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The Yellow Girl Experience

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I keep souvenirs from the boys I loved on my bedroom shelf

as some reminder that I was only a visitor to their white lives


there are stacks of recommended books, stolen shirts, and lighters with the words
"get lost!"
carved into them


I treasure these things
much in the same way I'm sure they covet the moment they stamped off 'Japan' in their little blue passports
after we first kissed


They weren't looking for anything more


just a vacation in something as complex as a human life.


Of course, our conversations never lasted long enough for them to discover
anything beyond my Nippon-red lipstick and dragon tattoo
but even if they knew my favorite songs, my hometown, my middle name
I would still only be
-That Yellow Girl-
written in sharpie
on the backs of our shared photos


some days I still wonder if this is all that will ever exist


for me


But I also have hope
that the next man to come along
will not expect me to be small, submissive, and silent
because I am done with meeting up at strip mall Chinese restaurants for first dates
and ending up cornered in the cracked vinyl booth when they ask me to speak in "my language"


Do I not speak English well enough for them to understand that I exist outside of their lives?


These are not cracks in a porcelain China doll,

they are scars from car crashes and ex-boyfriends and times when I wanted to cut open my skin to see what it looked like inside.


so if you tell me I am beautiful

let it have nothing to do with my race

and everything to do with the way the sun hits my hair when I wake up


And when you tell me I am loved
call me by my name
and I will never be Yellow Girl again.

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