“Tired” is a personal essay about my experience growing up as a first-generation Vietnamese American woman. My person is the site for both internal and external conflict, where my membership in two different groups, Vietnamese and American, converge and clash. I reflect upon my past adolescent struggles and my present adult struggles with trying to balance these two identities, a journey that is concurrent with my journey in trying to understand what it means to be me, Cindy Luu.
Excerpt:“I frowned at my reflection, at the gown I had to purchase for the show because unlike everyone else, I couldn’t just borrow one from my mother or aunts because they wouldn’t fit me. Even with the wide range of colors and patterns on the racks at the Vietnamese dress shop, I quickly learned that the options weren’t meant for me. After the saleswoman took my measurements, she presented me with the only two dresses that would fit me, with the reassurance that the heavier fabric was sophisticated and the dark color would compliment my brown complexion. Apparently Vietnamese women came in one size and color, and I was just six inches too tall, three cup sizes too busty, and too dark.”
“Tired” will be published in the forthcoming NYU Press anthology Shades of Prejudice: Personal Narratives by Asian American Women on Colorism in America, edited by Nikki Khanna.