Today, Mars enters Taurus, in Gate 3 (“Difficulty at the Beginning”).
I felt the heaviness of “difficulty” this morning, as I worked through a few conversations about identity and race that made their way to my inbox. When I first wrote about cultural appropriation and colonization in the Human Design system, I was barely getting 10 hits per day on my website. Now, it’s taken a life of its own and brings in weekly messages from those who resonate with it.
I don’t have all the answers when it comes to decolonization. This is a complicated subject, especially in the world of DNA testing (more people are realizing their history based on being multiracial) and disconnection from our motherlands. When we talk about decolonization, we have to talk about history, assimilation, forced submission, and the deaths of those who came before us.
Regardless of what you identify as.
Growing up, my parents needed me to assimilate. They believed that my survival (and their citizenships) depended on it. I remember being crammed in a tiny Chinatown apartment with 2 other families and my parents would have me recite basic English words (they could barely pronounce) that were taped to my door. They didn’t want me to learn how to write in Chinese. My father would remind that I needed to keep my head down, shut up, and “be American.” Never draw attention to myself never, ever fight back.
“Don’t be problematic.”
When I went to school, the other Chinese kids would hound me over my inability to speak Mandarin Chinese (Cantonese is my native language). The irony is, when non-Chinese practitioners approach me about I Ching (which makes up the Human Design “gates”), they’re curious why I never “pronounce it correctly.” It’s my personal form of protest against the classism that believes Mandarin Chinese is the “correct way” to speak Chinese. My dialect has been called “bird language” because of the guttural, harsh tones as opposed to the melodic Mandarin.
For me, decolonization isn’t just about honoring my ancestry and those who came before me. It was simultaneously a form of disrespect to my parent’s wishes. It’s having conversations with my multiracial children about their identities when I can’t even relate.
To answer the common question of, “how can I begin decolonizing my Human Design process?” – there’s no step-by-step guide. I believe “pronouncing things correctly,” and “giving money to people of color,” is shallow. It’s a cop out.
There’s also the constant policing of language and whether something is politically correct. If you’re respectful, most people who are willing to listen are open to forgiving the nuance of language and won’t split hairs over your verbiage. As a wise friend once told me, “Don’t let political correctness distract you from having the hard conversations.”
As a Projector, I can say, it’s about what you exist as, not what you “do”. The days of placing value and validation on a human being based on what they “do” can be left in the industrial age.
Instead, decolonization begins with the individual, just as Human Design begins with acknowledging your unique role. You may share a type with another person, but your chart will still read differently. You can share the same exact chart with a twin or someone born in the same hour as you, but you will live out your design differently. All of this is wrapped up in your identity, skin color, cultural upbringing, gender identity – a complicated package of being human.
It’s forgiving ourselves if we are completely disconnected from our motherland because not all of us have parents or grandparents who are willing to talk about it.
It’s making space for moments where we felt we needed to shut up and be strong (men, this includes you).
It’s acknowledging that most of us do not have a straight line that can be traced in our ancestries, anymore.
As we move into this world filtered through our ability to understand the spectrum of our emotions in the solar plexus, the difficulty at the beginning is allowing ourselves to feel it all.
Feeling brings up memories we rather forget.
Feeling highlights where we’ve wronged other people.
Decolonization is a moment of reckoning. It’s getting real with yourself about where you came from – or acknowledging your not knowing. It’s listening to the stories other people tell – and your own. It’s revisiting the histories you were taught about yourself – and the ones not taught. It’s whether you’d acknowledge colonization, racism, and prejudice sometimes – and not when you don’t understand it. (As another wise friend checked me a few weeks ago, “just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean we’re not experiencing it-” during a discussion where I failed to understand anti-semitism happening right in front of my face).
We’re moving towards that world where there’s no step-by-step guide anymore. We, throughout 2021, will collectively need to face ourselves before we can slay external demons. This is where “the work” begins.