I am accustomed to the state of not belonging. Since my conception, I have been the oddball. Unlike my four older brothers who were born in Viet Nam, I was conceived in a U.S. acculturation center in the Philippines and born with a vagina in South Philly.
I grew up playing with my brothers’ hand-me-down G.I. Joe and Transformers toys. I never delayed in tearing off all the limbs of my few dolls. My parents noticed that I was so fascinated by my father’s tools that they bought me a children’s plastic tool set, but I would never stop reaching for real, hard, heavy hammers and the loud snap of a tape measure. I remember spending hours at a time, measuring objects in my house: the length of the floor from point A to point B, the height of a chair, the width of my palm.
I’d like to say that I grew up to be someone with a prestigious title: an architect, an urban planner, or even a carpenter like Christ. But no, I’m nothing of the sort. (more…)