Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas fun

On Christmas, when I was 14, I did what I always do and went to my father’s house to spend the day with him and my stepmom (and her family). See Christmas Eve morning was time with my mom, and the evening was with my dad's family, but Christmas day was always reserved for my stepmom's family. He met me at the front door and we went out for lunch instead of going inside the house. At lunch he told me that I was no longer welcome as part of my stepmother’s family, and since he always did Christmas with them I would no longer be welcome in his home on this day. Not going to lie, it crushed me. I felt like my world had ended because my stepmom’s family had been the only stable family I had known my whole life.

Then my dad dropped me off at my mother’s house with a brand new laptop and $500. I called Tyler and I hiccupped and cried my way through the ordeal that I had just been through and he was at my side immediately with Trip and Jane. It was decided that I needed to do something to cheer up FAST. So we all piled into Tyler’s new Christmas Audi and we went to Disneyland. Despite feeling like absolute shit, I laughed, I smiled and I had one of the best days I had ever had in my 14 years on this planet.

And that was the beginning of our Christmas tradition. Every year after that, no matter what was going on, we got together and did something spontaneous just so I wouldn’t be alone on Christmas. The following year we went to Mt. High, the year after that we went to Rosarito Beach in Mexico, the year after that we went to Bear, the next year we went to Magic Mountain, then it was Vegas, then Santa Barbara, then San Diego, then Laughlin, then San Francisco, then the Madonna Inn, then Solvang (we wanted chocolate), and finally this year we came full circle and found ourselves back at Disneyland like we did when I was 14. And that’s when it hit me, I have the best friends in the world.

What is so amazing about our trips, at least for me, is how long we have continued this tradition. 12 years of us banding together and celebrating Christmas as a family because I didn’t want to be reminded that I was alone. We have lives, jobs and families that have taken us all over the world, but for Christmas no matter what, we are always together. Just trying to even imagine all that my friends have sacrificed for me over the years is incalculable and completely overwhelming.

People always wonder how I was so lucky to turn out the way that I did when they look back at the life that I have lived. The broken homes and abuse, the drugs and alcohol, the abandonment; stronger people than myself would’ve given up a long time ago, but I never did. I never gave up because I always had my friends at my side and I KNEW they would never let me fall. I don’t know why or how I came to be this lucky. I guess it’s not for me to figure these things out. I just know that without them in my life I wouldn’t be the kind of man I am so proud to be.

I know this can’t last forever. One day we are going to have husbands and wives, then kids and grandkids. One day we are going to have to give this all up and just look back on all the good times we had and smile. But for now, they are my world and I love them more than I could ever put into words.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My favorite song...

It’s funny how a single song can mean so many different things as you go through life. I remember the first time I heard this song. I had picked the CD up at this small record store in Hawaii the summer of 2000 while I was training. I popped the CD into my Walkman and pressed play. The second it came on I froze, it was just so haunting and beautiful. I never felt lonelier or more vulnerable than I did in that moment.

“Everyday I wake up alone because, I’m not like all the other boys…”

Right there. An indictment on everything I was just mocking me and calling me out within the lyrics of a band who was going to explain why it’s always raining on me. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to this song, ALWAYS focusing on that opening line. Sometimes while listening I would notice that there were tears coming down and I had no idea why. But there it was, a song about my loneliness and my hopelessness and proof that I was going to always be alone and hopeless.

Eventually my obsession over this song faded and I somewhat forgot about it. It wasn’t until a few years later after Eddie and I broke up that I found this album again. Hearing this song years later with a completely different worldview and a whole new perspective on myself and life in general, the message had changed…

“And ever since I woke up I felt the net, was lifting me out of the sea…”

And there it was! HOPE. Hope that one day maybe I wouldn’t be alone or misunderstood. One day I would be happy and stronger, and one day I would find somebody who could be all those things for me and I could do the same for them. This song no longer made me feel sad, it made me feel so warm and happy and ready for this future where things were only looking up!

Again, the song went away and I forgot about it until last week when I found myself humming it absentmindedly. So I grabbed my iPod and went through my extensive Travis library until I found the version of the song I wanted to hear. And there it was. My new message, my end to this journey I have spent the last 11+ years on.

“And ever since a long time I felt the rain, and there was NO danger, and NO MORE strangers. As you are…”

I was finally able to understand the whole message because of you Bradley. I am so happy and there’s no way things could possibly get any better between us because you’re everything I always wanted or needed and so much more. I know it sounds corny and cliché, but with you by my side I feel like I could do anything. Whether it be climbing the tallest mountains or fighting the fiercest armies, I could do anything with you by my side. I want to be with you forever, and that doesn’t even scare me in the slightest because I KNOW you and I KNOW what’s in your heart. I guess all that’s left to do is ask you to marry me so we can begin forever with each other.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


A few years ago I wrote this blog post called “Hapa Pride”. It was a crass, stereotypical and narrow-minded indictment on Asian/Caucasian relationships, which I still completely stand by 100%. Over the years this blog post has completely taken on a life of it’s own. 3 years later if you were to type in “hapa pride” into your google search engine it will be the first entry. My words here have really made a much deeper impact than I ever really imagined they would.

On occasion I have been known to write things here on my blog where I have lost readers, gotten strongly worded hate mail, and even received death threats. This never really bothered me because this blog is where I go to vent, pontificate and be myself. I don’t do this so that I can have a million readers, I don’t need the hero worship and I don’t need people to like me ESPECIALLY if I am never going to meet them!

The thing about this one post that is so different from anything else that I have ever written is how it’s just getting more and more popular! From this one entry, I have been quoted, cited, and published other places: college essays, internet articles, ENTIRE FUCKING BLOGS WHERE THIS ONE POST IS THE ONLY REASON WHY THEIR BLOG EXISTS, etc. Recently I was even contacted by my Alma Mater asking if I could reveal myself to them and if I would be willing to come in for a little campus discussion on the matter. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE!?

I am completely at a loss for words. Firstly, the only reason why there’s so much anger on this subject is BECAUSE I AM RIGHT! Everybody getting their panties all up their ass really just need to take a minute and seriously take an honest look at the weirdo in the mirror looking back at them. I am not making you into something that you aren’t, I am just saying what everybody else is thinking. Don’t jump on my dick because you don’t like the truth.

WHAT THE FUCK IS ONE DOING WITH THEIR LIFE WHERE MY FUCKING WORDS CAN AFFECT THEM IN SUCH A DEEP AND INTIMATE WAY!? I get around 150 unique visitors a day and about 100 of them are all directly linked to “Hapa Pride” seriously people, WHAT THE FUCK!? Its BASIC COMMON SENSE! Your parents are socially inept and frail and weird, guess what YOU ARE PROBABLY GOING TO BE THE SAME FUCKING WAY!!! It has nothing to do with the fact that your dad is white and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that your dad’s JUST A BIG FAT ANTISOCIAL LOSER! Get over it! It’s not my fault! LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Irreconcilable Differences...

As you think, so shall you become.
- Bruce Lee

I guess it’s easy to look at the way things are and accept them. SLOWLY things could even be interpreted as getting better. Off the top of my head I can think of 5 primetime TV shows with an Asian series regular and only one of them has the kind of racist stereotyping that makes me want to punch a bitch (2 broke girls, I am talking to you!). I get that there are definitely people working within the industry to create a more robust and less stereotypical view of Asians in the media and I am grateful for that effort. But the very idea that Eddie has thought about this and dismissed it as something he should help with INFURIATED ME!

Throughout middle school and high school, I always loved to read and write. As an undergraduate going through my extracurricular literature classes, I became aware that the characters and stories I liked most (and wrote about) revolved around only white Americans, you know, like Aryan Jesus. Somehow, embedded inside my mind was the idea that white Americans were the better characters to read and write about because as long as I could remember, that’s what the world had me believe.

After I became aware of this fact I went out of my way to make attempts to find literature outside the white dominated culture but is still American. It’s so frustrating trying to find a character to relate to when they are all described with blue eyes, light skin and the such. As I began to delve into the wonderful world of “minority literature” the one thing that became EXTREMELY apparent to me was how few books and even fewer movies out there fit into this category. I think that was the first moment where I realized this was only going to change if people like myself were going to put in the effort to actually change it.

This was all stuff I tried to explain to Eddie as we sat down for lunch and tried to work through our issues. It just frustrates me so much because if anybody was going to understand how I felt about this, I would’ve assumed it was Eddie. He grew up with Amy Tan (one of America’s most well known Asian Authors of all time!) as one of his mother’s oldest friends! How could he not see the importance of carrying on the fight to create and be recognized after growing up KNOWING one person could make that difference!?

After I was done, Eddie apologized for letting things get so heated between us before. He told me that he completely understood where I was coming from, and has spent his entire career feeling guilty about this very argument we were having. But in the end he wasn’t going to change his ways because no matter how he tried, creatively, certain paths are just closed to him.

I could see it in his eyes. He wanted me to say that I was okay with it all and that I accepted what he was saying and was ready to move on. As friends, I was completely willing to accept his point of view and not hold it against him, but as his creative partner I was not. I don’t know if I want to pursue a life in film, or if I want to be a painter, or a sculptor, or even a cartoonist. All I know is that creating with Eddie really isn’t an option anymore because he and I are on very different paths now. He’s always going to be one of my best friends on the planet, but when it comes to matters of the imagination from now on one of us is always going to be holding the other back.

I feel like I am coming off a lot more rigid than I am actually being! It’s not like I want to start casting an Asian person in every role we have from here on out. It’s just the very idea that an Asian actor isn’t even an option JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE ASIAN really bothers me! I have fought too hard my ENTIRE life to be so much more than some token Asian guy, and to actually be a part of anything that’s going to reinforce this idea I fought so hard against… I just can’t do it! So I am not going to.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Bonding time...

Last night Brad was feeling depressed and overwhelmed with being injured. This one injury is affecting his future in so many different ways and he can’t stop thinking about all of the possibilities that have just disappeared into the ether because of it. These are feelings that I can relate to so much that I can’t help but hurt for him because I know that I’ve felt almost everything he’s going through. We stayed up all night and talked, cried, and held each other. It’s so hard to see him like this. All I want to do is make everything better even though I know I can’t. The irrational part of me feels so helpless, but the rational part of me knows that being there for him is not only the ONLY thing I can do for him, BUT the BEST I can do to help him.

When the sun comes up I just can’t sleep; it doesn’t matter how tired I am, I just can’t do it! So I left Brad sleeping in bed while I went downstairs to make myself a large cup of Earl Grey. Brad’s mom was in the kitchen already with her pot of coffee brewing. She looked as tired as I felt and I knew that she hadn’t slept much at all that night either. I am really frustrated with the fact that I can’t figure her out! But she finally is starting to look like she might be ready to share whatever it is that’s going on in her head. So I let her know that Brad’s going to be out cold for at least the next 3 hours and I would really appreciate it if she bought me breakfast.

Brad’s mom and I never really had a lot of bonding time like I have with the rest of his family. It’s not that we don’t like each other; it’s actually quite the opposite! It’s just that up until now she’s just been so busy with work, or taking care of her sick daughter that we’ve never really had an opportunity for some one on one time. I felt like the majority of what she knew about me had come from Brad, his siblings or even her husband. I couldn’t help but feel a little suspicious that a large reason for her visit was to give me a thorough once over.

The second we got into the car she began to talk. It took her the entire trip to the restaurant, our meal, and our trip back to the house to say everything she had to say! A few times she got really emotional as she was sharing, which of course got me all emotional and it took everything I had to not start crying in public with her. It was a lot to take in, and to be honest I am still processing most of it.

Of course she had Bradley on her mind. Before Brad’s mom began, and every few minutes during her 3 hour dialogue she would stop and let me know that if I think she’s overstepping I should feel free to stop her. Of course I would never do that, but at least I was able to process that she'd be overstepping at some point! She told me how she always knew Brad was different from her other children from the moment she first held him. He’s way more sensitive than he will ever admit, he’s stoic to the point of it almost being mistaken as coldness, and he is just so brave. Brad told his mom he was gay when he was 13, but having raised two boys before him she’d already known for years. Her only big worry is how hard Bradley is on himself, which is actually a HUGE worry for her.

Brad doesn’t take failure well at all because he seldom ever fails. He put his entire life on hold so he could pursue a goal that he can now no longer achieve; obviously he’s not doing so great right now. But the thing that really surprised me was how much better she felt brad was coping with this disappointment than she thought he was capable of. She attributed his positivity and progress to me, which made me blush. The only thing she felt like she could compare this level of loss with was when Brad and I broke up for 6 terrible months.

I remember how that entire time I just never felt right because a piece of me was missing. It’s strange how just the memory of those events makes my heart ache all over again. Bradley has basically told me this was the most difficult time in his life too, but hearing it from somebody else makes me feel like a terrible and immature person for not staying and trying to work things out when clearly we were meant to be together through all of this anyway!

By the time she finished I didn’t feel like I was being judged anymore. I actually felt refreshed, renewed, and confident in myself and what I contribute to my relationship with Brad. All she wanted to do was thank me for the honor of watching her son become a man and let me know that I was the catalyst for his transformation. Yeah it was strange and a little bit too emotion-y for my taste, but it felt good to hear none the less.

I spent the rest of the day taking care of Brad and thinking about everything I had learned. He and I have been through so much together, and now we are stronger as a couple than we have ever been! Brad and I are about to go through a lot of changes. We’re moving, he’s got a long road to recovery, and he’s starting his grad program in January. I guess that now more than ever I want him to know that I intend to spend the rest of my life with him. Laying next to me at my right, this is my future husband and partner everything. I feel like when I inform him of these things, he's just going to roll his eyes and tell me he's been waiting a very long time for me to get here with him.