Everything I’ve been feeling, everything I’ve been saying, everything I’ve been living has been so strange and surreal, yet always so fucking exhilarating. I’m at a really interesting junction in my life, I feel caught between universes. And I know all this sounds like horse shit, speaking about the universe, but I swear to god, everything’s been moving so quickly in unfamiliar (yet still comforting) directions. // I’ve grown close to new people lately. These people inspire me and affirm me and remind me of what I should be looking for in friends. It’s sad to say, but they can’t be more different from the connections I’ve made through more materialistic groups that have been more superficially constructed. (I’m talking about my sorority here, which I’m just so entirely over.) These people make me feel limitless, comfortable, unique, wonderful, and intelligent. They’ve challenged me to reach beyond the dreariness of the Monday through Friday life I’ve been living. I mean, I’ve been writing slam poetry and creative fiction – what?? And yes, I recognize the overwhelming cheesiness of it all. But these special people are reminding me of what I should be expecting from friendships. From the people I’ve been working with at OPAL to the generally wonderful crowd at KAF, I am so happy to have found some really meaningful connections outside of the already-established friendships and communities in my life. Somewhere out there, lucky stars must be looking out for me. // The idea of being anything but single terrifies the life out of me right now. So much of being in a relationship signaled insecurities about myself – where/with whom would I spend my time? Would my partner appreciate this gesture? Would they think I look beautiful/thin enough today? But it wasn’t just this nagging sense of insecurity – it was the distinct lack of a unique identity, one unattached to anyone else. I was always that girl dating that guy, or that guy’s girlfriend. I’ve been that since my freshman year of high school, jeez. I’m so done with that. I’ve been living for myself, learning for myself, dressing/acting/saying/breathing for myself, and I’ve never felt better about my sense of identity. I feel strong and confident and unique. I feel a sense of magnetism returning to me. Relationships fatigue me, despite the fact that all of my previous relationships have still been such wonderful parts of my life. Being in a relationship is comfortable! It’s safe! But surprisingly, it has also been (for me) a period of constantly re-evaluating myself. I am happy, I am me. // There’s so much to be said about everything else that has been happening in my life, but for now, I must sleep. A quick list of all the things I have to write about before too long, though — what it means to be Korean, as I’ve slowly been discovering it // get on that creative writing + slam! // Working at OPAL // How is sophomore summer already coming to a close? // The comfort of KAF // Self-image, Perception, Bodies, Sex, all being general topics that have been floating in my mind // Goodnight, loves.
Pending post: Me finally coming to understand – just a little bit – what it means to be Korean. So much to write on this, I swear to god. Probably 20 years’ worth, right?
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee:
Mother, you are a child still. At eighteen. More of a child since you are always ill. They have sheltered you from life. Still, you speak the tongue the mandatory language like the others. It is not your own. Even if it is not you know you must. You are Bi-lingual. You are Tri-lingual. The tongue that is forbidden is your own mother tongue. You speak in the dark. In the secret. The one that is yours. Your own. Mother tongue is your refuge. It is being home. Being who you are. Truly. To speak makes you sad. Yearning. The mark of belonging. Mark of cause. Mark of retrieval. By death. By blood. You carry the mark in your chest, in your MAH-UHM, in your MAH-UHM, in your spirit heart.
There are always going to be a few certain somethings that tug at my heartstrings in all the wrong ways despite time or place or circumstance. And thinking of my mother’s struggles with her broken English, her mee-goog-mahr and the pain and shame associated with this struggle is upsetting. Ahp-uh-dah.
Broken English is called just this because what is left is a scattered collection of shards – of disconnected phrases and jumbled up words – that taunt you, that pain you, that wait to cut you. Broken English, broken pieces, is just this because of its ability to make my mother feel a kind of anxiety and shame that nobody should have to feel when they simply want to ask, “Can I have an iced latté?” Except, when my mother asks this, it sounds like, “Can (I can do this) I (Don’t mess up.) have (They’re judging me, aren’t they?) an (This can’t be worth the embarrassment.) iced (I want to hide.) latté (Inferiority.)?”
I sometimes imagine my mother in her twenties before she moved to America. I imagine her as bold and fearless and dare I say it, even a little bit silly. Now, all I see is her own shadow, quiet in speech and sparse with words. I sometimes see that young girl from the past reveal herself, though, when she excitedly watches her favorite Korean cooking shows. It is not long, however, until your old self, your young self, your ( ) self, returns to that shadow.
We are not talking about brokenness here, no. Here we have perfect, synchronized, and beautiful interruptions. Interruptions hailing from a transnational, multicultural understanding of identity, of self. Mother, um, UMH-Mah, your broken English is 아름다워.