Asian Girl Problem #139: No Straight Arrows

The best fuel for a big ego: having someone you appreciate give compliment you, unexpectedly, on a personal virtue you’ve worked hard to achieve, and know to be true.

Imperfect example: One of my best friends told me she admires how I easily make up my own mind and go forth without asking for others to chime in their opinions. Imperfect, because this isn’t something I’ve worked at so much as a personality trait that comes with having hands-off parents and a strong gut reaction to all of life’s stimuli. Also, it can rear its head as a negative trait, as I expect the same self-sufficiency in others and can overlook useful life advice when it comes my way.

But at the time she told me, my ego was happy. I hoped she spoke some truth that would inspire me to be the person she saw. Since that day last week, I keep thinking of instances where I’ve been the complete opposite—weak and shallow and unsure of my next step. I’m in a confessional mood today.

  • I thought about this post on my morning run, when I do a lot of thinking. I’m embarrassed to admit that I chose the neighborhood I live in for its easy access a great running route. Endorphins are fine, but the main reason I run is to avoid gaining weight and the awful body image that brings up for me.
  • I’ve convinced myself that I’ve become a hot mess since China. Some days, I feel myself becoming my mother, who is the most shallow and vain person in my life. I still love her, which is why this is such a complicated issue for me. When I hear myself sounding like her, I check out lots of books at the library to remind myself I’m not just a shell.
  • I signed up for creative writing in college to impress a guy with whom I went on one date. I’m not sure I’d be in the same career if that hadn’t happened.
  • The only way I successfully quit biting my nails was to get a boyfriend and start taking better care of them.
  • I’m compelled to smile and nod at every black male that I pass on the sidewalk, because a guy once told me that he felt people avoided him and he felt invisible in a way he never did in other cities. My white guilt is real.
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