Memory is a funny thing. Sometimes there are memories that you think have been long forgotten, but they're instantly triggered with a sound, a touch, a story. Those memories were actually right beneath the surface, tenuously held from the forefront of your mind.
A collection of someone else's memories triggered very similar memories and events from my own childhood. These are not good memories. They are not things that I think of fondly.
It makes me worry for my future children, when they are in school and are targeted as different simply because of their ethnicity. I never want my future children to think "I wish I was white" like I did when I was growing up, to think of how everything would be so much easier if I wasn't Asian.
I'm thankful that something in me changed through all of this, that I cultivated great pride in my ethnicity. I'm thankful that growing up, I found friends who were Asian-American and understood these things like only those who have been through it can.
Identity is a tricky thing. Identity and ethnicity together are even trickier. They work, really, hand in hand and can't be separated. I am shaped by my race and ethnicity. They inform who I am and how the world interacts with me.
I'm so glad I got to the other side, but it makes me emotional to remember. There's a certain amount of helplessness and self-loathing that comes from that kind of teasing. I know it's not something that I really ever talked about but I think it's important to share these stories, because if we are ignorant of what's going on these things will never change.
Ching-Kuo, sincerely, thank you for sharing your story.