Definition: yo͞oˈnēk

Sharon Liu/Senior Staff

I’m aware with every grain of my being. Every movement, every gesture, statement, idea brings us only to another complex and interesting thing.

“How’s your transition going?”
“Good! But the weather confuses me.”
“Oh, really? How?”
“Well, sometimes it rains but I’s nah cold.”

I am aware as I step into the unknown. To me, it’s fucking great. Is that the right way to describe it? I don’t know. I just know that’s not the way most people here speak. I think I’ll carry a dictionary to class at least the first few weeks.

“Let’s have a study session.”
“But the test isn’t for a whole ’nother week.”
“Whole ’ ’nother’ week? What is this phrase you speak?”
“I’on’t’know, I just seems kinda early to me.”
“I’m perfectly aware that there are, in fact, 10 days to prepare, but that’s how I operate as part of the academic elite.”

I’m aware that I’m not exotic, but that’s what everyone who approaches me wants to hear on account of “It’s more exotic” than telling people English is the first language you learned how to speak. They ask where I’m “from” and tell me what my eye, skin and hair color has done to their perception of me.

“California? Is this true? Are you sure that’s really you?”
“What chu mean?”
“Well your accent for starters.”
“What assent chu mean?”

I am aware that my skin and my hair, mixed with the education over which I despair makes me some kind of in between. Here, I am only strictly, hardly a human being.

“You got that when you were 18? The streets must have been awfully mean.”
“The streets? I went to a shop and did it clean.”
“But that’s a quote from a rapper … I thought they only did art in shops that are clean.”
“What chu mean? This quote is my everything.”

I’m aware I’m supposed to “be strong,” but it’s harder than it seems. “Be strong” — that’s the fam’s motto for how to be an exceptional human being. “Be strong” is a challenge that’s become difficult in ways I previously couldn’t conceive. It’s hard to be strong when you feel like the most otherly of human things.

“Does she need to be gay?”
“I jus’ thought it’d be interesting.”
“Well if she doesn’t need to be gay, you shouldn’t make her that way.”
“Okay, I guess I can rewrite the scene …”

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