Diary of a Baba started my first week as a baba on my iphone nearly 6 years ago. I was tired and exhausted; awake when everyone was usually asleep. Lonely at times. But it was also where I developed some of my best thinking and reflections. I was deeply transformed in a spiritual way and material way. Literally, my heart was expanding and growing like never before. I thought, if there is one thing that can test the strength of love, compassion and sheer human capacity, it must be parenting.
In 2016, we discovered that our son, Collin, is autistic, which made us realize how powerful love for a child can really be and the gifts that children on the spectrum bring to the world. For the last 10 years, I ran a social justice nonprofit in San Francisco / Bay Area which is called the Chinese Progressive Association and I’m active in progressive and left social movement spaces. I’m now the Executive Director of the Center for Empowered Politics and was able to spend 6 months in Vietnam on a family sabbatical. I’m an activist, an organizer, and a new baba. This is a blog on being a baba, parenting, and politics (and traveling). All opinions are my own.
A few caveats. I’m new to this blogging and this is an attempt to create space for me to bring my worlds of being a baba, parenting and politics together. There are a lot of opinions on these topics, in particular, and I’m no expert. I’m speaking from my experience and will do my best not to generalize. To my surprise, my training as an organizer has helped me immensely in parenting. There’s a blend of love, rigor and experimentation in parenting like in organizing. In the end, growing interdependent relationships (dialectic, so to speak) has guided me the most through this journey. Truth be told, I had cold feet getting this blog going so I took baby steps and started writing more on facebook. Finally, not everyone is on facebook or instagram so some of these posts are re-mixes of previous posts.
As a cis-gender and straight baba, it was hard to find resources on how to be a good (feminist) baba. The burden of this shouldn’t fall on the mamas and or other women. I’m encouraged by all the good babas (mamas and guardians) out there that I’ve learned from. As a baba with a child on the spectrum, I realize that there are even fewer resources for baba’s/parents of autistic children, children of color especially.
So why be a baba? First, baba is father, papa, dad or 爸爸 in Chinese. This is my truth and attempt to redefine masculinity, parenting and, yes, politics. There are actually many of us but not all talking or talking to each other. Who gets to be a baba? Honestly, anyone who wants to be identified as a baba, I see you and I got you. Specifically, the trans babas and mamas, the duo babas, the babas who have been locked up, the mamas that have to be both and all. In the future, I’d love to have any of you as guest writers. Much love to all of you <3
Finally, this is also an attempt to break the silos we create for ourselves. In society, we tend to separate our personal identities from our politics and/or work. It’s actually both and all of it. Even if you are not doing it intentionally, that is how we show up in the world. Especially in these times of explicit divisive and toxic politics, we need to embrace and hold all of our individual and collective identities closer than before. My commitment is to be a BOLD, PRESENT BABA in all parts of my life. Thanks for visiting and enjoy reading!