English 125, Section 059
22 October 2010
Finding Value in Myself
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 oppressed me and 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 fiery guilt I felt.
What if I
did more? I could have helped my parents avoid their misunderstanding. I failed. It's all my fault. I'm a
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.
The playground changed me as a person.
It was through this facet of my earlier life as an
elementary school student that I developed my obsession to prove myself. The sun was shining, and the
faces of the second grade class beamed, some with hints of worry. I was one of those kids. I stood there
in line with everyone else at recess, waiting to be picked to be on one soccer team or the other. 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. Looking back, it's rather amusing to see
how quickly such cliques were established. The “jocks”, because they were the biggest or most athletic
kids in elementary school, remained jocks throughout grade school. 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
The sense of confusion and inability to establish myself in my community would continue into
middle school. Throughout those years, I hardly saw my parents, and I lost the few friends I had. My
parents owned a dry cleaner. My mother would work all day in the store, and my father would work in
the store after he was off work from GM. They would both come very late each evening, and they
would work long hours even on weekends. One evening, I remember sitting alone with my uncle, who
stayed for a little while to cook for my me and my brother. After dinner, he left to go work, and my
brother stayed out with his friends. I sat alone on the cold couch in silence. It's funny how oppressive a
quiet and dark house can be. It was in that moment that I realized how isolated I was. I could finally see
my situation for what it was: my parents were too busy to care about what I did in school or outside of