Born 1982 Okinawa, Japan at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Camp Lester
My father, Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Stone, is an American Marine. My
mother, Yuki, grew up in Naha, the capitol of the Okinawa Prefecture. I am told that they
met when my father asked her for directions to a local market. My mother was walking to
that very same market and so my father offered to give her a ride in his Jeep. My mother
recalls that he talked the whole time in Japanese thinking that she understood him even
though she was raised in a family that rejected anything Japanese and that she only spoke
the local dialect of Ryukyuan. Regardless of this miscommunication they started to see
one another beyond trips to the market. My mother said that she knew that she was in
love with my father but that she was reluctant to introduce him to her family because they would be unwilling to accept an outsider into the family.
Eventually after many months she introduced him to her family. My father
was instantly accepted when he managed to bow lower than anyone ever thought an
American capable of. My mother did not know that he practiced yoga daily, uncommon
for an American Marine. His exceptionally low bow meant that he had a great amount
of respect for his future father-in-law. They married in a traditional Okinawan ceremony
and I was born a year later.
From an early age everyone thought I was lazy and unwilling to learn the
fundamentals of reading and writing. It wasn’t until I was 12 that it was discovered that I
was dyslexic. I don’t blame my teachers and classmates for being so tough on me, they
only wanted me to succeed but the result of all this pressure and subsequent failure was
that I withdrew into myself and created a world I could live in that was free from name-
calling and public humiliation. I hated school and would often use class time to draw
comics and pictures of my favorite actors. This alternative world was safe for me and
also became a way for me to understand the real world.
Today I am quite literate and can do all the necessary math required for daily life
but I still use drawing and painting as a way for me to better understand my family and
the culture I come from. All the work I make I feel has to be made in order for me to live
a life that is free from crippling anxiety. I would not call my work therapy but it can be
therapeutic and as long as I enjoy making the work I will continue to do so.