My mother told me
When I was younger, that she would read the ugly duckling story to me, And the first time I heard it I cried. I cried because I constantly felt I was ugly and had hoped I would changed into a beautiful swan. Then I would constantly beg her to read it to me again and again.
To be honest I don’t have much memories as a child. A lot of them have faded away. I do remember being very sad being the last pick for any game during first grade. I remember everyone picking on me and calling me weird and getting bullied constantly. What I currently don’t remember was for why, but remembered I was always confused. I cried about not having friends. I remember that I was a chubby kid, I didn’t have the greatest grades, I didn’t know English and wasn’t fluent until I was 7. I was born here and didn’t even know the language here.
I remember that I would always tell my mother of every event that would happen in school, and how sad I always was. I had one memory of her doing one thing. She talked to one of my bullies named Kimberly and came up to her and pretty much lectured her on leaving me alone. I was so happy, until she left and that girl said to me,”It doesn’t matter what your mom said, I’m still going to do the same stuff.” Imagine the horror on my face, at 6 years old and all hope I had was just broken. It just made me realize how cruel little kids are, and yet through it all I still was able to be myself and noticed how wrong it was when they would do the same to others.
But they were moments I don’t remember. A couple years ago one of my classmates got in touch with me while I was visiting my old neighborhood. This was actually a boy I had a very large crush on in the third grade, but I never said anything because I always thought of myself as something to ugly or nothing special to look at. He wanted to hang out with me and I guess I asked him to show me around our old playgrounds. I don’t know why though, I remember the playground always made me depressed and the recess chaperon would always ask me why don’t I go out and play and I would say that I’m letting my stomach digest. But anyway we visited and we actually had some fun I was playing on multiple parts of the playground that I always wanted to indulge in when I was a kid. And then we just chatted and hanged around. He asked me.”Do you remember when I broke my arm?” And to be honest I had no recollection of the event at all. I told him,”Not really..” He looked slightly disappointed. Then he told how when he first came to class with the broken arm I was always by his side helping him. That I constantly carried his books, helped him gather his things, pretty much any assistance to help a third grader with a broken arm. He said because of my kindness he eventually developed the biggest crush on me. But he never got to say anything because I all of a sudden moved to another state.
Now nothing happened between us or anything, he just ended up becoming a very dear friend to me. But what I feel was more important was that I came to discover through the hell I endured, I showed I didn’t let any of it change on who I still was. Yes I still went through a lot of teasing and bullying most of elementary school, but I still showed on how to be the very opposite of that. And that even if my outer appearance was constantly made fun of, he made me realize that my core of who I was, made me beautiful like the swan I so desperately aspired to be.
In the end, I realize now what my self worth truly meant, but I just want to go back and hold little 6 year old Heuna, and tell her its okay, things don’t make sense and a lot things kids say hurt, but trust me and checkout their facebooks and you can see you did a lot better.Tell her that you came out perfectly fine and your innocence and purity of the world is so much more valuable than wanting to conform. Tell her that even though she cried about not having friends, she’ll gain some great ones on the way. Tell her that even though she was chubby fat kid, that when she’s 14 she’ll have a 5 inch growth spurt and will become perfectly fine. Tell her that her “ugly” face wasn’t ugly at all, and actually very cute to look at in baby photos, and certain features of her face are the type that look better and better throughout the years when it continues to develop. Tell her that she eventually forgets most of her Korean and found writing a passion or an outlet that she genuinely enjoy. Tell her that her “weirdness” is what eventually makes her very sociable in the future and people call it maturity. Tell her no matter what she was always a beautiful swan, only until she realized it herself. Younger Heuna, I love you for who you were and who you have become, don’t cry anymore, because I promise life gets so much better.