This has been a long time coming, and considering recent events, its obvious that I need to come clean about everything involving my past and history (since so many wonderful gossipers online think its cool to make fun of people who have real, legitimately impactful problems in life. Shoot for the stars, Scoop people. You’re really making the world a better place.).
I was raised in an extremely abusive household. There is a strange patriarchal dynamic to Asian families, and my father embodied that pretty much to a T. He was the spitting image of the “project a good side” outwardly while maintaining an enormously abusive household. I’m not going to go into the real details of this for legal reasons, but I’ll let you all use your imagination as to what I’m talking about.
For my entire life, I wanted to write. Reading was one of my favorite activities as a kid. That and baseball. Mom always encouraged that. But the other half resented the idea, basically painting it as an empty dream. So that’s why I ended up majoring in economics, for the record. It was the “honorable” route. Eyeroll.
Many of you might remember this, but most of you probably don’t know this (this is where the story really begins to take shape). When I was a senior in high school, I had verbally committed to play baseball at the University of Tennessee. I was planning to study architecture, truthfully, because it was a creative thing and UT had the only architecture school in the state. But I realized I probably wasn’t going to be accepted into it considering the rigorous workload and juggling baseball, so I had intended to fall back onto writing. TV, journalism, whatever. Point is, something creative. In fact, there’s an old newpaper article of me signing with them in the MJHS library (which was kinda staged because I never actually signed any paperwork).
Here’s where the plot twists.
When I was going to UT, I wasn’t going to have to pay anything. Between my dad being a state college professor, the HOPE scholarship, athletic/academic scholarship, it was all going to be pretty much paid for. This was important to me. I did NOT want to graduate with debt. So it was perfect the way I saw it.
Well, lo and behold, my very last high school baseball game just so happened to change that path. As the locals reading this will know, my brother had been recruited to pitch at Vanderbilt two years before I was scheduled to graduate, so at the time he was sort of paving the path toward the pipeline that Mt Juliet now apparently feeds into Vanderbilt. There was one other guy I think back in the 70s who I forget his name that went there, but since him, no one had gone into the SEC or anything like that to my knowledge. So it was kind of a big deal at the time.
That last game (which was our district tournament loss to Lavergne 4-1) coincidentally was one of the best games I’d played in my life. I went 4 for 4 and my last at-bat was literally a homerun. That was the 1 on the scoreboard. It was like a friggin fairy tale, and I’ll never forget that moment, because for a second I thought we might actually come back (we had two outs in the 7th inning at the time so I was poised to end the season if I had’ve blown it). Well, it just so happened that the pitching coach from Vanderbilt was watching that game to scout Caleb Cotham, who you all probably know. He’s a big leaguer and became an enormously successful baseball player and brought all kinds of pride to the city. So inadvertently, my father spoke with him that day and ended up getting me an offer to play at Vanderbilt.
This is where the twist turns into more of a writhing spiral of confusion and wtf-icity.
See, I didn’t really want to go to Vanderbilt. I knew it was extremely expensive, and to be honest I had read Baseball America and learned that the recruiting class that year at Vandy was literally ranked #1 in the entire country. So basically I’d be riding the pine behind a six foot four all american from freaking new england by the name of Ryan Flaherty. But my father convinced me, despite my apprehension, to go there. It did make some sense, at least, because at the time my brother and I were best friends and I thought it would be awesome to be able to play with him again in the same black and gold we grew up playing in. But I told my dad I didn’t want to have to pay all that money to go there.
I was naive. In hindsight, I know this now. But he told me that through financial aide and state assistance, I wouldn’t have to worry about any sort of financial burden whatsoever, and that he would take care of all of that. This is important. I did not ever sign or agree to any student loan, ever.
Sadly, to this day I don’t know the entire dynamic of what happened those years because my father won’t talk to me about it. But when I was in college, he somehow fell off the deep end and lost his job teaching at TSU. I don’t know why, or how, but it happened. Shelf this point, because this comes into play later because of the loans I’ll be referring to.
But my mother’s health at this time started to significantly decline. And for all of you that know me, you know how deep my relationship with my mother went. As I said before, she was the most kind, caring, outstanding person I will ever meet in my life, and she and I had formed an inordinately close bond because we shared that mutual tolerance of abuse from my father.
So while this was going on (my mother’s declining health), my sister discovered the fact that my father had photographs of basically another family that he had been seeing. That’s the only way I can put it. She was writing a paper on his desktop, and for whatever reason (as women do, jk), snooped into his deepest darkest files. There were photos of other women, and even a child. To this day I don’t know if he has another kid with someone else or not, because he refuses to talk to me about it. THIS is what explains the fight we got into, which sparked this post, by the way. For years I’ve been seeking answers, and I’ve never gotten them. I have no idea if my dad had a kid with another woman, or if it was just a friend, or whatever. At this point, I’m resigned to accept that I’ll probably never get the closure on this that I’ve wanted. And that is something I’m going to have to learn to live with.
Now. Let’s circle back to the basic point of all of this. When my dad told me he was putting me through college, what he DIDN’T tell me was that he was taking out student loans in my name. Which he, I presume, intended to pay back. At least, at the time he took them out he probably did. At that point in time, his life was probably relatively normal and he thought he could manage it. But he never told me about them. I imagine he signed on my behalf, because I never consented to take out student loans in my name. Ever.
That’s why this is so complicated. Because those loans DID put me through school, sure. But I wouldn’t have taken them out had I known they existed. I would have gone to UT, like I’d originally planned to. So for the past five years of my life, I’ve had random process servers show up saying “hey, you defaulted on this loan and you’re being taken to court.” Every time this has happened I’ve set up a payment plan. Its gotten to the point that its almost a running joke in the office that I work at. They all know the history between us, and that these things kept popping up.
So that’s the long and short of it. Basically, my dad took out about eighty thousand dollars of student loan debt in my name that I wasn’t aware of, and I’ve been dealing with the trickling effect ever since. That, and I’ve also tried to gain some kind of closure on the dynamic between him and my mother, but as I said, I’ve resigned to the fact that this simply isn’t going to happen.
So there. Now you all know the full story. I want to thank, from the deepest depths of my heart, the people who have been supportive. You have no idea how much it has helped me cope with this. Because yes, it is extraordinarily frustrating to have ignorant morons talk shit about you on a show that is essentially nothing more than a small town gossip website.
I remember growing up that I wanted to be something big. And you know what wasn’t the first thing that came to mind? Making fun of people who are dealing with serious psychological issues that effect them viscerally as a human being.
Keep it up, Scoop people. You’re really doing this world a great service.