The sun went down and the shadows passed by the neighboring buildings, slowly encompassing them. I decided to walk along home. Clutching my phone. Its rectilinear form grounds me with my wobbly hands and arms, giving me something to grip. Ping! Jenny texts me again. “So, are you going to ask your parents or not?” I read softly under my breath, asking myself this question repeatedly to myself but from myself. It swirls in my head for a bit, like how my cream swirls when I add it to my coffee in the morning. I didn’t have my morning cup today. The golden light gently kisses every object it can reach. I stop and look around, making sure no one is nearby to see me take a selfie. In a quick pinch, I snap a picture, a golden picture, where I seamlessly match with burning leaves in the background and airy horizon. In this one moment, I am parallel in color, mood, and warmth as this autumn day. Ping! I finally responded “yeah” to Jenny along with the new selfie. Maybe I shouldn’t have sent that. Locking my phone in frustration, I turn off the sound and stuff it in my bag out of sight. 

I’m almost home, and the sun has nearly set. There are some kids a few blocks away having a party. Inaudible music with a clear base tickling my ear, joyful screams piercing the calm night, and a congested street with cars weaving around each other. Some coming in and some coming out. My mailbox greets me. Its cold metal is so familiar. 

My mother passes me the steamed broccoli and ginger sauce. No eye contact as usual. She’s working on a long-term relationship with her laptop. It sits with us at the dinner table. Dad’s too sleepy to care. He had two shifts today at the hospital. Taking a bite of the food, it’s a little crunchy and sweet, but it lacks the zest and spice that I used to taste at this table. My thigh gets the silliest tingle and zaps from my pant pocket. Without looking, I already know it’s Jenny. 

“So, mom,” I begin, “I was thinking about going to a party with Jenny Lee. It’s at Lisa’s house. Lisa Chen”. My mother, since I opened my mouth—nope, since I entered the house, had no interest in what I had to say. She goes on her usual tangent about all the bad things that can happen. I drift off and begin to count all the yellow-colored items in this room because yellow at least gives me some joy. The yellow teapot, the legal yellow pad resting near my mother’s computer, the potholders tossed on the table, the ornamental mouse atop the bookshelf, and my sweater. That’s not a lot. Mother’s voice muffles as I scan the room. She interrupts my quiet moment. “Are you even listening,” my mother barks while swiftly yanking my plate away from me. 

I plop my book back on my dresser. It swiftly falls into place, slightly knocking the book to the right of it a little. I’ve read for the past hour to try and escape this place. Ping! It’s Jenny again. It’s also ten. She’s probably laughing with the girls, drinking, a Truly looking super cute. I hear lifeless murmurs echo from the bathroom. My parents didn’t always use to talk like this. They used to laugh and run around and chase me around with glee. Sitting on my bed, I count the yellow things in my room. There’s bound to be more than forty. Then what catches my eyes are the sparkling stars that catch my eyes that trace the perimeter of my ceiling. All the metals

from the debate team and all the academic achievement awards face me. I feel red and warm, and I can’t help but let tears fall. 

I decide this night is not going to waste. Every other night of my life was studying, and it shows. I think of Jenny and her silky jet black bob. How it bounces freely with joy. I wanna join her. I am going through my wardrobe; pieces of clothes are pastel, thick, lumpy, and soft. Nothing here screams adult. Nothing here screams I like to have fun. I reach for a charming yellow dress and pair it with my dad’s oversized sports jacket and some Chucks. It swallows me. “Kind of hip, no?” I exhale in front of the mirror and accept I can’t change my style immediately, definitely not in a matter of minutes. Packing my bag as quietly as I can, keys, and my water bottle clink. It travels throughout the hours, but everything remains undisturbed. I drive along the road and pass the party I saw earlier. Fewer cars now, but the music is still playing. 

I think of Jenny. How pretty she is and how nice she’ll look dressed up tonight. I hope I don’t look too childlike in front of her. She brings out the best and worst in me. Sometimes my anxiety overtakes me, especially when I can see us someday holding hands, kissing, and snuggling. I want her. 

I must’ve been driving for five minutes, but it feels like an eternity. My nerves are all jittery. Deep breaths. I haven’t been to a party before. I reassure myself with some 80s CDs already loaded in the stereo player. Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody plays. As the song swells to the chorus, I’m singing along, jubilant and free. “Jenny, I’m coming!” I call as I turn left on Orchard Avenue. I meet headlights bright, bold, and yellow. Semi-awake, I try to gain control the best I can, but I am jolted and shook by this machine. The car spins and turns, only to be met by the side of the road in the end. The other car is at the intersection very still. Glass is scattered around me. I dial 911 and exhale, “I wanted to dance with Jenny.” 

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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