My Family’s Slave & Why It Moved Us To Tears
It’s a story we can all relate to, in one way or another.
Alex Tizon is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of Big Little Man: In Search Of My Asian Self. And yet, for the past few days, his name has become synonymous with another piece of work: My Family’s Slave.
While it was meant to be an ode to Eudocia Tomas Pulido, the woman who raised Alex, his siblings, his daughters and his mother, it was so much more than that. It told the story of our people, run amuck by life and fighting with a mix of love and desperation. You can click here to read the entire prose.
It was real and painfully relatable.
Lola’s story is one we all know, whether by personal experience or by hearing stories passed on through generations. We all have a Lola, know a Lola, and maybe at one point in our lives were a Lola to someone else. She dedicated her life to a family that wasn’t hers, but she eventually learned to call her own. It was her face that the children saw in the morning, and then at night when they went to sleep. It was her voice that soothed our nightmares, and it was her hand we looked to hold.
Alex’s words were painful to read for more reasons than one. Yes, we felt bad for Lola and had a hard time understanding why anyone – especially someone that looked to her for comfort – would treat her as horridly as they did. But there were more layers to the pain. There was knowing that, in one way or another, we’ve mistreated someone that was only trying to help. There was knowing that, in one point in our lives, we knew what was right and still turned the other way. It was knowing Lola’s story is part of our personal lives.
We found ourselves at almost every piece of Alex’s writing, right down to the sob fest of returning Lola’s ashes and Lola not even being able to call the Philippines home anymore. We found ourselves in his parents, his siblings and Alex himself.
Image courtesy of The Atlantic.
He was honest.
The story, which was published posthumously after Alex’s death in March, raised a lot of debate. Why didn’t he and his siblings do more? Why didn’t they get her sooner? Why didn’t Lola run away? Why did she never fight back?
We all just need to remember that Alex wrote his ode not to ask for forgiveness exactly, but to shed light on a story that is oftentimes swept under the rug. And us debating about it and opening our minds to what should have been done and how quickly it should have been finished? Well, that’s exactly what needed to happen. Start the conversation and #KeepItGoing.