you cannot change
the core of who you are
you love with fire
and you hate with it too.
your joy sets people’s hearts ablaze
they dance with you, entranced
then run away and never return
when they see your rage
is an inferno.
they ask you to stop your flames
and leave you to weep
in the smoldering remains
you cannot change
the core of who you are.
when will people understand
fire is fire
it will warm them
and it can burn them
it cannot be put out
when all they strike are matches
they will take what they can get
then abandon you,
seek fire
they can control
but you cannot change
the core of who you are:
this burning passion for life
with the power to destroy
everything in its wake



i want my words
to make you laugh
move you to tears
nourish your mind
inspire you
to fight back
and join a

i want my words
to send shivers
down your spine
instill an ache
inside your heart
and between
your legs
make you believe
you know me
as if reading
what i write
is the same as
your fingers
lightly pressing
on my soul

i want my words
to reach the horizon
in endless droves
while i chase them
thanking them
for setting me free


I’m turning 24 soon

why don’t I have my life together

why have I accomplished so little

why am I drowning in college debt

why are there ants crawling all over my bathroom sink

why are Diva Cups so hard to insert

why have I not looked for another job yet

why am I still stuck on my screenplay

why haven’t I revisited the one story that my college advisor said I should publish

why haven’t I gotten laid yet

why won’t boys I like, like me as I am

why do I have to suppress myself in order to be dateable

why do I always have something to say that nobody else wants to hear

why don’t I feel like a woman

why do I feel like a lost little girl

why is it so hard to reach out to people for my birthday

why am I so afraid that people won’t want to celebrate the day of my birth

why am I still terrible at leaving voicemails

why haven’t I opened a retirement account yet

why can’t I understand that honesty is the worst policy

why are you reading this

why is another year just another reminder that I am one step closer to never amounting to anything


Who, Who, Who

At a staff meeting last Friday, our new ED introduced a get-to-know-you exercise for us to do. We had to partner up and take turns asking the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Who do you pretend to be?
  • Who are you becoming?

The toughest part was that the answerer had to respond to each question repeatedly, in different ways, and the asker had to keep asking the question without reacting to the answers given, until the minute was up. It was a very difficult, awkward, tense, emotionally unsettling, and introspective game, but I’m glad we did it. I will share what I remember of my answers below, for reasons.

Who are you?

I am a girl.

I am a woman.

I am an intersectional feminist.

I am a slacktivist.

I am a social media narcissist.

I am someone who is still trying to figure out what her life is about.

I am Cambodian American.

Who do you pretend to be?

I pretend to understand love, when I guess I don’t.

I pretend to be someone smaller than I am.

I pretend to know everything about some things.

I pretend to be honest.

Who are you becoming?

I am becoming a woman who doesn’t feel like a girl.

I am becoming a more self-assured, confident person.

I am becoming someone who is realizing that life is a beginning, and not the end.


What’s the point of life? Well whose life do I mean? I’ve always gone by the self-made principle, because really, it’s you who makes your life what it is right, I mean arbitrary circumstances and oppressive systems aside, life is 99% attitude and 1% effort or sorry I forgot how the platitude goes, more like 50% attitude, 50% sweat blood tears, sweaty bloody tears, teary bloody sweat okay that isn’t right either but the point is, there is no point until you make a point which is rendered pointless when you think about it so the point being, don’t think about it? Let’s backtrack here. What is the point of my life? Everyday, every moment seems to trigger some existential crisis. The drive to work, the drive from work, windows cracked, singing off-key at the top of my lungs knowing I’m going to haphazardly park my car in the gutter until the next morning then it’s the drive to work, the drive from work, you know the rest, I’m lying in bed wondering where did I go wrong, or did I go so right that it’s all wrong, am I making any sense, stuck in another cliched mind-trap because no thought I own can ever truly be mine, nothing I say do or think is original, my life isn’t original, but is the point of my life to be original? Or is it to be good, am I good, am I a good person, I’m trying sometimes is that enough, I’m comparing myself to the worst is that enough, if I believed in hell I’d already know where I’m headed once I die, is this life not enough, do I need several lifetimes to prolong my faltering human potential and mediocrity?, no back to the purpose, the purpose, what was the point, what is the point, do I need someone to tell me, does it have to be a He cuz fuck that shit, I define this, my life, but when I’m doing such a shitty job of it can someone take the wheel, Jesus take the wheel?, no I need to fucking take the goddamn wheel and drive, driving again, driving to and from work, 9-5 all day errday, it’s the same thing over and over and yes I’m living but I’ve stopped feeling alive and I’m young and stupid but drugs and boys are not the solution, what is my solution, not this, this monotony, but I need this monotony to live even if I’m not really living, do I need fame, I said I didn’t but why the irrepressible urge to be known, to be admired, to be loved, it’s human, it’s only human, fame is just another medium, people don’t want to die alone, people want to die loved and remembered, can you be loved and remembered for driving to and from work all day errday stuck in the deep rut of monotony don’t answer that, I need to be fulfilled, I need to stop being this lazy fuck and go do something that will make me look back and say I was worth something, to people, to me, but mostly to people because I am defined by people and I’m told not to care what people think but that’s fucking bullshit everyone fucking cares about what everyone thinks why else do we talk about loneliness like it’s the worst thing in the world and love like it’s the best, the point of life is to care about what people think and make people love you and then you die, is that it, yes that’s it


How I Resist Patriarchy, One Paradox at a Time

Surgeon General’s Warning: Following in the missteps of this feminist will trigger giddy laughter, awkward situations, existential crises and serious worldview complications.

Please note: This is a nonexhaustive, descriptive-not-prescriptive list of some of the ways in which one particular 1st generation been-poor-still-poor Chinese-Cambodian American cishet able-bodied neurotypical thin-privileged woman-girl millenial feminist personally navigates (or attempts to navigate) what she will annoyingly call the ethnocentroimperioheterocapitopatriarchy. This is not at all intended to be representative of anyone else’s experience (but if you can relate to any of these, awesome); rather, this list is a compilation of things specific to my own experience of engaging in an everyday feminist praxis (consciously or not) and serves as just one example of the complicated, contradictory lives that feminists lead, blunders and all. (I would love to see a list of how YOU resist patriarchy, one paradox at a time!)

  1. Don’t wear makeup, cuz too much effort.
  2. Tell dudes off when they creep on my friends, cuz shitty assholes need to be checked.
  3. Wear high heels all day, cuz I am strong.
  4. Ignore guys on OKC if they mention an interest in anime or Asian cultures/languages, cuz fuck fetishizing.
  5. Bring up rape culture on first dates, cuz small talk is stupid.
  6. Sing along to Taylor Swift, cuz she’s a whiny lyrical genius and white girl emotions are still emotions.
  7. Don’t want kids, cuz I can barely take care of myself also pregnancy no thanks
  8. Call people out on racist jokes, cuz that shit ain’t funny.
  9. Ignore men harassing me on the streets, cuz they don’t deserve my time or attention.
  10. Girl-crush on strangers, cuz homoeroticism ftw.
  11. Cheer for bromances, cuz homoeroticism ftw.
  12. Tell people I don’t have a nickname when they ask, cuz you call me what I tell you to call me.
  13. Wear red lipstick, so lips kick ass when they sass.
  14. Buy gifts for fellow single female friends on Valentine’s Day, cuz Galentine’s Day and sisters before misters.
  15. Alway posing in the mirror, cuz I can look good.
  16. Stay away from WalMart, cuz evil.
  17. Subscribe to Bitch magazine, cuz yay feminist media.
  18. Be honest, cuz that’s my policy.
  19. Be mean, cuz you can’t make me play nice if I don’t want to.
  20. Be crude, cuz everybody poops and if you don’t you’re an android who must be destroyed
  21. Laugh LOUDLY, cuz happiness shouldn’t have volume control.
  22. Cry when I hurt, cuz fuck repression.
  23. Keep diversifying my inner social circle, but not on purpose.
  24. Tight skirts, cuz dat ass is small but there.
  25. Attracted to sensitive pretty boys who talk about their feelings, cuz fuck gender roles.
  26. Squeeze my boobs, cuz they are mine.
  27. Spend time alone, cuz I am at home in solitude.
  28. Attended a women’s college, cuz boys just get in the way.
  29. Correct people when they say “all-girls school,” cuz hello women’s college.
  30. Still searching for kickass male friends, cuz hope is still there.
  31. Wear ties, cuz they are cool.
  32. Shop secondhand, cuz that’s how I roll.
  33. Avoid problematic slurs (using the N word, “that’s so gay,” “retarded,” etc.), cuz duh.
  34. Make people laugh, cuz I’m kind of funny for a person who is funny.
  35. Be kind through actions, cuz words can be sweet nothings.
  36. Don’t know how to cook, cuz I’m a lazy motherfucker.
  37. Get annoyed when I see too many white people on my screen, cuz wtf.
  38. Respect pronouns, cuz language is power.
  39. Illegally download One Direction singles and have them on repeat, cuz the catchiest songs are the douchiest.
  40. Wear slutty clothes, cuz slutty twenties hell yes
  41. Work feminist analysis into every conversation, cuz it is never not relevant.
  42. Watch multiracial/gynocentric shows, cuz they are awesome and true-to-life.
  43. Watch rom-coms, cuz my jaded heart needs the artificial sugar rush.
  44. Crush on gay celebrities, cuz sexy is sexy no matter the sexual orientation.
  45. Crush on guys who look like little boys, cuz I (ironically) don’t want any pedos.
  46. Don’t wanna be a bride, cuz patriarchal tradition is patriarchal tradition.
  47. Show off my legs, cuz I like the way they look.
  48. Dance to Beyonce, cuz I feel so good tonight, goddamn goddamn goddamn.
  49. Put on the bitchface when I go out alone, cuz don’t fuck with me.
  50. Burn bridges, cuz sometimes you have to (and I’m a proverbial pyromaniac).
  51. Dance alone at parties and at the club, cuz my ass ain’t here for your crotch.
  52. Dance alone in my room, cuz I move for me.
  53. Ask first, cuz consent is important.
  54. Ask questions, cuz knowledge is power.
  55. Question everything, cuz nothing is as it seems.
  56. Stay away from scales, cuz numbers don’t mean shit.
  57. Secretly fangirl whenever I see a hot guy in a wheelchair, then feel guilty about my ableist fetish.
  58. Take pictures and make awkward videos of myself, cuz I control my image.
  59. Get dressed up just to go to the grocery store, cuz everyday is an occasion to look fabulous.
  60. Be there for my girlfriends, cuz we all need that homosocial lovin’.
  61. Let people think I’m a lesbian, cuz idgaf.
  62. Obsess over guys I barely know, cuz I can project my fantasies of a kinky and mutually respectful dynamic onto them.
  63. Get tattoos, cuz my body is a canvas.
  64. Cuss, cuz fuck it if I can’t.
  65. Scream and shout, cuz I am woman hear me roar.
  66. Be angry, cuz my eyes are open.
  67. Be happy, cuz it’s a Wednesday night baby, and I’m alive.
  68. Argue, cuz I have opinions and anyway you started it.
  69. Think, cuz nobody should do it for me.
  70. Listen, cuz that’s the best way to learn.
  71. Write, cuz I exist.
  72. Read, cuz it is a gift that should be used.
  73. Live, even if I think there’s no reason.