Dear Viewer,

You might know me as the quiet muse from #cindyproject, as an academic writing on Vietnamese history of libraries, or you might not know me at all. For a long time, I tried to delicately parse out the various identities I had to preserve my ‘professionalism’ and protect the ‘personal.’ I was told by men, women, old, young that a curated identity was for my own good.

But for someone whose work meditates on bringing nuance to history and art, I now confront my pursuit to be disingenuous. Neatly sectioned off, curated identities is a scam. It shrouds the beautiful mess of reality. It reinforces the existing hegemonic structure of social expectations and categories. ‘Artists are X. Academics are Y. Women are 1. Men are 2. Anything in-between or beyond these categories is not legitimate.’ This is false.

I am tired of treading softly between glass boundaries of what is considered ‘appropriate.’ I am tired of listening obediently to the voices of Reason, the Future, and Others tell me that I must be more or less. I want to look in the mirror and see myself, not others.

I was afraid to publish my art. I thought that by exposing my art to the world, I was exposing myself to public scrutiny. I was afraid that others would think that I was full of myself. That somehow Cindy thought she was

  • Talented
  • Hard working
  • Creative
  • Beautiful

But I realize that in fact, I am.

Or maybe this filmpoetry will ruin my reputation

  • Make me difficult to hire.
  • Make others feel uncomfortable .
  • Make others not take me seriously.
  • A ‘scarlet letter’ signaling to the world that I had a voice, a personality, a message.

But I realize that in fact, others should take me seriously. I can be difficult if I want to be.

Rather than be afraid, I wear the badge of humanity and vulnerability proudly. Because I have something to say that I truly believe in. That message is powerful. It shakes and moves me to write it. It will make you uncomfortable.

I am Cindy. I have something important to say.

MISS FIT

“The fit is not flattering”
She mouths their murmurs
to the reflection before her.
Eyes scan a faintly familiar figure.
Of crossed legs, brushed hair, slouched shoulders.
It is her, it is she, it is me.
A miss-fit.

Clean contours of plastic perfection
Support, mould the reformed body,
an ivory bust
an empire waistline awaits its ruler.
The patchwork of metal and fabric croak.
It is her, it is she, it is me.
A miss-fit.

She inches towards the mirror
Inhales the clinical scent of new merchandise
Examines the blurry fingerprints of those before her
Smeared across the reflection of her body.
A palimpsest of hourglass dreams.
It is her, it is she, it is me.
A miss-fit.

Mascara lashes fall softly
Lacquered lips press against the cold glass.
Farewell distorted distant stranger.
And hello nice to see you again old friend.
Miss Fists crushes the glass apparition
In a splendid reckoning of femme fury.
It is her, it is she, it is me.
A miss-fit.

MISS FIT’ Filmpoetry Credits

Directed, Produced, Edited, Artistic Concept, Poem Written by Cindy Nguyen
Cinematography by Eric Kim
Beats by Bass N Instrumental Instrumental of ‘Feeling Myself – Nicki Minaj ft Beyonce’
Inspired by a lifetime of looking into the mirror and never seeing myself.


P.S. When the haters and patriarchal self-indulging bull-shitters feel the need to troll my filmpoetry, I will say: ‘Cool, bro. But that ain’t me you’re hurting. It’s you projecting your insecurities, prejudices, and impulse to mansplain in the human hope that you will be heard.’

[Typo version, but it works too: ‘It’s you projecting your insecurities, prejudices, and impulse to mansplain in the human hope that you will be hard.’]

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *