What I Tell Myself: Notes on Being an Asian American Woman

Why again, why another Asian woman

who looks like me

but is not like me

is dead

I am afraid of everything and nothing

my grief has no boundaries.

Internalized messages in every breath

taught me early on 

don’t show too much skin

a moving target on display

be vigilant 

never walk alone at night 

standing by the tracks 

my body is disposable

stay guarded

keep myself alive.

Cramped in dark alley corners

Korean comfort women

ready for western consumption 

an object of desire 

six women shot dead

easy prey

a sexual addiction; this is not a hate crime

othered under the

white male gaze.

To whom it may concern:

A legal orphan abandoned by her birth parents 

Mother: Unknown

Father: Unknown

Records: Erased

a childhood of silence 

a lifetime of coping skills 

invisible

until my trauma is exploited.

Why should I have to prove my existence

convince you that my life is valuable

tell me then, will I be worthy enough?

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