bullying, self-esteem, Asian American, coming of age, body consciousness

In the junior high yearbook, there is an innocuous photo of an overweight Asian American girl running after an errant rubber ball. The balls are standard gym grade, the color of toasted salami, with a pleasing pattern of small stars stamped all over them, slightly raised to massage the fingers mid-dribble. The skin is thick enough to make a satisfying “Tang!” on the ground when kicked or flung. A good grade in physical education was key to a commendable average (90%+); a commendable average opened doors to a prestigious university (top-tier, ideally Ivy); a prestigious university charted the path to a successful career (likely medicine, engineering, accounting, or law); a successful career reaped the hard-earned rewards of a comfortable home, serene quality of life, and conscientious capacity to give back (supporting...

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