I big fat lie. I cry everytime.

I never cried before. Well, that’s one big fat lie. I cry everytime. I make myself cry by watching any movies about pets and animals and death and sadness. Why do I do this to myself? Crying simply feels magnificent, giving me a sense of rejuvenation from the stress and the laughter of life. Some may call me sensitive. Then the moment my neighbor’s rooster cocka-doodle-doos in the morning, I spring up, hopping out of bed as if I didn’t use a whole kleenex box the day before. For me crying has always been the same, with minimal impact and maximal comfort. However, crying changed for me when I started school. I remember the day before Kindergarten. I remember being the bubbly five-year-old who clutched my father’s hands, afraid of leaving but excited of what’s to come. I remember how little I knew English because my parents didn’t even speak the language. I remember the kid that approached me, with a smirk on his face, making gurgle sounds and laughing from his success on trying to replicate my Japanese dialect. I remember the class laughing. The laughing sounds ricocheted in my mind as my father held me in his arms, with my hot mess of tears wrinkling his striped shirt. With his softly thumping heart on my ears, I felt my heart panting for security. With his cold hands patting my hair, I became insecure, afraid of going out into the real world. I became ashamed of my identity and the incident made me feel like I did not belong here. The idea of social contact made me cower in fear and somehow, confronting the teachers was a nightmare for me. No way, I thought, was I going to make this problem worse. And that’s what I did–I avoided interactions. Being placed in the lowest English class, English language development 1, I felt like an electron–I was hopelessly tiny compared to the other protons, or the definition of the “identity” of an atom, at school. As part of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, I was overly aware of where I was but I didn’t know where I was going. I only knew one thing–I cared too much about how others thought about me. I remember the overwhelming feeling of helplessness collapse on me when my father fractured his tailbone. The sudden family responsibility was placed on my shoulders as I needed to cook and shop for groceries. With my mom working and my dad resting, I would walk to Vons and North-South to scavenge for the food we needed. There was simply no time to cry. It was then that I realized something that would free me from my insecurities and guide the pathway of my life–none of them were able “to climb into someone’s skin and walk around in it,” and thus, no one truly knew what I was going through. My newfound identity encouraged me to seek help with English. I began to discuss the beauty of English engraved in stories and knowledge during lunch, as if I were an attendee of a Salon from the Enlightenment. I read to my father on his bed and wrote stories for him. We became fluent. As I started high school, I stopped soccer because I realized that I was just seeking fame. Instead, I chose to rollerblade because it was fun to. I participated in math and science clubs because I was genuinely interested in the sciences. Friendships formed from genuine interests and similar passions to things we love; not by popularity. I volunteered at my local daycare which gave me the satisfaction from helping others and seeing the children, many of whom are just like me, developing into an enthusiastic and confident individual. Looking back, I am grateful for the laughter, for the wrinkles of my father’s shirt and for the responsibilities of me. I am grateful for this experience and I am grateful for the pain I have felt that transformed me into who I am today–someone who is driven to change the world one life at a time.