I remember my first bully.

I was eight years old, eating alone. Just like as an adult, I always had difficulty making friends because I’m a natural introvert and a loner. Being an only-child, my immigrant parents had sheltered me from other kids, so even though I had an above-average imagination, I also stuggled to be social. This made me a magnet for Jesus. Not the Christ; a Mexican kid named Hay-sus. Jesus was a very popular kid and much like the pattern of bullies, they determine they don’t like you first, then find reasons to justify why you should be bullied. All it takes is a couple of flaws, a few mistakes and it’s okay to beat Louis up.

My biggest flaw was that my mom packed me Chinese food for lunch. I also looked ugly. My eyes were slanted, I spoke with an accent (I was still in ESL), I was skinny like a toothpick. I feared recess because that’s when Jesus would round up kids of all colors to tell me “this kid should feel sorry for himself.” Then they told me to go back to China, a place we happened to be learning about in social studies. My stupid self was always a peacemaker. I laughed when people picked on me. I offered to be friends. The first time the kids jumped me, I learned about hatred. I don’t know what I did to these kids, just that they took pleasure in my pain. I was beaten so bad, blood came out of my nose. The teacher grabbed me, sent me to the principal’s office, and the principal yelled at me for being in the fight. I was told it was my fault.

Jesus and company would often beat me during various grade levels in school. One day, my mom found out what happened and took me to the schoolyard to confront one of the boys who hit me (not Jesus). I kept pleading her to not do it, and she, in her broken English yelled at the boy and the kids got scared of her. My mom’s not a brave or particularly confrontational person, but when anyone hurts her son, she’ll turn her 4’8″ self into a mother lion. I swore that day she was gonna murder that kid. No one dared called her a “ching-chong” or told us to go back to China.

A few months later, it was a Saturday and my mother was hanging clothes while I was swinging in the back play set. I was around 9. This big white kid (a young teenager) started coming toward our backyard fence and smashing down our fence. My mother yelled at him and he mocked “ching ching chong”. She called the cops via 911 and they lectured her that it was not a 911 emergency. My dad later came back to fix the fence the kid broke. The kid continued to break our fence a couple more times, before he got bored and stopped doing it. We were taught that if this happened, we just had to stay quiet and hope the bully went away.

In fifth grade, there was a black kid named Gary. Gary was a really big kid, twice my size. He didn’t like to lose in kickball. When it was my turn to kick, he ordered the pitcher (the person rolling the ball) to throw it at my face. I dodged the first one. Stupid me, I stood there thinking they’d stop doing it. The kids encouraged the pitcher to “hurt the chink” and “send him back to China”. The second pitch hit me square in the face and I fell backwards, holding my eye. Later on, in class, the teacher sat us to watch a VHS tape and Gary happened to sit behind me. He and his friends kept calling me racial names and Gary kicked my back. I sat there, silent as he kept kicking my back. This made him angrier because I wasn’t reacting. “I wonder if this China boy saw ow in Chinese,” Gary laughed out loud. He finally kicked me so hard it almost cracked my spine. I was in near tears. Gary kept saying “Ching ching chong ching ching chong” until I finally turned around and yelled “stop it, you big black boy” and punched him in his face.

I was so shocked I did this, but even more shocked that big ol’ Gary went down for the count. I later learned it was because Gary wore braces and I happened to hit the braces, which made his mouth bleed. Gary got so mad that he quickly got up and punched me so hard, I lost conscious for a bit. I had never gotten hit so hard before. “Damn chink,” he muttered.

Later, I was sent to the principal’s office, where I met Gary and his parents. Gary’s parents were livid that I called his son “a big black boy”. They yelled at me and threatened to sue my parents. I had came back from the nurse with a giant ice pack on my jaw. I had to apologize to Gary and his smug face. I was made to admit that everything was my fault.

This is the first time I talked about this three decades later. I’ve had worst bullies as an adult. I find it theraputical to finally say it. I’ve been often told that expressing myself is trying to be a victim. It discouraged me from speaking out. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, I just want them to know that every individual is crafted by their experiences. My whole life theme is defined by bullies. I don’t think the world does enough about them. It’s a miracle most people don’t crack and go on a killing spree. I’ve learned to be a peaceful person, avoiding them as my choice to continue staying loving and sane. I’m not a perfect person, I just want people to know bullies aren’t perfect either and rather than be so scared of them to say it to their face that they’re wrong too, people should do something. I just think that if one person early in my life had came to my aid and asked if I was alright, it would’ve made a world of a difference. I’m not going to spend the rest of this writing about every bullied incident of my life. That’d drag on forever.