Not Like Them
I’m not like them.
This statement hits me hard as a small meek little girl stands in front of the mirror. Analyzing every feature, criticizing every difference. I got called the dreaded “Chinese Squinty-Eye” girl at school again today. The words hit me like a thorn in the side as I look closer at my eyes again.
I try to open my eyes more. Can I make them look less squinty? Can I stick the bridge of my nose out further? Would my mom let me get a perm? Wonder what my hair would look like blonde. Can I get blue contacts, stuff my bra, buy clothes from Abercrombie (yes, that was popular)? School was hard, really hard at times. Growing up in an upper middle class town with maybe a 0.00003% Asian population, people are mean. Mean Girls existed before the movie.
Those memories are still stuck with me, no matter how hard I try to erase them. They feed on me when I have a hard day. When I feel alone in the world. When I got in another argument with my husband, my kids, myself.
I spent hours in front of the mirror, doubting my beauty, my self worth, my uniqueness. It’s warped my brain on my self-confidence, my image, my love for others. I always have that nagging part of me that says “you’re not like them.”
But you know…all these years I thought not being like them was so awful. All that wasted time in front of the mirror trying to make my face look like someone else’s.
I’m Asian. I have almond shaped eyes, a flat nose, straight black hair and olive skin. I can’t change that.
But I can love it. I can embrace it.
I’m not like them. Not one bit.