I had let my guard down in junior high and I had been used. Having the emotional strings ripped from my heart was painful. From then on, I promised I would never fool myself into believing someone wanted to be friends with me because of who I was. I believed everyone had an ulterior motive. Read more [+/-]
This isn't hard when you have low self-esteem; and that's exactly what I had. It didn't matter that I was actually nice, smart, and sometimes witty. And since I had years of practice being anti-social and distant, it all came back naturally. I had rebuilt my emotional walls, and that is how I entered high school.
Brooklyn Tech was a specialized high school. "Specialized" means you had to take a test to get in. There are three such schools in New York City. It was also a public school. Just as it was common knowledge that the educational opportunity was better than most New York City high schools, it was also known to be 'ghetto'. Students carried knives, girls got pregnant in stairwells, and once, I witnessed a teacher being strangled by a student.
As most people will say when they go from junior high to high school, they went from being a big fish in a little pond to a small fish in a big pond. For me, it would be more accurate to say that I went from being a big fish in a fish bowl to a guppy in an ocean. My junior high class had roughly 40 students. Freshman year, I was one of a thousand entrants. And, of course, freshmen got picked on.
Having an anti-social demeanor helped me with the transition. It made me seem older. On the first day of school, someone asked me where a classroom was. Of course, I had no idea, but I played it upperclassman-cool, dismissing him with a "Get out of my face, kid." I guess my act worked because I wasn't harassed at all.
G, one of my better friends from junior high, had also made it to Brooklyn Tech. (And by 'better' I mean who didn't steal from me.) It was only natural that we would became better friends, two guppies looking out for one another.
It turned out that many of his elementary school friends, who went to different junior highs, would reunite at Brooklyn Tech. G ultimately rejoined his circle of friends and I decided not to assimilate; they were his friends, and I was 'the kid who left after first grade' once again.
In reality, I didn't want to be one of those "cliquey Asians". I wanted to be different. I wanted to be special. Basically, I was left being an outcast.