Wisp

United States

i still dream of you

dubbed Comment Queen

est. 26.9.19

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semi-active

currently over-worked, exhausted, half-dead student

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1. 16. 21

alien//outsider | Diary #1

April 2, 2021

FREE WRITING

23
    Alien in your homeland. Outsider to your people. 
    
    You can't change the blood in your veins, the family you were born in, you can't change the branding Asian American that hangs over your head. I was too young when a kid in my class called my Chinese, when the kids at school singled me out as the 'Chinese Girl'. I mistook it for bullying, but really that was the first dose of racism that I would receive. 
    
   I am not Chinese. There is this misconception that being Asian means being Chinese. But if that is true, then what am I? Because when I tell people my nationality, they look at me with question marks in their eyes, and those question marks burn holes into my skin. There was once a time where I avoided the question what is your nationality? There was once a time where I omitted my nationality from others, because of the fear of those question marks.
    
    Does their not knowing erase my existence? Does their knowing make my existence more absolute? I wonder now why I had cared so much once, but how could I not? Because when people look at you as if you're an oddity, when people don't even know what you are, then how do you even belong?

    I've scrubbed racial slurs from my skin. Gook. Oriental. Yellow-skinned foreigner. I've scrubbed and scrubbed until the skin is red, until there is nothing left but the truth that I can never escape. Because I am Asian American. That will never change, my roots will never disappear, my culture will never be erased no matter how much I deny it. 

    The Whites call me an alien. The Asians call me 'white-washed'. 

    I've gone to school where I am a minority, where I can count the number of Asian Americans at the school with only both hands. For all my life, I've felt an aversion, one that is subtle, underneath the surface, but there. Because even when people don't say it, it's there. It's there when you look at the pale faces and blonde haired blue-eyed people passing by. No one needs to say it for you to know what they're all thinking. You don't belong here. 

    I grew up in America. I've been surrounded with the values of this country and I have made them my own. My people, my culture, their old-fashioned values, I cannot agree to them. I do not agree to marrying before graduation, to animal sacrifices, to raising a family when you are still a child, to a women's worth being chained to the man she marries. And they reject me for this. I grew up in America, not in District 3 in Vietnam or a village in Laos. I grew up with the values of America, with their language, their culture ingrained into me. I cannot say hi in Vietnamese or Hmong, but I can say hi five different ways in English. I do not understand what they say when they speak in their native tongue, and I am forced to smile and nod along to whatever they say. I am a stranger in my own home. I do not belong here. 

    My parents, they are both immigrants from other countries. They came here for a better future, for a life that would be far greater than the one they left back in their home country. They came to America, straight into poverty from poverty, barely picking up the language bit by bit. Hardship is all they have ever known their entire life. They know how hard life is: growing up with one pair of shoes for a whole year, wondering whether they'll have dinner tonight, barely having enough money to take the bus back home. They know this, and so they raised me by teaching me English before their native language. They taught me how to bite my tongue and swallow my pride, they taught me to stay nearby but never in the center. They taught me how to survive

    This world, it was built for the whites. 
    And I am the yellow-skinned Asian American vying for the American Dream. 
I do not know how to express my sheer disappointment in this country, how I was left trembling in my car, afraid of going to a store because of hate crimes against Asian Americans. I do not know how to describe anger that shakes your heart and leaves your blood boiling to the point where you forget who you are. I am angry, I am disappointed, but most of all I am scared. I have been hurting for the past couple of weeks, and I've ignored the news just so that I could pretend for a second that what was happening outside my window wasn't really happening. So welcome to my diary series, a series where I tell you what it means to be an Asian American, where I tell you the secrets I've kept locked up for far too long. 

#HATEISAVIRUS

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17 Comments
  • Paisley Blue

    re: aww thank you, my dearest constant! i'm really really glad you liked it; it means a lot to me that such a talented writer likes my work :)
    yes, it has been nice out!! although, it has been very rainy - but i like the rain, so it works :) i've been incredibly busy, which is really tiring but not all that bad. hope your first day of in-person school is going well!!! i'm in-person too - right now i'm in French :)
    haha yes you are in my message box - of course you are!! you're one of my best friends on here and you've really helped me grow :)) so thank you!!!! love you so so so much, hope your day is going well!! <3


    5 months ago
  • Busssy.Beee

    Oh, shizu, my heart aches for your pain. I, too, am Asian American, but my experience being one, is significantly different than yours. For me, I've been in a place where people (of all the other races) are very welcoming of us, and celebrate our traditions and culture the same way they cheer on theirs. But it pains me to know that your story is so contrasting. The things you had to experience are just absolutely horrible, and I could only try to imagine the amount of agony it must have cost you. It hurts, it really does hurt. Your words here, though, are just incredible. I can only try to marvel at the the way you slip in such eloquence and power into your words. Each of your lines comes and never leaves without leaving a mark in my heart. You're so brave to have written this, Shizu. So, so brave. <3

    Re: Ah, sorry, for being 21 days late! I forgot to click the "post comment" button, so my reply didn't end up sending. :( But, have you been well? Are you able to take a break a little bit once in a while?
    I hope highschool treats you better in the following months and year(s). It does seem far more hectic than middle school :( I'll always be one comment away if you need anything! :)
    Oh no! Shizu, I hope you're not as overworked and stressed now that three weeks has passed. The school year is close to the end now, with less than two months left. So hang in there, Shizu, hang in there! You're almost to summer break!
    Yeah, spring break just ended for me, on Friday, so that was quite neat. Though, I am just a tad bit worried about getting back into the gist of school starting tomorrow. We're getting new schedules and such, so everything is going to start off pretty intensely. :( Wait, tomorrow is April 12th, so is your school planning on reopening tomorrow?
    Nonfiction and informative pieces? Oh wow, that must be a different experience! But, I'm sure you'll definitely excel in those as well! ;) Have you been writing/doing anything interesting recently?
    Sending all my love as well, Shizu! <3


    5 months ago
  • crystalline•galaxies

    powerful. freaking powerful. if i wasn't angry before, well, i sure am now, because this is messed up. isn't america supposed to be... i don't know... past all of this (excuse my language) shit? hell, shouldn't the WORLD be past this at this point?? all of the comments that are saying how relatable this is make my heart ache. and it feels wrong to just sit here and say "well, i'm so sorry about that :/ it really sucks ://" because that literally doesn't do anything, but i just don't know what to do about it. i'm definitely exploring the link you have posted at the bottom of this page and reading up on this issue in particular. thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding me (and hopefully everyone else on this sight) of the things we should be fighting against. i'll make sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the pieces in this series.
    and content aside, your writing, as always, is beautiful and so very well-structured. you packed an absolute punch with this one, dear.


    5 months ago
  • nolongeractive

    Omg this is absolutely marvelous and I love how emotional it is! I really like the title and the lowercase styling, and the piece is just in touch with your heart and it really shows! Amazing job! Moreover, I love the signifigance and meaning that comes with your words, and your work never seems to dissapoint.


    5 months ago
  • ChimChim_1

    Re: Thank you so much, I really appreciate what you said, and hope things will change one day!:3:3


    5 months ago
  • crystalline•galaxies

    i’m going to have to read this a little bit later and spend time to write a real comment, but it looks powerful.

    re: thank you so much, wisp. “i wish the stars kiss you gently tonight” is the most tender thing anyone has ever said to me. the italicized parts came from the stuff that i wrote in my notes app late at night a while back, so it’s some of the rawest stuff i’ve got haha.


    5 months ago
  • Paisley Blue

    wow. yes. thank you for this, wisp. i cannot relate -- i simply will never know what it is like as a white person. but i want to make the world a better, safer place for you. i hate that you have to be scared. it's so disgusting and sad and... mir said it perfectly. wow.
    i'm really looking forward to this series, love... this is already so, so important and just... gosh. wow. i needed to read this.
    re: ahh thank you! i'm very glad you liked the poems last week :) i'm happy to be back! i miss our conversations. it's hard to have a good conversation when you have to wait a week to respond!! ;)
    hope you're doing well, my dearest constant! spring has sprung; enjoy the sun for me! (not sure if it's sunny where you are lol but enjoy it anyways ;))


    6 months ago
  • mirkat

    the hate crimes, the hate crimes... it's scary and disgusting and sad, so sad. i know i'm just another white person and can't share the pain with you in the same way, but i hear you.
    "Because when I tell people my nationality, they look at me with question marks in their eyes, and those question marks burn holes into my skin."
    "I do not understand what they say when they speak in their native tongue, and I am forced to smile and nod along to whatever they say. I am a stranger in my own home. I do not belong here."
    both of these hit so hard. and the end, the end. but it's not the end is it? i'm looking forward to reading more of your series. also what tas said-- this is an "important, devastating, poignant, and horribly relevant piece." sending love, stay strong.
    <3<3<3


    6 months ago
  • YetAnotherHuman

    this was really well written and the emotion it conveys is so strong- I just wanted to say thankyou for what you said on my piece a few months ago- I've been on hiatus for a long time and I just saw it and it made my day :) i'm so proud of how far you've come :D


    6 months ago
  • rwong

    this is scarily relatable, and i'm really really sorry you've had to go through this. "The Whites call me an alien. The Asians call me 'white-washed'." so true though. i'm chinese american, so growing up, i actually did ESL because my parents would speak to my sister and i in cantonese and not english, and as a quiet person (just like a personality thing) making friends didn't come easily. i've been really fortunate to live in an area where there are plenty of asian-americans but with the spike of hate crimes in this area as well, it's just scary. honestly i'm looking forward to reading your series. anyway sending love <3 <3 <3


    6 months ago
  • Cosmogyral

    "and so it is again we are to meet in utter beauty and despair."


    6 months ago
  • tas (yellowbrickrd)

    review coming soon for this important, devastating, poignant and horribly relevant piece.


    6 months ago
  • SunV

    Re: I think I will, after editing it a bit more. Thank you wisp, for writing this and giving me the courage to speak out.


    6 months ago
  • Awesome Sienna

    I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. I can't really relate as much, but I get what you mean.
    You are AWESOME!


    6 months ago
  • ChimChim_1

    I TOTALLY get what your saying, me and my BIOLOGICAL sister are both adopted. But people like to say were not because her skin is way darker than my skin, also our hair texture is really different and my eyes are SUPER small. (And which I get made fun of at school a LOT because of my eyes, and because I wore glasses. ) But it was never black people...it was mostly white people who called me names, and ran up to me and said ¨Ching Chong?¨. In all, they also made my sister uncomfortable with questions, ALWAYS asking her if we were born from the same mom after we told them YES!... I honestly, do not feel comfortable in my skin anymore. I wish others could understand these problems, I have found my comfort when stuff like this happens and that's kpop and writing. Let's stay strong!!


    6 months ago
  • SunV

    And I'd love to contribute to this series in any way I can.....


    6 months ago
  • SunV

    I agree with you completely. I find it a pain to identify myself, simply because I learnt all my basic values in America, my taste in everything has been influenced, so living in India, my native country, I feel like an outsider. People assume I hate it here simply because I have different tastes. I don't. We are all influenced by our surroundings, and mine were vastly different eight years ago, when I first started discovering myself.

    When I heard of the Atlanta shooting, I was terrified, because my Aunt and Uncle live there, both Asian. Which kind of brings me to the third point.

    Indians are Asians. No matter how much we might be excluded, we are Asian, and no one can say other wise.

    I'm sorry for ranting on this piece, but I've had a draft in portfolio for the past week, and I've been too afraid to post it. I stand with everything you say here.


    6 months ago