fun fact: the daughters of the south asian diaspora have some of the highest suicide rates in the united states of america.
fun fact: “I need” doesn’t exist in the diaspora daughters’ dictionary. we only have “what do you want” and “how do you want it” and “I will do better.”
i don’t know what it means to need.
i want to learn to need.
(once when my sister was in the fourth grade learning about poetry she asked me why no one writes sonnets about brown eyes or brown skin or brown hair or brown girls)
i need my diaspora sisters to stand tall with me
because they talk about representation but the only people on screen who look like me are the vapid, sexy bollywood girls written by a culture that’s scared of women owning their bodies, and when we flee from the confines of the male gaze to the “progressive” world we don’t even get “nerdy sidekick” because we’re too asian but we’re not asian enough.
because they laugh when my grandmother speaks broken english and wears vibrant churidars but did you know she can name every u.s. president and pledged allegiance to a country that doesn’t even want her just to get citizenship so she could see her family more than once a decade?
because while middle-aged white women shriek at the thought of shaving their legs “for men” we’ve quietly been pouring hot wax on our bodies and ripping out the dark forests on the vast expanse of our skin since the sixth grade to protect ourselves from their leering daughters and even though our skin has hardened into leather they have the audacity to call us “weak.”
because when we stand up, the most powerful country in the world sits down.