Amount of drinks taken in before composition: 8.
Ethnicity and American identity, the conflict between the two plays itself out on an extremely subconscious level.
My “that’s racist” radar is pretty broken, mostly because I buy all of my life savings into the ideal that America has progressed to the point where racism is no longer a blocker for my meritocratic beliefs.
The only thing that reminds me that I’m wrong is when I listen to K-Pop.
I know, it doesn’t make sense, but let me connect Point A to Point G.
Objectively, K-Pop (especially old school K-Pop, my favorite kind) is garbage. The production value was poorly hacksawed from popular American sounds. The Korean language makes for pretty uninspiring rhyme schemes. The pageantry of it all is so over-the-top that I’m dumbfounded by my lack of action and vitriol against it. Until it makes sense when I put two and two together.
My Korean upbringing, my nostalgia for this kind of sound, it plays directly into my affinity for it.
And if something as stupid as fucking 1999 Korean Top 10 songs is enough to bend my irrefutably stubborn theories in music, I can understand why people can hold onto equally idiotic racist ideals. Things that make Jamals less hireable than Johns.
But just because it’s understandable, it doesn’t make it acceptable.
What would you do if you had a pair of wings?
The natural response would be to travel to any point in the world, wouldn’t it?
London, the city of so many stories and so much romanticism, you’d just HAVE to start flexing your wings and start flying towards the Old Empire for a month-long history lesson.
Thailand, the land of exoticism beyond our structural understanding of acceptable behavior, you have to start flapping towards those lady boys and ultra-authentic pad see ew.
It’s all about that exoticism, isn’t it? The more alien the experience, the more you get from it. The perspective you had, it expands exponentially with each take of authentically foreign air.
Portland. Santa Fe. Albuquerque. Phoenix. Tucson. Austin. Dallas. Houston. San Antonio. Atlanta. Orlando. Miami. New Orleans. Philadelphia. Newark. Washington D.C. Baltimore. St. Louis. Kansas City. Kansas City. Detroit. Milwaukee. Minneapolis. St. Paul. Boston. Charlotte. Charleston.
For me, the devil must be in the details, but I’ve had the pleasure of having good friends in 5 different American cities in the last two years. Those American cities, with the universal language, with their overarching universality…
Each fucking one was so different from the other.
When I was younger, I tried comparing San Francisco to Los Angeles. I realized that it’s impossible to compare the two. It’s impossible to compare SF to LA, to New York, to Chicago, to Seattle.
If I had wings, I would experience every single inch of this country, and I know that I wouldn’t have enough lifetimes to truly understand what America really is.
I hope you can understand the gravity of a statement like that, coming from a person who only knows America.
Dear Future Child. Son or Daughter.
Listen, I want to tell you to stop looking at me as if I’m some kind of superhero. I want to tell you that the world has a bucket of disappointments, waiting to be thrown at full speed towards your vital parts. I want to tell you that “fair” doesn’t mean what you think it means. I want to tell you that your best might not be enough to get what you’ve spent your life dreaming for.
But I’m not going to tell you any of those things.
It’s by the Grace of God that you aren’t exact replicas of your father. You are your own person, with your own interpretations of the things that have happened and have yet to happen. You have the chance to cultivate the irrational confidence that turns Jeremy Lin into Linsanity.
Parental instincts kick in, and tell us to protect our children from all harm. But as we zealously block bad tidings from coloring your peach-skinned life, we become so arrogant that we believe that we’re better teachers than life is.
As your father, my only job is to direct you in the best direction that I know how. The only reason why I have any authority over my opinions is because I’m weathered, jaded, refined, and constructed into what life has made me to be. But you, you’re a blank slate, precocious to every little sound, sight, smell, feel, taste. I can try to shape you into whichever image I feel is best, but I know that life has the strength to be the final voice in the adult you will hopefully become.
But beyond your own specific, unique, and special soul that you alone will cultivate, I can tell you one universal truth. If you reject each and every one of my attempts to steer you onto the path I believe to be right, I hope to every celestial being that you’ll take this one lesson to heart.
Love lasts longer when it’s cultivated within, rather than when it’s imported from others.