I just sprinted to Mann at the end of Spanish. I once again didn’t do the homework for that class, worsening my already abysmal grade in it. I need to pass it to graduate. I was going to email Katie and tell her that I just couldn’t turn in a column this week. But here I am sitting at this damn table writing this.
Once my depression hit rock bottom last January, I couldn’t bear to write about it as I opened the Google Doc and ultimately still continue to bear witness to the clusterfuck that is my life. I quit. I just fucking quit. I needed to get “treatment” I guess. But what does “mental health” even mean?
My barber, who is Cambodian, said he would give me the “Indian cut.” After he was done, the other guy waiting said that I looked just like a doctor. The unsolicited observation has led me to believe that we, of the South Asian Council, are actually getting ahead of ourselves if our front is asserting that our perspectives are not completely irrelevant, and that we should be able to take up space within spaces that are generally designated for students of color. First of all, how the fuck are we going to convince people that our brownness does not itself qualify us to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a box cutter and a plastic straw? I mean, I’ll do my best with my knowledge of Asian American racial formation but no promises. A few days later while I was trying to figure out my next dick, I remembered I’m gay as well as Tamil.
Thinking “I’m a complicated human being” has preceded all my worst looks this semester. Maybe I should attempt to be somewhat predictable. I should make it a New Year’s resolution. I’ll let you know how that goes. Jokes, but I couldn’t always laugh.
My friends would be concerned that I’m still hung up on a boy who said he’d go on a date with me just to play me. But I can’t help it. We all agreed that I would move on, but I still check to see if he texted back. It’s been a month. I know I talked a big game about self-love, but that doesn’t mean flipping my hair until I break my neck.
I asked a boy out on a date for the first time. I knew I caught feelings when I wasn’t just jealous. He’s a vision of my inner self-image, and I guess all this self-love has been working since I just think he’s so sunny and dreamy and extra. I asked him out real timid-like in a text because I got a 40 on the first prelim, but I wouldn’t have done it in person even if I was still enrolled. As soon as I pressed send, I instantly regretted it.
I spent my time at the Willard Straight sit-in eavesdropping on a discussion about students of color that didn’t care about it. I didn’t pull a muscle to realize they were referencing Asian-American students. Honestly, I was there for only half of the sit-in, so I am part of the problem. Part of this column is to offer an excuse (there are none) but also challenge the Asian-American identity in terms of racial justice. My dad emailed me a Washington Post article and said we needed to talk.
Open queer people declare their pride amid rainbow flames while homophobic and transphobic masses still exist. But I’m not proud. I’m jealous. Pride parades remind me of a Russell Peters bit. His dad momentarily tunes to one on television and sees some brown boys.
A Cornell acceptance letter lulled me into The Best Little Brown Boy in The World dream. Now drunk on my parents’ pride (which I had sacrificed my adolescence to obtain), I could finally say “Cornell” to that Naila Aunty. I lapped up the devotion, especially since it came after my much gossiped-about high school rejection from Brown Hogwarts (my mother boasted of my application despite its patent lack of magic). Dreams fade. My parents believed The Best Little Brown Boy in The World should slice brains and, to preserve my momentum, I agreed.
I was obsessed with gods when I was a kid. I was raised detachedly as a Hindu, in which we had our own in-house puja every few months, went to the temple even less often and still ate beef when we had a hankering. I viewed my participation in Hinduism as an infrequent chore, but entertained a curious fascination with Hindu mythology. I devoured every edition of a comic book series that transformed the timeless and boundless sagas into picturized, bite-sized narratives. I took to the task of printing out pictures of gods, framing them and placing them somewhere in the house to bolster the divinity of our family.