I have a blog, with over 8,000 followers, which almost ruined my life.
I built that blog a year ago on Wechat, China’s most popular social network with over six hundred million users. At that time, most of my close friends had graduated from college, gone to different places, and settled into their new lives. Simply wanting to share my life with them, I created an account, and started to post some random things on it – my internship, my travel, or just some daydreams – all private stuff. I used the childhood nickname my parents gave me as the blog’s name, and for the following six months, my readership remained below 30.
Then I came to New York, to Columbia, to the Journalism School.
“The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines,” wrote E.B. White. New York City didn’t disappoint me. Dazzled by its diversity and energy, I went to great lengths to record whatever I saw and experienced, and was filled with the desire to share it with others. I took pictures of every street performer I met, talked to the homeless for hours and hours, took notes of some random jokes people told each other, and could even write hundreds of words about the gorgeous Manhattan sunsets. As I started my graduate program in early August, I posted my first weekly entry on my blog, and made a bet with a friend that I would continue writing weekly posts throughout the whole year, documenting my life in this amazing place.
That post article was liked, and for the first time, shared, and re-shared.
Then things changed, seemingly overnight.
In the weeks that followed, hundreds of strangers came to my page, read, liked, commented, and shared.
I wrote the next week and the next. I tried to maintain my usual tone, as if I were talking to my closest friends. But this was less and less possible; I couldn’t ignore the fact that my inbox was already filled with words from complete strangers. Before, when I mentioned someone all my friends knew. I would simply write his or her nickname. But now I had to use parenthesis to briefly explain who this person was. Consciously or not, I began talking to the public, instead of to my friends.
My growing number of new readers were mostly college students who had never been abroad, or who had great fantasies of being journalists. I was a 23-year-old woman enrolled in the world’s best journalism school, in the world’s most amazing city, who had changed her major from economics and taken a gap year interning. I began to see that my life somehow captured their idea of an idealistic young journalist.
“Looking forward to more stories!” many wrote to me.
“What an amazing life you have and what a success you are,” wrote others.
I started to check my blog and inbox several times a day, in order to give my readers immediate responses. My readership surpassed a thousand and my vanity was flattered in that virtual world.
But the fourth week turned out to be a nightmare.
I hadn’t imagined how abruptly my honeymoon with the city would end.
Only after three weekly posts pushed, seemingly all of a sudden, I felt immersed in enormous anxiety and depression.
It was when Valentina, my reporting classmate quit.
She was not the first one. Tara from Iran stopped coming after the second week, before she became acquainted with anyone else in the class.
But Valentina was different. We went to the same class every day. We hung out drinking afterwards. Even on what turned out to be her last day in J-School, I was still worried about competing with her in choosing a beat for class assignment – both of us showed interest in the Lower East Side – and she seemed much more competent. I loved her photos, her story ideas, her words and sentences. I could tell she was talented and experienced.
The following Monday I came to school; my imaginary “opponent” did not. She had quit. I have not seen her since.
“I don’t think it fits me,” Valentina texted me. She questioned her capability, and her personality.
The text message triggered an explosion in my heart. It revealed a truth that I deliberately ignored, something I wouldn’t want to let anybody know, including even myself – fear, a deeply implanted fear: that I didn’t fit in. Not in the program. The school. The city. The country.
Like the emperor’s new clothes, once my hidden fear was exposed, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. What I hadn’t included in my weekly posts were in fact major parts of life. None of my readers knew how day after day I couldn’t manage to come up with a story idea, get any potential source to talk to me, or write a sentence that didn’t require heavy editing. With scant knowledge about the place where I lived and worked I felt as if I were a toddler, while most of my classmates were adults.
What they also didn’t know, and what I didn’t tell them, was something even worse: I didn’t see myself fitting in journalism.
I was not a success at all, and my life was by no means amazing. It was in tatters.
The day after Valentina left, another student with experience burst out into tears in my class under great pressure. I stared at her quietly, with both empathy and sympathy.
My anxiety and depression worsened. Even sleep had become a great nightmare to me. “The fear of going to bed is haunting me,” my diary read, “I know what awaits me is another four hours of insomnia, and deeper depression when the clock points six.”
I was reluctant to attend classes, feared answering phone calls, and could not summon the nerve to walk out of my dorm. I emailed my professor two minutes before class asking for a leave since I was ill. I wasn’t. I felt a headache from lack of sleep. But I still couldn’t sleep. I was not physically ill, though I was very, very sick.
There must be something wrong.
And I had the answer: the admissions committee had made a mistake when they offered me a place.
They were deceived. I deceived them with my seemingly sincere and passionate words in all the application essays, just as I had deceived my readers in my blog posts.
I skipped the fourth week, without posting anything.
Am I a fraud?
The idea struck me as I thought of a movie I had seen, Gone Girl. Amy Dunne, the heroine, was the inspiration for her parents’ popular “Amazing Amy” children’s books. All the problems in the real Amy’s life could be fixed in “Amazing Amy.” All that Amy hadn’t achieved in real life were easily achieved by the amazing one. Though Amy Dunne was not bad, she was not perfect. But Amazing Amy was. People came to recognize Dunne as the Amazing Amy, and she was expected to show what the amazing one was like. She had to be perfect, too.
But she was not Amazing Amy. She was a fraud.
Was I also a fraud? Did I make my blog another version of “Amazing Amy?” What was I expected to be? Who and what was I?
Those questions started to plague me; I began questioning my English ability. With almost full marks in the TOEFL test and years of part-time English teaching experience in China, I had always viewed English as my strength. In China, my peers always complimented me as a “native English speaker.”
To be honest, I never watched English-language TV series, and seldom read English books. I watched English-language movies with my eyes glued to the Chinese subtitles, and as a journalism student I never read the papers or turned on the radio unless it was a class assignment. I could feel the huge gap between me and native speakers, though it was hard for many in China to tell.
But what I had once viewed as a strength was now a weakness. I could no longer deceive myself. I could barely understand what my professor was talking about in class. I couldn’t tell or understand jokes with my classmates, not with all those different accents around.
The happy life I was depicting in my blog posts was over. I felt alienated.
“You had a strong feeling that you were ‘found out’ when you were sitting in class with no idea what others were talking about,” said Shu Xu, one of my friends in China. I called him a lot those days — “like between four and six you kept talking and crying,” he said, “but sometimes between 4 and 6 in the early morning, while sometimes in the late afternoon.”
I found it too hard to catch up, and after several tries, I just gave up and went about absent-mindedly, still feeling enormously uneasy and anxious. When it was my turn to join a discussion, I could only say something really vague, or even pretend that I had a sore throat.
Soon I had to turn in my first story. I can still recall my professor’s comments on that piece. “You need to work on simplifying your language and making things more understandable for readers and listeners,” he wrote, “I also want to suggest that you should consider getting some help from the writing program.”
Boom! Finally I was found out. Those smart people could easily tell that I was not qualified for the group and needed extra “help.” I was frozen when reading these comments, like a thief caught while sneaking out of a house with something in his pocket – no way to run, and no excuse to make. I must have disappointed my professor, I thought. How can I face him another day? What if he let others discuss my story? Then everybody would find out?
It was the first time I skipped class. I couldn’t get rid of the “being found out” feeling. English had been a strength and now I had nothing.
Things kept getting worse. I became ever more self-conscious in speaking and writing in English. I loathed my non-native accent and awkward sentence making. For every word I spoke out I kept telling myself: “wrong again! You shouldn’t say this!”
I became silent in class, and refused to conduct interviews, especially over the phone. I knew it was not professional to do interviews using text messages or emails, but the mere thought of picking up a phone and talking in English petrified me. When I had to conduct long interviews I spent hours commuting to do them face to face; at least when we met in person, I could just smile.
But then came a phone call that I had to pick up, a call that I had hoped that I would not get.
It was from my parents.
“Why don’t you write your blogs anymore?” my mother asked.
“I was … I was just too tired,” I said, hoping to tell her I was struggling a lot and was feeling “found out,” but for some reason I didn’t. “Too much school work.”
“Well then find some time for writing. Many of my colleagues follow your blog. We are all waiting for you. It won’t take you much time,” she said, and then added: “you love writing, don’t you?”
I love writing. Don’t I?
She had no idea that at that time I couldn’t even write a complete sentence or have a normal five-minute-conversation with others. My mind was filled up with fear and self-consciousness. I thought I should tell her that her daughter wasn’t feeling good and didn’t want to write anything. But I didn’t.
“Ok,” I simply answered, and then hung up the phone.
I checked my blog inbox and found several messages from all those kind strangers and from my uncle asking what happened to me.
I felt I had no choice. I was expected to write. I had to write.
The impostor feeling became even stronger. I could secretly blame the admissions officers for having made the wrong decision in accepting me — they had put me in the position of being an impostor. But for my blog, I had no excuse. I knew how bad my situation was, but also knew exactly what my readers expected to hear.
I chose to satisfy them. I turned my diaries into a fiction, a beautiful picture of an idealistic young reporter fighting and making progress in a great city. I betrayed myself and ruined my diary. As time went by, I could not remember which parts were true and which details I had made up. I would never be able to trust myself. What a pitiful one.
I seized on the cliché “Fake it until you make it,” and tried to console myself. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing that I faked something. Maybe that could inspire me to be as good as I appeared. I desperately needed something to comfort my guilty and fear.
Once again, I was able to bury some truth under that inspiring idea. Finally I could sit back down at my desk and start writing: “Sorry to skip the last week but I was too busy in this amazing place. I came to find my place, and kept exploring in journalism …”
It was the end of the fifth week.
Life continued as if nothing had happened. I resumed my weekly posts, satisfying all my readers with an imaginary New York life. My terror and anxiety seemed to gradually fade away. I didn’t give any thought to the impostor idea anymore, and my readership remained at around 3,300.
I still felt nervous about making phone calls, and was unable to write beautiful English. My stories were still returned with full-page critiques. I was asked to let the language tutor proof read my stories before I handed them in. I went to the tutoring every week, and I was much more used to the fact that I was lagging behind – I even lost interest in the idea of catching up. I felt numb.
My blog became a totally different place about another person, amazing me. I seemed to have little attachment to my posts, and wrote as if fabricating a novel. I imagined the lovable person I would love to be, and made her alive with my words.
If life went on like this, with everything covered up and taken care of, my life might be more peaceful.
But it wasn’t.
It got worse. In December, I was selected to be one of China’s first group of Rhodes Scholars.
Me, an imposter, a fraud, at Oxford.
I had no idea what a Rhodes scholarship was before. My college advisor happened to visit New York in September and encouraged me to apply for it. “It’s a great chance,” he said, “and even if you don’t get it, you won’t be losing anything”
Always listening to my advisor, I submitted the application. I didn’t give it any thought – I didn’t have the luxury for day-dreaming – until the first week of December. I was back home on break, standing by my bedroom window, looking at some children playing on the grass when I got a call telling me I’d been selected. I felt no excitement, no relief. It did not seem real.
I couldn’t recall many details of the phone call. I turned around and saw my father standing by the door, looking at me with expectation.
“I got in,” I said.
“Really?” He widened his eyes.
“I’m gonna call your mother,” he turned around. Suddenly I felt extremely tired, and just wanted to find a place to rest. I went to the couch and sat down slowly.
On the flight back to New York the following day I could not eat or sleep. I was afraid of being called a “Rhodes Scholar.” It made me feel all the more like an imposter.
I took out my computer, looked at the application criteria and wondered how they could have chosen me.
All the judges must have been deceived. I, again, had cheated them.
I did not know how I passed the customs in JFK Airport. All I felt was nervousness and dizziness. I turned on my cell phone, and was freaked out – hundreds of messages and tens of new friend requests on my social network; most of them were Chinese journalists requesting an interview. .
On the way back to school, I began sweating and felt extremely afraid. What should I tell the reporters? How would others find out that I was not as good as they thought? And for those people re-posting the news on the page, we actually knew each other, and they knew how common I was – I always procrastinated, I cut classes, I did very badly in some courses. Yes for sure they all knew that! They just pretended to praise me while secretly teasing me. And for my Columbia colleagues? They did not know what a hard time I was having, but they all saw how bad my work was. What would they think of me? What would my professors expect from me? Would I disappoint everybody?
Those thoughts overwhelmed me, and as I arrived in school, I collapsed. I wanted to escape.
I sent a message to my boyfriend asking him to pick me up after my evening class, and then turned off my cellphone.
I only finished half of the class and asked to leave. I couldn’t focus on what we were learning and felt like vomiting. I rushed out of the classroom and went to an Asian restaurant on Broadway with my boyfriend.
We ordered some sake, and I started drinking, without saying anything. The sake was heated up before being sent to the table, and I drank very fast. I was not good at drinking. Even before I finished my first bottle, I started to cry.
“I’m scared,” I cried, “I just want to write. I have no idea what the so-called ‘future world leader’ means. I simply love writing.”
My boyfriend looked at me quietly, as if he were looking at a frightened kitten.
“But they think I am … I must have cheated them …” I said vaguely, with liquor and tears in my mouth.
I logged on my blog to check my number of followers. It was now over 8,000. The newcomers had rushed in to read, like, and comment on my previous weekly posts.
I am a fraud. This time I am for sure.
My boyfriend finished his drink and laughed, “I should take pictures of you. It’s good news, right? Why are you crying?”
I was irritated, clenching the bottleneck and was about to shout. But I didn’t. I just kept crying and drinking, and babbling. I didn’t know what I wanted to say. I just repeated the same words — scared, tired. And tired.
I kept asking for more alcohol until the waitress stopped me. The owner of the restaurant had told her not to give me anymore to drink.
“She must think that I would be so drunk that I would smash everything here. Why don’t we begin doing that now?” I laughed, and turned to my boyfriend, like a mischievous kid.
I didn’t remember when he sent me back to my dorm. My head felt so heavy that I threw myself into bed and decided to sleep for at least 20 hours. But the fire alarm rang at around 8 am the next day and I was forced out.
I sobered up in the cold wind, and started vomiting.
I knew there was something wrong with me. But I didn’t realize that I was not alone. The world is filled with imposters.
I Googled “impostor syndrome.” There it was – an actual syndrome.I quickly learned that imposters can experience three feelings:
1) Feeling like a fake
2) Attributing success to luck
3) Discounting Success.
I felt all three.
The term itself was coined in 1978 by two American psychologists, Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes. They described it as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” While these people “are highly motivated to achieve,” they also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.”
They also pointed out the following behaviors commonly found in high-achieving women with impostor syndrome:
1) Diligence. In order to prevent people from discovering that they are “impostors,” gifted people often work hard, which leads to more praise and success, and in fact perpetuates the impostor feelings and fears of being “found out.”
2) Feeling like a phony. Those “impostors” often attempt to give supervisors the answers that they believe they want, which only intensifies their feeling of “being a fake.”
3) Use of charm. Connected to this, gifted women often use their intuitive perceptiveness and charm to gain approval and praise from others. However, when others praise or recognize them, they feel the praise is based on charm, instead of ability.
4) Avoiding displays of confidence: A person dealing with impostor feelings may believe that if they actually believe in their intelligence and abilities they may be rejected by others. Therefore, to avoid this, they may convince themselves that they are not intelligent or do not deserve success.
I tried to match my situation with those descriptions one by one – based on my self-diagnosis, I was definitely trapped in this syndrome, which is particularly common among people like me – women who have achieved. .
I soon found out that I was not alone in J-School. “I don’t know why I came so far to learn journalism here,” said Xinyu Jing, a fellow Chinese., “I don’t feel it a match, and my English writing is so poor that I keep thinking about dropping out.”
Her worst days, coincidentally, were the same days as mine – starting from the end of the first month. Same as me, she chose to be silent and struggle on her own, without telling anyone else at school. I had no idea about her days back then, just as nobody knew about mine.
Many people suffered in silence, Professor Imes had written. “Most people don’t talk about it. Part of the experience is that they’re afraid they’re going to be found out.”
I began searching for fellow imposters. One of them was William Somerville, a PhD student in clinical psychology at The New School in New York City, whom I found on a psychology forum. He described his feelings of being a fraud vividly. “There’s a sense of being thrown into the deep end of the pool and needing to learn to swim,” he said. “But I wasn’t just questioning whether I could survive. In a fundamental way, I was asking, ‘am I a swimmer?’”
Though not an official diagnosis listed in the DSM, the impostor syndrome is more and more widely acknowledged by psychologists as a very real and specific form of intellectual self-doubt, usually accompanied with anxiety and depression. Higher educational institutions including Caltech have established special services in their counseling centers for those suffering from the impostor syndrome, with particular concern about “gifted women.”
So, was I really a fraud?
I could not afford counseling, not with the inexpensive health plan I had signed up for, not thinking that I might one day need the help.
I would have to treat myself.
I first tried a popular therapy for the syndrome: writing therapy, which aims to allow the person to organize their thoughts in writing. I tried to write down my objective accomplishments, hoping to associate those accomplishments with reality, rather than, as a psychology textbook I found put it, “simply dismissing them internally.”
It was a terrible idea for a writer. After all, we play with words.
In fact, my syndrome was deeply rooted in what I had written — my shabby news stories, and my semi-phony blog posts. I didn’t believe anything I wrote down – including those seemingly therapeutic words. After writing too many personal stories and posting them to the public, I couldn’t tell which were true and which were fabricated. The more I wrote, the more I disbelieved.
If my problem was about writing, I wondered, what would happen if I stopped writing?
I stopped posting to my blog. Nervous and excited, I thought I had found a great way forward for myself.
I counted the days, every day. Three days after I was due to publish my weekly post, I got a message from my mother:
“Why did you stop again?” she asked.
I was suddenly hit by a feeling that was a mix of relief and grief. I knew exactly why I felt so badly about being an imposter, about trying to be perfect. Her message, in her usual tone, reminded me of something obvious but which I had long neglected:
I was not writing to those thousands of strange followers. I was writing to them. My parents.
I remembered the fifth week when I was struggling with whether to continue portraying myself as a happy, successful young woman on my blog. My mother phoned me and said: “Many of my colleagues follow your blog. We are all waiting for you.”
She was the authority in my family when I was only a child. Even as I tried my best to be a good girl, she seemed never to be satisfied. She is not a bad person, but she has a bad temper – a typical Chinese tiger mom. When I grew up and read Amy Chua’s memoir on the subject, I had great understanding and sympathy for her daughters.
I tried harder and harder, under great fear that I might irritate my mother, and as a result I pushed myself to accomplish more and more. That confirmed her idea that my education was a great success. “If I hadn’t treated you well, how could you be such a success?” once she said to me proudly.
My father, a traditional Chinese intellectual, feels things deeply but seldom shares those feelings. He used to be a joyful man. But that ended after his father’s death. My dad became more silent and melancholy. He almost never smiled or laughed. Every time I wanted to talk to him, he was like an iceberg.
“I realize one thing after your grandpa’s death,” he told me one summer evening. “Why are we living in the world? The only answer is to make our parents happy. If they are not here, all the things you do will be meaningless.”
Though I understood that he was so sad because of my grandpa’s death, I told him I did not agree with his opinion. I think children should serve themselves first, and not simply live to sacrifice for their parents. “Selfish,” my father said, and walked away.
My parents and I share a social network. One Chinese New Year’s Eve I posted a picture of myself when I was perhaps six years old. My father texted me immediately: “Delete it.”
“Why?” I asked.
“I don’t like it,” he wrote. “Delete it.”
Such exchanges continue. Photos they don’t like, “Delete it;” Posts they don’t like, “Delete it;” complaints or such sad words as “I feel tired and stressed – too much to do,” “Delete it.”
“You shouldn’t post the stuff with a negative profile,” my father said. “it is selfish to radiate your bad mood to others.”
Last summer, when I was back home and, at 23 still single, he frowned at me: “You posted too many photos on your social network, some with your male friends. Those pictures will freak other boys out and no one will ask you for a date because they’ll think you are cheap.”
His demands that I delete a post always came with the words, “I was disappointed.” I cannot recall his ever praising me. Instead, he would say, “Do not let me down.” I tried so hard not to let him down. Even illness revealed to my father is prohibited – he told me, “You couldn’t take care of yourself and that’s your weakness. I AM SO DISAPPOINTED.”
I am so afraid to hear the word: “disappointed.” As time went by, I became afraid to hear this word not only from my dad, but from everyone. I am so afraid to let others down. Even now, every time I feel I let my boyfriend down, I ask, “Did I disappoint you? Did you tell me your true feeling?”
Only good kids deserve to be loved. That’s what I learned from my parents. I have to work really, really hard, and be really, really good. Otherwise no one will love me, even parental love, it is CONDITIONAL.
I made a mistake that difficult fall in New York. I told my parents I was depressed. I told them that I didn’t feel well and didn’t want to go to school.
“You are so fragile and that is your weakness,” said my father. “I am disappointed that you couldn’t be stronger.”
“It is you who made the choice to go to Columbia and learn journalism,” said my mother. “Don’t ever try to blame us. You should take responsibility.”
Now things became much clearer: I am not trying to cheat others. I am trying to please my parents.
Whether I’m a fraud or not seemed not that important anymore.
“Did I disappoint you?” once again I asked my boyfriend worriedly after I failed to answer a random question he asked. It had become my habit.
“Of course you might disappoint me, and you might continue to do so,” he replied, this time seriously. “But what’s the matter? It is a super normal thing to not live up to other’s expectations. You have to allow yourself to be normal.”
“I just have a higher standard for myself, you see, I never demand anything from you,” I said.
“You didn’t demand anything so far, but you will. You want yourself to be perfect and to never disappoint your parents, but soon you’ll understand to be perfect means you have a perfect educational background, a perfect job, and, of course, a perfect boyfriend.”
For the first time I realized that the intention to “show others I am perfect” not only hurts me, but may hurt others, especially those closest to me.
It was the first time someone actually told me that I might disappoint him, and that it was normal.
Then I got a welcome gift, from Oxford. Notifcation that I had failed. I had already been accepted to the Contemporary Chinese Studies program at Oxford for the Rhodes Scholarship. But I had also applied for another program – Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation
I was turned down. Rejected.
I was thrilled.
I felt relieved, and a bit excited. In truth I found myself less and less interested in policy-related studies. I had applied for the program because I had promised the committee that I would, even as I secretly hoped I would not get in.
I don’t know why, but when I thought of this I sensed a bit of the excitement of revenge.
I published a short statement on my blog and used vague language: “I checked my email and found a rejection from Oxford EBSIPE. Honestly I felt happy, and my best friend said she could understand the ‘relief of being rejected.’ For one who always swings back and forth between choices, no choice is the best choice.” I hadn’t told others that I did get a back-up major, just hoping to spread the news that I WAS REJECTED.
No surprise. My parents started messaging within minutes. “Why are you doing this? It’s meaningless! Other people will think that you are not qualified and the whole Rhodes Scholarship is a joke!” my mother scolded me.
“I AM not qualified,” I said. “At least for the program, otherwise it would not reject me.”
My father was as direct as he had always been. “Delete it,” he said, as usual.
“Why?” I asked. “It’s your private stuff, you don’t need to let others know,” he said.
I don’t think so. I had been writing weekly blogs for over six months, all about my private life and feelings – some true, some not.
“I don’t think it’s a problem, dad,” I replied. “I have written so much stuff like this before, but you even encouraged me to write. I thought it was because this time it was a ‘bad thing’ to you.”
For the first time I was not that obedient. Deep in my mind, I had a firm idea – if I couldn’t be able to say “no” to my parents, I would never get rid of the impostor feeling, and might keep looking good and feeling rotten inside.
His reaction was even beyond my imagination. “You think you can outwit me? This action is childish and boring. Do you think that all your achievements were to fulfill my vanity? You are absolutely wrong! I am extremely, extremely disappointed. You want to do this, okay, do what you want, and don’t ever talk to me.”
This time for sure, I disappointed him. I knew if I had apologized or deleted the blog as he wished, he would not be mad at me, he would “forgive” me, and I would go back to the “amazing daughter.”
At the same time, my readers began to write me. I deleted them all. I didn’t really care about what those strangers thought about me, this time I acknowledged, I was only performing in front of my parents.
Maybe at the end of the day what we struggle with is in fact how we face our closest ones, our parents. I am not perfect, but I am not a fraud either. I have my limits, which I have to admit.
But as I might secretly want my boyfriend to be perfect, I might also secretly think my parents are perfect. All what they say or do should be right, and if it is not right, it should nonetheless be good for me. I had written flattering things about my parents — my father, an idealistic, intellectual engineer with profound knowledge in arts, and my mother, a beautiful woman who loves to sing and dance.
Those images were actually polished, or distorted by me. What makes this painful is not merely the fact that I am not perfect, but that neither, I had finally come to see, are they.
Born in China. Based in New York. Heading for Oxford.
Voracious reader. Passionate storyteller. Rookie journalist.