Asian Girl Problem #143: Mitski Knows

Despite having both a uterus and a propensity towards depression, I’m not a huge fan of the sad girl music genre. Aside from The Blow’s earlier stuff and Frankie Cosmos, I can’t think of any others I love at the moment (I’m sure they’ll all come to me in the middle of the night.)

However, Mitski is one sad Asian beezy I adore even though her songs are hit or miss for me. Her image is perfect. And this article on her explaining the (very simple) premise of her song “Your Best American Girl” is everything I’ve tried to express in many of my posts, but way better because it’s in song form. I really need to learn how to write a song.

You always want what you can’t have, and that all-American thing, from the day I was born, I could never enter that dream. That all-American white culture is something that is inherited instead of attained. So yes, it’s a sad song, but I wanted to make sure it reflected all of the contrasting feelings. You can be heartbroken about a relationship, but also, from it, realize you are you and you’re okay with who you are, or where you came from.

Reflections & Resolutions

new years eve 2017

I had a handful of resolutions for 2016, and most of them were met. Instead of revisiting that list, here are some notable moments:

  • I visited China and for the first time, got to travel around instead of being trapped at my grandparents’ houses. And when I wasn’t allowed to board the plane returning home, because my documents were expired, thus giving me two extra weeks of travel.
  • I got an agency job that I wanted to escape, but did give me the chance to write my first real commercial.
  • I got a dream job as an in-house copywriter writing jokes about food all day, and quit the previous job with a little too much glee.
  • I didn’t worry about guys or dating all year.
  • I started going to therapy.
  • I ate mostly vegan, and started eating a lot more than ever before. I struggle with it every day but the change was overall positive and ongoing.

And now for the new year…

1. Perform 5 minutes of standup comedy. Forever rolling over to the new year. There is no excuse, I simply didn’t try hard enough.

2. Create an ad/campaign that I’m really proud of. Now that I love my job and brand, I’ve got to deliver. I’d love to create 5 strong ads/commercials next year

3. Make progress in therapy and my love life, and experience a healthy relationship. Yep, more dating resolutions because I want to have a child someday, and I’m particular about what genes I mingle with.

4. Fit better into my old clothes. This year, I experimented with veganism. There are so many reasons I love it, aside from the ethical/environmental reasons. It’s cheap, easy to prepare, easy to digest, and better for my sleep. The only downside is that I’ve gained some weight, and I miss feeling light again.

5. Find a great yoga studio. I’ve been going to yoga for 10 years, but the progress is slow because my old studio is too casual. I should be able to do a handstand and the splits by now. After shopping around, I think I’ve already found the right fit–now to keep it consistent.

6. Play music, write stories. I don’t know any victims of the Oakland Ghost Ship fires, but seeing an entire community and their genre disappear reminds me how brief everything is and that creative projects are not about the end goal. I feel most human and positive when I’m making or consuming art. And I haven’t in a long time.

7. Appreciate my parents. I include this every year because it’s hard as fuck and they drive me crazy. Therapy is making me confront how deeply they impact me and the work I’ll have to do to get over the bad habits/beliefs I’ve lived with, and it might mean I will distance myself more. But I should always appreciate.

Asian Girl Problem #142: The Grind

Just a life update and thought evacuation. It paralyzes me to write here because I can’t remember how to do it. But what I lack in creative expression I make up for in dumb marketing copywriting. I’m pleased to announce that after four years of posing as a copywriter, I feel like I know how to do the job now. Hooray for professional competence.

But I forced myself to post something here because I can’t stand seeing my last embarrassing blog post at the top of the site. And I should make note that I’m moving to another job this month.

We all thought I wouldn’t leave my current agency for a while. Mostly because I said, “I’m not going to leave for a while.” And also, “If I can’t make it work here, I can’t make it anywhere. I’ll have to leave copywriting for good.”

But I sure tricked us. Took about two weeks before I started the hunt again. And two months later, I gave my notice for another job…that seems perfect…This time, I’ll be writing about food and humor for a “trendy” company and cool creative team. Ever since college, I’ve wanted to write for a website like Serious Eats, and this job is comes darn close. Maybe this is what I’ve been working towards all this time. Maybe other people are also starting to notice my aforementioned competence.

But like an aging bachelor who’s ceasing to see the difference between one skirt and the next, yet can’t stop chasing, I’m prepared to continue fall out of love with this job at any moment. I just hope I’ll get too lazy to keep looking, and stay put for a few years, out of complacency.

But anyway, we press on. New jobs and experiences ahead.

Funny story: I was buying a birthday gift at Papyrus for a friend who’s looking for his mojo. So I asked the saleswoman “Do you have any dating advice…gifts?” Apparently she didn’t catch the last word, so several moments of silence tick by until I finally realize the misunderstanding. “…Not personally!” I said. Every person in the shop burst into laughter, because apparently my voice carries and they were all waiting with bated breath to hear about my dilemma. “Keep an open mind?” she offered. “I met a nice fellow on Tinder…?” Lesson: Even elders and serious-looking business people are dying to hear a dating story, and active on Tinder. It’s easier to find a compassionate ear than you’d think.

Asian Girl Problem #:141 My Fantasy Boyfriend Is White

Before I stare at my navel for an hour, I have to acknowledge those greatly suffering from the violent events going on. I don’t say anything on other platforms except in person, but it feels wrong to go about life as if nothing happened. But it’s not about how I feel or process it. I will never know the kind of prejudice a black person in this country faces and all its nuances. I take extra care to be grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given, mindful of people I encounter, and make it a daily habit instead of one spurred by events. We have to fight racism in ways big and small, and we have to play the long game instead of waking up only when tragedy happens. If nothing else, we have to do it for the ones who died.

And I am very grateful to have the luxury of blathering about white fever today.

So I haven’t been dating this year. Burned myself out in 2015. But I made one exception by going out twice with a guy who seemed to have a lot of the qualities i think i want in a partner. in other words, someone who would be a “good boyfriend” and thus someone I would never be that interested in. Yep I need help–my therapist is in the wings.

Anyway, this guy fell into the brother zone, despite my stubbornness to make it work. I tried to affirmative action him, but in the end he wasn’t quirky or challenging enough to keep me interested. It probably wasn’t solely because he was Asian, but it’s hard to ignore the patterns that develop with each new guy.

As I chewed over my decision for a week, I came to the disturbing realization that all my fantasy boyfriends are white.*dave-democracy

I don’t think the media and growing up in Ohio are the only factors here. Plenty of people who might identify with “bananas” for lack of a better term, imagine themselves living happily ever after with an Asian person. And plenty do it.

To clarify, I may marry an Asian guy. I have chased and lusted over them. But they are not what I imagine as partners. When a real person or hot actor gets on my radar, I’m totally there. But in my daydreams? I’m afraid it hasn’t changed much since adolescence.
My fantasy boyfriend is kind of an indie nerd. Looks kind of like an alter boy and possibly harboring some religious baggage from childhood. Highly cultured and discusses books and news with his parents, who are very proper and probably know nothing about interracial dating. He is probably embarrassing on the dance floor, is not a “foodie”, nor overly close with his family. And I should have more social anxieties and identity crises than him.*
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My fantasy boyfriend is highly influenced by the crushes of my youth, and like all the gnarly preferences and habits we pick up as children, he is set in stone already. I have to accept it, and rise above it if I want to be more discerning when choosing a healthy partner.
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But am I that much different than guys with Asian fetishes? Put two guys with the same qualities in front of me–one white and one not–and I’ll probably resort to my ingrained preferences. When does it become more than personal penchant, but a larger problem to fight?
*Actually, another trend is that many guys I meet who fit this description are gay. Sometimes they are straight and non-white. And then I meet their white girlfriends.

Asian Girl Problem #140: Adulting Update

It feels wrong to update this when I’ve been so inactive, but also wrong not to, amidst all the changes that will affect future content. So this month:

I started going to therapy and confirmed that it is the biggest contribution of Western medicine. I don’t care how well-adjusted you are (except for hating you a little bit). Everyone can benefit from talking to an unbiased professional, and it’s like no other kind of human interaction.

Starting a new job this week. It will take a couple weeks to adjust to a real life, where I have responsibilities, need to put on pants, talk to people, and resist napping. I’ll be going back to an agency as a copywriter, but I still can’t believe I actually got this job. You know when you walk out of an interview feeling nauseous because you want the job so badly and can’t handle a rejection? That was me. I’ll be focusing on writing ads for an Asian-American audience, and applying all the nuances of Asian-Am values, history and media to advertising.

I also went on my first online date in several months. Since I came back from China, I’ve only been interested in people who might be very compatible with me. So I’d look through Tinder without making an effort to meet with anyone who didn’t meet my list of qualities. (Not recommended. Unless you’re burnt out from meeting 28 people in 6 months and spinsterhood sounds less like a threat and more like a reward —>me) It’s too early to elaborate on this guy, but suffice to say I’m definitely making my therapist work for his fees.

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.