Wanda Diep writes in response to Ellen Bae’s zine, Korean Spa (self-published, 2018)

Where you exist

I am scared to pick up this zine, at first, to be honest. Fear and insecurity are roaring. These sensitivities. “What the fuck is a response? And an art critique? What?”

“Korean Spa” by Ellen Bae exists next to me, standing tall. Existing on its own. And when I open the zine, I become less afraid.

Ellen’s honesty. Her vulnerability. She is speaking about the feeling that every human feels - “hey, this is my insecurity.” She reflects what I feel. And I smile. Shoulders drop. “Hey stranger, i get you.” To exist in america as an asian american woman is a special experience. The expectations. Too skinny. Too fat

. too . not . enough.

Handles, hips, marks, BOOBS, legs, arms. All perfect. Yours, mine, ours.

Beauty exists where you exist. In your skin. In those you love. This is the reminder you give in your existence. In your choice to share.

What does it mean to exist with neutral feelings and with love for our bodies? Ellen, that self-doubt. I’m right there with you. What does it mean to exist in between? To start to fall in love with the body. To want to fall in love with the body, our body. This body.

What peace comes to see yourself through the eyes of those you love. To see yourself truly, honestly. Bare, open - vulnerable.

What a breath of relief to know we do not exist alone in our sensitivities, to be aware of ourselves and to be aware of others. The humanness that connects us together. The zine is a reminder to take a day, run fingers down your forearm. Fingertips through your hair.

Do we forget how loved our baby feet were? Like a baby’s feet. Soft, small. Gentle.

— Wanda Diep

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