An Open Letter…
Dear anyone who is willing to read this,
There’s probably not many of you since it’s been forever since the last time I wrote anything on this foreign site. I guess I can say that I’m back… kind of.
It’s Sunday, April 30th, the last day of the month. I’m surviving my first year of college; it’s been quite the rollercoaster I’ve gotta say. My college is different from anywhere else. My friends and I used to say that being here is almost like being at summer camp. I’m not ungrateful. I love my school. I’ve made a family here that means the entire world to me. I love my friends, I love the person I’m becoming while I’m here. I’m happy.
I titled this piece as an open letter, but I think I have a more specific target in mind. This letter is to my wonderful friends that I made during my time in college, whom I love so dearly.
Words cannot begin to describe how much I love you; how much you mean to me. My life was a wreck before college — yeah, before college. I thought my life was worthless, and I felt like I was suffocating and screaming all at once. It felt like waves were crashing onto me as I was already tumbling. That was how I felt back home. It’s how I feel when I go back home.
You guys save me; you bring meaning and purpose. I feel like I can finally breathe and when I speak that people are hearing my words. Most importantly I feel loved. Wrapping me in your warmth, you’ve made my life shine alongside yours and for that I am forever grateful. I will never be able to thank you enough.
But I’m starting to suffocate again.
You’ve been hurting me. I can laugh and smile because it’s become an effortless movement, like waving a finger. But please understand that sometimes I’m laughing because I don’t know how else to hide my pain, that like a hyena I am laughing because I’m scared. Jokes about my small eyes or my round face and body make me so sad, make me begin to hate myself in a way that I didn’t know I could.
I left my small, stubborn, single-minded hometown because I wanted to go where people would accept me, my small Japanese eyes, and my Americanized body. And you did. But please understand that my small eyes and my rounded features are representative of me. And every time you make a joke out of them you’re showing to me you haven’t completely accepted all of me. Even in a place that I have never felt so comfortable before, I could still feel like a foreigner in my own skin. I know what I look like, I’ve been made aware more than enough times.
I can’t bring myself to love my body. It’s so difficult to do that people everywhere have this problem. Sometimes I don’t mind the jokes, sometimes it’s funny because I’m comfortable enough to laugh at myself. Other times it feels so painful I can feel my heart break a little every time you laugh at me.
I wish my body wasn’t the source of your laughter. I wish that I didn’t feel this way so we can continue laughing with no worries. But I don’t know if I can laugh along anymore. And I don’t know how to tell you this in a way that I’m most comfortable with.
This letter is the only way I know how.