Tae, age 5
New York, NY (1988)
I don't remember taking this photo, nor do I remember the story behind it. Was the fan just lying around the room? Who's idea was it to include it in the photo? Did my pose come naturally to me, or was I coerced by some older cousin who thought it'd be funny? Most of that day's details remain fuzzy, but what I can confirm, is that this was taken while on vacation in Seoul, South Korea.
Stumbling on this photo a few years ago took me aback, because I actually seem really happy in it. Sure, I have other childhood photos of me smiling, but they're few and far between.
I naturally smile with a slight smirk, so this ear-to-ear grin going on makes me take note.
Growing up, I don’t think I fully understood that I was different. At least not until I graduated from high school. I was always a natural recluse, and feeling incompatible with the people around me was something I grew accustomed to.
But I have grown tremendously since then, and now I am so much more comfortable and happy in my own skin. Coming out to my friends (and more recently to my family) has helped a lot, because I finally feel like I can move on to the next chapter of my life. Chapters which I document on my own blog.
Not everyone is going to accept who I am, but I now know that has nothing to do with me, and has more to do with that person's issues. If a person can't understand the fundamental idea that people are born different, then there's not much else I can do for them, until they come to that realization.
As a kid, it was easy to feel helpless and like I had no way to escape. But I'm happy to say that as an adult, that's where I take all my accumulated learning lessons and use them as tools for life. Wisdom really does come with age, and that's enough for me to have something to look forward to every morning.