The content if my M.A Thesis sprouted from project I began as an undergraduate for the course, Ethnic American Literature. The end of the semester project students to develop a project that defined what the American dream.
How often we hear the words “American Dream”, accept it as a general truth and never reflect on how we have internalized what it truly means to us. I soon discovered my American dream was roadmap embossed in soul searching and unlearning.
In the Ethnic American Literature course, this roadmap was connected to the iconic American children’s story The wizard of Oz. The iconic yellow brick road that led to the Emerald city was symbolic of my journey in finding my American-ness or The American Dream. As time progressed, that metaphoric yellow brick translated into a road I had to pave brick by brick and the only way to do that was to allow myself to speak my truth. To speak truths I had buried for so long. The process of unearthing those truths led me to ask why I had buried them to begin with.
My M.A Thesis is compromised of deeply person pieces of writings, never daring to call them legitimate poetry. Each piece representative of hurt, trauma and scattered healing process. It took me a long time to allow myself to write freely; I still struggle to write without guilt, but it was the writing that allowed me question where the guilt came from. I learned that so much guilt I carried stemmed from a longstanding tradition of holding many minorities accountable for their entire religion, race or culture. This soon led me to critically think about the effects colonialism had on my mindset; how I perceived the world and interacted with it.
In my mind, I still don’t see a paved yellow brick road, but allowing myself to be vulnerable and share my experiences with others tells me I have grown. Perhaps my path to self discovery is never ending. Every brick on this road is compromised of a sacrifice, mistakes, guilt and accomplishments; and I am learning to be Ok with that.