Taiwan 2011: Some thoughts

This year’s trip home to Taiwan was kind of a big deal. It was the first trip, in eight years, during which I was not in a monogamous relationship. Yes, I have been a serial monogamist for the past seven and a half years, with various partners, with very little break between them. So this was a big deal!

It was a big deal because going home always conjures up heavy things for me. It’s also a meeting of the different worlds that I am a part of. These worlds are not so distinct from one another and, in fact, inform and influence one another. However, regardless of their interconnectedness, I juggle them precariously and exclusively. I do this because it feels safer. What are these worlds? They are abstract ideas of “Taiwan,” “home,” my parents and my guilt-ridden/love-filled relationship with them, my queerness, my “life in Toronto,” responsibility, my career…just to name a few.

To go back to a home, then, that is trying to hold its love for me while also not being okay with my queerness is difficult. This is especially hard when I am going back to this dear home of mine while in a queer monogamous relationship that I also hold very close. Some things are said. Some things are alluded to. Most things are kept quiet, to ourselves.

And so, this year, to go home with new approaches to relationships and to not be in a monogamous relationship was refreshing. I found that I was able to think about the possibility of moving back to Taiwan for a year or two. Not being in a monogamous relationship and learning new ideas about relations/relationships, love and care has opened up some of my emotional and mental space, which has allowed me to think about new possibilities for myself. I daydreamed about riding around on my own scooter in the streets of Taipei. I pictured myself living in Taipei and visiting my parents in Taichung every other weekend. I thought about finally getting to know Taiwanese queer circles. I even thought about other possibilities like moving to Shanghai or Beijing. These were moments where I could imagine my worlds coming a bit closer together.

These were ideas that couldn’t come to me earlier. They couldn’t surface to a level where I could comprehend because I was so blocked off from them with specific ideas of safety, internalized eurocentrism, romantic partnerships…and ideas of who I thought I was (a queer Chinese-Taiwanese immigrant girl with a complicated migratory story who will always struggle with familial guilt and only be somewhat okay in North America).

This ability to imagine new things for myself was huge. It felt strange to my mind and my body…but a good kind of strange. I can feel the newness and it’s exciting.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Taiwan 2011: Some thoughts

  1. louisetam

    reconciling queerness, radical politics with family guilt and the distances you create… feels like being haunted. but the possibilities you describe here sound amazing. sometimes we create arbitrary choices for ourselves that block us: like you have to choose between romantic partnerships or your blood heritage. there has to be something else.

    • Yes, I agree, Louise! There must be something else. There must be at least a few other ways of doing things for every one (shitty) thing that has already been made possible. And I suppose I am just on the edge of those other ways!

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