Hi. I’m YZ.
I’m a storyteller.
But I have a long history of shying away from my art and my heart.
- I allowed myself to be creative in 2013, at long last.
- I got my MFA in Screenwriting in 2017.
- I started this blog in July 2018.
- I produce a weekly podcast called Rock Bottom with YZ.
- I’m writing my first novel.
Before I’m YZ, I was just a city kid, born and raised in the late ’80s Shanghai to a working-class couple, the epitome of Average Joe and Jane.
To understand me, you need to know about my parents.
Upon his mandatory retirement on his 60th birthday in 2017, dad had been chauffeuring all his adult life, from truck to car, from Volkswagen to Cadillac, from the time when the main transportation method was still bicycle even in cities like Shanghai. He stayed with the same state-owned company throughout his career of four decades.
I once asked dad if he had a second chance, what he would do.
His answer blew me away:
“I was good at sewing and really liked it. I wanted to be a tailor and design clothes.”
For those who know my dad, he’s a manly man. Forever a mischievous kid outside, I would stop my tantrum upon hearing dad’s menacing abracadabra one-two-three through his gritted teeth. Even my Shanghai kitty Michael knows better.
I asked dad what stopped him from becoming a man-tailor. He said his father, my grandpa, never liked the idea of men doing woman’s job.
Mum, on the other hand, went from being a textile factory worker to selling shoes in department stores. Until one day in the early 2000s, she found out she carried Hepatitis B virus and it was activated. She had to resign and got hospitalized immediately. She has been staying home and on meds since.
I asked mum if she ever regretted being a housewife not-by-choice. She replied with her typical Sagittarius optimism:
“Nah. You’re my biggest achievement.”
Dad, the Stick.
Mum, the Carrot.
I, the Donkey.
I think that’s why my loving parents let me pursue my dream when most Chinese parents urge their kids to settle down as soon as they graduate from college.
I’m a Dragon Lady
I just turned thirty
My finance is beet red
I may look like a tough cookie,
But I’m just a lava cake.
A few days after my 3-0 birthday, on a cool Californian night before my family’s returning to China, dad and I had a long talk about my future. He said:
“Better stay single with your dream than married to some sorry ass.”
I choked on my tears in front of my manly man. “I want to make you proud.” I murmured. To which he waved, “We just want you to be happy.”
That’s a long way of saying:
Thank you for meeting me at my Mt. Rock Bottom.
And here is my promise to y’all:
declare and affirm that
I will tell the truth,
the whole truth
and nothing but