Everyone has his or her own struggles to deal with, which is why I don’t really like to talk about mine. However, the struggles I had did indeed help shape me as an individual. When I was younger, I was very quiet and reserved—exactly the opposite of how I am now. Due to this trait, I guess some people just saw me as an easy target. My mother grew up in Taiwan, and she immigrated to America to make something better out of her life. Because she was a native Mandarin Chinese speaker, that’s how she and I would communicate in the early years of my life, so I was effectively bilingual. I never saw this as a big deal until one of my six-year-old classmates came up to me and asked me why I was such a freak. He told me I was ugly and didn’t belong here with normal people, and that I should go back to the pig’s hole of a country where I came from. Those are some pretty prejudiced things for a six year old to say to someone, especially since I’m only half ethnic. I was born in America, so how was I any less American? I wasn’t. I didn’t see it that way, though. I thought being half Chinese made me inferior to everyone else—that I was ugly, unimportant, and abnormal. I pretty much grew up with the mentality of being ugly, unimportant, and abnormal, all thanks to one individual. This “personal struggle” really taught me how much words mean. It doesn’t matter if your words seem unimportant—everything said by every single person is important, and they all have an impact on someone. Words are so powerful, and it’s so unfair to underestimate that.
March 19, 2012