Lately I’ve been feeling confused. Sh*t got real when we booked plane tickets (and now a couple of hotels) for a trip to South Korea. The place where I was born. The place where I was given up for adoption from. It was never supposed to be a crazy emotional journey. We’ve always maintained that it will be just a touristy trip to soak up some culture and see some new stuff. I have always been down with that. So cool about it that I kind of surprised myself. Turns out I might have been in denial. And now I’m as confused as f*ck.
When I was younger, I used to let my insecurities about being Asian in a white world rule my thoughts and destroy my self esteem. I had heard some stupid boys saying that blondes were hot and that Asian girls could be hot but they were only worth about half a pretty white girl. Even some of the girls felt that way. OK so I’m paraphrasing, but that’s how it felt. I shouldn’t have listened to the idiots. Thing is, I did. I also fought a lot of feelings about being rejected. Yep. Something that happened when I was five months old f*cked me up. Ask my parents. I pushed them away in the desperate hopes that they wouldn’t push back but would grab me harder. They saw through me so I got the tough love (key word ‘love’) that I needed. I wanted them to prove that no matter how undesirable my behaviour was, they would always love me and think I was worth hanging in there for. Of course they do love me. So much.
Part way into my adult hood I realised that my issues with being adopted were something I wanted to face. I wanted to be able to say out loud that I was happy to be ‘different’. Not just the weirdo punk rocker chick I tried to be in high school to hide the insecurity, but truly OK with being adopted. Being Asian. I had denied almost everything in my life that had anything to do with any Asian culture at all. I had tried (unsuccessfully) to flunk Japanese in high school in case people might think I was only good at it because I was Asian. I wouldn’t be seen dead around “real” Asian people in case people thought I was hanging out with them because that’s what Asians do. Hang out in little cliques with other Asians. Yes. I was a little accidentally racist. Because I didn’t like myself.
I started to write a blog (long ago defunct) and to read about the experiences of other adoptees. I started to see myself differently. Being Asian no longer amounted to being “not as good”. Not being Asian enough was also good enough. I started to laugh about my inability to use chopsticks or to understand Asian peoples’ accents at the shops. I even *shock horror* ate some Korean food (with a little encouragement from my family of course). Of course I’d never tried it before because I was scared of spicy food and didn’t like rice (haha true story). Also? I didn’t want people to mistake me for an ACTUAL Korean person!!
The fact that I even became open enough to the idea of a trip to South Korea was a big f*cking deal.
Right now, I’m feeling confused. I thought I was cool. I thought I had this sh*t sorted long ago. I have come a long way, but I feel doubts and insecurity flooding back. What if I’m not a good enough, pretty enough Asian person? What if going there freaks me out? Like being anxious every time I see a woman about 20 years older than myself? What if I melt down and wreck the holiday? A lot of what ifs. I know I need to stop that. But that’s what I mean. The old, anxious me is back. I want constant reassurance that I’m good enough to love. WHAT THE HELL? I’m a grown woman, for crying out loud. I shouldn’t need any proof. I’ve got loving parents (almost 30 years of commitment to the mess that is me), a brother in arms – my actual brother who is also adopted and gets it, a husband who I’ve been through thick and thin with, and a beautiful little boy who thinks I am the world. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?
I’ve tried writing in my journal, unsuccessfully talking to people about it (unsuccessful because I never know where to start or what to actually say or even what I’m feeling). I’ve tried to catch up on sleep, hoping that being more rested will help things to make more sense (of course I’ve had less than ever). I know this is all a part of my life journey and it’s something I need to navigate my way through again, but gosh it’s so tiring. I’m exhausted. A little lonely – only because I feel so strongly that I’m an insane person and sane people do not understand insane people. Or what if people turn out to be assholes? Assholes don’t understand insane people either. They’re too busy being their own kind of insane. So I’m screwed. As you can tell, I’m really sh*t at letting myself be vulnerable. That would open me up to the possibility of more rejection, you see. Can’t have that.
Yeah, I’m exasperating myself. I’m supposed to be better than this.
I just hope that I can somehow sit this out. Let it all pan out. That it will all just make sense at some point, because I don’t think I can do anymore of this internal battling and constant questioning of myself. Writing this blog post is hard. Because it’s brutally honest and reveals so much of my weaknesses and my crazy.
…Maybe this will convince me to just LET IT GO?
It just feels wrong to keep it inside.
PS? I’m fighting the urge to close comments. It’s important for my self growth.
*breathes into a paper bag*
Does that actually work?
PPS. This post might self destruct (i.e. I might panic and delete it) by tomorrow. Don’t be surprised. I’ve got some stuff to work on :/