A few days ago, I asked some friends what they first thought of me upon meeting me. Over 55% said something along the lines of “dancer”, 23% said “intimidating”, and the other 22% varied. I channeled these words in the first picture (the “cover” of my book). I’ve known about these impressions I leave on people and have worked hard to make them go away. In dance class, I’ve held back because I wanted there to be room for myself to be good at other things. I’ve held fake smiles because teachers said my thinking face was concerning.
But maybe these first impressions aren’t meant to go away. Maybe I just have to learn to live with them.
That way, getting to know me can be something special. You’ll meet the me that I hate. Always wanting to make friends, but afraid to try. Afraid to say the wrong thing and be despised. Hiding behind my “intimidating determination” to pretend that I don’t want to socialize. My friends might forget about this part of me. Acquaintances know it well. This insecurity of mine is channeled in the second photo.
You’ll also meet the me that I love. It may take a while, but I will show you my comedy pieces that I’ve been writing. I will crack jokes that you’d never suspect would come from that girl you once met. Maybe I’ll even give you some stickers. Try to guess which photo this one is!
You see the cover. I know the whole story.
photographs conceptualized by me & James Jin. photographed by James Jin @jamesjinimages @dancersofny