I wanted to make sure I finished this comic before the month ended! I had so much more to say in this comic, but Instagram limits me to 10 photos. I've never really opened myself up about this struggle to anyone (except maybe my mom), and I nearly didn't post this. But also it's my voice and my experience, and I think it's worth sharing.
A few years ago, someone who was not even remotely Asian told me that his coworker, who was the son of two Chinese immigrants, could not call himself Chinese American because he didn't speak Chinese and had never been to China. Just like that, this man decided to strip his Asian American coworker of his identity just because he, a man with no Asian background whatsoever, saw it fit. And that infuriated me. That's when I began to really think about my own identity. As a mixed Asian kid growing up, I had a huge identity crisis about who I am (that classic "too Asian to be white and too white to be Asian" dilemma that other people tell you, like they know you better than you know yourself) and I had severely low self esteem. So I sought to prove that I was just as Asian as all my other Asian friends and family members. I would make sure people knew I was Chinese, and I'd try to speak Chinese to waitresses just to make sure complete strangers knew about my heritage. And that way of thinking was exhausting. Why was I trying to prove myself to others? Why was I trying to "earn" my identity when I already am Asian American? I went to an @asianafshow panel talk recently, and most of the panel were people who looked like me: mixed Asian kids who felt my same struggle with their identity. And it was so emotional for me to listen to. One of the panelists said that no one has lived your experiences but you. And no one can define you but yourself. It took me so many years to realize that yes, I am Asian American, and my voice is a part of this community and should be heard. .
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