Ali Wong // Dear Girls

A reporter once asked me why I think progressive men who earn significantly less than their breadwinning wives still won’t quit their jobs to take care of their children. Why do they still hold on to their careers, even if taking care of the children would make more financial sense because the cost of childcare is higher than their net salary?
I think I know the answer to that now, and it sucks. Women are not expected to live a life for themselves. When women dedicate their lives to children, it is deemed a worthy and respectable choice. When women dedicate themselves to a passion outside of the family that doesn’t involve worshiping their husbands or taking care of their kids, they’re seen as selfish, cold, or unfit mothers. But when a man spends hours grueling over a craft, profession, or project, he’s admired and seen as a genius. And when a man finds a woman who worships him, who dedicates her life to serving him, he’s lucky. But when a man dedicates himself to taking care of his children it’s seen as a last resort. That it must be because he ran out of other options. That it’s plan Z. That it’s an indicator of his inability to provide for his family. Basically, that he’s a fucking loser. I think it’s one of the most important falsehoods we need to shatter when talking about women’s rights.

Just accept that you’re not a genius. Once I told myself that, I was able to finally write.

The answers to making it, to me, are a lot more universal than anyone’s race or gender, and center on having a tolerance for delayed gratification, a passion for the craft, and a willingness to fail.

I tried to stay away from the classic Disney princess movies. In addition to featuring a lot of unempowered women, those movies are just so white. White people and stories about white people are not bad, it’s just that when you live in America, everything is so inherently white. I don’t want you to grow up wishing you were white and having that inform all of your decisions later on in life. I want you to be proud of having black hair and Asian features.

Hospital food is a funeral of flavor in your mouth.

My dream of having four children was replaced by utter gratitude that I was able to get pregnant three times, and give birth to two beautiful girls, who exhaust me spiritually, financially, and emotionally.

I don’t use words like “facetious” or “effusive.” I use words like “doo-doo,” “caca,” and “punani.” Once I embraced that, these letters were an absolute pleasure to write.

For my twenty-seventh birthday, I was really looking forward to your father’s gift…But there was no box. There was no bag with tissue sticking out of the top. We sat down on his bed, in his closet room, as he gave me an envelope…Instead, there was a blank card with these instructions: ‚Write down all of your goals.‘ Then he had me recite them back to him. And after every goal I read out loud to him, he replied, ‚So it shall be. ‚… And despite having put anal beads up another grown man’s ass in a previous relationship, I had never experienced and activity that was so intimate. And straight up free.

It made me realize that the most important part of parenting, relationships, pretty much anything is just actually being there.

Before I packed up, my best friend told me how her friend had witnessed a rat giving birth on a homeless lady’s lap on the subway. And that single image pretty much sums up New York.

Studying in a developing/third-world country is way more intense and formative than studying in a first-world fancy country. It makes you so much more open-minded, adaptive, and confident. You become so much more real. When you have to shit on two little bricks into a hole the size of a tennis ball at an elementary school in the countryside, or sleep in a farmer’s yurt after not bathing for five days, you become a much more easygoing person. It teaches you to value experience over material things real fast.

When in doubt, go out. Not just for material, but to experience new people, new social situations, and unfamiliar surroundings.

My mantra for motherhood: You have suffered enough. If you can make it easier, make it easier, and don’t feel guilty about it.

My mom visited me during my semester abroad. Getting to see her speak with comfort and ease in her native tongue, in the country where she was born, made me really happy. But it also made me sad—I had not previously known what a confident and funny person she actually was. But it was undeniable on her home turf. She suddenly became this beaming extrovert. It made me think about the hardships she faced when she came to the United States and how she must have built up a crazy thick shell to survive.

In the United States, when you get pregnant, the official policy is to make you go back to work immediately, only with some plastic wrap on the floor of your cubicle to catch the afterbirth still leaking out of your pussy.

I have extremely poor circulation to my hands and feet, to the point where, in the cold, they will turn blue and feel like pain icicles. So, especially in the New York fall or wintertime, my bare hands, much like the hands of Rogue from the X-Men, could suck the life out of a man’s erect penis.

That day, my co-workers found out my secret: I’m a fucking idiot.

Maminka. Přítelkyně. Lékařka. Ráda kreslím, píšu a směju se. Nejvíc sama sobě.

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