My Childhood of Loneliness and Oppression:

What I’ve always been ashamed of and suppressed from memory


By Winston Wu (



“Every American I’ve met who went to high school in the 80’s is still carrying around some sort of baggage from that period”

- Aaron, a Canadian intellectual I met and worked with in Taiwan


“If you didn’t fit into some clique or stereotype in high school, even into the nerdy/geeky crowd, it psychologically screws you up for life.”

- An observation also by Aaron


“Unfortunately, it is possible to be born an innocent baby in this world, and be constantly told from day one and beyond that there is something wrong with you, through no fault of your own.”

- A realization and musing by me


“Sometimes God, the universal cosmic consciousness, or life, puts you in a world or environment you don’t belong in, don’t fit in, and is incompatible with who you are, leading to persecution and suffering, for whatever reasons, we don’t know.  Such is one of the great mysteries of life.”

- A reflection by me


“One of the great mysteries of life, which every self-examiner wonders at some time, is whether everything that’s transpired in our life was meant to be in accord with destiny, or if we’ve diverted far off the path we were supposed to be on.”

- Another reflection by me


“Winston, the suffering in your childhood allows you to be the kind, understanding, wise, sympathetic person you are today, who is able to relate to the oppressed and less fortunate.  If your childhood had been ideal, fine and dandy, you would now be a conceited snob oblivious to those less fortunate.  God often uses people like you for his glory.”

- Two Christian Missionaries I met in Lithuania


“Remember, whatever we resist not only persists, it actually becomes more intense the more we resist it.  True healing emerges from expanding your ability to include, be with, and ultimately embrace what you have been resisting.”

- Bob Frissell, New Age Author



The 1970’s:  My innocent entry into the world begins


I was born in Taipei, Taiwan.  After 3 years, my family emigrated to the States.  First, we lived in Queens, New York for a year.  I have little memory of it, but I was told that I was happy in the daycare I went to.  Next, we drove across the country to relocate to California, settling in Palo Alto.


There,  I went to a daycare center called Peninsula Day Care Center, where for several years, I was very happy with lots of friends and warm great teachers who gave me nothing but praises in a supportive Romper Room type environment.  Some of my friends came and went, but my best one was an East Indian guy named Alan.  My 1st grade started at Springer elementary, where I got good grades in a supportive environment.


Around when I was 5 or 6, I sometimes hung around this girl in my class named Amy.  We shared lollipops together, which other boys said was gross, and went to movies on field trips together such as Superman: The Movie and The Empire Strikes Back.  One day though, I told her to her face that she was dumb and stupid, and she ran away crying.  I found that I got a morbid pleasure in that, and even told my dad about it later, who picked me up.


When I was about 6 or 7, I had my first crush on a blonde girl named Angela.  I met on a bus coming back from a field trip, and something about her just made me feel mushy and infatuated inside.  I had no idea what this weird feeling was, but it made me feel weak and vulnerable around her, which kind of scared me.  When she was around, it simply made me crazy, as I started fantasizing about being in love with her, making me feel vulnerable.  I didn’t know what to do about it either.  So I tried to get rid of it by attempting to convince myself to hate her, throwing wet sand balls at her on the beach, and tanbark at her on the playground.  I didn’t know what else to do.


Thus ended my innocent “Romper Room years”.  From then on I faced persecution and oppression in America, psychologically scarring me with baggage for life.


You can view my baby and early childhood photos up to 2nd grade here.



The 1980’s: Persecution, oppression, and secret crushes


In 1980, we moved from Palo Alto to San Jose.  I was very sad to leave my friends back at Peninsula Day Care, especially Alan.  For 2nd grade, I attended Majestic Way, near my apartment complex.  There, I befriended a Vietnamese boy named Lam and an East Indian girl named Elaine.  I played daily in the creek by my home, where you could find all sorts of things.  At one of my babysitter’s homes though, there was a girl with short blonde hair I had a crush on, whom I fantasized a lot about, but like Angela a year before, I felt vulnerable around her and didn’t know what to do.


After a year, we moved to Fremont, a suburb south of San Francisco.  During the summer before I started school, I went to a day care where I met Wesley Chang, a Chinese American who would be my long time best friend for years.  We had a great first talk though, for when we first met, I asked him, “What are you doing?” to which he replied, “Going pee pee in your pants.”  Unfortunately, Wesley would not attend the same elementary school as me though, but another one.  However, we remained friends by visiting each other every other week, playing war games and doing our own quirky things. 


I started off 3rd grade at an elementary school named Chadbourne, while Wesley went to Gomes.  Immediately I did not like the kids in my 3rd grade class at all.  There was something about them.  They had a bad vibe about them, one that was hateful, spiteful, cliquish, and that seemed hostile, as though they were looking for a reason to despise someone; energy vultures so to speak.  I felt very uncomfortable around them.


Soon, they began targeting me for some reason.  I don’t know if it was because I was the only Asian in the class, or because I began to look dopey, weird and timid.  Or perhaps kids in the 3rd grade start becoming mean and looking for a target.  I don’t know.  But it was hard to believe that kids could be so different in Fremont than in Palo Alto or San Jose, and I’ve always wondered if the same would have occurred had I stayed where I lived before.  They made mean comments about me, teased me, and told bad jokes about me.  First, it began with a few.  Then, others emulated them, making it a group thing and then a class thing.  I was bewildered.  Since I did nothing wrong to any of them, why was I being persecuted like this?  It was hurtful and unfair, and made no sense.  I didn’t know what to make of it.


It got much worse the next year in 4th grade.  By then, the whole class was against me, and even those who didn’t dislike me joined in with the others just to conform to their peers.  Their ridicule even included playing tag against me.  Students would touch me and then touch another student and say “You’ve got Winstonitis”, obligating them to try to tag them back.


All of this totally decimated my ego, self-esteem, and self-worth, which was in its key stage of development.  I began to hate myself as well.  My parents didn’t know what to make of it either, as these things had never happened to them, so they surmised that I must have done something bad to the kids to deserve this.  But deep in my heart and mind, I knew I didn’t.  I was simply victimized.  Everyday I dreaded going to school.  When I got dropped off to school, I would walk in disgust, drooping my head as I reluctantly went into the crowd of students.  I didn’t understand why I had to be forced to come to a place with nothing but persecution and ridicule for me.  It was like being forced to walk into a firing squad everyday.  And that made no sense.  Unfortunately, all this couldn’t have come at a worse time, for this period was my key development stage, where whatever happened would shape my deep psyche for life.  And in my case, I was psychologically scarred for life by the constant persecution on my ego EVERYDAY for 2 to 3 YEARS!


I even began to hate my parents for bearing me, telling my mom how much I despised her, me, and my Asian race, which was despised by everyone around me, causing me untold suffering everyday.  One night, I even made her cry.  That’s how bad it got.


During the summer after 4th grade, at a Christian daycare I went to, I accepted Christ into my heart during chapel and became a Christian.  The Gospel message I heard was comforting, and what kid would refuse the offer of eternal life from an adult?  And it gave me purpose in life which helped me cope against the suffering and emotional turbulence I had gone through.  After all, it was good and comforting to know that God was on my side.


By the latter half of 5th grade, things got a lot better, and I finally had some amicable friends and respect from my class. 


However, to give me a fresh start anyway, my parents got permission from the school board to place me in another elementary school for 6th grade, Gomes, where my still best friend Wesley Chang went.  They figured I might be happier going to the same school as him.  So I was transferred to Gomes Elementary, a school reputed to have the highest overall academic performance in the area.  However, after a while there, things soon began to get into the “persecute Winston as a victim” mode again.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps the victim mentality and aura I acquired in Chadbourne carried forward with me to Gomes as well.  Either that, or Fremont was just a bad environment for me.


But at least I got to hang out with Wesley though.  Though we were both seen as geeks and nerds, our names went well together, “Winston and Wesley”.  I soon came to realize though, that Wesley was an enigma, as he seemed incapable of emotion, desire, or love.  It’s hard to explain, but he was lacking something that made him so inhuman, that even Mr. Spock of Star Trek seemed much more human than Wesley did.


However, I did begin to have girls chase me.  A group of them, especially one named Kristi Hillhouse, got a kick out of running after me and yelling “Winston, I love you!” and seemed to enjoy it when I got overwhelmed and ran away in a nervous breakdown.  I found them attractive, especially Kristi, but I was too intimidated by their aggressiveness to do anything about it.  And ironically, I found Kristi to be cute and pretty, and even fantasized about kissing her sweet lips.  But when I saw her flirt at me in person, saying “I love you Winston” I got stricken with terror and fled.  I couldn’t help it.  I had no choice.  Though some said these girls did this out of teasing me, one of them did tell a friend in private that she liked me.


One funny time, during recess as I was running from girls who were chasing me, I imitated the TV series “The Six Million Dollar Man” where the bionic man Steve Austin would run in slow motion though he was really going at 60mph.  I ran from the girls in slow motion too, pretending I was going 60mph.  In response, the girls did the same thing, running at me in slow motion like the bionic man.  Wesley Chang got a kick out of that, laughing at it hilariously nonstop.  And since the hit TV series of the time included Airwolf, Blue Thunder, The A-Team, and a sci fi series called “V” featuring lizard aliens under human skin, we would play games related to them.


I began junior high and 7th grade at Hopkins.  There, it was much of the same, except of course rather than having one class, you went to 6 different ones, giving the day much more variety but also more stress and homework as well.  But again I was placed at the bottom of the pecking order, and my friends were a group of geeks and nerds who didn’t even like me that much.  I did have some regular close neighborhood friends that I hung out with after school a lot though – Robert Bowen, Aaron, and Spencer Bailey.  We played video games, sports, and had sleep-overs at each other’s homes.  Robert’s sister Sarah seemed to kind of like me, being overly nice to me, but I had neither the guts nor social skills with the opposite sex to do anything about it.


Soon though, I began to have this huge obsessive crush on this skinny nerdy looking blonde girl named Emily Steinkamp, whom I had in a few of my classes.  For some reason, I constantly thought and fantasized about her, and always felt under the influence of being bitten by the love bug.  When I saw a movie love scene, I would constantly picture her and I in it.  I hated it, as it made me feel weak and vulnerable, reminding me of my first crush on Angela back in 1st grade.  This crush lasted the whole year, but shamefully, I could not do anything about it.  In fact, I didn’t even speak a word to Emily the whole year.  Every time I saw her come near, I felt like Superman in front of Kryptonite, totally vulnerable, making me panic and avoid her.  It was horrible. 


I hardly ever went to any school dances either; only one, but not many students showed up for that one.  I simply knew that I could not dare ask a girl to dance, especially since I felt unliked, and wouldn’t know how to either.


On the last day of school though, after the final assembly, my neighborhood friend Aaron told me that he overheard Emily Steinkamp talk about me to her friend, saying “I want him.”  I was shocked and flattered, however I took it with a grain of salt since Aaron wasn’t always honest and often exaggerated.  I never knew if it was true or not.


The summer after 7th grade, I went to a summer camp in Taiwan for Asian Americans.  We learned Chinese, cooking, kung fu, arts and crafts, and went on field trips around the island country.  And many relatives picked me to visit too.  One of the students there kept telling me his hot sister liked me, and I was very attracted to her, but one time when he brought her over to me after I said I liked the way she dance, I ran into my dorm room and closed the door and locked it.  When he arrived with his hot sister, he said, “What a nerd!  He locks the door?”  I was too terrified to deal with it.  During a dance in our dorm, for the first time in my life I danced with a girl after some guy threw me with his dance partner while he went to the bathroom.  Amazingly, I felt an elation from being around the aura of a pretty girl.  It was like some kind of magic to me.  She was older than me though.  I was 13 and she was 15, so I felt like I wasn’t “in the league” yet.


8th grade was not much different than 7th, but I remember having a little more fun and everything was more intense, especially since Wesley entered my school when he began 7th grade (he was one year younger than me).  Our geeky jokes and games began again.  And I saw that girls from his class level were chasing him too, since he ran away from them as I did.  Since I was a military war fanatic, one bizarre scenario that I liked to imagine with Wesley and tell him about, was one where I pictured him being “The Fuehrer” of the school, as Hitler was with Nazi Germany.  In my own scenario, during assembly, he would yell his speeches to the students like a madman, and all the hundreds of students would “Hail Fuehrer” by pointing their hands at him in unison (like in that old b/w Nazi film where a million followers hailed Hitler during his speech).  And Wesley would have his own guard in uniform patrolling the school halls, who would salute him when he passed by.  Then I pictured the other three junior high schools in town uniting against him, forming “The Allies”.  And I told him that when they launched their “D-Day Invasion” they would come in a fleet of school buses lined up in the grassy field in front of the school, where students would pour out of the fleet of parked buses to begin their invasion or his reign.  Such was the kind of geeky imagination I had.


My hormones also began to intensify during this time, as I entered puberty.  I lusted after many girls, but I was too scared and timid, with my self-worth ruined in elementary school anyway, to do anything about it.  I was seen as “not good enough” so I felt unworthy to pursue any girls, and I didn’t know how to either.  While everyone else was “going with” (dating) someone, I was out of it.  Even when one girl named Stephanie approached me during lunch to ask if I would “go with her”, while a group of students huddled around to watch the outcome, I panicked and ran away, with the whole group disappointed. (I never knew if her intentions were sincere though)  As a result, it went around that “Winston doesn’t like girls”.


The summer after 8th grade though, I had a unique spiritual experience.  Since I spent most of the summer alone because my friends flaked out on me, and was forced to stay home alone everyday because I couldn’t drive out of my neighborhood and my parents were at work, I became so bored and lonely that I began going insane.  One day, as I cried out in extreme pain with every fiber of my being, I suddenly masturbated to help relieve the tension.  When I did, I got more than the usual euphoria from the release of endorphins.  Suddenly, a thought came into me that “all your pain is of the flesh, not of the spirit”.  With that realization, I became filled with a Zen-like state of enlightenment, as if I was the master of my mind and emotions now.  I had never imagined such a state of mind was possible.  When my mom came home that day and gave me the usual petty yelling for small things, instead of reacting automatically by yelling back, I felt like I had the power not to, as if I was in control of how I reacted.  Instead, I just let her critical words pass right through me like a cloud.  Even I was amazed.  This went on for a few more days.  In the future, those I told this to would tell me that I was given a glimpse into what could be achieved with spiritual practice and focus.


Not knowing what to make of it, I simply assumed that it was a Christian experience, since that was the only religion and theology that I knew.


For 9th grade, I went to Mission San Jose high school.  There, an old friend named Jonathan hooked me up with his church youth group, after praying for one a few days prior.  It turned out to be a great supportive environment, which was what I needed from my persecuting peers.  It was like a rock and shelter to me.  And I was glad to finally feel like I belonged to something.  Throughout that year, I was happy and content, for the first time in years, due to my Christian faith and youth group, which I had some good quality friends from.  I was even able to convert my best friend Wesley Chang to the faith, after I gave him some Chick Publications comic books that debunked Evolution with Creationist arguments, which seemingly made sense.  Convinced, Wesley became a believer and started going to church with me too, but it made me a bit uncomfortable though, because I didn’t like to mix the life I had there with the geeky life I had with him.


I also developed a crush on this girl who lived in my neighborhood named Richelle Faria.  We rode the bus together to and from school each day.  However, my best friend James Hernandez also had a crush on her, which he always called me about, but I never revealed mine to him.  This whole triangle became a sort of drama throughout the year.  However, I tried my best to focus on my faith and Christian path instead of getting wrapped up in it.  And the fact that she gradually gained weight helped lessen my crush on her too.


That summer after the school year, I went to Taiwan, and the tide turned there.  After I failed to convert my relatives to the Christian faith, it put me in an paradigm trauma.  How could good sincere people like my relatives there reject the truth of God?  I didn’t know how to reconcile that.  Furthermore, another conflict arose where due to the tenets of my faith, I believed they were all going to hell in eternal damnation, but because I knew they were good sincere people, I couldn’t make sense of how that could be right, fair, or just.  There was just no reconciling that.  Hence, the righteous solid Christian faith principles that gave me strength in life suddenly gave me confusion instead.  Plus, the loving supportiveness I experienced in Taiwan vs. the insensitive attack on my ego in America, made me feel more comfortable there, causing an identity crisis in me as well.



1989: Culmination into tragic doom and mental hell


When I returned to the states, I didn’t feel the same.  And the crush I had on a girl way younger than me at my youth group summer camp in San Diego beach, screwed up my emotions even more.  When I started 10th grade, I was less than eager or ready, and merely winged it.  Unfortunately, the passion, power, and magic I had in the previous year was gone as well.  I didn’t start each day with the confidence and passion I had before.  And my friends seemed different; more distant, less friendly to me, etc.  It was like they had changed.  Or like I had entered a parallel universe.  Many in my youth group last year also went away, leaving a few left whom I didn’t get along with.  I was confused and didn’t know what to do.  I tried my best to get back what I had the year before, to have the mentality I had, and feel like the same person I was, but to no avail.   I didn’t even feel passionate and convicted about my Christian faith anymore.  I tried to get that back, but couldn’t either.  Even my long-time best friend Wesley Chang had begun to change, becoming more distant and cold toward me.  It seemed like he never knew me, which was horrifying since we had been close for 7 or 8 years, and our parents were even friends too.  I couldn’t comprehend it.


More than ever, I felt like a misfit.  I was criticized about my dress style a lot, though I never knew what to change or how to dress like a “something”.  And I simply didn’t fit into any of the cliques, not even the geek and nerd cliques.  I didn’t know why.  I felt like all the cliques there, even the Asian ones, intimidated me.  Their whole vibe was like a constant energy assault on my psyche.  It was not an environment I thrived in at all.


To make things worse, in October of that year in 10th grade, on Halloween night, I sudden became afflicted with something bizarre.  I suddenly had this anxiety attack where negative words would come into my head, forcing me to try to subdue their influence.  This effort began as a word play game, where if the word “death” entered my thoughts, I would have to think “life” to cancel it out.  Then it soon got worse, into compulsive rituals.  In addition to the word play, I also had to do things in an exact orderly perfect way without any intruding thoughts, which was very damn difficult.  So difficult in fact, that I kept having to repeat the ritual over and over again, which became incapacitating and time consuming. (After all, trying hard not to think of a pink elephant, for example, will make you think it even more)  For example, if I was washing my hands and a negative thought entered, I’d have to erase the thought by canceling it out, and then repeat what I was doing before the negative thought entered, in order to cancel it out completely.  Every detail of what I did would have to be repeated, down to the way I picked up the soap, how many times I rolled it, etc.


I just had to do it this way, or else I’d be filled with overwhelming anxiety.  It made no sense to me, as I still knew the difference between reality and fiction, and was still sane, but I couldn’t help it regardless.  It got to the point where I would often take over an hour to go to the bathroom, wash my hands, and get out.  It was horrible, for I would have great difficulty doing even the smallest things.  And at that rate, nothing would ever get done, homework, errands, etc.  Even taking a shower or changing my clothes became an impossible ordeal that would take hours, because of the invasive thoughts and rituals.  To make it even worse, my body kept itching while I repeated the rituals, and every time I stopped to itch it, I would have to restart the routine again, trying to do it before I’d itch again.  But again, that made it worse, because since I was trying hard not to itch, it made me itch even more, for it gave that sensation more power (as in if you hate something, you give it more power).


All of this made it impossible for me to function.  It was a LITERAL MENTAL HELL AND PRISON.  I had no idea what the @#$% was going on?!


And furthermore, how did I get this way?  How did it happen?  And why was it happening to me?  What did I do to deserve such an odd and bizarre mental hell which totally incapacitated my life?!  Was it punishment from God for not converting my relatives to the Christian faith last summer?  Maybe I didn’t exemplify the love of Christ enough in front of them.  I knew I could have done better, but I just didn’t have the guts to do it alone.  Maybe they were going to hell now, because of my failure, and so this was my punishment, to put me into my own “mental hell”.  Whatever the case, I constantly prayed to God to have him take this obsessive compulsive disorder off me, but to no avail.  God answered my prayers before, often in astounding ways, so why was he ignoring me now?  Surely an all powerful God could heal this problem of mine, which was causing me great anguish and pain, so why wasn’t he?!


As the weeks went on, my grades plummeted.  I couldn’t study, even though I tried to, and instead spent hours per day on my rituals, against my will.  I longed for the days when I had mental freedom, where I could do anything I wanted without these rituals and intrusive thoughts.  And I realized that we take our sanity and freedom for granted.  There seemed no hope.  I had hoped that these OCD-like rituals would gradually ease off, but they seemed to get worse and worse instead.


Since at that time I was shy, timid, and had no communication skills, I did not know how to describe what I was going through or seek help.  When my parents sent me to a psychiatrist, I had difficulty describing the rituals and OCD-like symptoms to him too.  With what little he had to go on, he diagnosed me as having schizophrenia (which at the time, was common in psychiatry, for anything not understood was automatically lumped into the “schizophrenia” category, but suffice to say, the diagnosis was wrong because when I looked up the symptoms of schizophrenia in psychology textbooks, I find that I fit none of them).  I was given prozac, but it didn’t help at all, but instead had an adverse reaction on me, making me feel like a Mexican jumping bean inside, making me anxious about every minute as if it were an hour.  Since the prozac did nothing but cause me pain and discomfort, I discontinued it against the psychiatrist’s instructions.  It was a hard decision to disobey authority, which I always followed, but I just had to do it, for I could not endure it.


The next year in 11th grade, it all got even worse.  More than ever, I was completely alienated from my peers, and didn’t even have people to sit with at lunch anymore.  I felt like a complete outcast, forced everyday to go to a place I didn’t belong simply because it was the law to go to school.  By then, things with my long-time best friend Wesley Chang was over.  He had become a totally different person than who I knew before, and did not desire our friendship anymore, telling me so directly as well.  One time during a mocking feud, I grabbed him to punish him and intimidate him for the cold-hearted way he treated me, preparing to use my karate training on him (I took lessons for a few years), but he responded by grabbing my jacket tightly, making sure that if he went down, so would I.  So instead, I settled by side-kicking his backpack from behind, using it as a target. 


And my other best friend James Hernandez who used to call me everyday, stopped calling me too, when he knew that I was completely alienated from society now, mentally as well as physically.  And due to my OCD-like symptoms, I couldn’t study either.  I had lost everything and could do nothing.  There was no point in going to school, with no social life and no academic life, and my powerlessness to do anything about it.  This isolation began causing me depression too, in addition to all that I had.  It got so bad that I had to be taken out of school and placed on home schooling.


But I wasn’t happy with that either, for staying home while everyone else my age was at school made me feel even more isolated.  And with no brothers or sisters at home, I felt lonely and isolated too, which also felt depressing.  I felt like my life had gone off course, way off course to the point of making it impossible to get back on track.  And being the perfectionist that I am, it felt extremely discomforting.


I was referred to two more psychologists.  One said that the previous diagnosis of schizophrenia was wrong, and that I seemed to have OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, instead.  The other believed that I had a combination of schizophrenia and OCD.  Whatever.  When I read up on both disorders, I found that I didn’t fit the description of schizophrenia at all, and only semi fit the description of OCD.  I had no idea what I had.  Perhaps it was something new to them.  And if so, then that was bad news for it meant they knew no way of treating me as well.  I was given some medication less adverse than prozac, but they seemed to do little for me other than take away my sex drive, making not even masturbation pleasurable.


I felt doomed.  Mental illnesses like this do not go away, I read and heard, and so it seemed I would be afflicted with these OCD-like symptoms for life.  Rather than be happy or successful, I was instead doomed to live the life of a handicap, denied all pleasures, opportunities, and benefits of life.  Fate seemed cruel, and with my prayers unanswered, I no longer had faith in my Christian religion, which seemed to have abandoned me.  Either it wasn’t true, or God had abandoned me, contrary to all the promises in the Bible.  With nothing else to believe in, live for, or hope for, I could do nothing but lay there in depression and doom, having no motivation to study or learn either.  I woke up everyday in doom, wishing I were dead than enduring this horrid miserable existence with no hope.


In fact, when the 1989 San Francisco big earthquake occurred, I was laying on the couch in doom and depression.  As I watched the roof above me shake, I got excited and hoped that the roof would fall on me and end my life, so I would be free of this misery.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed, as it subsided.


For about a month, I was put in a mental rehabilitation center, with a bunch of teenage druggies, whom I didn’t have much in common with, and didn’t relate to either, as we were there for different reasons.  But I enjoyed my time there.  We played volleyball, swam in a nice pool, went out on field trips, did arts and crafts, and ate great tasting food in the cafeteria.  The facilities were modern, and the staff supportive and friendly.  I won at all the thinking games we played too, like chess and Pictionary.  When I left after a month, I was sad and wished I could still be there.


At the end of the totally dysfunctional 11th grade year, I decided I needed to get away from it all and try to rejuvenate things.  Together with my parents, we decided that I would take a year off and go to Taiwan to be in a supportive environment, teach English, and hopefully become rejuvenated by it.  Whatever would happen, it would be better than nothing.



The 1990’s: A bold new assertive, expressive Winston emerges


That summer, I went to Taiwan with my mom.  First, she took me to some priests and healers of both Buddhist and Taoist sects to try to get help with my OCD-like disorder.  They diagnosed me as being possessed by disincarnate entities, and surmised that they were extolling revenge against me for something I did to them in a past life.  Amazingly, each healer had a similar prognosis.  To help remedy this “possession” or whatever, I had to bathe with tea leaves and magical leaflet spells for a few weeks.  It was odd and totally contrary to my Christian beliefs and view of the world, but oh well.  I figured that if God couldn’t help me or failed to, I might as well let these other “powers” try, whether they were of Satan or not.


I never knew if all that did anything for me though.  It was hard to tell.  But they said that I would get better, and part of my treatment plan was to become vegetarian for a while too, to speed up the healing process.  I tried it for a while and liked it.  It made me feel clean and comfortable, and I got accustomed to it so much that I wanted to remain vegetarian.  It was easy for me cause I never liked meat, chicken, or fish that much anyway.


After a while, mom left me there in the care of my cousin in an area near Taipei.  I went to teach English with her at her classes each day, did some private tutoring, and made friends with some families.  I had a lot of fun, and gradually, in a non-persecuting environment, my OCD-like symptoms and rituals subsided and faded into a controllable level.  At last, I could do normal things like changing clothes or washing my hands without being paralyzed by intrusive thoughts and canceling-out rituals.  So it wasn’t an incurable disease after all!  What a miracle!  I wasn’t sure if it was the positive environment I was in that helped, or those spells by the healers and priests, but either way, I was glad that I was in control of my life again.  The doomed status I thought I had, where I would be handicapped for life, turned out to not be true after all, to my great relief.  Henceforth, hope and optimism became my main mood and attitude.  And of course, freedom and sanity seemed much sweeter after you’ve lost it and regained it, than if you had never lost it.


In one of the families that I tutored and hung out with as friends, there were two girls, both cousins, named Mary and Ruby, who had a crush on me, and I was told, even had a fight over me that got almost physical.  I was very flattered, but I had never dated before or even had any real female friends; only acquaintances, so I could not do anything about it.  It was simply beyond me.  Mary was pretty, but in truth, I was more attracted to Ruby.  She was dark-skinned, exotic, and sexy.  And since she had six sisters and no brothers, she lacked male companionship badly, so I was a gem to her, and she was super nice to me too.  In secret though, I lusted after her and had a lot of sexual fantasies about her.  I even masturbated each night as I thought about her and her sexy dark skin.  But in practice though, I could not reciprocate her interest in me, but instead took a morbid pleasure in watching her pursue me to no avail.  It was like I enjoyed seeing her suffer over me, which gave me greater satisfaction than in reciprocating her interest in me and becoming her boyfriend.  Perhaps I saw her being vulnerable and frustrated as I had in all my past crushes, and so I enjoyed being on the other end this time.  I don’t know.  But as a result, I began treating her like crap, which gave me a morbid pleasure, but which I would also later regret, as I was lonely without a girlfriend.  I was already 17, and still not able to have relations with a girl, even if I had the chance.


One time, when Ruby and I were at a studio where her adult friend was teaching dance classes at, I was trying to wing it, when the teacher instructed Ruby and I to hold each other for a dance.  She was ready and eager, but I refused, saying “Hold a girl?  Yuck!”  I don’t know why.  Though I wanted Ruby, doing that was just me.


I did go out with some older women though, including one 24 year old who worked for a newspaper company owned by a lady I tutored English with, and another girl named Grace, a 21 year old English teacher at one of my cousin’s schools.  We simply had dinner and a movie.  But those were the first times in my life that I went out with a girl alone, though they weren’t really dates.


During my last few months in Taiwan, I relocated to a more central part of Taipei, living with another cousin’s family, where I had my first official job working in a fast food franchise in city center.  It was similar to McDonald’s but with two stories.  I had fun working there, and even liked a lot of the girls there.


When I returned to the states finally, after a year, it was like I was like a whole different person.  I was in a state of bliss, having survived my ordeal, against all odds.  I felt happy, outgoing, positive, optimistic, enthusiastic, etc.  And furthermore, I felt like I was filled with this ball of energy inside me that just needed to express itself, either through communication or writing.  Although I had never been a good writer, never having anything to say in my assigned essay reports, I felt empowered to be one, as if I was destined to be dramatic, make an impact, or convey my meaning through some creative form.  Soon I found that writing and communication were becoming natural to me, as if it was my second nature.  This was a different me that never emerged before.


I started my last year of high school at a different school, John F. Kennedy high.  Although I didn’t know anyone there, they didn’t persecute me, bully me, or treat me like I was at the bottom of the pecking order.  However, since I came during their senior year when cliques and friendships were already established, I couldn’t find a clique to fit into, so I was alone during lunch unfortunately, spending it in the library so I wouldn’t look so alone, or else going to club meetings.  But that didn’t bother me much, because without the persecution, I was not in a draining environment that I dreaded.  And in comparison to what I had before, this high school environment was much better, and the difference gave me a lot of peace of mind.


However, I did eventually become lonely though, so I sought religious meaning in my life again, turning again toward Christianity.  This time, I was refilled with the fervor again, and even memorized all the standard arguments for Christian Evangelism, as proselytized by apologists such as Josh McDowell and CS Lewis.  I even began witnessing and preaching to my peers and teachers too.


At the end of the year, I revealed my crush and strong feelings for this Cantonese girl named Anita Au in my computer class, telling her that I missed so much sitting with her like I did the first half of the year.  Immediately, she acted awkward and started avoiding me.  I was so hurt and angry, that I decided to halt my Christian faith in protest.  I stopped praying and reading the Bible to make a statement.


After high school though, for some reason I never regained interest in the Christian faith.  I wasn’t sure why at the time, but I later realized that I basically had been using it as a crutch to get by.  And with the prison and enslavement of high school over, I no longer needed that crutch.  Also, there were many internal discrepancies and issues that were irresolvable that I couldn’t keep rationalizing away just because “God said so”.  There were things that were fundamentally unfair and unjustifiable about Christian fundamentalist tenets, which were preached as God’s law.  (I elaborate on them in my Christian deconversion story.  Also, a list of many more discrepancies I mused about can be found in my book-length treatise Debunking Every Argument of Christian Fundamentalists and Evangelists, in the “Philosophical problems with Salvation and Damnation” section.)


Thus, I grappled with these issues, but since Christian explanations were unsatisfactory, I sought alternative answers.  Though I was instilled with fear against doing so, I simply felt that I had to, for my conscience and integrity commanded it.  For the next few years, I gradually learned things about Christianity and religion that I never knew existed, thus widely broadening my spiritual understanding and perspective.  Everything I’ve learned has been summed up in my comprehensive treatise Debunking Every Argument of Christian Fundamentalists and Evangelists.  From then on, I began leaning toward esoteric, metaphysical, and New Ageish type of paradigms, due to insights also outlined in my Christian deconversion story.


After high school, I felt as if a huge burden had been lifted from me.  School was no longer a prison that controlled my daily life, hence freeing me from the potential of persecution that I had experienced all these years as well.  Instead, I could choose to go to college or not to, and decide what classes to take too.  It was all up to me now.  The relief and elation from that was indescribable beyond words.  The best way I’d describe it would be like that refreshing feeling you have when you get out of the shower, which I felt constantly everyday.


I enrolled in my local community college, and found the environment pleasing.  I was treated like an adult who could come and go as he pleases.  There was no coercion by teachers or staff, and no disciplinary measures either.  And best of all, the other students there weren’t competing for popularity, bringing others down, or bullying them.  They all treated each other with respect, giving each other all the privacy they wanted.  I also found the homework easier too, so outside of studying, virtually all the stresses of public schooling were absent in college.  I felt completely anew and empowered.


With the oppression of my childhood gone, I was now free to do what I wanted, and be what I wanted.  The real adventure was just beginning.


The End


Note:  We will end here since the commencement of college marks the borderline between childhood and adult life, with the purpose of this story being primarily about my childhood.  To read the rest of what happened afterward with my life, see my full length online biography at  Begin from the section entitled Post-graduation life and first relationships


Thank you for reading and allowing me to share about my oppressed childhood that I was ashamed of and suppressed from my memory for a long time.  May you find your niche and bliss by discovering your potential and who you really are.


Peace and blessings to all,



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