As someone who lives with clinical depression, I was MORE than excited for the onset of Spring. By the time March rolled around, I was begging for Spring to come.
I couldn’t wait for the sun to stay out for longer periods of time, for the temperatures to rise and melt away the deep cold embedded within my bones, for the flowers to bloom and blossom so that they could inspire my own blooming and blossoming at this phase of my life. Everything in my body was aching for that extra ray of sunshine to rejuvenate my spirit again after what felt like a long and arduous winter of hibernation. When you’re in the cold and dark for that long- anything different can feel like an improvement to the spirit.
However, when Spring did return, in her full shining glory on March 20, 2023- I was viscerally reminded of how jarring the transition from Winter to Spring felt like. I was reminded of how impactful change could feel like, period.
My eyes had to adjust to the drastic shift from darkness to light and I found myself squinting and fumbling around in the initial overexposure to sunlight.
As a chronically ill/disabled enby who experience chronic fatigue and pain, my body went through some serious recalibrations, reworkings, and reorienting to the rapidly changing landscape around me. I found myself taking a lil’ longer to wake up in the morning, walking a lil’ slower in between meetings, experiencing a lil’ more aches and pains in areas that didn’t get as much movement and use during the winter time.
The overstimulation of the air, the sunlight, the breeze, the noise, the people, the urgency, the Spring “we outside!!!” social energy compared to my quiet, winter cubby was a rude reckoning to my neurosystems in general. I found myself escaping to the bathroom or bedroom for some much needed peace and quiet, just to hear my own thoughts again.
And the pollen. Lawd, THE POLLEN. As someone who currently resides in NC, the pollen hit me full force in the face and the chest like a wrecking ball, and like many others, I found myself sneezing and sniffling for dear life with a tissue in my pocket at all times.
The onset of Spring made me realize that transformation is less beautiful, less romantic, less ethereal than we make it out to be. The shedding of our winter coats is a lot more discomforting than we give it credit for, and yet- we shed it anyway because honestly, what choice do we have? I am reminded of this quote from Octavia Butler, in her book The Parable of the Sower:
“All that you touch
All that you Change
The only lasting truth
Earlier this semester, I had the privilege of attending this year’s 2023 Creating Change Conference in San Francisco. One of the largest LGBTQ+ conferences in the U.S. (if not the largest) being hosted for the first time, in-person, since the pandemic started- that conference experience was a perfect example of how impactful change can be on a collective of change makers going through their own radical transformations. You didn’t have to take extensive notes at any of the workshop sessions to experience significant change- we was already changing the moment we landed in San Francisco. Things have changed. The alchemy of our bodies are always changing, in relationship to one another. Each of us are a catalyst in our own right, just by existing and breathing as we are.
The question is not whether or not we are changing- the question is, what type of change do I want my existence to usher in, knowing that I am already changing? What are the signs and omens of Change unfolding before me right now, and how can I follow those signs and omens towards a change that I can stand by confidently, with my full chest, 10 toes down? What radical change is blooming within you, right now, at this very second and moment, and how can you fully submerge yourself in it, knowing that Change will come, regardless?
As we prepare to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, as we prepare for the end of one season and transition into the next, as we prepare for more blooming, more sunlight, more breath- may you receive confirmation of your own ability to receive, discern, and navigate Change as it blooms before you, and may the God of Change within you thrive in the transformation of it all.
Maij Vu Mai (they/he) | Coordinator of the CLGS Asian American/Pacific Islander Roundtable