Surviving Bullies Project

Looking Back: Shan Shan

Seventh grade was when I experienced loneliness from hell. I felt condemned to perpetual inferiority because the society I knew labeled me as nothing else but a chink and a nerd. I felt awkward, repulsive, and chinky. Truly, I wanted to die.

Shan Shan Jiang
(click to enlarge)
After moving to the United States from China when I was nine years old, I stopped fitting in.

I was one of four Asian kids in a mostly Italian-American school, and that made my life hell. Seventh grade was the worst. Besides the ominous and inescapable “ching chung chung” that people usually uttered as they passed me, the chink, in the halls, there were also girls who routinely stuck clumps of tape in my hair on the bus and watched as I struggled to get them out. Their cackling proved that my struggles were mere entertainment for them. Yet to me, it seemed as if they, like leeches, fed upon my misery. It energized them as they consumed all of my self worth, confidence, and any hope for acceptance.

Seventh grade was when I experienced loneliness from hell. I felt condemned to perpetual inferiority because the society I knew labeled me as nothing else but a chink and a nerd. And after a while, everywhere I went, I felt like a thorn, awkward, repulsive, and chinky. It became inescapable, but not because of outside torments. Instead, it was because of my own self-loathing. After a while, I saw myself as a disgusting person, deserving of torment. I hated everything that I was, and, most of all, I hated the irrevocable fact that I was Chinese. Truly, I wanted to die.

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