Volume Five, Issue 2

the jungle that birthed me

Leila Tualla

All my life, I’ve been told about how women like
me should be; submissive, small, light skin, and quiet as a
mouse. The picture of timidness, compliance, one who rarely
makes noise. It wasn’t until I learned about the
Filipina women (before the butchering of the jungles),
that I realized my heritage comes from those whose blood
was forged in fire and sand, whose spirit burn and leave marks
on the enemy’s skin. I am in a lineage where our voices
was the most powerful thing about us. I am inheriting
the strength of the revolutionaries who fought to
take up space. Anytime I feel weak and small,
and my voice is taken from me, may I
remember that within me is the roar
of the ocean; within me lies the heart of the jungle,
who saw carnage and fear, a reckoning of our mythos and our mother
tongue. And in the wreckage the conquerors left behind,
the women - my ancestors - stood on top of mountains, and spilled
their blood to form islands of fire and sand.
              The jungle that birthed me

Leila Tualla: “I am a Filipino-American memoirist, poet, and author. My books include a YA contemporary romance called, Love, Defined and a memoir/poetry collection called Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and me. My poetry is featured in a few mental health anthologies, including Please hear what I'm not saying, You are not your r*pe, and Persona non grata. I am currently working on a poetry collection based on Asian American stereotypes and identifies.”

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