What is it about the mere idea of BREAKING PLATES that makes we women so darn
excited and giddy?? It’s quite interesting to watch the look on women’s faces when
the idea is introduced to them, it’s as if they are TRANSFORMED just thinking about
it! I remember just how I felt a little less than a year ago when Aria proposed the
idea. She said, “I’ve been talking to some women and I have an idea that I really
think would fly, it’s called WOMEN BREAKING PLATES!” My head swiveled around,
my eyes wide, with a huge smile, like a child who had just been given a puppy for
her birthday! And then I burst into laughter!
For me, growing up as an Asian woman in this confusing sexist misogynist individualist culture, I have always tried to play my hand correctly.. fairly.. honestly.. selflessly… generously… without harming anyone. I have always tried to do the right thing, with others in mind. The humble thing. The Good Asian Thing. Even when I became somewhat of a raging feminist in my college and graduate school days, even then, while raising my voice, dying my hair purple, standing up for social justice, even then, secretly, I hoped I didn’t offend anyone too much. Perhaps it is ingrained in these half Chinese half Irish Catholic
bones that I should always be pious and good.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with this aspiration, the other side of this piety is a kind of insidious self-silencing that perhaps only we Asian women (and Catholic women?) intimately know. It’s a simultaneous feeling of self-hatred and self-love, of self-denial and self-praise, a sick badge of honor you feel you have earned for following an expected
cultural precedent of denying your needs entirely in favor of giving to others. Come
to think of it, I suppose it is akin to a type of sado-masochism! Only it doesn’t work
in this culture, in fact, it is a completely insane act from the eyes of an individualistic,
hedonistic, materialistic culture which praises and rewards “winning,” through acts
of shameless self promotion and self-aggrandizement, by standing out as more
beautiful more amazing more talented than anyone else around.
To be regarded as“the best among the rest” is America’s prize. This culture clash has caused countless embarrassing moments for me as I have tried to learn this other way, a completely
opposite way of being from how I was raised. It has also resulted in
misunderstanding, pain, shame, and trauma. And this is where the idea of breaking
plates becomes so incredibly alluring. Breaking anything intentionally goes against
the grain of my highest aspirational nature as a peaceful, benevolent woman, or at
least in my mind it does. Breaking plates is like saying, “Oh, hell no!” while shaking
my index finger and swiveling my hip to all of society’s expectations of being this
way or that way, whether docile or strong, kind and sweet or sexy and nasty, these
have all turned into stereotypes that harm us.
I’m tired of trying to fit myself into these molds, whether the ones society created for me or the ones I created in response to try to set myself free. The only way to true freedom is to learn to be, to learn to accept oneself fully and authentically, raw, honest and real about who I am. That means letting go of what society has told me I should be but also letting go of
trying to make myself in my own image according to who I think I should be. Because
this is just another game we play with ourselves. And one we will never win. I hope
you get what I mean, because this is very important. Let us not just let go and break
free of what you were told, let us BREAK PLATES and SET OUR SPIRITS FREE. By
BREAKING PLATES and allowing those plates to represent all of our conditioning we
STOP THE MADNESS of trying so hard to make ourselves DO or BE anything, and
give ourselves permission to just stop and breathe and rest in who we are, in this
moment, as it evolves. No one watching, just us breathing and feeling our bodies and
experiencing this moment.
We don’t have to define ourselves as this or that, we can know that there is always truth inside ourselves that is silently awaiting our recognition. BREAKING PLATES helps us find this quiet place. Let’s let that shattering sound be the sound of FREEDOM. Let’s let those plate pieces represent our beautiful and fragile heart, broken and WIDE OPEN to LOVE. Let’s remember that when we break down we BREAK OPEN and it is an opportunity for us to HEAL and discover new pieces of ourselves that will bring us back together again. We all
need this opportunity to break apart and heal again. It is part of a natural cycle of
humanness that is our birthright, it is organic and it feels good! I think this is why
WOMEN BREAKING PLATES speaks to us so loudly and clearly.
We are ready to be transformed and healed but first we must allow ourselves to crack open, to see what is ready to be let go of and what is ready to be reintegrated and rebuilt. And what better support than to experience this together, as strong women standing in our
truth, beside one another, and witnessing each other’s transformations.