How rediscovering the boy band I obsessed over when I was 12—and connecting with other superfans from all over the world—helped me navigate life as an adult.
I was only 8 when I began working as an undercover security guard at estate sales. Among the dusty trinkets and used shampoo bottles, I learned a lot about human nature.
My family wanted me to change so badly, I suspended my disbelief and tried to imagine I could.
Convinced a demon was making me gay, my mother turned to exorcism. Years later, her pop idol finally helped her understand.
The “magic number” helped foreigners like me get by without learning the language. But I didn’t feel at home in China until I finally hung up the phone.