Something my mom told me when I was young was that those in the particular Kang bloodline I hail from are known to be smart but also stubborn. I don’t know if this is true, but one thing I do know: I am indeed stubborn.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a very disciplined person, but when I truly want something, I generally get it—or at least give it my best shot.
I preferred hanging out with boys when I was a little girl, possibly because my brother and I are only about a year and half apart and his tastes and interests had influenced me. But most little boys don’t like playing with little girls (cooties), so my brother and his friends didn’t want me tagging along with them.
On a warm spring day, our family had been visiting another family we knew. Our parents had brought our bikes so we could play with the other family’s two sons. While the parents (and my sister, a baby at the time) stayed inside having adult conversations, the boys and I were outside riding on our bikes around the neighborhood.
But I had not yet graduated to a two-wheeled bicycle so I pedaled hard on my pink tricycle, trying to keep up with the boys. They ran circles around me and eventually left me in the dust. I watched them from behind as they sped away.
This is not fair. I’m so slow. I want to ride a real bike!
I was frustrated that I couldn’t go at the same pace as the boys and I knew that it was because I didn’t know how to ride a two-wheeler yet.
That’s it. I want to ride like they do. I’m never going to ride this tricycle again!
After some time, my brother and his friends returned and decided they wanted to go inside to play video games. I stayed outside because I had made up my mind to learn how to ride a bicycle—and I didn’t want them stopping me.
Choosing the most appropriately sized bike for me—the smallest one which belonged to the younger son of the other family—I abandoned my tricycle to master the “big kid bike.” I walked it out onto the asphalt road in front of the house and began my solo mission.
I tried mounting myself onto the two-wheeler, but it kept falling before I could place both of my feet onto the pedals. I eventually managed to get on by letting the bike lean on its kickstand before slowly easing myself onto its seat.
Okay. Now I just have to ride.
I pushed in the kickstand with my foot and promptly fell. The balance needed for a two-wheeler was something unfamiliar to me, a serial tricycle user. On reflex, I had stuck out my hands to prevent my head from hitting the pavement so both of my palms got scratched up from the impact. I tried not to cry as I stared at my hands.
Oww… This is hard…
I stood up and raised the bike upright to try again. After multiple attempts, I finally managed to move a short distance—a very wobbly short distance. I tried to venture out further at a faster speed and quickly lost my sense of balance again. The bike veered abruptly to the right—and then I stumbled to the ground with my knee scraping against the black asphalt.
I pulled myself away from the fallen bike and looked down at my right knee. It had a huge red and raw area that hurt way worse than my palms. I couldn’t help tearing up.
Don’t cry, Anna, don’t cry. It’ll be okay. You can do this.
I consoled myself while blinking back my tears. After my knee stopped throbbing a little, I got back on the bike to try again.
I fell many more times that day, but I soon got the hang of riding a two-wheeler. It was a shining moment for me. I remember feeling so free and exhilarated as I cycled around the neighborhood. I wasn’t going to let any boy leave me behind ever again.
I was a stubborn kid. And I’m still quite a stubborn woman. Maybe it’s because I’m a Kang.