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Desiree Escalante Ruiz is on a mission to change her narrative by how she’s choosing to raise her daughter.

Ruiz, the daughter of Asian immigrants from the Philippines, was born and raised in Brossard, Que.

“It was keep your head down, educate, all about education,” said Ruiz of her upbringing. “A lot centered around the church and community.

“I grew up with a lot of feeling not enough. Not enoughness.”

After a difficult divorce, Ruiz reinvented herself as a holistic life and business mentor and human design coach.

She is studying dharma coaching and focuses on decolonizing how she raises her child. She works with women of colour to help them navigate the worlds of business, health and human design.

“As a second-generation Filipina, I was told, ‘but your last name is Spanish.’ So then I would go to Spain, but I’m not Spanish. And then I would go to the Philippines. I don’t speak Tagalog. I don’t speak the language. I’m not Filipino enough. So there was a lot of this this not enoughness that was inside of me for so long.

‘Survival mode’

“Immigrants are on survival, right? So they come here, they’re in survival mode. And my parents provided so well for my sister and I and sent support back home. But it was survival. So to keep your head down, keep going. And I want it to be different for my daughter.

“I was in Filipino school for a few years, but growing up in the South Shore, Filipino schools were mainly in Cote-des-Neiges. So the commute was challenging. And as a second-generation Filipino, I wanted to integrate and do what the other kids were doing. So I didn’t necessarily enjoy going to Filipino schools on the weekend.

Desiree Escalante Ruiz as a child, with her family. (Credit: Desiree Escalante Ruiz/provided)

“So my parents pulled me out because my parents were working right. And so if they can just take one thing off of the list, they took Filipino school off of the list. And I actually never learned the language. And there’s actually a lot of second-generation Filipinos living in Montreal. I’ll speak for my circle of friends that actually don’t speak the language.

“Now in my 40s, I would like to learn, but at the time it just didn’t happen. I didn’t speak Tagalog. My parents are from Cebu and there are Tagalog is the main language. And there are thousands of dialects in the Philippines and they speak the Bisaya. So I picked up Bisaya and I picked up Tagalog at home and a mishmash, but never actually got a chance to learn.”

Desiree Escalante Ruiz as a child, with her family. (Credit: Desiree Escalante Ruiz/provided)

How Ruiz is raising her daughter

Ruiz is changing the narrative by how she is raising her daughter.

“I call myself a decolonizing mama because the decolonizing mama is again giving her space or reminding her that she’s enough,” she said. “Reminding her again it is a privilege also, right? Reminding her that she is enough. She doesn’t have to be Catholic. She can be whatever pronouns she wants, she can be a mixed-race kid. She could feel more connected to her European roots one day and her Filipino words.

“I want her to feel enough in all aspects. And that’s why it’s important for me, because it took me decades to feel enough and ground in my identity and in myself.

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There are some important words that resonated with Ruiz.

“So there’s a quote from a famous political activist and writer from the Philippines,” she said. “His name is José Rizal. And he says ‘No history, no self. Know history, know self.’

“And that is just a quote that I’ve always have in the back of my mind.”

The post Filipino Montrealer on her quest to know herself and feel ‘enoughness’ appeared first on CityNews Montreal.

Filipino Montrealer on her quest to know herself and feel ‘enoughness’

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