My spoken word about the topic: beautiful


I don’t look like the cover girls on magazines
I still hide at times because I don’t want to be seen
Because the magazines and shows express what it looks like to be a queen
Wear the foundation to cover the scars from the past
Eyeliner to define my Asian eyes
Lip liner to make my lips look fuller
Blush to make my cheeks look rosy
Red lipstick because I’m ashamed of my brown lips
Eyeshadow to make me look more dramatic
Like I’m an actress
I am… acting
Let me wear that smile all the time
When you tell me Megan Fox is so much prettier
My thick thighs don’t compare to her long leggy legs
My big waist doesn’t hold a candle to her hour glass…figure
My small slanty eyes don’t compare to her euro-centric eyes
But I stop and I think about
what it means to be beautiful
After I wipe off all the make up…
I take a look at the mirror and..
All I see is me
This is me.
and I am beautiful.

~Rowena Cabanayan


I showed this video in one of my Ethnic Studies classes as part of a presentation about how the media views Asian Americans. When KevJumba says, “If an Asian would have a starring role, no one would go and watch their show or their movie. Is this true?” And yes, Jackie Chan starred in Rush Hour but what was his role? The stereotypical kung-fu, karate fighter. In the movie, Romeo Must Die, Jet Li had a starring role and it seemed like he had a romantic connection with Aaliyah’s character. The end of the movie was supposed to be with him kissing her instead of him hugging her. They changed the ending because when the director showed the movie to an urban audience, they said they didn’t like seeing Jet Li kissing Aaliyah, therefore they changed it. But the media has been doing slightly better with changing Asian American stereotypes with Harold And Kumar… but still! Can I, for once, see an Asian American actor get some action? Other than kung fu fighting?

If He Only Knew

Here’s the story: I was in a long term relationship with (thou-shalt-not-say-his-name). In the beginning, our relationship was amazing. You already know, the honeymoon phase. I’d always wake up to his “Good Morning” texts and I’d sneak out at night to see him. (I have strict Filipino parents that believe in no boyfriends whatsoever.) Then when I started living in Park Merced, he’d sleep over, we’d make dinner together, we’d have study sessions together. It was like a dream come true. My friends would say, “You two act like an old married couple. Stop it. You’re making me jealous.” Being with him made me feel like my life was complete. This guy had a job, a car, goes to school (SFSU), loves spending time with his grandma, and wants to be a preschool teacher. Seeing him play with kids and how great he is to them made me think, “Damn, can you just have my kids already?” (Just kidding, not really…) He made me a song (he’s a rapper aka Watzreal) and in his chorus, it says, “You’re the first girl I’ve ever think of marrying.” Oh love… it makes you oversee their huge flaws and just admire the person that you’re with. Then the cheating happened… the lying… the abuse… the manipulation… more cheating… secret emails… hidden texts… even more cheating. Our relationship hit a climax and he broke up with me over the phone. One year, nine months. Our relationship ended over the phone. Really?

The night after the break up, I sat down at the table, pulled out this journal that was supposed to be a gift to him for our anniversary, and just started to write down how I felt. After a few minutes, I had half a page of list of words I was feeling and a few sentences mixed among my tears. A few days later, I was at my best friend’s party and I was totally not feeling the scene. There were couples cupcaking, my friends taking way too many shots, and beer pong going on. I sat outside, took out my phone and started to type out how I felt about everything.

My friend, whose in a sorority, asked me if I wanted to perform at her sorority’s Open Mic and I said “Okay, for sure I’m down.” I compiled the two pieces I made from the party and after the break up into one and I thought to myself, “Damn… I really want him to hear my piece. If he only knew…”

I had to go to counseling because the relationship left me traumatized and he left me feeling less than a human being. Counseling helped, but writing this piece empowered me.

Side note: The purple font is from the party, the gray font is after the break up, and the red font is what I added when I compiled the two pieces together.

Here’s the video from my first performance. Ever. From my first piece I’ve ever written. Ever.
If He Only Knew

It’s crazy how I miss you so much
My lips kissing yours
The way our fingers intertwined
How my eyes met yours
Sex in the morning, I want to love you
But when I stop
I think about
Your lips touching theirs
The way your fingers intertwined with theirs
How your eyes met their eyes
Sex in the evening, you hella cheated
I’m angry, I’m upset, I feel dirty when I remember
How I called you mine, all mine
Our foundation, shattered
My heart, broken
We tried to fix it
But the cracks always remained
I loved, love you
You… loved me
I wish I could’ve turned a blind eye
Pretended I didn’t find those texts, those pictures, those emails
The unknown numbers on your phone
I miss how I held you at night
I miss the way you kissed my shoulder
How we always kissed in threes
The way you looked into my eyes
In a room full of people all I saw was you
I loved you
I… love you
But then I stop
And remember your lies
Your infidelity
The way you tried to cover everything up
So confused. Hurt. Angry. Bitter. Love. Real thoughts. Resentment.
How could you? How could I?
What I wanted, needed
What you needed, wanted
It hurts. I try, I cry.
I stop. I breathe.
I believe we were meant to be
My fairytale. My everything.
These letters. Your words. My heart
It touched. I felt
You smiled. I melted.
I held your body at night
So close. So warm.
I fell so hard
You loved me
I loved you
I loved truly, madly, deeply
You loved softly, quietly… ashamed
Best friend, boyfriend
We’re slow dancing in a burning room
You were
my boat, my dream
My ship, set sail
I miss you, I do
But then I think about those nights where you
fucked, sucked, corrupted our love
You cheater, you wife-beater
I felt like trash, you treated me like a bitch
You hit me, beat me, kicked me down, and pushed me
Your constant depression
constantly made me cry
How could you treat me this way?
I cried, you laughed
You cursed, I fell
hard to the ground
I loved you to death
But you killed me inside
Now that we’re over, I’m stronger
I’m alive, I’m happy and I’m proud to be a woman
Nothing’s wrong with me, I’m perfectly fine
It’s you whose wrong, I should’ve seen the signs
So fuck you Watzreal
cuz you’re what’s fake
Fuck your bitchassness
Fuck your rap music
Fuck everything that we had
Because you don’t deserve none of this

You know how I said near the beginning of this blog entry how I wish he could hear this piece? My wish came true. But… what had happened.. is another story.

Hope you all enjoyed. Sorry this was so long!

~Rowena Cabanayan

This hits home

“Within Every Woman…There is a Story

I took quite a few Asian American Studies classes here at State… and I knew about how soldiers from different countries would come into the Philippines and other Asian countries, and they would kidnap and rape the girls and women. I stumbled upon this video last year and ever since I watched it, the video is still in the back of my mind. It hits close to home because I wonder if that happened to my grandmother… but I’ll never find out.


~Rowena Cabanayan