There is one moment from the cross-country trip I took with my mother in 2007 that will probably forever live in my mind. We were on Highway 80 going through Nebraska in the middle of a blizzard. The road was invisible, buried under a sheet of snow.
I know I can’t represent All Asians Everywhere any more than Jubilee could. I can’t give everyone everything they want and need in art, in stories. But I hope that those who don’t find what they need in my stories will find it elsewhere, that we’ll keep working toward having a variety of superheroes to choose favorites from.
This is a big piece of why I’ve been hesitant to jump into beautiful Charleston. This is why I’ve felt the weight of so much sadness as the excitement of making a home in a new town has begun to subside.
Over email, Verdell Wright, Lola Prescott, Sarah Galo and Keisha McKenzie and I talked about the impact I Kissed Dating Goodbye had on our own lives and how each of us has worked to untangle our lives and relationships from the shame of purity culture.
In the image, Necib is poised, strong, beautiful, and unapologetic. She belongs there: both her skilled feet and her painted hands. I thought of the young athlete I'd been and wished I could have seen something similar when I was still a child.
When my family and I light joss sticks, prepare food offerings, and burn paper gifts (mostly replicas of clothes, houses, and cars) for our ancestors in return for blessings such as wealth and good health, it has always seemed to me that what we do approaches worship not so much as it does a highly pragmatic, reciprocal relationship tempered by remembered bonds of love and affection.
Over deep-dish pizza on our honeymoon, my husband tells me that at our wedding reception, a childhood friend of mine drunkenly mentioned to him that he was completely wrong for me. “She told me you were the most Indian of all of your friends,” he says, but is confused, because he already went above and beyond my expectations of cultural assimilation by taking a Bollywood dance class.
She probably meant no offense; she just forgot her manners or, more likely, slipped and gave voice to the truth she believes, the truth that lives in her head. Unlike her, I didn't have the luxury of forgetting myself or my place.