When I put on the blue cocktail dress I first wore at my high school formal now, I don’t always think of my disappointed, embarrassed, hurt mother. Waking up on the morning of the formal, I knew I’d be spending the day studying for my last exam of high school, while resisting the urge to check my application status to Penn. While I succeeded in the former (I got an A), I failed immediately in the latter. Before I stepped off the bus at my high school in Tai Pei, I had already snapchatted the verdict: I would go to formal that night, and go to Penn that fall. My mother learned of the 2nd part snap—the Philadelphia—2nd, 3rd, maybe 4th hand. As I worked through my Physics exam, paragraphs of parental disappointment rhetoric appeared on my phone. How could I have not told her immediately? Obviously, I had a lot on my mind that day. That’s usually not the case these days when I put on the blue cocktail dress.
This story was written for Emily Spivack’s workshop at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia on May 6th, 2015.