Girly Green

I didn’t hear the word “black”

used to describe my fellow classmate,

until third grade. Kids joked innocently

and said that I was “yellow.”


I told them I’d prefer to be green.


I know now the proper terms.

Words like, "racism" and

"discrimination." Words that my mom

taught me when I was "old enough."

And maybe I was stupid

for saying I was green. Sometimes

I wish I was still that ignorant.


Now, I look at the TV

and I can’t enjoy a story

without counting all of the blue eyes,

the actor that looks like me only plays the

Kung Fu master or

computer hacker. Sometimes

I wish I didn’t know.


I didn’t know I was a feminist

until I stumbled onto the word

as I learned how to hold keys in the dark

like daggers. And I learned

"Girls aren't funny," and

"Girls shouldn't be loud."

And my mom taught me how to stand tall

and be unashamed. Sometimes

I wish I didn’t have to be taught.


I was taught to hate the color pink

because people called it “girly”

and somehow that made it

inherently wrong. But now pink

is just as beloved to me as blue.


I didn’t realize I

was so weak. Until now.

When I hesitated to type

the words “feminist” and “Asian.”

As if even saying it, might make me

ostracized. For being radical.

For being a female minority.

For being me.


I want a place in this world.

Not only for me

but for everyone who is afraid

to claim who they really are.


In the land of the free,

our identities should not be burdens

or chains holding us back.

In the home of the brave,

bravery should not consist of

confessing who I am.

In the 21st century America

I've known all my life,

why am I afraid?

This poem is about: 
My family
My community
My country


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