Life is not easy; not that I really have to tell any of you that. Things aren’t always good and sometimes we have to avoid them to keep ourselves safe. In the event that things get out of control, it becomes categorized as an interference on life and sometimes a mental illness.
Treatments often include coping methods and therapy and other times medication is required. Living like this makes life even harder. Trying to process these things can be a whole different traumatic experience. If you’ve ever been through therapy, the first thing every therapist seems to suggest is to keep a journal. Not everyone can write about the problems they have because sometimes they can’t identify them. There are other times that while writing might help, they need to digest the events of their life first. I’m one of these people; I can’t talk about things right after they happen and a big reason for it is that I simply can’t always wrap my head around what consequences are to come. Whenever a therapist told me to “give it a go” I rolled my eyes and told them that it was a useless activity for me. I’ve changed on that statement.
Reading has been a big part of my life since I was able to get my grubby little hands on a book. I like stories and characters I can relate to-not unlike other readers- and many of my favorite pieces to read have been those that tie into my identity and the intersecting pieces that play into it. Since starting college, I’ve been finding and receiving more of these kinds of books and pieces to read; many have been related to race and ethnicity. I’ve been able to find meaning for myself in these pieces, but never wholly. This has been something that I’ve discussed with many others and have found they are drawn to similar conclusions. It probably doesn’t help that there are not many South Asian female writers who want to write about living in the United States. Realizing this, I’ve found an answer to the question that has been lurking over me for the past several years: what are you going to do with your degree? Write. I’m going to write a book; something memoir-ish but also dabbling into creative non-fiction to tell my experience as an Asian American.
Growing up, it was hard to even talk about my race and ethnicity without getting picked on. Being Asian American in a mostly white town was tricky and invalidating. No one wanted to say they were racist when they made Asian jokes at me or when they voiced their doubt about my heritage. It hurt and left scars on my psyche that I’m still trying to heal from. In my studies, I’ve found that writing about it to tell my story has helped greatly and therefore why I’m writing this to you. By delving into this project, I hope for a couple of things. First, I hope that the end product will help someone also struggling with living in the grey area of race. That is truly the only way that I want to measure the success of this project. My second goal however, is to be able to repair myself by going through this. Since I am writing with the hope to help others, it is easier to say what I need in an artistic way; in a way that I don’t have to be blunt and put all of myself out there.
This writing has been therapeutic already and I would suggest it to anyone else. Our stories and experiences are unique, but humans have an infinite capacity for empathy; writing is the way to tap into it.