My ninth year was very interesting, and I went through a lot of changes emotionally and
intellectually. It was the year in which I matured to a point where I would start observing the world
more conscientiously. Before I turned nine, I was living life as a carefree child in a world that I thought
was only good and pure. From this point onwards, I would gradually discover more about the world and
society. I would face problems and frustrations that I wouldn’t even think about before. My life would
still be positive and bright, however, and I would live it to its fullest.
The first frustration of the year, which would remain for the rest of my life, was the fact that I was
very short for my age. As Fourth Grade started, it fully dawned on me that I was the shortest kid in my
class – even the girls were taller than me. In the past, I rarely gave a thought to it, but at this stage I
became extremely annoyed at how everyone was taller than me, and how the tallest boys were
automatically respected more. It instilled the first feelings of inferiority in me, and such feelings would
only grow more volatile with time.
I desperately wanted to get taller, and I read that playing basketball increases height. This sparked my
brief interest in basketball, and I would play it all the time during recess and lunch in the Upper. Most of
the basketball courts were unused, so I would play it by myself, or with anyone who cared to join me.
During my time at father’s, I would spend hours playing basketball at father’s basketball court, shooting
hoop after hoop long into the evening, and I also remember lying on the ground in the basketball court
trying to stretch my body as much as I could in between basketball sessions.
When I played basketball at school, some boys would join me, and when they did I saw that they
were much better at the sport than me. I envied their ability to throw the ball at double the distance
than I could. This made me realize that along with being short, I was physically weak compared to other
boys my age. Even boys younger than me were stronger. This vexed me to no end.
My fourth grade classroom was located in the center area of the school, and my teacher was named
Mrs. Gill, who had an assistant named Mr. Devine. Fourth grade was a strange year due to the emotional
problems I would go through, and I didn’t have as much fun at school as I did in previous years. In class, I
sat near Keaton Webber, and I got into a few conflicts with him. We weren’t quite enemies, but I
disliked him intensely and I would always consider him a foul prick.
By nature, I am a very jealous person, and at the age of nine my jealous nature sprung to the surface.
During playdates with James, sometimes he would have other friends over as well, and I would feel very
jealous and upset when he paid more attention to them. Feeling left out, I would find a quiet corner and
start crying. My mother and Kim were very understanding, and did the best they could to console me.
On the rare occurrence that my mother would have Maddy and Mo over for dinner, or if we would go
to visit them at their house, Maddy often played with my little sister Georgia instead of me, and this too
made me jealous. I remember all the times I cried when this happened.
Jealousy and envy… those are two feelings that would dominate my entire life and bring me immense
pain. The feelings of jealousy I felt at nine-years-old were frustrating, but they were nothing compared
to how I would feel once I hit puberty and have to watch girls choosing other boys over me. Any
problem I had at nine-years-old was nirvana compared to what I was doomed to face.
A few months into fourth grade, it was decided by my parents to change me and my sister’s living
arrangement yet again. This time, we would be switching between mother’s house and father’s house
each week. One week would be spent at mother’s, and the next at father’s. This was a fair split. At first I
wasn’t so sure about it, because I always disliked any change to my life, but I found it to be a better
arrangement. This enabled me to spend weekends at mother’s house, during her week, and I was very
excited about this. I’ve only ever spent weekends at father’s beforehand.
During father’s week, I would mostly be looked after by our two new nannies, Rosa and Amparro.
They were of South American origin and didn’t speak much English, but they were very kind.
I started to have intense conflicts with Soumaya. I hated the rules she imposed on me, which I
believed she had no right to impose, as she wasn’t my true parent. I hated how she would force me to
drink milk every morning and very foul-tasting soup for dinner. I made such a fuss about having the soup
that she used it as a punishment. Whenever I did something wrong, she would force me to drink the
soup. I once had a playdate with Philip at father’s house, and when I yelled at my sister because she was
annoying us, Soumaya punished me by sending me to my room for an hour, embarrassing me in front of
Philip. After this incident, I never had a playdate at father’s house ever again.
This conflict with Soumaya started a trend in which I would love being at mother’s house and dread
the weeks I had to spend at father’s house. On top of the conflicts with Soumaya, father was rarely
there, as he was always out of town for his work. After spending a nice week at mother’s house, I would
cry when Sunday came and I had to go to father’s on Monday. I would then spend the entire week at
father’s house looking forward to going back to my mother’s. I remember those Mondays when my
mother dropped me off at school for the first day of father’s week… I felt so sad that I cried when I saw
my mother’s car driving away. Of course, I would hide the tears to avoid embarrassment at school, but I
would feel miserable for that whole day.
I always had a pleasant experience during mother’s week. She always arranged playdates for me,
because she knew I was too shy to initiate them myself. She always made everything fun. On weekends
after dinner, we would have “treat time”, where she would bring out a box of candies for me and my
sister to choose from.
I had a lot of playdates with Philip, and through Philip I also played with his brother Jeffrey, who was
two years younger than us. While Philip was calm and mature, Jeffrey was the complete opposite.
Jeffrey Bloeser was wild and boisterous, which often brought a lot of fun to my playdates with Philip.
My mother once had a party at her house and invited all of our family friends. James Ellis came over,
and so did Philip and Jeffrey. It was the first time I saw all of them together, and it made for an
interesting experience. I got a bit jealous, however, when Philip and Jeffrey seemed to respect and pay
more attention to James than they did to me. When we were playing on my Nintendo 64 and I was
competing against James, they rooted for James, which really upset me.
As my fourth grade year approached its end, my little nine-year-old self had another revelation about
how the world works. I realized that there were hierarchies, that some people were better than others.
Of course I was subconsciously aware of this in the past, but it was at this time of my life – at nine years
old – that I started to give it a lot of thought and importance.
I started to see this at school. At school, there were always the “cool kids” who seemed to be more
admirable than everyone else. The way they looked, dressed, and acted made them… cooler. These
“cool kids” as I called them, included Keaton Webber, Matt Bordier, Michael Ray, Trevor Bourget,
Zalman Katz, John Jo Glen, and a few more. They were cool, they were popular, and they always seemed
like they were having a good time.
The peaceful and innocent environment of childhood where everyone had an equal footing was all
over. The time of fair play was at its end. Life is a competition and a struggle, and I was slowly starting to
When I became aware of this common social structure at my school, I also started to examine myself
and compare myself to these “cool kids”. I realized, with some horror, that I wasn’t “cool” at all. I had a
dorky hairstyle, I wore plain and uncool clothing, and I was shy and unpopular. I was always described as
the shy boy in the past, but I never really thought my shyness would affect me in a negative way, until
This revelation about the world, and about myself, really decreased my self-esteem. On top of this
was the feeling that I was different because I am of mixed race. I am half White, half Asian, and this
made me different from the normal fully-white kids that I was trying to fit in with.
I envied the cool kids, and I wanted to be one of them. I was a bit frustrated at my parents for not
shaping me into one of these kids in the past. They never made an effort to dress me in stylish clothing
or get me a good-looking haircut. I had to make every effort to rectify this. I had to adapt.
My first act was to ask my parents to allow me to bleach my hair blonde. I always envied and admired
blonde-haired people, they always seemed so much more beautiful. My parents agreed to let me do it,
and father took me to a hair salon on Mulholland Drive in Woodland Hills. Choosing that hair salon was a
bad decision, for they only bleached the top of my head blonde. When I indignantly questioned why
they didn’t make all of my hair blonde, they said that I was too young for a full bleaching. I was furious. I
thought I looked so silly with blonde hair at the top of my head and black hair at the sides and back. I
dreaded going to school the next day with this weird new hair.
When I arrived at school the next day, I was intensely nervous. Before class started, I stood in a
corner franticly trying to figure out how I would go about revealing this to everyone. Trevor was the first
one to notice it, and he came up to me and patted my head, saying that it was very “cool”. Well, that
was exactly what I wanted. My new hair turned out to be quite a spectacle, and for a few days I got a
hint of the attention and admiration I so craved.
My interest in Pokemon faded away at this time. In third grade, Pokemon was considered “cool” and
everyone was playing it. Towards the end of fourth grade, I found out that everyone was growing out of
Pokemon, and the only ones who played it were the geeky kids. I heard some kids joking about how
lame Pokemon players were, and I decided it was time to quit.
I talked to James about this. He was still interested in Pokemon, so I gave him my Charizard card as a
gift, and as an act of my resignation from the game. Pokemon gave me some really happy and
memorable experiences, but it was time to move on.
I then started to notice that all of the cool kids were interested in skateboarding. I had never even
ridden on a skateboard before, but if I wanted to be cool, I had to become a skateboarder. I expressed
this to my parents, and my father was glad that I was showing an interest in an active sport. He took me
to the store Val Surf on Ventura Boulevard to buy me a new skateboard, and I was fascinated by all of
the different choices. I settled for a red Val Surf branded Skateboard, and they took it down from the
wall and built it for me.
I was thrilled to have this new skateboard and the possible chance it gave me to be a cool kid. It was
time to start practicing. I found it very hard to even ride on it in the beginning, and I spent many hours
outside trying to get the hang of it. And that was that, I was now a skateboarder, though not yet good
enough to reveal myself as one to the kids at school. This was the start of an obsession to copy
everything the supposed “cool kids” were doing.