She stood next to me, towering over me. My legs swung back and forth from the playground bench, trying to stay in rhythm with the nearby slap-slap sound of a jump rope smacking the blacktop, again and again.
She told us she was going to be a model. I believed she would be and easily could be. The rest of the girls with us agreed. She was beautiful.
When I said I wanted to be a model too, she half-smiled. Then she chuckled and said, “You’re cute, but you can’t. Asian people are short, and short people can’t be models.”
The words were quick and effortless, the way my finger pushes the start button on our dishwasher. One press and things begin to whirl into motion. A belief began to wrestle around, looking for a place to stick: Asian women aren’t beautiful. I am not beautiful.
I lay in bed after that, night after night, pinching the edge of my nose together, hoping to make it longer, pointier, taller — less cute. I stared in mirrors, trying to imagine my strong, long hair a shade lighter and a little less wild. I stood on my toes in my room, pretending I was taller.
Read the rest of the post over at (in)courage