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Pieces on Nostalgia


We all have those complex memories that we look back on and feel a slight pull on our heart strings. Is that pull because we miss how life used to be? Who we used to be? Or is it because we’re proud of how we’ve improved? Of how far we’ve come? Reflecting on how much we’ve grown and changed, it’s quite natural to feel different emotions, ranging from regret to a quiet joy.

Nostalgia is the sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with personal associations. This word perfectly encapsulates that combination of warmth and sadness you may feel while holding up a worn-out teddy bear or returning to your childhood home. At Dear Asian Youth, nostalgia can also include self-growth and social commentary. The triumph you gain at learning how to take action and assert yourself, the comfort you gather from learning to accept your culture. Now, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? — Angel Liang

An Open Letter to My Younger Self - Yi-Ann Li

A narrative reflecting on former selves, and the continual learning process required to achieve social justice.


“And you’ll realize that the Great Wall constructed between Asians and Black people and other minorities has blinded us from truly seeing and loving one another; that it will take every yellow, black, brown, white hand on Earth to take down all those bricks. And that until then, the “with liberty and justice for all” you pledge every day means nothing.”

Mahjong [Má Jiàng] - Sabrina Mei

A prose narrative tracing the path of Má Jiàng down the narrator’s relationship with falling in-between— between cultures, between tongues, between worlds.


“Rich, cream tiles with a thin strip of green lining their bottoms—the fine layer of matcha dusted on a mochi cake. They weigh heavy in my palm for such small tiles, and they feel cold to the touch.”

play dough : a sequel - Julianne Tenorio

A poem challenging the reader’s perspective on a carefree child toy, and with it, the depth of our personal involvement in justice.


“and in this story, we simply wait. / rather than realizing what we have been doing wrong this whole time, / we wait. / we wait until our mothers bring us to the store / to find another container of play dough, / only for us to waste it again.”


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