I have a complicated relationship with my heritage & culture. I was 3 when I came to the US as a Vietnamese refugee with my family. We came in search of the American dream and my parents stressed focusing on our studies and working hard. My parents also pushed traditional Asian gender roles which meant me as an AFAB (assigned female at birth) being subservient to AMABs, policing my activities (girls dont do that) and limiting my opportunities for my safety. Needless to say, I struggled with this.
My parents said to keep studying hard, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids all the while keeping your head down, not causing any trouble or bringing any attention to myself. I lost my voice in trying to live up to these expectations and it almost killed me. The real me had gotten so buried under knowing that I'd never be what my family wanted. So I distanced myself from my Asian side.
Then Jayden came along. He was my creative outlet but he became something much bigger. He gave me my voice back and I came back to who I really was. But the thing I started noticing along the way was I was providing hope ? for other asians. I use the question mark bc I don't know what else to call it. I rarely think about looking Asian when I step on stage but what I realized I was doing was creating a space where other asians could see themselves.
Then Jayden came along. He was just my creative outlet for all this extra pent up energy I had. But he became something much bigger. He gave me my voice back. I came back to who I really was and learned to stand my ground. But the thing I started noticing along the way was that I was providing hope? for other asians. I use the question mark bc I dont know what else to call it.
Despite my stereotypical Asian features, I rarely think about that when I step on stage. Without me realizing it, I was creating a space where other asians could see themselves on stage as well. But by being this beacon, I felt like a fraud until I could learn to embrace my Asian side again. Outside of the feelings of hurt & rejection, I do credit my Asian side with my strong work ethic, fierce loyalty and competitiveness which have made me very successful.
Which brings me to today's thot photo. Jayden is my voice that allows me to address different issues. Here in the US, the Corona virus numbers have yet to spike. We aren't even in the worst of it yet. I'm here to use my visibility to bring attention to the rise of hate crimes towards asians. Please don't confuse racism with fear.