Introspection


Are We Home Yet?

At the time, everyone thought the virus would pass in two months. I thought I’d get home by July 2020. It’s September 2021, and I haven’t been home for 20 months.


The Big Blue Unknown

There is something captivating about the freedom of the clouds — the way in which they trust that they will somehow float wherever they need to go, if they need to be anywhere at all. They seemed so unlike me, someone always tempted to plan and prepare for the next semester of classes to take, activities to join, or careers to pursue.


A Form of Hesitation

What happens when the lost object speaks; when, given these material and psychic limitations, we do try to express our malaise? What forms exist to communicate and grapple with Asian Americans’ public and private racial grief and outrage?


Twenty Minutes in My Empty Mind

Over the past year, during the months living in my childhood bedroom, I often found myself taking aimless drives – canyon, freeway, shortcut to nowhere – discovering and rediscovering my favorite music. It is the only place where a spontaneous two-hour drive feels less like a chore and more like a gift.


Ever Nestled

Do other people still snuggle with their parents? Is that normal? I decide to talk to some people, maybe find some answers. I start by talking with the experts: professional cuddlers.


Welcome to the Club

How could I have felt complimented when I knew I was being denigrated? As the entire ethnicity group to which I belonged was being effectively erased, how could I have felt, however briefly, seen?


Unpacking the Baggage of Hawaii's Tourism

The portrayals of Hawaii as a party paradise for slender college kids holding beers or backflipping into blue water rubs me the wrong way. I find this kind of vacation porn reductive: It erases the state’s complicated identity.


How Things Fall Apart

I left later that night, relieved that I wouldn’t have to see Gayatri until the next winter but also wondering whether I had said too much. And sure enough, that one genuine moment came back to bite me.


To Love a Stranger

The silence was in no way uncomfortable; most times, it was pleasant, even relaxing. But underneath was a low thrum of pent-up frustration, which I only became aware of every once in a while. There was so much I wanted to tell her — about my high school track meets, the school paper, later my college roommates — and so much I wanted to ask, that I simply could not.


Corner Pieces

What is the organizing of a Zoom vigil supposed to look like? What kind of advocacy work are we expected to perform while we grieve? How do we protect bodies so tempting they seduce bullets?


Humility or Humiliation?

We are not all comedians, and we don’t all bear the same burden of trauma that Gadsby does, but her set made me realize that we are all capable of hurting ourselves through our remarks about ourselves, even when they are diffused by the intonation of a joke.


Mutation

This version of myself looks up and sees my mom’s shoulders heave up and down. I’m looking at my father’s back, and I don’t need to see his face to know that it is tearless, like mine. Only when I read these words does the memory float back to me. I described it as half-grief. Stuck in the wrong places, like sweat.


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