Reckoning with anti-Asian hate in a country my grandparents believed in so desperately

“Lucky to be here.”

It’s a phrase I hear all the time about being an American — more specifically, being an American whose family came from someplace else. We live in a powerful, prosperous country full of opportunity and abundance, and there is no better place to be, which is…

What could grow if we stopped forcing everything to be perfect?

In 1937, a Japanese agricultural scientist named Masanobu Fukuoka was hospitalized with a terrible case of pneumonia. Confronted with the possibility of his own death, Fukuoka spiraled into an existential crisis that lasted long after he was discharged from the hospital. At night, he couldn’t sleep, so he wandered aimlessly…

What other writers have taught me

Being a writer means frequently grappling with self-doubt, rejection, and if you’re lucky enough to get work, deadlines. It also means learning how to cope with those challenges. And in the process of coping, you can’t help but learn some transformative lessons.

For example, when you write about something that…

We put a lot of pressure on an emotion that can be just as easily evoked by a warm donut

I grew up in Houston, Texas, which is to say, I have tasted the world’s best donut. Shipley Do-Nuts: sweet, pillowy poufs of buttery gold that make all other donuts taste like old tires. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but only a little.

One morning during a lull at work, a coworker…

“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”

Is she mad at me? I wondered. I had met a new-ish friend for lunch the week before, and after our hangout, I texted her. “Had a great time,” I said. “Let’s do it again soon!” She never responded. Naturally, I flipped through the Rolodex of Dumb Things I might…

As busy, anxious adults, is it possible to relive those carefree days?

Summer as an adult is not quite like summer as a kid. I spent part of my summer days on chores, but mostly, I sat around and watched TV, read books, and hung out with friends. We’d splash around in the sprinklers. Or we’d go on long bike rides into…

“We waste our lives trying to recreate these zones of safety, which are always falling apart.”

Late one evening, my best friend and I walk home to my small apartment in Hollywood when two men emerge from the sidewalk and point guns at our bellies. Don’t scream, they say. It’ll be okay, as long as we don’t scream. My friend whimpers. I hand over my wallet…

And more importantly, the lessons learned.

I once read a quote that suggested we think of our career as a climbing wall, not a ladder. It’s an especially apt metaphor for a career like freelance writing, which doesn’t have a single tried-and-true path toward success. …

Digital intimacy is no substitute for IRL connection.

I Google people from my past the way day traders check their stocks. Which is to say, obsessively. I search for childhood friends. I hunt down old teachers. Former coworkers, too — anyone whose name I can remember. Some of them have children or have moved across the country or…

Shutting people out in the name of ‘self-care’ ultimately feels like self-destruction

Not long ago, I attended a panel that featured a few established writers. An audience member asked one of them a personal question: How do you practice self-care? The answer was brutally honest.

The writer said she didn’t respond to text messages and often flaked on people. Her friends had…

Kristin Wong

Kristin Wong has written for the New York Times, The Cut, ELLE, Travel + Leisure, and Glamour magazine.

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