i have been making my own comics ever since i was an even littler pearl. in high school/college, i started to document my heart breaks, heart aches, and breakups: all inked on my bristol board. every pen stroke recording a piece of my heart ripped.
i don't know how it started. i never was allowed to date in high school. strict asian upbringing. it was ok since i was no hot commodity in high school so you can't miss when you didn't have, right? also, when i did get a date to the prom, i was soo excited. little did i know how much prom dresses cost, so i ended up sewing mine and it was no pretty in pink moment, but the same reaction from snotty girls. "how home ec of you!" sewing takes a skill. going to freakin nordstrom doesn't take much skill.
getting asked out to prom was like some magical moment in my high school career. it was like getting a red rose in my locker. it was like getting to start in the opening game, off the bench, the cheerleader on top of the pyramid, the apex. it was totally cool that me, little pearl was going to prom!
then it hit me like bricks, my parents. how did i convince them this is a study session which requires girls to wear strapless taffetta and boys in tuxedos? totally not going to fly.
i decided to just ask them and explain how important it was for me to finally sort of be accepted, etc. my parents were actually understanding and i was surprised. the one condition was for them to meet the dude. ok.....i was waiting for a catch, but there wasn't.
i worked on my dress for 2 months. simple black mandarin collared chinese inspired dress. the night finally came and the dude arrives all nice in suit and flowers in hand. i was nervous. i mean it wasn't a date, but sort of. anyhow, my parents answer the door and i greet him and pics taken. then my parents ask the dude to sit down in the dining room. they pour him tea. then my cute mama, asks him, "what time dance end?" dude: "around 12 midnight, don't worry, i should have pearl back by 2." my mama's slanty eyes go round. "2? no. no. not acceptable." dude: "ok, but the dance ends at 12, so..." mama: "not 2." dude continues to "argue" with my mama. i am sitting there, my stomach becoming heavy. no one is drinking the tea. it is getting cold. my mama stops arguing. instead, she takes from under the table, a brick. a red brick. prolly from our garden. places it on the table. dude looks at me. we both are confused. my mama places the brick on the table and with her hand strikes it, it breaks in half. "bring pearl home by 9." dude turns white (or i should say whiter). that nite, i was dropped back from the prom at my house at 8:30pm. the prom started at 7pm.
with my dating history starting off with a smashed brick, it is no wonder i documented my heartbreaks.
college is like best of series. i documented how my heart was torn and the many evil ways/methods on how i was dumped. i know, people will say the "post it" story, aka. sex in the city, but that happened to me way before that show aired. i inked my story with post it and my note was not as nice. i have another comic depicting how some dude broke up with me over speaker phone and during his band practice. yes, his band mates were present.
heart aches and breakups are hard. i mean what do you expect with words such as "aches" and "break" in the words? inking and just sketching out my breakups made it less real to me. at the time it was real. i was hurting, i was crying, but these comics show me how funny some of these situations were. it was almost like therapy.
life inspires art. i think it is the madness in life that inspires my art. it is this little satisfaction, this smirk i have. these boys may have broken my heart, but in the end i got the last laugh. i should thank them all. i got some great comic strips out of it. how can you not laugh at a little asian woman breaking a brick in half? fyi, i spent 1 hour at my prom. that was first and only date i ever had in high school.