I am in Memphis, Tennessee as I write this to all of you.
Specifically, I am sitting in a coffee shop (Muddy's!) in Memphis wearing an "Abortion is Freedom" sweater gifted to me by my sweet friend Amelia, founder of #ShoutYourAbortion, as we tour our abortion stories through the Bible Belt of this country for 3 weeks.
But let's put this moment into context.
Today is 2 days after sharing a poem about my mother (hi mom ️) in a combination of Mandarin and English to a crowd of rad justice workers in Tennessee.
Today is 3 days after visiting CHOICES (one of two clinics that provide abortion services in Memphis), after screening Names of Women at Rhodes College (a semi-liberal pocket in a very conservative environment), after this article about my newest project Mercy Mistress came out in HuffPost (a beautiful intro by my friend Lauren Himiak tying together the #metoo movement, the frustration that it is always "women who must open our wounds... to convince others that things need to change" and how coming across this "sex-positive project that tells a story about a woman's work, written by a woman, and made by women could not feel more timely.")
Today is 10 months after the person sitting in the White House was inaugurated into office, almost a year after he was elected.
Today is 2 years after I found out I was pregnant and had my abortion, 3 years after I created Collective Sex so that we can speak freely without shame about sex and our bodies.
Today is 24 years after I first immigrated to this country, 45 years after abortion was first legalized in this country.
And yet here we are.
But today is also the next city on our abortion storytelling tour.
Today we drive into Murfreesboro, Tennessee with our abortion stories to speak at the local college about "Storytelling as Activism" and why our personal stories are political.
Today we drive into Murfreesboro, the birthplace of the KKK, equipped with our abortion stories two days before this town hosts a white lives matter rally.
Today I drive into Murfreesboro as a queer first generation woman of color yellow american body that has had an abortion
And right now I feel a complex array of anticipation and calmness because I know that I am at the center of my life's work.
Cuz when I say "art is activism, our stories are our resistance", this is what I mean and this is where that work has led me.
And as I write this to you, I could not feel more supported and brave because I have you as my community.
Brave because your love has fueled my resilience.
Brave because your seeing me has given me an armor of wholeness.
Brave because I literally could not be doing this work without all of you, who showed up last summer in troves to empower me to tell my abortion story through Names of Women in my own words and voice.
Brave because you trusted me.
And my commitment back to you is encapsulated in this moment in time as I sit under morning sun in Memphis, Tennessee.
My commitment is to relentlessly share this work in the places that need to hear it the most.
My commitment is that I will never stop.
And I mean it because now I have another project, another ask. And if this work continues to speak to you, I need your support.
I need to let you know that as storytellers and writers, media-makers and film creators being able to tell stories in this way -- with full creative control, with no compromises, with no media industry gatekeepers to answer to -- is radical.
Especially when these stories are about the most sensitive, unspoken, shrouded in stigma, secrecy and shame topics.
Especially when they are stories about women's bodies which have long been told by male mouths and seen through male eyes.
That is why making media this way, empowered by our community, is radical.
The area we are taking back now is BDSM and kink.
We are taking back Asian femme sexuality, we are taking back POC queerness, we are taking back healing and joy.
And we are doing this through Mercy Mistress.
With love always.