Otaku is a Japanese word, one of my favorite words that define the ultimate obsession. Obsession about something that you would give your arm to attain it. It was my word because I was obsessed with everything that I’m or was passionate about.
I was new in this weird school, everyone looked different from size and ideology. In my previous school, people had a different mindset and people thought differently, they didn’t accept me but they didn’t bother me either. I was seven at that time when I realized I was not the same.
I talked too much, I moved too much and I was eating my pencils. I thought it was cool that my intestines could poop out those pencils without tearing my butt hole apart. I didn’t see that something was unacceptable with me, I walked around completely unaware that in some ways I was never going to fit in.
This is my story about how and what became my first Otaku in the world of food.
I was 8 and my school skirt barely reached my knees. I couldn’t afford much so I was proud of my raggedy old skirt and my now yellowing white shirt. It was old but I was proud. I sat down with these 4 girls when the universe echoed, saying
“Welcome, to now what is going to be your mates in HELL”. Well, I came up with that statement later in life.
I was talking and I could see the girls rolling their eyes to each other, it was a small town and everyone knew anyone there. Most of the kids in that group had either rich parents or famous parents, I guess that played a part in the ultimate prejudice.
The first day was brutal, I didn’t get the concept of mathematics but I understood the poetry of English. The cafeteria was small and everyone was fighting through the line trying to get the typical Malaysian snack and some sweets to make their day. My writing horrible, my clothes old and my backpack was falling to my knees because it was a cool rucksack I found in a storage locker.
I didn’t know my head was being marked as a target for the next 11 years of bullying because in my world your primary school mates eventually become your high school mates. However, I was naive enough to think everyone had a halo on their head. The days went by and the bullying started. I was teased, called names, harassed as well as made the entertainment.
Guess what, I wanted to be part of them.
I remember one time I was tired of being the victim, I wanted to be part of the cool group. They showed me a victim, another one. I was young and I was ignorant, I teased him. I felt so guilty that I still couldn’t forgive myself. Writing this I can see my reflection in blood and tears. However, no one was there to psychologically evaluate me.
I remember once they made me guard a book so that they could come and pick them up or when this guy hated me and lifted my skirt during a red cross session. I had a torn panty and that became the next joke. I remember having this anxiety every time when morning comes as though it was a punishment inflicted by the universe to me on purpose.
The one thing that makes the home run, was when they all ganged up on me on the first year of high school and ostracized me. Well, it was not just my class or my year but it was both primary and secondary school pupils. If you recall I mentioned we live in a tiny community. I was a germ and I believed that — NOT ANYMORE, however, I used to. I remember crying so much those years thinking how can someone be so narcissistic and ignore the suffering of others.
From the first day of being bullied until the very last day when I broke the cycle, there was something that kept me going,
ORANGE POP ICE CREAM BY WALLS ICE-CREAMS.
I can still taste the tangy orange pop that coats my palate. I never stick around after school, I used to run down that flight of stairs to the nearby shop to grab the first bright colored pop I could reach out too. Then take a long walk back to my dormitory.
That was my first connection with food, I remember it being my anchor to sanity. A lifeline that kept me going and graduating. Sweetness and the orange zest are known for their ability to put you in a trance of good mood. They create a balance between your fluctuating emotions, so instead of a roller-coaster of fear, panic, self-loathing and negative energy — at that one moment you’re able to gather your thoughts. At that one moment, you’re able to see the world much bigger than the insecure muggles around you. At that one moment, you regain your consciousness and escape the noise.
Bullying has been a great deal in my life, it’s a great deal in many others lives around the world. Some have managed to overcome it while others drown in it. The problem is the bullies don’t realize what they’re doing or even why they’re doing it. Having the power upon another person, tearing down their confidence and their light is something which gives them the power to cope.
Like Kryptonite, they suck the Superman out of you.
Since then I’ve been looming around the clouds of the kitchen, trying to express myself. Initially, my food was terrible, I mixed odd flavors together, however, somehow I drowned all my pain in that hobby. The intoxicating smell as well as the outcome of something so amazing out of ingredients that sometimes makes no sense gave me a purpose.
In conclusion, never let anyone trap you negatively. Never let yourself be trapped in a psychological marigold round, it took a lot of “ME” to identify and categorize my issues, however, it just takes a small message to ask around for some help. Healing is from within, why not start there.