When I am 6,
It’s my first day of school.
Hair in baubles and pigtails and wearing those glitter jelly sandals.
The teacher asks me how to pronounce my last name, I tell them, they try once.
They give up.
The boys pull their eyes up and I don’t understand. What does it mean?
I found out later.
When I am 10,
I go to school, packed lunch in hand.
It’s noodles; my favourite.
I open my box and they say “Why are you eating worms? That’s so gross!”
(I starve that day)
When I am 13,
I walk past some classmates, they look like they're searching for something.
“Oi, Jackie Chan, your eyes are squinty, help us find my coins!”
They laugh and I walk away.
When I am 16,
I look in the mirror, and I don't like what I see.
Skin of yellow, flat nose, I wish I was ivory.
I’m so conflicted and confused, and I don’t know my place in the world.
I wish I was like everyone else.
When I am 18,
University is fun. I’ve made friends.
The same as me.
When I am 21,
I understand what I am, what I want to be.
No longer do I look in the mirror and stare at a stranger.
My core reflects my appearance, I have embraced, accepted and relieved.
I am happy.
Now I am 23,
I bring my noodles to lunch.