Peer Review by Wicked! (India)

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manila memoirs

By: sunny.v


you eat dinner under a low yellow light and you think you like the color yellow except     
    you don’t really think it likes you back but there’s
not a lot of other colors that you think you fit into and that’s the tag line of your 
    life, spit and swallow back “alien”, little dark girl, your eyes look funny
there’s a dragon in you, probably, indefinitely, but you don’t think it really likes you all     
    that much since you’ve never really looked good in yellow but again you’re just
a second generation imposter, mỹ trắng, walk a tightrope between two worlds
when you’re five you ask your daddy what the vietnamese tattoos on his forearm mean
    papa smiles and papa tells you that he got them because
he loved you so much he wanted the ink to show it but
    papa doesn’t tell you, mama does, ten years later, that they’re from when your papa first came to america with nothing but a dirty name
    in dirty clothes in a dirty slum of california
and papa didn’t have anything to lose and papa was just trying to live
    and papa got the tattoo to prove to the gangs that he had nothing else but skin to give

mama had nothing but an english dictionary and mama wasn’t home at high school
    and mama couldn’t understand the textbooks cause mama couldn’t read and
you like books, actually, you like them a whole lot, and you think of two families at war
    and you think of shakespeare and star-crossed and you like shakespeare quite a bit, except shakespeare never cared for dark-skinned, little yellow girls like you

your mama and papa made a new home in north america and they were denied it
    at first, but at least they knew they weren’t welcome, out of place
and you’re the daughter in the middle, you’re just the faker, you’re just a lost and  
no one told you that wouldn’t fit in to any culture, you had to taste that yourself

    turns out, the color yellow spits on you, and you think it’s confused

-mỹ trắng = “white” (as in the skin) but my mum uses it interchangeably as “american”
-another piece about feeling out of place with my heritage! i often feel a sort of imposter syndrome/like i walk a line between two worlds where i’m not fully part of either of them
-i tried a slightly different format/style so i hope it came out alright :’) [nervous breakdancing ensues]

Message to Readers

this was a super experimental piece but you know what!! my mama raised an absolute buffoon, not a quitter!!

Peer Review

This is a brilliantly written piece! You tackled a difficult topic amazingly and with such gorgeous words.

I believe that the specific theme of your relationship with yellow is one that you could delve deeper into. Try adding in more specific imagery there, like you've done with your parents' early experiences in America. For instance, when you say that you've "never really looked good in yellow", perhaps add in an image of a younger you trying on a yellow dress but discovering, to your dismay, that it doesn't suit you.

Reviewer Comments

This is a beautiful piece and I'd love to read another draft if you write one. Do let me know if you have any questions! All the best with your writing :)