Terror of Teasing

23 Jan

Teasing is worse than PTSD. It’s a living terror of every day, every second your heart pounds that someone will single you out and humiliate you. It’s only a whisper there, and glimmer there, a passed note on the other side and the tide mounts and continues to get worse the more you stay with those people. It plays with your identity and every foundation of who you think you are. And those whispers start with childish jeers of race, religion, and impossible questions that don’t want answers. Then it builds to a peak where the teasing gets smarter and smarter. Where a kid can’t be reprimanded for singling someone out because of a feature of who they are.

A little teasing made my life a living terror. The only way I could escape was to go into my mind. The more they teased, the more I day dreamed. The more that I day dreamed, the more I tuned out the world. I started to disconnect myself completely from the world. I also plunged myself into school work to try to get some kind of praise or approval that I craved so desperately. I put myself into wanting to get perfect grades, to being the top of my class. I wanted to escape the whispers.

But I couldn’t escape the whispers because they began to whisper in my own head too. Maybe I wasn’t pretty. Mothers say their own children are pretty, don’t they? There weren’t any other Asian Kids in the class. Maybe I was really ugly. There weren’t any Asians on television either besides Mr. Miyagi and Jackie Chan. The women were all arm decoration supporting the hero.

What my mother said, I knew, were insecurities. Because the underlying words were, you’re more beautiful than I.

I ran home at times, crying over being teased. I cried from the bus stop. I asked why. And my Dad wouldn’t say anything. “It’ll make you stronger” My Mom would see the tears and would hand me a wash cloth. She’d ask my Dad what was wrong and he’d tell her, but she would forget. Neither of them could face my pain. Neither of them stood up for me.

I began to fish for praise, but finding none, and getting scolded at home for not getting a perfect report card, and being teased at school, I found the world of imagination beckoning me in. And there I flew until my parents thought I had ADD, not being able to face their daughter was being teased.

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