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What it Means to be Me

BY HALLIE DONG (staff writer)


it means

to be happy

on days i wake

up at one

am

yet to realize

i’m in a

foreign country,

because of jet lag


it means

to try

and speak

broken mandarin,

even when

the family

laughs


it means

to keep

my smile wide

and to be proud

of what i stand for


it means

to be strong

when someone refuses

to call me

by my name,

instead:

“the

little

Chinese

girl.”


it means

to roll up

clumsy dumplings,

dripping with sauce,

and laugh

as i set it

in the pan,


it means

to be resilient,

like a bending willow,

when i don’t know

who i am:

when they call me

Chinese on the outside,

American on the inside.


it means

to repeat

after the teacher:

“yì pí mâ. yí piàn zhî. yì bî qián.”


it means

to frown upon

the strange wiggly lines

that i’m supposed to remember

for a test next week;


it means

to brush

my long black hair

and smile,

instead of wishing

it was blonde.


but mostly,

mostly,


it means

to feel,

to laugh along,

to be strong,

to stand up,


to be these things,

to shape myself

within,


it means

to find the bird

inside of me,

who longs

to fly

free,


it means

to be a part

of both;


and if you’re

good at math

you could say

she’s

just a 50/50,

but no matter

what the fractions

are,


I say

I’m


100%


Me.

Sharing culturally diverse stories to educate, inspire, and empower others

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