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Thank You DAY

Dear Asian Youth,

All good things must come to an end. This will be my last piece for Dear Asian Youth as a member of the writing team. Typing those words feels simultaneously strange and calming.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. After all, what’s an ending without a beginning?

It was January 2021. My friend–shoutout to Julianne Liu–sent me an Instagram post about an organization called Dear Asian Youth that was taking applications for writers. My first thought? What the heck is Dear Asian Youth? I had never heard of it, but I saw the word ‘Asian’ in it and was immediately intrigued. After doing some research and realizing it was an organization by Asian youth for Asian youth, I knew I had to apply. My job at the time had transitioned to a hybrid role due to COVID, so I had more time to write. As cliche as it sounds, I remember thinking to myself, The stars have aligned for me to do this right now. After an interview with the then-Editor in Chief and Chris Chew (who was late and made it to the last five minutes of my interview), I was offered a position as a writer.

Of course, I was ecstatic for this new role. However, it didn’t take long for me to get hit with a wave of imposter syndrome. It was very apparent that, at 24 years old, I was on the older side of members. I was overwhelmed, to say the least. Here was this majority of high schoolers who were so passionate and active in their communities. And there I was still finding my voice and feeling like the new kid at school. I had no idea what I was doing.

Then the tragedy at the three Atlanta spas in March 2021 happened. I was already wrestling with my feelings from the surge of anti-Asian racism during the pandemic. This was a blow to my heart.

Within DAY, a call was put out on Discord for people to write a piece together detailing what happened and what it meant for the Asian community. I wasn’t going to join because I was still so new and hadn’t written anything yet. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the tragedy fueled by the anti-Asian rhetoric that surged when the pandemic began. And what do I do when I can’t stop thinking about something? I write.

I pushed through my own insecurities and volunteered to join the writing project. If memory serves, I contributed one paragraph because I didn’t want to step on anyone else’s toes. I didn’t think much of it until the piece was posted to Instagram, and I saw my name listed as one of the contributors. A balloon of pride swelled within me. It wasn’t just for the fact that I co-wrote my first piece for DAY; it was also that I had done it with other people who felt just as strongly about the incident as I did. I wasn’t used to working on a group project where all of the members actually pulled their own weight. Being a part of and witnessing firsthand other Asians coming together made my imposter syndrome evaporate. I was chosen to be a writer. There were no mistakes. I deserved to be there just like everyone else. That was the start of my journey.

Almost two years later, I’ve written 13 other pieces, including this one. If it weren’t for the posts on the website, I wouldn’t have believed that I had written all of those. In case you were curious, my favorite pieces I’ve written are…