Week 15: Digital letter to Son

Dear Wolf,


After living this life as long as I have there is one thing that I know, and that is people are always changing. The person you think you are at this moment is not the person you will be nor is it the person you were. This is merely a snapshot in time in of man about to become a father to you.


This is my first letter to you by the time you read this letter I hope you are a healthy young literate boy. Right now you are still a fetus inside your mother. I think about you all the time, I even thought about you before you were conceived. You were abstraction, someone who I wanted to meet but not yet a real person. Right now in my life I’m 36, I’ve been living a pretty normal life for a while now, working, smoking weed, drinking beers, hanging out with your mom, watching baseball games, seeing friends, running and hiking.


This is what I want to say to you as my unborn child, first off for some reason I already love you. It’s hard to explain but do, I worry about you and think of you all the time. I think about what kind of man you will become and I think of all my mistakes and wish I could guide you through life to avoid that pain but that is not the way life is. When we bring you up in conversation I always say: we cannot make rules or even think about how we should raise you until we meet you because every person is so different and there no single right way to raise a man, that said I have a few shards of wisdom that I would like to pass on to you.


If you can only learn one thing from me it is this, I want you to be happy, and that is no small task. People talk about happiness all the time but very few people achieve it. It is a life long practice in compassion, confidence and self-understanding. This is something that no man can teach you, that no religion will give you, and that no woman will fulfill. To me if there is a single life thesis it is that happiness is not selfish, it is selfless. If you work your entire life at achieving happiness that is a life well spent. So there you go, there’s happiness and that’s something that you’ll have to find or deal with on your own. I hope that I too will be happy throughout your life so I can help show you that door. But for some stupid reason, I see so many parents and they are so uncool and miserable, I don’t know why that happens Wolf, but just know at this moment in time as I sit here at the UCLA library just days before I meet you, I was a happy and cool guy. By the time you read this I might just be another asshole Dad inflexible and angry, if I’m that, I’m sorry.


I also wanted to talk to you about confidence. You are growing up and different world than I had. When I grew up it was not easy being an Asian dude. For some reason Americans (American media) decided that we are ugly and effeminate. I have been fighting that stereotype my entire life, but I also fell into it. There were times I had no confidence, I did not believe I was worthy or cool enough to have friends, to deserve respect, to talk to girls, to have a well-paid job. Wolf, you have to listen to me when I say that what you think of yourself is 99% of the time what other people think of you. I was so happy when I found out you were going to be a boy, I always wanted to raise a boy but I was also scared for you. It’s not easy being an Asian dude if you were born an Asian girl all men would desire you, you could navigate the world as an object or desire, but instead you will as an Asian man, often the object of rejection and ridicule do not let that define you. Walk with your head high knowing that you are The Mutha F*ckin Wolf.


Another thing I want to touch on is fear. Fear is part of being human. We were designed on the plains of Africa to be a skittish upright monkey. There will always be fear, fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of dark places, fear of getting lost, fear of being killed, fear of failure. Almost all of the time those fears are unfounded; the world is not a scary place. Let me get that into your head, you have nothing to be afraid of. Fear is the base mind telling the body that there is danger, when we were hunted by lions that might have made sense but now it’s petrifies the modern man from achieving his true calling and that is to overcome the base mind and reach a higher level of thinking and self awareness. I named you Wolf because you have nothing to fear, it is you that people fear when they hear a bump in the night.


Life is not an easy journey, I hope that I can be there for you through most of it but there will come a day that I will not be around. Or you’ve just moved on past me. And that it totally fine, I don’t want some clingy fearful boy in my life forever. I want to someday be with your mother again just the two of us, in love like the days before you came into being. So Wolf if you take away just a few things from this writing exercise it’s that I love you and always will, seek happiness at all costs, be confident in yourself and fear nothing for there is nothing to be afraid of.


Love Your Father,


Travis Lee