Growing up, I only knew what I was not and what I do not have.
I do NOT have straight, full hair.
I am NOT skinny.
I am NOT good at math or science whatsoever.
I am NOT quiet, reserved, and polite.
I do NOT have rich Asian parents.
My parents were NOT strict on me.
How could they be?
I only saw my father for two hours during the day.
My mother sewed clothes 24/7 for below legal pay.
My brother was making his way in the world away from home.
Strictness requires attention and quality time.
So when growing up in a community that is predominantly Asian, and sharing no attributes with the people around me…I was lost.
I still feel lost.
I do not feel entirely connected to people of my culture.
I am Asian. But that is just my ethnicity.
It is not my identity.
So I rebel against Asian stereotypes.
I don’t have straight hair, but I have beautiful eyes.
I can’t be skinny, but God Bless my buxom boobs.
I can’t be good at math or science, so history can be my academic focus.
I am not modest, but I am vivacious, opinionated, and untamed.
I don’t have rich parents, but I am grateful for my loving parents.
I don’t have strict parents, but I am grateful for having a roof over my head.
I need to get it out of my head that being Asian means aligning with Asian stereotypes.
Not only is it disrespectful to Asians, but it is also limiting.
I am not able to do this just yet.
I am not able to let go of the fact that I grew up so differently from all the pretty little Asian girls.
I wanted to be them.
I wanted to fit a size 00 at Hollister. Better yet, I wanted to afford Hollister.
I wanted to be petite and playful and polite.
I wanted my parents to be around when I came home from school.
I wanted everything they had.
I wanted to be Asian.
But I only got the scraps of this bitterly constructed identity.