selfie ERIC KIM


You cannot understand me if you don’t know where I’ve been, or what I have experienced:



The school of the hard knocks

“It’s a hard knock life for us!” – Annie

Or even better done by JAY Z // Ghetto Album.

Why does this song make me so emotional? It makes me think of my child-hood. A tough childhood is kinda sad, but I am grateful; the tragedies I experienced as a kid created who I am. This is why I can far more relate to JAY Z (growing up poor) more so than Kanye (growing up middle-class).

Poor vs rich

For me, I never really cared about ‘racism’ or any of that growing up. For me, the bigger issue was:

I am scared my mom cannot pay the rent this month, because my dad just left to Reno for a few days, and gambled away the rent money.

I still have vivid memories. This is when I was in Sophomore year in high school. The summer of, I hustled hard (worked as a busboy at the Japanese restaurant my mom worked as a waitress at), and I made around ~$3,000 USD in cash that summer. I got suckered by my dad — something like he was gonna use the money to go down to LA and pursue some business deal or something. Ended up he took my $3,000 and gambled it all away in around a week in Reno. Came back with nada.

How does this affect your psyche as a kid?

MARCY ME — another JAY Z song I can relate to.

You learn at a young age:

Nobody can be trusted.

The only people I trusted was my mom, my sister, and my friends. I also had a weird relationship with money —

Spend your money while you got it, because who knows, your dad might swipe it, and gamble it away.

How the school of the hard knocks is good

Truth be told, I ain’t salty about my past. I am deeply grateful. Why? I don’t really wish this upon anybody else, or my future kid, or the child of anyone else. But this is the thing:

A hard knock life toughens you up.

You grow a very thick skin. A very stoic skin. Actually ever since I was 12 years old, I was the OG stoic without even knowing it. I became de-sensitized to the domestic abuse in my household (my dad was physically violent AND mentally/verbally violent to my mom). I still have bad memories of my dad grabbing my mom by the head, yanking her head around, and calling her all these really bad expletives in Korean. Strangely this became normalized to me. My only regret as a kid growing up was not to physically intervene and beat up my dad to defend my mom.

Scars are good

SCARS are good. Why? If it weren’t for my scars, I wouldn’t have become strong.

The future of child-rearing

I think about this a lot. How will I raise my future kids? What would and should future society look like?

A future spartan society?

Y’all soft as bread, y’all soft as bread (Kanye West paraphrase).

I disdain softness. I see society is becoming more and more soft. My thought? Society should become harder. More rigorous. More critical. More tempered.

Children are tougher than they seem. And whenever I see soft kids, it ain’t the fault of a kid. A kid is just a blank slate. It is through societal trends, norms, religion, education, ideologies, philosophies, etc which transforms the kid into what they is.

So whenever we see soft kids in (American) society, typically the kids are spoiled rotten. Some via-negativa ideas I got:

  1. Don’t give the kid an iPhone, an iPad, or any crack-cocaine-dopamnine-machine-device
  2. Don’t give the kid handouts. This means if the kid (as a teenager or above) wants something, tell them to go get a job and earn it. This was huuuugely beneficial to me as a kid growing up. I knew I could only depend on myself, because my mom literally had no money. This is good motivation. Because when I bought something with my own hard-earned cash (for example, I bought my first car, a used 1991 Sentra XE [5 speed], for only $1,200 at age 15) I had HUGE PRIDE!. Once again; when we get kids to work hard for something and actually buy it themselves, it augments the child with pride.
  3. Challenge your kids to think different. Best to ask kids “WHY?” do you think that way, rather than trying to brainwash them to think a certain way.

The future of humanity

My belief:

The future of humanity (if it continues the way it is) will become profoundly mediocre.

The future is gonna be hijacked by the nerds. The nerds who only know numbers (quantified self movement type fellows), and engineers, and computer science majors and programmers. The future of humanity will lack aesthetics, ethics, morality, or philosophy. It will only care for money, more social media followers, more expensive things and objects, and it will become more and more anti-social.

How can we change this? You.



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