“mother’s tongue” by Lillian Ali

my mother tongue insults my mother’s tongue.


spat like seeds of an underripe orange, peeled by impatient hands.

graceless and stiff, like my bastard throat. 

we cannot cough out the words. 


we lack poise, my mother tongue and I


there’s a line ahead of us. 

drawn by my mother’s 



mother tongue 


mothers ten times over have followed this line, 

but we choose instead to chop it into bits.


to butcher is free,

and we do not care to pay the price of learning 

(I fear we are past the point of trying) 


we cough our little bits out,

lest we choke on the bitter juice of an unripe orange. 

(I fear we drank too fast)

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.

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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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