Did I ever tell you what a wonderful hapa-child I have?
When he was three years old his favorite color was purple. He loved purple because it was the color associated with Donatello, his favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. He declared that his first car would be purple. When I said, “Well, you might change your mind about that,” he began to cry, and I learned that he was a sensitive soul.
When we bought him a bike, we knew that we had to find a purple one, and finally did at a garage sale. It was purple and in fantastic condition, but it also happened to be a girl’s bike. The very next day he proudly walked out to the courtyard full of boys who were mostly older and larger than he was. I nervously listened from my kitchen, fearing the reaction that he might get and how he might feel afterwards.
Sure enough, the boys all yelled, “Hey that is a girl’s bike!” The next few minutes of silence lasted almost too long for me, but it was broken when I heard the indignant little voice of my son:
Dash: Am I a boy or a girl?
The boys: A boy.
Dash: Whose bike is this?
The boys: Yours.
Dash: This is my bike?
The boys: Yes!
Dash: And I’m a boy?
The boys: Yes.
Dash: Then this is a boy’s bike.
The boys: Oh. Well alright.
I quietly held up my fist and shook it in the air, the proudest I could imagine of my little three year old! The boys never mentioned it again.
Later he entered UC Berkeley School of Law at nineteen years of age, and was one of the youngest students in the fiercely competitive environment. As a kid who grew up playing and listening to punk rock music, his style was heavily affected by this, and in spite of the formal attire of most of his peers, my son dressed to fit his “punk” roots with skinny jeans and graphic t’s.. One of the older students took a photo of him wearing a pink t-shirt and his tight black pants, in pretense of liking it, and then sharing it around the campus, causing my son to become butt of many jokes.
He decided to wear that shirt every day for months (washing it, of course) in response to their antics and would not back down. I urged him to stop wearing that shirt but to no avail. It broke my heart to know what was happening to him but looking back now, I am impressed with his fearlessness. He almost quit the school, but finished the grueling three years of law school with those same bullies graduating around him. In his tradition, after successfully graduating with his law degree, he refused to practice law, pursuing instead comedic acting, writing, stand up, and producing.
The photo above is of him playing a character from an upcoming web film project of his that he is writing/producing/directing, a project that combines his love for superheroes and passion for creating his own path: his own purple trail.