I’m a baby papa. Actually, make that babies papa. There, I outed myself. I am legally a parent and a husband – a man no longer solo but a caretaker of my out-of-womb seeds and a spicy Oriental lass of the Han-Gook variety.
“Everything changes once you have kids. So don’t pop holes through your condom with your teeth during…”
- Planned Parenthood (ok, not really)
If you had asked me 5 years ago whether I’d be married with kids (and a minivan too), I would have laughed really, really hard and said, “Whatever mofo, pass the lychee soju and let us drink like vikings and touch the untanned parts of pretty girls.”
But it is not 5 years ago, it is today. Instead, I am married with kids (two to be precise and perhaps more on the way). 5 years ago, I would have considered my current state of affairs a “worst case scenario,” second only to running out of Shiseido facial moisturizer and blotting paper before a big audition. Sigh…being an 18 year old, single father of two is truly sobering…
OK, so I’m not 18 and I’m not single. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I have created a generation beneath me and am now presented with an even more challenging, if not stupefying, life balance equation. How on Earth am I going to become an A-List movie star, be an involved and present parent, maintain 6.5% body fat, achieve financial security/success, respect my God, and be generously happy all at the same time and into the future? How am I going to be able to fit and balance all of these things on my plate simultaneously? Heck, I’ve been focusing on just one or two of these things for the past 16 years and I haven’t even come close to accomplishing any one of them. Add kids to the mix? Ninja please… The shit just got real, dog.
To be honest, I don’t even feel old enough to be a dad. At times, when I’m holding my little ones and I pass by a mirror, I stare in awe and confusion – is that really me holding two kids trying to latch onto my man-nipples (they’re dry, btw)? My mind flutters for an instant, trying to process and reprocess the visuals to the concept. My brain naturally attempts to categorize what I see into slots titled “uncle holding much older sister’s babies,” or “life for Roger if he were a manny (aka male au pair),” or “when Roger visits Asian Tiger Octomom,” etc. But “dad”? That’s a new slot, a new concept, and, even after almost 3 years, is something I’m still trying to get used to and make sense of.
To say my life is different today when compared to 3 years ago would be an understatement. It’s not only different, it’s 180 degrees different. How different? Well, for starters, my daily driver is a minivan. Yeah, it happened. I had to pawn my cock for a larger vessel to shuttle my seed. And trust me, Roger ain’t getting no faux play from the hotties at the red lights when they see him rollin’ in an Odyssey. Oh, to be young, free, and single again, even if for but a moment… But no, I am no longer the sexual puma who once marauded the night, champagne in hand, pouncing upon innocent female youth, shredding their clothes and virginity into orgasmic bliss. No, today I change diapers, go to Costco twice a week, socialize with many a mother with milk-engorged breasts, and stare at my crotch pad wondering where the heck my magic noodle went.
“Magic noodle go away, daddy. Go away… I eat it…”
- actual quote from my 2 1/2 year old daughter. she possesses the caustic tongue of a dragon (just like her Han-Gook mama)
Life sucks for me big time. I stay home every night chasing around little things that look like me, have a daughter who confirms that parenthood has forever ingested my manhood, and mourn the fact that I will never ever again experience anything exciting or fun or spontaneous until death this mortal life I part. Life sucks for me mas mucho, right? Well, at least that’s what it seems like from the reading above. But guess what?
To my surprise (and it was truly, truly a HUGE surprise), I really love being a dad, a father, a baba, an apa. I really enjoy it (though it requires max work and tests my temper well beyond the psychological torture inflicted upon me by my sexy, korean lover-mama). It is the most meaningful and fulfilling thing I have ever experienced in my entire life. Even more meaningful and fulfilling than the time I was sandwiched between Nicole Kidman and Scarlett Johansson on the red carpet at a movie premier (and their breasts were brushing up against me too). I love my kiddies more than A-List boobies. Yeah dog, the shit just got real again.
Which leads me to what is currently my biggest challenge – how do I balance my new, ever-growing family life with my professional, Hollywood life? Prior to my being wed and procreating mini, Chinese/Korean supermodels, I was 100% actor. Check that – I was 150% actor, 24/7/365. Every day, every night I was constantly networking, building relationships, maintaining relationships, performing on stage, developing, meeting, creating, and just working the system from every angle imaginable to maximize my chances for Hollywood success. Doing this was possible because I was single and I didn’t have anyone beyond myself that I was responsible for. I had the time and freedom to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and to do anything I wanted, for however long I wanted. But today, that’s not my reality. Far, far from.
Right before the birth of my first child, I was confronted with a tough choice. You see, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t figure out how to be a real dad and a real actor at the same time. The two worlds just didn’t seem to compliment one another very easily, if at all. Why? 2 reasons – 1) I had never been a dad (let alone been responsible for anything or anyone for well over a decade given my career choice). So this foray into the parental unknown appeared downright overwhelming and scary to me. And 2) Acting/Hollywood is just an inherently unpredictable and random career field, virtually demanding that you live your life to it’s 24/7 beck and call or risk becoming forgotten, rejected, and/or irrelevant. Each, by themselves, are challenging enough to balance and time manage. But attempting to combine the two into some sort of daily routine just didn’t seem possible. I’m sure other, more robust and studly individuals could have made it work. But for me, I just could not. And with that, I made the choice to take a few steps back from my professional career in order to learn how to become a father.
It’s a strange sensation to feel intensely lucky and sad at the same time. On the one hand, I have been able to spend an incredible amount of time with both my children during their youngest of years. It’s a luxury that most of my father friends do not have because their jobs are so time demanding. I have had breakfast and dinner, bathed, and put my children to sleep pretty much 99% of their lives. At times, my 2 1/2 year old accidentally calls me “mom” (i am honored and offended simultaneously. yet another strange sensation). I am a lucky guy. On the other hand, I get intensely sad. Sad because I see my career stagnating if not going backwards. I audition for the same kind of projects today as I did 16 years ago. Just today, those projects pay a heck of a lot less. Peaks and valleys, I guess. My professional peak was from about 2001 to about 2006. It’s no surprise that things got quiet for me after that. If you stop fanning the flames of your Hollywood career, that fire can quickly turn into an ember. No surprise, but it still makes me sad.
It’s a strange headspace to be in – trying to be present and be “all there” with your screaming kids while simultaneously knowing that the thing you’ve worked so hard for for so many years may be slipping away due to inattention and/or the lack of time spent. But one thing I know for sure is this – Though I love acting, I love my children, my wife, and my family much, much more. I ruv my kiddies and spicy korean ruver rong time.
So many more pieces yet the puzzle board stays the same size. What pieces fit? What pieces do you want to fit? What pieces, no matter how hard you try, will not fit? If anything, the term “life balance” is something I hear more and more in casual conversations the older I get. I have been thinking about it quite intensely as of late. It’s not something that’s talked about in high school or college or even during your 20′s. But sooner or later, all of us, after enough bumps and bruises, failures and surprises, will hopefully have enough perspective and wisdom to know the life design, the life balance, that will ultimately make us happiest.
So where am I at? To be honest, I’ve just barely come up for air. If anything, I kind of look like Gollum (just yellow-er). Heck, this is my first blog in 6 months. My fingers barely remember how to type (but i can wrap a mean swaddle in 8 seconds flat). My ego sometimes still doesn’t know how to react to my newfound love for all things “motherly.” I am stunned that I can walk into a Babies “R” Us and know just about every single product on the floor and the pros and cons of each. I am mystified that I can change a poopy diaper while simultaneously eating a bowl of chili with extra cheese without even a gag. And, most surprisingly, I am at peace with the fact that if I were even lucky enough to be a main character on a kids show like Sesame Street, I’d be more than happy, grateful, and thankful for the opportunity (i’d make a great Elmo. just yellow-er). To say that my life, my dreams, and my expectations are currently being rewritten would be pretty much spot on. I’m not sure what my ultimate life balance puzzle looks like fully assembled. All I know is that I have a lot of new pieces. And, I have a handful of older pieces that were once my most important ones that may, not for sure, have to shift to a more subordinate position or, perhaps, may ultimately not even have a place on my board at all. We’ll see. I’m not going to make any firm decisions just yet. If anything, I’m just trying my best to give myself, my family, and my future the time and space to let all the pieces, new and old, fall where they may, honestly and with happiest fit.
Love you all. Missed you all. :)
* (click here for —> “Hollywood, family” Part 2) *
* * * * UPDATE * * * * JUNE 17th, 2011 3:05pm pacific