Survival Kit
// by Jen Wang

 

 

jen is a fat queer first-gen Taiwanese-American hard femme. she finds wonderful grounding in food—the sharing of it, her center of gravity, the joy of both creation and deliverance. jen has struggled with depression and suicide for the majority of her life, and is a rape survivor. her being is always trying to dissociate from every fucker out there—a necessary coping mechanism, but a hindrance in being alive and seeking to connect and grow. in response, she has been training herself in reaching—in touching, in laughing—towards history and loved ones and herself.

 

Three Pieces of Art

1. “I Watch Her Eat the Apple,” Natalie Diaz:
i'm allergic to apples.

2. “and when you leave, take your pictures with you,” Jo Carillo:
ever want to break something across someone’s face? sometimes the best alternative is hearing the blood in the wind, those voices of resilience and memory—“Our white sisters / radical friends/ should think / again.”

3. Ayako Junko Osaki:
Junko is an Asian-American queer tattoo artist formerly rooted in the twin cities, and is now traveling about. their work is magic incarnate.

 

Two People That Make You Feel Less Alone

1. Rachel McKibbens:
everything this bitch does, she does with her whole heart.

2. Roxane Gay:
“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I’m just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself” (Bad Feminist).
meeting Roxane Gay’s work was getting to see another middle-class-grown woc who accepts that she isn’t always going to get things right. i encountered Bad Feminist at a time when i was struggling with disavowing my humanity and worth after i’d hurt someone who was a dear friend. i had to look at myself, say, “i am still learning,” and move forward.

 

One Thing You Carry With You

“We need educators who are down to create space for the rich identities of their students to thrive, and who are down to be schooled by their students as authorities of their own voices and narratives in the classroom.” – If You Think You’re Giving Students of Color a Voice, Get Over Yourself, by Jamila Lyiscott

this is central to what I myself believe as an educator, but the “classroom” mentioned in this quote extends to the rest of the world. people get to own their stories, and also deserve to be seen and validated for their brilliance.

 

 

jen wang is a poet and teaching artist currently rooted in the twin cities, MN. she is passionate about education that challenges & nurtures the brilliance of whoever is in the room and always, unconditionally, centers the truth. she currently works with Upstream Arts using play as process for creative exploration within a range of disability communities. photo credit to Taylor Dobson.


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