 from 6-9 PM

THE WHY | To continue the fight for justice, human rights, and true liberation for all

THE HOW | $10 suggested donation

THE WHO | Ikaw! (you)

I’m really looking forward to being part of this historic moment. Time to brush up on my Tagalog!

every minute of every hour

2013 October 21
by jlares

Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry…have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere–be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.

- excerpt from the novel, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

for All Saints Day

2013 October 21
by jlares

In the Philippines, All Saints Day is “Undras”. Similar to traditions with roots in Spain (due to colonization), families spend the night at the graves of their family members, eating and talking until the sun rises.

Undras, 1990

Families gather at the graves of their matriarchs
Their faces framed by candlelight
Their whispers a string of stories uncoiled

Children run in circles
Chasing each other, crying out:
Tabi tabi po
With each step to pay respects
To the spirits present

We watch hot liquid wax pool until it cools
Enough to mold into a ball
That we melt and melt again

We sleep beside our ancestors
And wake up to our parents’ quiet urging
Dark circles under their eyes

I lay magnolia flowers fallen from a nearby tree
On Lolo’s tomb and introduce myself:
I am Jenny
The youngest daughter
Of your youngest son

Back at it

2013 October 11
by jlares

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m performing again! (since May) It’s familiar territory (I am, after all, getting back into it slowly)–my alma mater, the University of MD. The place that has held such significance in my life in terms of personal and political growth. The place that looks and feels the same every time I come back and yet also entirely different. The place that reminds me of all that I’ve done, didn’t do, and have yet to do.

I may be battling a bit of a cold or allergies or whatever it is right now, but I’m ready for tomorrow’s performance at the FUEL Conference. Ready. Set. Go.

on self-worth

2013 September 6
by jlares

I wasn’t thinking, I was just repeating what people back home say when a girl is born. But this is the new world, and prettiness is not a promise of a daughter’s future, as sons are not a guaranteed blessing.

- an excerpt from Fae Myenne Ng’s novel, Steer Toward Rock

found poem: Declaration of Independence

2013 July 4

Since it’s the 4th of July, I thought I’d finally write that found poem I’ve been meaning to using the Declaration of Independence as a base. (a found poem is when you take a poem, pick and choose words/phrases that resonate with you and then use those words to write a new poem). So here it is, the poem I found in the Declaration of Independence:

armed with truths, we are the new guards of our future
friends and brethren, we govern with a purpose
in this candid world, we are formidable, independent populations
our towns, though distant, have no boundaries
we are free, present, and divine
connected by common trials, rights, and laws
a people invested in justice and consent
a people absolute in their pursuit of happiness
but the powers of the earth and oppression
cause dangers of unparalleled allegiance and invasion
reducing liberty to swarms of bodies without life
a long train of repeated injuries
we are instruments of opinion, of tyranny, of honor and obstruction
may we not be deaf to the voice of justice and protect and pledge
that we are a free people

on dreams

2013 July 3
by jlares

sometimes on the way to a dream you get lost and find a better one