I don’t remember the first time I said “I love you” to a partner. I know it was my first boyfriend, but I have no memory of saying it to him. I also have no memory of him saying it to me, though I’m sure he did.
I’m not sure I actually loved him. He pursued me and I surrendered. No one had ever taught me that it was okay to say no to something I didn’t want — not to dating and not to sex. So we dated and somehow, over time, I came to… what? Did I love…
What would happen if I’m single for the rest of my life? Is it possible that somehow, I might not meet someone who feels compatible? Is it possible that I might not like someone as much as they like me, or vice versa? That there’s just not someone who would be a good fit?
What would it be like if I lived alone for the rest of my life? Would it become harder for me to be flexible and accommodating of other’s needs? Would I ever get over those moments of panic when I feel a major illness coming on…
Like many thoughtful humans, I’ve been overcome with rage as I witness story after story of Asian American elders being pushed, kicked, and slammed into the ground just because they had the audacity to walk to church. But as an Asian American immigrant, I also felt something more.
Bizarrely, even though I would never engage in such hateful violence, I found myself feeling responsible.
I know I share this feeling with other immigrant children who have carried the burden of holding our parents up when they have been dismissed in their new country as being stupid, greedy, and unworthy. …
Over the winter, I got the urge to travel to my hometown, Pittsburgh. If you’re familiar with my writing, you know I have a love-hate relationship with that place. Two things bring me back home: holidays and funerals. But this time, neither was the reason for my trip. Before shutdown began, I was battling what I thought was depression.
I was preoccupied with the passing of my parents, who I could still pick up a phone and call. I began to obsess over the pain of their passing, almost to the extent that I could already feel it. I would…
After one horrific Megabus experience in 2012, I began taking the Amtrak everywhere instead. What’s better than staring longingly out of a train window, Sufjan in your earbuds, a vast landscape stretched before you? It never mattered where I was going, Lollapalooza 2015 or a wholesome coastal town — I was A Mysterious Traveler with Grand Intentions. I was on a journey to Find Myself and Get Into Mischief along the way! (Of course, this was the BC, Before Covid, times.)
Back then, there was always that specific vibe of taking the train. Perhaps it has something to do with…
“How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again.”
— Henry Scott Holland
The light is different here. If you saw how this place shines, I think you’d stop worrying about me. The light connects the landscape to every part of itself. It moves. It sparkles.
It links the souls together like pearls knotted in an endless strand. You know how pearls hold iridescence inside all those layers of shell? Well, if you look into the center of a pearl, you’ll get a taste of the light that surrounds me. Go do that now…
“Need a vibrator?” I received this text from a neighbor after moving into my new apartment in downtown Manhattan last summer. Attached was a screenshot of a Facebook post advertising a free, unopened vibrator for pickup on my block.
“Omg, what FB group is this?!” I texted back.
“Only the most important thing ever,” she said. “Added you.”
The feed was completely baffling to me; people gave away everything from a single roll of toilet paper to flat-screen TVs. “Two of my avocados are ripe early,” someone wrote. “Any takers?” Nothing went unclaimed. This was our neighborhood’s Buy Nothing group…
When you were 15, your father tore your baby pictures like old receipts. The ones in frames he set beside the dumpster. He put on his favorite record, made your brother a tuna sandwich. Whistled.
Ten years later, a man called you a canary in a cage.
Said, No one knows the bird is starving if it doesn’t sing.
Funny, isn’t it?
If you must scream, scream beautifully.
There is an alligator in the bedroom.
You found it there like a rug when you changed the sheets this morning, while he crawled from the bed to…
I was already a bit of a mess a year ago, just as the world changed forever. I bit my nails, pulled out strands of hair. I stared at the ceiling some nights, convinced I could hear a faint, constant ringing. “Aren’t you nervous for your book to come out?!” people asked. “Not really,” I answered. I don’t know why it felt right to lie. Not right — essential, as though only by performing cool-girl calm could I show my panic who was boss, shove it back into its hole.