native speaker

a cultural difference in love; a gap that not only cannot be crossed but is mistaken for its antithesis

a forcing of an identity: one which I do not want, one which I am born into and out of, one that I will never escape and so: I must embrace it, turn it inside out, understand

an understanding of the quiet, of the frustrated silence, of the obnoxious loudness borne of overcompensation; unthreatening femininity handed down as an heirloom, a protective amulet, a lucky charm which we, the new generation of Americans, either hide under our pillows or crush with our Converse, our Vans, our olive skin a protective shield against the smooth pale softness that would connect us to our alien doppelgängers, those of the anime and brand-name knockoffs and that despised docility

a new hardened vigilant position against those Americans I so long to be; a sharp explanation of their privilege, an internal conversion of perceptions of ineptitude to that of a differing experience; an understanding that some reasons are not individual but collective, though frustrating that distant collectivity of our kind may be, it is still our kind and our kind is not wrong; I understand this now; I understand that the desire to learn must not be sparked by intimidation but by a curiosity, one that I have the permission to expect — should expect — to be reciprocated

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