All I wanted was to hear the simple words, “You are worth it.” Worth someone's time,
someone's effort, someone's love. I walked out of the house, shut the door gently behind me, and
took a breath. The bitter winter air felt oppressive, and it stabbed me with frigidity. I wanted to
escape. I wanted to run from the burning hatred in that house. I wanted to free myself from the
feeling of fiery guilt.
What if I did more? I could have helped my parents avoid their
misunderstanding. It's all my fault. I'm a worthless son.
I got into the car, and listened to the soft
crunch of snow under its wheels. I drove to the one place I could find solace.
* * *
Many years earlier, the playground changed me as a person. I can still remember that
glorious first hour of recess. My second grade class walked out and was greeted by nothing but
bright sun, blue skies, and gentle wind. We all made our way toward the field to play a game of
pickup soccer, but the feelings of freedom and joy from stepping out of the classroom quickly
faded. Some faces began to show hints of worry. I was one of those kids. I stood there in line
with everyone else at recess, waiting to be picked. I saw the two captains scrutinizing us, looking
for signs of weakness or incapability. The established jocks were the first to go. Then, the friends
of the jocks. After, the quieter but athletic kids. And finally, anyone remaining from biggest to
smallest. I was picked last, a tiny little Asian boy with a downcast face. The second grade social
ladder was established, and I found myself on the bottom rung. The jeers of the bigger kids at me
are still imprinted in my mind, and would serve as a start to my need to establish myself as an
individual and not just some tiny kid. Since I clearly was not fit to be the athletic type, I sought
to prove myself through other means. I excelled in school and in piano, which earned praise from
teachers and students alike, but never seemed to earn me friendship, or satisfy my parents.
* * *
The sense of confusion and inability to establish myself in my community would