I was born not too long ago as the younger daughter of two strivers. My Mom is Filipino. My Dad was a Black American. I grew up in New York and in Paris. My father came from humble circumstances but he did very well for himself on Wall Street. He died when I was 12.
I grew up, graduated from college and became a reporter. Two years ago I quit my newspaper job because I realized that I had no idea who I was and why I had been working so hard all my life. Since then I got married, became a mother and wrote a deeply personal and at times painful memoir.
The cities of my childhood, New York City in particular, are places of reinvention. People flock to these places to be inspired, to find or make their fortunes, to meet and measure themselves against the best. But what do you do when someone has gotten there before you and paved the way? And no matter how far off the path you go their presence, or their shadow, stays with you. There are two choices, I think: You can leave the big city and set out for new horizons, Montana, California, Canada… Or you can stay and fight, wrestling with your family ghosts. Of course, fighting a ghost is a fool’s task. You can’t win. And fighting just keeps the phantoms alive, instead of letting them fade naturally, mercifully, inevitably into the dust.
Is there a third path? I believe that writing will show me the way.