Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year! This is the Year of the Rabbit, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about this prospect. This is a year for creativity, communication, luck and prosperity. I couldn’t be happier. But for now, I just wanted to tell you that I’ve admired your career for quite some time now. I don’t think a lot of people know that you came from extremely humble beginnings and managed to forge a career over many continents and decades. The list of your philanthropic contributions and fearless stuntsmanship is mindblowing. You are amazing.
But while I could spend pages and pages telling you how unbelievable your kung fu skillz are and what nerve it to takes for you to dive into your career the way you did, I’m actually writing for a totally different reason.
You see, I’m sort of a bookish person. I read a lot. I also write (as you can see) and I’m a bit of an artist. But I’m at a point in my life when I need to build up some self-confidence pretty much… now. Here’s the thing. I just don’t fit in here. I get this feeling that there is somewhere else I should be, but I’m not sure why or where. I live in sort of a nice part of town. My parents are doing pretty well for themselves, I guess. And I go to a private school with other kids whose parents seem to be in technology or business or work at the university.
So here I am, knowing that your parents were so poor that they sent you to the China Drama Academy where you lived for ten years and you barely got to see them. I hear that place was really harsh and they probably weren’t all that nice to you. They didn’t even teach you to read or write. They just wanted you to learn how to do acrobatics, martial arts, sing and act. I really hope you liked all of that, because it doesn’t sound like they really cared about you all that much.
Anyway, I almost feel guilty coming from my family. All I want to do is write, draw, play music and make stuff. But my parents are really pushing me toward other stuff. They want me to learn about business, take advanced mathematics, and they’ve hired a science tutor for me. Actually, I’m OK with the science tutor as long as we can test theories that I want to test. But my feeling is that they just want me to score very, very high on my tests and place out of certain classes so I can build up my college resume and get into a good school. I have no reas0n to complain, though. Do I? I’m confused.
You know, I think it’s really weird that your parents, wanting a great life for you, put you in a school for the arts. And my parents, wanting a better life for me, are trying to push me into being a great test taker and eventually find a career in, well, who knows? I just don’t get it. I thought parents were supposed to just sort of help their kids be whatever they really want to be. Did you become what you really wanted to become?
Maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe I have to be more flexible and adapt and just sort of see what happens. Maybe my interests and talents are just hobbies? Maybe once I get a stable career I can figure out what I am passionate about later. Is that how it works? Because out of all the celebrities I have written to and talked about, I can’t think of one who actually did it that way. Not that my goal is to be a celebrity. It’s actually not. My goal is to be, well, me. I think that should be good enough. Right?
I have a lot of anger about the pressure I’m feeling now that I’m in high school. I have a good handle on my mind. But I’m totally disconnected from my body (where all my anger seems to be lurking) and I’m thinking Kung Fu might be the answer. What do you think? I’m really not an aggressive person, and I’m totally into non-violence. I just want to make that perfectly clear. But exactly, how can Kung Fu help me in my life? Will it make me want to beat up my tutor? Because that might get really ugly. And it’s illegal when you’re not getting paid to make a movie about it.
So, I really need your advice. I need to know what I can do to overcome what other want from me and just forge ahead and be who (I’m pretty sure) I know I’m supposed to be. I’m starting to question myself, because it seems like all people care about is making money, looking like movie stars and getting stuff.
Look, my parents are good people. I just think they’re a little misguided. I know they won’t always be there to help me. But I think I can make it in the world just pursuing my passions and living fearlessly. I want to go through life like you go through a wall. I want to conquer my fears like you conquer a swarm of angry guys trying to kill you. But I can’t just think about it in my head, I have to train for that, right?
So this is the Year of the Rabbit, and this is a big relief for me. Because as far as I know, rabbits make excellent diplomats, writers, designers and teachers. Rabbits also represent creativity, compassion and sensitivity. Me, me, and me! This is good news. According to my sources, this is an especially good year to seek out advice, which is totally what I’m doing right now.
So, Mr. Chan, any advice you can give me about how to live an authentic life in this Year of the Rabbit, would be most welcome. Thank you for your talents, time and compassion.