They Call Me Q. Is that your Mom, too?
As my weekly meeting for PXP adjourned, I headed out to St. Luke's Theatre to watch a production called They Call Me Q. I walked past the entrance maybe two times before I realized it to be my destination. When I walked down its steps, I stopped in front of a red wall with a quote by Danny Kaye stating, "Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can." As an artist, I felt a little more welcome and drawn into the small theatre. I found my seat excited to see what this homey theatre had to offer me. They Call Me Q delivers a one-woman play about Qurrat Ann Kadwani (Q) and 13 pivotal characters of her childhood. As she goes through her life, you witness the vivid clash between her Indian heritage and adopted lifestyle in the Bronx. Q's characters, I felt like I had met and conversed with them personally. Having a foreign mother as well, I was able to connect very well with her story and couldn't help but notice all the parallels I found between my Filipino mother and hers.
Growing up I constantly had trouble fitting in with all the other 90's babies because my stubborn mother was so stuck in her Christian Filipino ways to let me blossom for myself. Much like Q, I grew up resenting and rebelling against my heritage and the strict structure my parents imposed upon me. Seeing my struggle in from Q's perspective was much more humorous than my teenage angsty self remembers it being.
They both have cute funny accents, they both always saw room for improvement academically (A 98 could always have been a 100), 5 minutes tardy could always have been 5 minutes early, and they both choose to primarily stick to people of their culture rather than integrate much further than learning the language. Back then, I craved to have more of what I saw a 90's childhood to be. I wanted to have Lisa Frank notebooks and journals as opposed to the cheap 99 cent kind my parents always got me. I wanted to eat pizza every night instead of the strange, barbaric-looking dishes that my aunt would feed me. I wanted to listen to the terrible Pop music on the radio instead of classic hits from the 80's or my mother's headache inducing Christian rock. I grew up feeling rather disconnected from my generation. I struggled to relate to classmates and kids in church, but between making what I thought to be art and watching Sailor Moon tapes, I found it not so bad to be on my own.
Q discovered what it meant to be her own individual as she traveled to India, a place nothing like her home in the Bronx or her dorm in college. I've tried to see through the people and places I've encountered, and through this perspective experimentation I now know what it is to be who I am.
Despite undergoing such similar events in life, Q and I are very different people, and that is something I truly appreciate about her and this world. I love that there are so many different personalities in the world. I love that there is always the possibility of having something new to be faced with. I believe the surrounding environment will always influence one's interests and even moods, but I also believe one's character, if truly their own, should remain constant no matter the situation or setting.