I went through a phase when I was 13 where I would only fall in love with people over the age of 19 or 20. I never had a real relationship with any of these people, but it was definitely the guy I wanted to hang out with and wanted to go on trips with. I would be like, 'But, Daddy, he's a musician!'.
Because my dad's Chinese-American, and they're very concrete, he said, 'There's no money to be made in literature.' So he told me to go into the sciences. And I was a good girl. And I did what Daddy said. And that's how I ended up being a doctor. But you know, you just can't stamp out that desire to tell stories.
Before I was going to be an actress, I was going to be a veterinarian! I thought I was one as a child. I was the kid who was like, 'Daddy! I want a kitty! It needs a mommy!' And my dad was such a sucker. Every time I would beg, with tears flying down my face, about how this animal needs love, needs a home. He would cave.
On the morning, Daddy and I get up at six o'clock because Christmas trees must be bought in the dark. We walk to the other end of town, as the big harbour is just the right setting for buying a Christmas tree. We spend hours choosing, looking at every branch suspiciously. It's always cold.
My daddy wanted me to be a farmer feel the smoothness of Alabama clay and become one of the first blacks in my town to own land. But, I was worried about my history being caked with that southern clay, and I subscribed to a different kind of teaching and learning in my bones and in my spirit.
I've always traveled with a picture of my daughter from 1989, her kindergarten school picture, that has 'I love you, Daddy' written on it. She's always made fun of me because I never changed that picture out. It's like my resistance to her getting older. It was the first thing she'd ever written to me and it means the world to me.