How did I get into fighting?
I didn’t want to fight. Fighting came to me!
In kindergarten, I was a beautiful, shy, androgynous mystery child. My earliest memories of school are of being bullied. I remember an older kid who would cross over to our section of the schoolyard and taunt me. He would make fun of my clothes, my skin, and tell me I was poor. It was very puzzling to me. I remember him looking at me with hate one day and spitting in my face. I did not break eye-contact with him as I wiped it off my cheek with my sleeve. I was so confused.
I don’t remember all the things that were said and done, but I know it happened frequently. Eventually my mom noticed I had bruises on my arms. My mother’s solution was to enroll us in a Kung-Fu school downtown - I was being hurt, she thought my brother was a weakling, and my older sisters could benefit by joining as well. One big happy family.
I won’t get into the years of suffering and torment I endured as a young child at this school - it was an emotionally humiliating, physically torturous, abusive environment that has scarred me for life. I used to pray to GOD that we’d get in a car accident on the way there. My family didn’t protect me from that experience and that’s something that has always hurt me. The torment inside those walls bred a fierce and hungry beast on the playground. I fought bullies at school on what seemed like a daily basis. I remember body slamming, clothes-lining, kicking kids in the face, knocking the wind out of them, and smashing them over my knee. I remember feeling very proud and strong.
At that amazingly fun Kung-Fu school, I was emotionally abused for being a “fat slob.” If I didn’t perform with energy, it was because I was “fat.” At home, my family called me fat. At my parents store, their friends called me fat. At school, the kids called me fat, poor, and a he/she. I fought back so much when anyone made fun of me, but then I would go home and cry A LOT by myself because it was shameful to cry openly.
When I was 13, I started smoking cigarettes and weed. I stopped playing all sports and my weight ballooned to 200 lbs in a very short period of time.
When I was 14-15, I had my heart broken and stopped eating for six months. I lost 50 lbs.
When I was 16, I started getting into chemical drugs and by 17, I had a great little business going. All my friends got sick and we all looked gaunt. I was now underweight and weak. But it didn’t take long for my weight to rebound.
I did terribly in school because I hardly showed up. When I did show up, I was high and selling to other kids. People my age were scared of me. I intimidated them and took their personal belongings as collateral if they didn’t have enough money. I didn’t value school because it was something I was told to do by adults. I didn’t trust adults because I didn’t have a reason to. Any routine that had been prescribed to me had caused me pain.
I took pride in being a good dealer because it gave me control. It protected me from pain. It earned me respect and gratitude. I was respected for the skills I had: accounting, weighing, measuring, maintaining contacts and relationships, and meeting people’s demands on time. I was running a successful little business.
But this lifestyle took a toll. Climbing the ladder in this position came at a heavy price.
People around me went to jail.
Guns were pointed at heads.
I experienced psychosis from tasting the rainbow.
But, nothing scared me more than my parents finding out.
When I was 20, I joined a Muay Thai club. I badly wanted to feel better - I just wanted to beat the crap out of something. Training at the club gave me such an endorphin kick that I forgot all my problems in the time I spent there each week. In each two-hour session, four days a week, I gained confidence in my physical and mental strength by surviving the torturous workouts: hundreds of squats, push-ups, sit-ups, and screaming while punching pads. Whoever endured the most pain was highly valued; it meant that they had the most willpower. I saw new possibilities for myself. I wouldn’t need to get high if I could feel like this.
When I was 21, I knew I needed a big change. My heart was broken, my friends were gone, I didn’t want to go to school, and I couldn’t see a future for myself anywhere. One day, my mom casually mentioned that I could get my citizenship in Taiwan (where she was born), if I went soon.
That idea was all I could think about. I knew the only way things were going to get better was If I left the country.
A brand new beginning.
This is Part I of “Inside Out” - a series about FLG’s fighting memories. Follow us on Instagram for updates on the next installment.