March 2, 2017
By Krithika Pennathur

My voice
is hindered
when you tell me that
i am not
because of my identity.
-these thoughts below are my way of reconciling with myself-


what is asian?
what does it mean to be asian?
why is my identity politicized?

is so vague
when you think about it
it encompasses
many countries
many countries
i am not familiar with their cultures or customs
because when i go back to the motherland
we, all of the asian countries, are not considered

The entire diversity of our identities
or so it seems.

I am first Asian,
lumped in a group,
rather than Indian.
as a group
aren’t solidified
so how can i
hold and
this label

There are some people
who tell me i am not asian
because my origins are not from east asia
yet when i fill out the identifier form
that is the only identifier that fits me
the only identifier
the US will recognize me as.


why am i broken
when people tell me
i am not asian enough
when i have a complicated
political, radical,
way of thinking about the term.

they tell me
i must be
in medical field or engineer
that is the way to go


After all
i love math and science


i begin to rethink
as i go on
in college.
i begin to fall in love
with the way the words sound
rather than the joys when i solve a derivative
i begin to fall in love with
learning about the human connection
through books
and i hope to see a representation of myself
in a character one day
i read and write.

they don’t quite understand
my value is more than meeting the stereotypes


i go through my days
trying to meet this ideal
of being Asian
that i can’t quite meet
The internal battles
And my identity


Krithika Pennathur is a sophomore English Writing (nonfiction track) and History major pursuing minors in Chemistry and Statistics and certificates in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies & Public and Professional Writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

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