In elementary school, I remember I absolutely loved to color. I was the artist of the class, dare I say, the entire school. Back in the days of Crayola boxes with colors like “burnt sienna” and “skin color” (how fucked up is that?), I was in love with the beauty of my work. I know, narcissistic, right? Everyday, I would sit at my desk, open the coloring book, and study the picture. I would then pick the appropriate colors and outline the borders of the image. Then, I shaded it in, making sure to never color outside the lines. The final result was perfection: very distinct borders, amazing tone. I learned at a very young age to only color inside the lines, that it was beautiful to do so.
My father also had a profound impact on my coloring skills. He would always firmly stress school. “Education is the key to success,” he would say. “Keep your head down, ears and eyes open, and always listen and do what you’re told.” I received an early lesson on being a good student, obedient son, the perfect soldier, a rule follower.
I am the first born American child of a Korean immigrant. My father worked 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, fighting economic hardships to feed me without any maternal support,