Hey to the guy yelling ni hao on the street, by Shirley Chan

1 comment

CW: harassment and pent-up rage

then switching to konnichiwa, then getting mad that I keep walking. I act like I don’t hear, but of course I do, when you run out of greetings and follow up with words like bitch and cunt and then laughing hah ha HAH loudly with your boys to SHOW ME how little you care. Because of course, yelling is the way to show you don’t care.

Save your energy. 

I know you don’t care because you can’t even tell what kind of Asian I am. You don’t really look, don’t see my face, my features, my blood-sweat-tears-love-grief that comes out in the way I hold my friends when they are sad, the way I tease my friends when they are happy, the way I listen seriously when a stranger’s kid in front of me on a checkout line turns around to tell me something, so that they recognize the feeling of respect.

You don’t need to tell me shit.

What I want to tell YOU, but don’t spend the time or safety to do it, is that I’m not your little China doll here to sucky sucky for five dolla. Surprise, you motherfucker! I’m a goddamn human and I will gouge your eyes out if you get near me because I am boiling with rage inside this bag of skin; it dissolves my bones and I am ready to erupt on everything in my path, destroying it all without prejudice because you have no right to slide your eyes on me, let alone fling words that mean nothing to you, or me, in your desperate attempt to get my attention. Go laugh all you want with your boys. You are scared and small inside and it shows.

When you are brave and try for real, I will see you, and even then I owe you nothing. Life pushes all of us, and it is your choice whether you grow up or rot down. You will never escape the seed of truth inside you that tells you which way you are going. The truth is, everybody knows the difference.

Shirley Chan is writing a memoir and teaching herself different essay forms. She’s a Tin House alum, a Rooted & Written fellow, and published in Hobart, HAD, UX Collective, The New York Post, The Daily Dot, and NYC Midnight. When the words part of her brain needs a break, Shirley embroiders. Hang out with her on Twitter at @irleywrites.

Featured Image

One thought on “Hey to the guy yelling ni hao on the street, by Shirley Chan”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s