top of page

They Chipped Away

Updated: Mar 12

Dear Asian Youth,

they chipped away at me.

took up their mighty chisels and hammers,

used their olympian strength and godly fingertips to

shape who i should be, how i should act, what i should think.

they said be curvy but not plus-sized.

they said look exotic but have big eyes, pale skin, blond hair.

they said try to be more confident but we’ll think you’re bossy in the end.

they said be a woman, and we’ll strike you down every single day.

they chipped away at me.

and sometimes i like to remember that

each terracotta warrior was made uniquely,

each mustache, suit of armor, stern expression,

was created to be unique, beautiful, strong.

and then i remember that i was not made in the same way because

they carved me to be one of many.

the same small-eyed, mathematically inclined, future doctor sculpture,

just one out of a million.

they chipped away at me.

now with unwelcome gazes and piercing catcalls.

they carved me to suit their purposes.

they sanded me down to mere labels and functions,

pretty or ugly, smart or dumb, easy or hard to get.

they pillaged and stole pieces of my body from me.

so slowly, so cleverly, so methodically.

that i hardly realized i was reduced to a ruin.

they chipped away at me.

put their hands to their eyes and pulled them thin,

their doughy grins stretching too.

and then i understood