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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Looking Back: Dickon

Dickon Pownall-Gray
(click to enlarge)
For three long years, from age 11 to 14, I was cruelly bullied. I was the rich kid from the big house whose parents were TV Stars. At first the bullying was name-calling, pushing and shoving, stealing my school bag and filling it with old leaves, etc.

About six months into the bullying, I fought back and punched one of the kids of the group who was tormenting me. That afternoon, walking home from school on my own, a small green “Mini” car screeched to a halt next to me. The 17-year-old brother of the boy I had punched jumped out and beat me up. Finally he threw me into a barbed wire fence and drove off laughing.

The weight of my body impaled the rusty steel barbs so deeply into my flesh that I could not untangle myself from the wire wrapped around me without help. Three agonizing hours later, a kindly lady rescuer was able to slowly pull the barbed wire out of my wounds. Ashamed that the lady could see tears pouring down my cheeks, I turned rudely away and limped painfully into the forest, her kindly cries of “I will take you home,” muffled by the beech and oak trees.

Hidden from my rescuer in the deep forest, I heard, in my head, my father’s voice admonishing me, saying repeatedly, “Men don’t cry, men don’t cry.” Deeply humiliated by my inner voice, the “blubbing” got worse. I sank down on top of the leaf-covered ground. 

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