Letter from the Editor: March

Somehow here we already are at March! I just got back from a life-changing month in the Philippines and am still reeling from jetlag, heartache, emotional highs and lows, and my whole world being almost literally turned upside down...so sorry if this note is brief and jumbled.

First of all, Happy International Working Women's Day! While posts celebrating the resilience and amazingness of our fellow womxn and femmes are super uplifting and lovely, let's not forget what today is also about: striking. Our labor still runs the world and the pay gap is still really really real - not to mention our vastly unpaid and unacknowledged emotional labor. So whatever form of strike you're able to participate in today, I encourage you to make the world remember the power and value of your work however you can.

At our first sister circle in Manila on Sunday, which we held in honor of Women's History Month, our topic was self-love - but, like all great conversations, wandered off tangentially into gender roles and expectations, harmful feedback and self-talk, and unpacking a lot of trauma. We talked a bit about gender as related to precolonial deities, and one of the women brought up an interesting fact I didn't know: that the origin of the name for Ba(t)hala, the supreme god of the Tagalogs, comes from the roots "ba" - from "babae/woman"; "ha" - from "breath,” hinga or ginhawa; and "la" from "lalaki/man." I love this so much, the idea that genders come together to form one supreme power, linked by the breath - and what a drastic and welcome departure from the colonizers' super patriarchal father god-figure. This also reminded me of an excellent article by Manong Lane Wilcken, "Ungngo, the Breath of Life" about the Hawaiian “'ha,' which is 'the breath of life' or figuratively the 'essence of the soul'...an intimate expression among friends, a sharing of spirits" in which the Hawaiian people greet each other by touching the sides of their noses to the cheek of the other person, inhale and say “Aloha”; and how as Filipinos we kiss each other on the cheek in modern times, but how elders might still inhale as a greeting - a throwback to older traditions. I always love being reminded of our shared Polynesian roots and am always thankful to Manong Lane for the connections he makes in his work.

Here's to Women's History Month and to the womxn, femmes, and siblings of all genders who, against the odds, continue to make history each and every day.

<3 Steph