Excerpt from essay "Growing Up White":
"I think of New York as a real life land of misfits, like the broken toys in Christmas movies of our childhoods. Every person you pass is a crooked rocking horse or a doll with a missing eye, the remaining one sadly peering at you from underneath a droopy lid. Everyone is dreaming of something bigger, something better, untethering themselves from some life they previously owned and wish to forget. Having never spoken a word of Korean in my life, I am still surprised when old Asian men and women approach me for directions in busy intersections and underground in the subway. I look at them, trying to understand, nodding my head no comprende, but there they are, older versions of myself gesticulating wildly, pointing to a map, and speaking in a harsh staccato language unfamiliar to my ears. Maybe they are trying to get back to someone they love who is sick, vomiting in a toilet somewhere, or perhaps they’re just asking the time. I’ll never know. It’s one of those universal divides that reminds me that I don’t really fit in anywhere. Maybe they’re not asking me anything at all, and they’re simply rollicking in friendly conversation with someone who looks like they could be from their tribe."