what being bullied taught me
Being bullied as a kid taught me compassion and standing up for what’s right. Being in Seoul is a bit of a culture shock because with growing up in Minnesota, Wyoming and South Dakota, this is the first time in my life being around so many people that all look like me. Growing up I was uncomfortable being around Asians because Asians were different where I’m from, they were not accepted and so I didn’t care about the culture, I didn’t want anything to do with being Asian. In fact, I have vivid memories of feeling ashamed for who I was. In middle school I played volleyball and man did I love playing volleyball. I remember when ever it was my turn to serve, this one particular team we played would start to chant “ching chang ching chang” over and over again and place their pointer fingers on the corners of their eyes and pull their eyes slanted tight. WOW. Startling huh? Kids actually did that, not just once but the entire season. Who was their coach? Who were their parents? Where was my coach during all of this? I always wondered if anyone ever stood up for me behind my back because how those kids acted was cruel and I hope 1, 2, 3, all of them are reading this blog. And that’s just one instance, I have many more but you get the point. I’m not sharing this so you feel bad for me because I certainly don’t feel bad for me, I’m not the victim here. We all have our own set of struggles and this was mine. I’m sharing this because being in Seoul with “my people” makes me feel so proud to be Korean. I wouldn’t trade who I am for the world and I recognize that although the creation of One Love Movement is about my story of being an orphan, it’s also my story of growing up in a world feeling like I didn’t belong, wishing I would wake up as someone else, always envying the pretty white girl, and blaming my eating and self-image problems on the shame of being Korean. Today, One Love is all about advocating for kids who don’t have a voice. When I was being made fun of on the volleyball court, I didn’t know I had a voice. I never told the coach, I never complained. Today I have a loud voice, I ask for what I want, I make unreasonable requests, I say no when something doesn’t work for me, and I advocate for people behind their backs. I’m so grateful because my overwhelming compassion for people and to make things fair & just in the world is what I learned from being bullied, and today this is what One Love is all about.
I’ve always thought I was white, even today I think I’m white but I know that I look Asian which is a step up from when I was little, I thought I was white through and through. Growing up in Minnesota, Wyoming and South Dakota had it’s challenges being 1 of 2 Asians at all times, the other Asian being my older adopted sister. On one hand it didn’t phase me that I was different because I related to myself as being a white American which gave me the confidence to believe I fit in. On the other hand I would be reminded I was different when the comments would come. Something that’s always felt tattooed in my memory is playing my favorite sport ever When the term Asian American started to be used more and more to describe me I remember thinking that sounded weird because I saw myself as an American just like everyone else. I feel more comfortable around white people then I do around Asians