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I was raised in a South Asian immigrant households with an extended seek family.
At seven.
I wore a toy stethoscope around my neck and told anyone who cared to listen that I was going to be a doctor.
Anything short of that would be a disappointment.
A shipwreck sacrifice, a waste of citizenship at seven.
I also wrote my first poem.
My mom was like That's a really cool hobby.
My dad was so impressed by my writing that he typed it up, printed it out and framed it for the entire family to see.
I stopped believing in the universe the day he died.
Cried so much, the ocean said, Nice to meet you.
Dad was my best friend, my movie critic, my cheerleader, My Google Maps Before Google Maps was a thing.
He was a painter, a writer, a graphic designer.
He was a Sikh man with the turban.
He was a refugee at the age of 11.
He suffered from a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis and enclosing spawned a lie tous.
But even with his disability, he was the most encouraging person I knew.
Not once did I ever hear him complain.
At 17 after I graduated from high school and was still committed to premed.
I lost him due to a complication with a hip replacement surgery.
In a way, I was selfish with him.
He was mine before he was ever anyone else's.
This included my little brother, who was only 10 when he passed, and my mom, who left her family in India toe learn to love a complete stranger.
They had completely different upbringings.
My dad immigrated to Canada and then London and eventually settled in the U.
Where he was able to attend college.
My mom was born in a small village in Punjab, and all she ever wanted was a way out at 20 behind the back of her family.
She responded to an ad in a newspaper for an arranged marriage to a Sikh American man.
My dad, they came from different social classes, had different levels of education, and my mom didn't speak a word of English.
They met once and were married right away.
They eventually had kids, but growing up, Mom and I weren't close.
Dad was the assimilated parents.
We would listen to Usher's Confessions album in the car and then go home and watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Mom works all day, and when she came home to see me leisurely watching TV, we would fight.
I called her irrational.
She called my sassy English A costume described me as a tree with no roots.
Asked who are you?
As if her hands weren't the first to hold me.
I wanted to reply.
You were transplanted into American soil.
Foreign flowers do not grow here.
But instead I said if you wanted me to be more like you, you should have stayed in India.
Something in her broke and I shrug.
This is where my tongue betrayed me most in Punjabi, the first language I called home.
We didn't dare speak to our mothers this way.
But English gave me permission.
I used my access to education against her.
She used her authority against me.
And just like that, we were always on opposing teams.
After dad died, I felt our bones break together.
It was the first time we were ever united in anything.
On nights I cried myself to sleep.
I wish you'd rush into my bedroom.
And somehow the beating of her heart against mine would heal me, but our hearts didn't beat the same.
I needed my rock.
She shrink to a pebble.
I skip stones with her and we grieved in two different oceans.
Through all of that writing was my Onley constant.
I realized pretty quickly that I wasn't gonna be a doctor.
So after my first year of college, I switched to an English major.
In my third year, I declared an emphasis in creative writing, and in my fourth year I began to frequent and open mic night.
I became a member of U.
Is first official Slam team, and that's when everything's changed.
You know, I shared pages of myself every night and any time I stepped on a stage, I was also stepping into my own power.
When I graduated, I knew I had the audacity to be a poet, but I had no idea how so.
I booked a one way ticket to New York and said I'd figure it out from there, and after two months, I was able to land a job at the College board as a coordinator.
So from 9 to 5, I worked in the financial district and from five tonight I worked on my poetry.
About a year in, I wrote a poem called Ah Woman of Colors Guide to Surviving Corporate America, Right?
I was often the only brown girl in a room, and at that moment I thought about my dad.
I thought about his faith, his uncut hair, the turban he wore proudly.
Despite the stairs, I recalled a time after 9 11 that he and I went to the movies together and a group of kids threw popcorn at the back of his head.
I turned around and nearly burned a hole through their skulls, but he didn't even flinch.
He knew who he Waas, and no one's racism, able ism or xenophobia ever got.
In the way of that, the power of his non conformity was forcing me, pushing me to discover more about who I waas.
And I knew I couldn't do that from behind a desk.
So I walked in that following morning and I quit.
My boss gave me a high five.
Actually, it was great.
While all of that was happening, I was actively a dog dodging calls from my mother, Um, when I eventually got on the phone with her she freaked out.
My year lease was coming to an end, and she had me back to L.
Within a couple of weeks.
When I got back, I was in my childhood home looking her in the eye, saying, I want to be a full time poet and she didn't say cool hobby.
She looked at me in a way that she never had before without judgment, anger or shame.
We had both grown so much in the years that we spent apart.
And then we decided, for the first time to go to India together for six weeks, and it completely transformed our relationship.
I realized that I was born of everything.
She buried freedom, sugar cane.
When jobs roar, she shared all the secret she kept in her one day volts, and I stayed in her ache long enough to write about it.
When we came back, she sat on my bed, legs curved into one infinity and asked me to recite a poem.
I thought about my dad again, this time about how I was always his daughter, about how he framed my words when I was seven and then I thought about my mom strangled speech about how little credit I gave her about how little she credited me.
And then for the first time we sat.
There are hearts beating and syncopated rhythm, and I read her this poem.
It's called Good English.
I was born in Little India, child of Pioneer Boulevard, where every shopkeeper on the block knew my name.
For over 30 years, my family owned a store called Bombay Spices.
I remember being 14 sitting behind the register, ringing up a white woman, she said, Wow, you speak really good English.
I smiled, took her money and responded, Thank you, but what she meant well, I am more fluent in my colonizers tongue than my mother's.
There's a key in that.
My mouth is a desert of guilt.
Shame, privilege.
But it got me into college, got me speaking this good English.
I am the result of an arranged marriage, my mother's way out of a village trying to quiet her rage.
When she moved here, my dad's parents feared that she would steal all the money in the cash register, leave my father and start a life of her own.
To gain their trust.
She got pregnant.
She was 21 living in a country that turned her name.
Just fear into Jesse her accent.
A stubborn stain for the cleansing She balanced E s L class is while running the shop, breastfeeding her child and learning to drive.
I am six years old when I correct her English for the first time and she responds Thank you.
I read my mouth of Mama.
Replace it with Mom With I roll with If you wanted me to be more like you you should have stayed in India.
But she didn't want me to be more like her.
She wanted me to have everything that was denied to her lecture halls in Ted talks mimosas and boyfriends.
She wanted me to have a choice in whom I married.
What language I speak at what age I decided to have a child.
At the end of 2015.
She took me to India for the first time.
Every house in the village knew her name.
She the one that got away The prize of the people there praise turning every room she entered into a temple.
I am a continuation of my mother.
I write to immortalize her sacrifices.
I am the product of her defiance.
The student of her hustle, proof of her survival.
I don't get my anger from her.
I am her anger, her amplified rage to the woman up the register.
Screw your good English, mama and I We are our own language, something you can't wrap your tongue around even if you try.
That was the poem I said all that.
Thank you.
Thank you.
And let me tell you, we were never on opposing teams.
After that, she became the rock I always needed.
And in turn I became hers.
We made space for each other to exist fully and before I knew it.
Being a full time poet stopped being a dream and it became a reality, one that was 100% supported by my mother.
Over the course of six months, I went from booking my first feature at a local coffee shop for 50 bucks to $1000 performance at U.
I became a National Poetry Slam finalist.
I watch videos of my poetry accumulate to over a 1,000,000 views.
Now I travel the nation and perform my poems at different colleges and universities, and I just started my Emma thing in poetry the most lucrative of the bunch.
The summer of 2010 changed everything for me.
I lost my whole universe.
And slowly, year after year I've gained each star back.
I learned to trust my story toe.
Let my dad survive through me to find sanctuary in the woman who raised me.
Now I write for my community for my hyphenated identity.
I write for the child of immigrants who were told that they could only be one thing.
If you told 17 year old me that I would be standing here.
Ah, poet with the support of my family, I wouldn't have believed you.
But here I am.
I am more sure of myself more healed and more committed to my path than ever before.
I come from people who demand more for themselves.
I am because my parents had the audacity to be.


Regaining My Power Through Poetry | Aman Batra | TEDxCitrusParkWomen

林宜悉 2020 年 3 月 30 日 に公開
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