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Here is an article released today on the New York Times.

Link here

I will comment on  this later, as I am still gathering my thoughts and analysis on this piece. However my initial thoughts to this article are two things.

1) 2012. You’re having a laugh.

2) Common words used throughout: Embarrassment, shame, stigma, and disgrace. These words used to describe adoption are great indicators as to how we, the adoptees feel. It is no wonder that such ideals are passed on to us. I guess it starts at the top.

What are we asked to shoulder? What items are tucked away in our nap sacks? What is it that you keep stowed away in tiny compartments and zippered pockets? What things do you slip into our satchels, unbeknownst to us?

 

I saw some of the extended family tonight. Sat there at the kitchen counter were cousins and uncles of my father. All Robinson, they reminisced over family and the current goings on of different extensions of the family. I had a glass of wine and listened, mostly I talked to my mom. It must be said that I don’t care much for that side of the family, but they are nice enough so I am not to bothered by their presence. That is until you get a bit of spirit into them, then their true colors come brimming out with such aplomb (sarcastic).

 

It was a conversation for my mother and I, but being Robinson’s gives them exclusive privileges to but in and give their two cents. Mom had informed me much to my surprise that my sister had bought another house, a house her husband had been saying they needed in Lou of the new baby. A house they can’t afford, a house that in my opinion they really don’t need. So I was talking exclusively to my mom, half jokingly, that it’s people like my brother in-law who are the cause for the housing bust and it’s honest people like me who are going to have to bail his sorry ass out. 

 

Enter extended family.

 

“What is this youthful, Liberal, Obama Hussein, Muslim, bullshit you’re talkin’ about.”

“You young kids are all the same. Don’t tell me you’re supporting that Muslim terrorist. All his fancy talk and smoke up your ass shit.”

“You liberal, Hussein, Bin Laden, Democrat, kids talking all your far out ideals and all that. Don’t tell me you’re gonna vote for that Muslim.”

 

Oh for Christ sake really? 

 

I was just talking to my mom about my sister and brother in-law over extending themselves financially, and this is what I get. I wasn’t even talking to them. I wasn’t even talking about that. I was discussing mortgages and housing prices and loopy brother in-laws.

 

The lines of dialogue(if you can call that dross dialogue) above are just some of the more tasty comments I endured. But it made me think. Anyway I thought about my adoption. I thought about a lot of adoptions, about the people who say they want to adopt, the people that say they would consider adopting, and those that have already adopted. I want to know what it is that you carry around with you and what is it that you will pass on to the children you adopt. 

 

As I sat through a thoroughly unjustified lambasting about my conceived political choices (I never once said who I associated with or who I intended to vote for, I guess they just assumed a young guy talking about current events must be some radical left wing extremist) and then tried to explain the mortgage bail outs and why they happened, I couldn’t help but think about what I was brought into. I mean look at this family, look at the mindsets that are prevalent throughout.

 

I was listening (well not actually listening) to someone who was clearly racist. I knew both sides of the family, mother and fathers, harbored some sentiments towards people of different races. I hadn’t seen it in years though. After my grandparents died and families kept in very loose touch, I really never saw too much of the extended family and therefore saw less and less of the racism and prejudice I had grown up with. Now I hate to actually admit it but I know that some of those blind prejudices in all likely hood reside within me. This is something I carry from years of exposure. 

 

I know my parents didn’t consider this when they adopted. They knew both their sets of parents were outwardly racist. They were from the old school or the old country or somewhere really old, so to them it was ok and therefore natural that they spoke outwardly about not liking people, for whatever reason. These were the people who I was entrusted for many an after school afternoon or even during the day when my parents worked. The family that was over tonight were the same people who I grew up around, when family gatherings were more frequent. The same people whom back in the day I would sit around the card table with or on the couch watching the game, listening and absorbing while they made off the cuff remarks about people of color. 

 

Now I know that they all love me, and on the outside they accept me. But what about when they got in their car tonight, slightly inebriated from all the drink, what is that they really say about me, about the first presidential candidate of color, about Spike Lee and his new film. (I doubt they know he has a new film but if they did what would they say) What words do they choose to use to describe us. 

 

But more importantly how does this impact me, a minority of color. Maybe a a better question is how has it already effected me. Years of exposure to this, a lifetime of being conditioned to think a certain way. How will I view myself or how do I view others. I just wonder if people consider what it is they carry with them. Whether it be racism, intolerance, hatred, whatever it may be, what is it that we all travel with and how will we pass it to our children. Especially our transracially adopted children. 

 

So just think about this. What tasty little pieces have been put into your satchel? What did your parents give you and what will you give to your children? Knowingly or not. 

 

p.s.

-lets not forget that as we get older and move from childhood to adulthood to old-folk-hood we get a better feel for the things we have strapped to our backs. Somethings we forget are there and some weigh on us heavier than others. But as conscious human beings we all have the ability to choose what we will take with us and what we will leave behind.

Lately I have been going to sleep with the same thought buzzing through my head. “I hate myself” the voice says as I try desperately to lull myself to sleep. Now a days I have two fans buzzing and music playing to try and drown out these wicked thoughts and it works to an extent. But I can’t help but remember when I wake up each morning the last thought that went through my head was, “I hate myself”. 

 

Why?

Why is it that I think this?

Why is it that I feel this way?

 

I wonder sometimes within my conscience and some times aloud. How did it get this way. When did I become such a negative bastard. I try and look for the good, the purple patches, but all I see is a man who has nothing to behold. 

 

But who is it that I have become, besides a self destructing worm.

Who was the man before him?

 

I really can’t be bothered for answers. I seem to think that before all this went pear shaped I was living in delusion. Maybe I thought my position was higher than it actually was. But I can’t be sure and there in lies the problem. How do I know who I am or if I am being myself if everything I have based upon is so unsure. 

 

Am I am man of character and subustance?

Am I resilient with a persevering attitude?

 

Am I Korean, American, White, Brown, Adopted, Asian, Refugee, Orphan?

 

Well who the fuck knows. I surely don’t. For a long time I was told I was one thing, then I was told I was another, then another. Then after that I was told I wasn’t this or I wasn’t that. Each time my self image was twisted and bent. Previous tags had become null or repeated. Even more part of images seemed to overlap, whilst some were renamed and chopped and changed for others. 

 

So today I am left with a very dull and rather confusing image of who I am. Some will say that I should not listen to others and listen to my heart. Only there will I find the true image of who I am. My reply would be a thank you for the advice, but my heart has long since abandoned me and I suspect is on a beach somewhere in Croatia.

 

Croatia??? Why the fuck would it go there. Well it heard the beaches there are quite divine as are the women, and it is on the Mediterranean after all so the food is probably half way decent. So Croatia it is, let him be happy, God knows it was nothing but strife living with me. 

 

So the question still begs, how am I not myself.

I don’t know why I remembered today but I did. Maybe it was because I saw you today and I was thinking about you a lot. It’s odd because I see you often enough, so I don’t know why I thought of this. To be honest I had tucked it away because I was so shameful, I was so horrible. I really was a petulant and wretched little cunt back then, it is a wonder you are still my friend. 

 

I’m sorry.

 

I know I’ve said sorry to you before for acting like I did, but it shames me so much. I threw snowballs at your face, I pushed you to the ground, I called you those names. How could I. Standing right there in your face, laughing, I called you a gook, a chink, a jap. I am ashamed now for treating you like that and I was ashamed back then for being the same as you. 

 

We were kids, but that was no excuse for me to humiliate you like that. The names that other kids called me I just deflected onto you. I know you say that it didn’t hurt, but it hurt me well enough so I can only imagine how you must have felt. Maybe that’s why even today you try to fit in as much as possible.

 

Thats all I was trying to do, just fit in. I wanted to be just like all the other kids in our church school. Making fun of the funny looking Korean kids (we were the only ones), calling them names that didn’t make sense, names that we didn’t even know the meaning of. I wanted to be white and I most surely didn’t want to be different. So I picked on you. But picked isn’t even the right words, I was a monster. 

 

I’m sorry.

 

Then a few year later we were teenagers and I called you out of the blue. We rehashed a friendship that certainly shouldn’t have even exsisted. And you came to the formal with me. You were the first girl I really kissed and the first girl I knew I was in love with. 

 

We maintained our friendship all through high-school although it was hard with you going to a different school. And I still loved you, although I never told you and I would never have admitted it to myself, at least not at the time. I wish i had. I wish I had apologized to you sooner. I wish I wouldn’t have been so scared of loving you. 

 

I still remember lying on the living room floor, not knowing what I was doing, kissing you. Feeling simply over the moon that I was with someone who was like me, just like me. But feeling ashamed at the same time for being with someone who was just like me. Why did we have to know each-other under these circumstances. Growing up in towns where we were the only ones. In places where our parents wanted us to just fit in and be like all the other kids. Not just like them in that we played sports or went to summer camps or attended church school. But the same color of our skin, the same mannerisms, the same way of suburban thinking. If I had met you living in the city or even in a bigger town where everyone wasn’t so pale skinned maybe I wouldn’t have called you those names or pushed you into the snow. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so scared about people knowing I had kissed an Asian girl or even that I was in love with someone of my own race. Why did it have to be here, like this.

 

I’m sorry. 

 

How could a boy who from behind the same narrowed eyes say such dubious things. I don’t know. I hate myself for being ashamed of who I am, and I hate myself hating who you are. I wanted you to be white, I wanted to be white. Now what is left but a couple of kids who have grown apart, who by all accounts should have be closer. Back then we had it all going, everything except who we thought we had to be.

 

Like I said I don’t know why I was thinking of this or what brought back such memories. I suppose such atrocious things can not stay locked away forever. I truly am shameful and I wish I could go back and do it all over again. Maybe I would be happy now, maybe you would be happy too. 

 

I’m sorry.

I am sure no one asked her that day, she probably didn’t ask herself. That however is all I ever heard regarding my adoption. It was out of love I was given up, it was out of love that I was adopted into this family, it was out of love that I still exist today.

 

But why I ask myself. I have loved and I have been loved. I have bleed and I have cried over love. I elated and I hurt, all for love. Love is supposed to be such a grand thing. It is said to heal all wounds, but not this love. This love has cast open more pain than any sort of love is supposed to. It has lead me to believe that this is not love at all, that the actions carried out on that day had nothing to do with the notion of love. 

 

Where was the social worker, the nurse, the father, the lover, the sibling, the aunt, the grandmother, where was the person who asked her, do you love you son? Then why are you casting him off to a life of unknown? As his mother why will you not be the one to look over him, to protect him and guide him through a world full of what ifs? Do you love this boy? then why would you not endure the pain yourself in order to save him that extra bit of hardship that as an adult you know first hand this world is so good at dealing out. Do you love him? Then why…….why do this?

 

Maybe she asked herself these questions, maybe it hurt her to answer. It hurts me to ask myself. Did she love me? Then why? 

 

I used to believe in it, love that is, but now I am not so sure. I used to think that with love a person could do anything, could over come any hardship. But I just don’t know what to think anymore. I used to try and just listen to my heart, but its voice has become shrill and bitter. So I drown it out, lacking the necessary compassion to entertain its plea for sympathy. 

 

Because of love I cast aside family members and friends with a certain disdain. Because of love I hide deep within myself, scared to find out who I really am. Because of love I hold trust on a very short leash and dispense it sparingly. It is out of this act of love that I feel so alone. 

 

Now if by some slim chance you ever find this, no find me, I have but one question to ask you. Did you love him, then why?

 

I use the past tense because the man I have become today is nothing of the boy you produced all those years ago. No I changed the second I left your arms and care was relinquished over me. From that moment I was no longer a son for you to love unconditionally but an orphan to be prized by someone else. Yes a prize as it were, a prize going to the lucky couple from New York, yes the ones standing in the back. That is what I became the day you signed the papers, the day you signed my life away. 

 

Out of love was it. Out of love I got the college fun, the suburbs, the American values, the full belly and the nice clothes. Out of love I got racism, the cold stares, the butt of all jokes, the stereo type, the fear, the pain, and the longing. All of these things you gave to me out of love. Brilliant bit of business on your part, splendid job. 

 

We do a lot of things out of love, and as the salty little bits hit they keys, in my heart I am forgiving you out of love. As I readjust my contacts and blow my running nose I am realizing that no matter how much I hurt inside I will always reserve a bit of love for you. So when I ask you that question one day whether it be in this world or the next and regardless of the answer, I will be satisfied. Because past all the wreckage and the scaring, deep inside this heart of mine lies a little bit of love, saved especially for you.

My cousin is up visiting and it is really great to see her. I haven’t really seen her in something like 10 years at least. She was visiting about 3 year ago but at the time I was working 3 jobs and trying to keep a broken relationship form totally falling apart. So needless to say I was preoccupied and I only say her in passing last time she was here. But now I only have one job, no crazy girlfriend, and no crazy extenuating circumstances(those of you who know me know what I’m talking about).

So we have time now and it is good talk talk to her. Aside from the fact that she has a gorgeous and witty young daughter, 11 years old I think, to talk about, a lot has happened for the both of us in the long time that has passed. The last time we really talked I was probably 12 so I am sure the conversation was not all that great, well at least for her. But now as two full fledged adults we are able to converse and commiserate and fully understand the scope of the twists and turns our lives have taken.

I think that despite the difference in our ages and our upbringings we are very similar, I think we just see the world through similar eyes. I remember thinking this even as a young boy, that she just understood where I was coming from and I her.

Last night after my father, mother, uncle(her father and the one whom I really dislike), my cousin and her daughter came home from an excursion to our cottage, my cousin came right up to my room to have a talk. She wanted to vent after being ambushed in an hour long car ride by the three adults. I knew her pain and anguish and could do little more than laugh. That is why I don’t go anywhere with my parents anymore and if I do I drive separate because I hate being told the way I feel or what I know is wrong.

So we sat there until way too late talking about life and about perspective and most importantly about family. Our family to be exact. About the rifts, the rumors, the opinions, the dynamics. What struck me most was her views on our families openness. She talked in great length of her husbands family and how they all talk about everything, together, as a collective. If someone is struggling with life or having any sort of difficulty, they sit and talk and hash it out. If someone is not so apt to talk but clearly displaying symptoms of a troubled life, that person is approached and confronted in a caring way. Not our family, we’re rug sweepers and rumor mongers. If you have problems they are your problems, and damn to anyone who will help you with those problems. They are ignored and then talked about, behind your back. Compassion, what compassion. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we don’t care, we do we really do. It is just that we would rather you figure it out on your own with no assistance, and if you ask for help all you’ll get in return is stories spread about the family like wildfire of how you are incompetent and not fit to live your life. Asking for help is like signing your life away as you will forever be branded the family fool and be in debt to those who lend the helping hand.

I am not quite sure why i am talking about this, it seems whiny and trivial. But I just felt the need to write something, anything as I have been so congested and backlogged with my thoughts lately. Anyway new topic. Again I am going through my pile of draft that has magically gotten larger and I found a topic i wanted to write about for sometime.

People who tell me matter of fact that I am not in fact Asian in any way shape or form but that I am as white as they come. Wow really, this is news to me, I guess that guy that looks at me in the mirror everyday didn’t get the memo. Honestly when people tell me this it really gets on my tits. In fact that is in my top 10 for things that really piss me off.

The thing is it’s always people whom are close to me and know me relatively well, but at the same time people who are probably unaware that I blog or that I harbor such intense feelings about my adoption, race, and my own self image. It is the people whom I share a relative level of trust that like to proclaim my whiteness. I like to call this act modern impreialisation. People claim my ethnicity and my identity in the name of white people everywhere. Plunk, and they stick this giant white flag out my ass. There you go here is your subscription of Home and Garden magazine, your key to your new Prius, and your  Best of Phil Collins CD. Oh wait wait, you almost forgot your sense of self entitlement. Right wouldn’t want to forget that.

I mean honestly I might have some white mannerisms. It can’t be helped, I did after all grow up around all white folk, I was raised by a white family who had no non white friends, but for fucks sake I ain’t white people. So stop proclaiming that I am white, I just ain’t havin’ it.

Phewwww, big breath there. Sorry I had to get that off my chest. I have heard that a lot over the years and quite a bit as of late. I think the more and more I come out of my shell and become more open about my desires and my feelings, the more people want to tell me that I am wrong and shouldn’t want the things I do. I don’t know maybe people just are afraid that I will become someone who is so unfamiliar to them. Maybe it is that the people I hang around are not as diverse and open as they think they are, and the fact that I may become to “ethnic” scares them. I mean if all these white folks were so open minded and were so pro diversity, wouldn’t they be cool with the fact that I am exploring a very integral part of who I am. A part of me that is so clearly not white. Eh who knows.

Well I am off to our nations capital. I really wanted to let some things out so that I am unburdened for this weekend that I am really dreading. A good weekend to all and thanks for listening.

(Note: this was not proff read or edited, so if it reads like total dross my bad)

Gripped with anxiety I wander through this life. Day to day avoiding those things which leave me cold and numb with the fear of what if. No amount of Xanax could cure what ails me for I think it is all in my head, my own doing. Always on the door step staring at the knob, knowing what awaits if I walk through the door, I stand frozen and hunched, until no longer can I bear the pressure and the voices, I turn away from what could be. So yet another promise left unfulfilled, and I can’t taste it.

Voices of expectation and potential cluster and group inside, and that is all I can hear, that is the source of this anxiety. I was supposed to be this or I was expected to become that. So I shrink. Withering on this vine refusing to expose my true nature, whilst the fruits around me who suckled from the same source grow and flourish and become all the things I dreamed to be. The accomplishments and the grand life I was told I would lead slowly escape me and that nectar that is success abandons me.

This is not perfect, I am not perfect. But I am not like all the rest. Like some ape faced piglet I am made to be different, defected from the norm. It was reasoned that I would be the same, that this melting pot would absorb me just like all the rest, that my differences were not unique. But so strange this sequence, so alien is this strain, that my form is not recognized. I feel omitted from the heard and the jackals that are of my own creation will soon devour me.

I was to succeed under this sun, and so by all levels of reasoning I should rise up and take my mantle. But I am my own variable, my personal X-factor. I chose not to climb the stairs that were placed before me, instead opting for a blind stroll down a path of unknown, but maybe that should have been taken into account. Maybe someone should have reasoned what it is like to live life carrying this heavy pack, alone in an environment where many hours are spent with nothing but the weight and the expectation. Yet even knowing this all I find it hard to place blame, because a man, a reasonable adult, does not look back in anger, he takes what he has and makes it work.

Then maybe I am not a man, maybe theres is no shred of reason in me. Because surely this isn’t working and I don’t know how to get a move on. Every moment not spent at the pinnacle of greatness is a moment I regret. Another point in time that I look back and die just a little bit more knowing I can’t recoup those moments.

I crucify myself for not being the best, for not achieving at the very least what has been laid out for me. And for a while I was able to let go of the expectation and just exist. Not caring one way or the other, not worrying about this or that or him or her. I am probably just not good enough. The reason I wanted to be the best was to show you. I wanted to go back one day and be the little boy I should have been. I wanted to kneel down before you, hands cupped, holding up what I had done. I wanted to show you all that I have conquered and overcome. I wanted you to be that proud mother who looked in awe at what her little boy had achieved and for you to be pleased. But to do this I had to be the best. I swore as a child that I would not go back, I would not find you until I was the epitome of success. I wanted you to be shamed and sorrowed and full of regret at what you had given up. I wanted you to see what you gave up on.  But I’ve changed.

The child in me still wants to shame you, still wants to turn my back, but that child is slowly dieing. A new boy is emerging from the shadows and he is more kind, more simplistic. This little boy has nothing to hold up to you. He has very little to show in hopes that you will be awed. This new little boy just wants you to hold him close, to return him to the loving embrace that he has never known, to the place his heart has yearned for all along. He wants the weight of expectation and the burden of loss to be lifted. But most of all he just wants you to know he exists.

I pray that somewhere in your mind and most importantly in your heart you think of me. I like to think that I derived this neurotic tendency from you and that because of this you long me for me in the same way I long for you. I don’t hate you. I never have. I hope you know this to be true. I know I am spiteful and I rue many things about my life, but that is only out of frustration, not malice towards you or your decision.

Redefining success is hard. Is a life measured by the names on diplomas or balances on bank statements? Cars, houses, families, boats, countries stamped on passports. Are achievements measured by titles on business cards or awards and merits received? For me success would be finding you, but as always I stand in my own way. Afraid of what I might achieve or how high I might climb, I stop myself dead in my tracks.

I just wish I could taste it.

I am not exactly sure what it is that I am looking for, but I make strides just the same. Last night I came to yet another dead end. Yet this blocked passageway does not impede my progress, quite the contrary it coaxes my travels even farther along its way. So what is it that I want, what is this desire I search ever more for. Maybe it’s nothing at all, maybe I just give up. No that cant be right for I am to restless for my heart to be not left wanting. It wants, I want. But what it is I can’t seem to unearth, not exactly.

I called her somewhat out of the blue, although we had talked months ago and said in the way fleeting friends converse, the conversation ended with, “yeah I’ll call you soon, we will definitely meet up”. Yet I felt the need to call her and get some answers. We dated a few years back, and despite sharing some fun memories, we both knew that we just weren’t what the other was looking for. We were on two different levels, occupying different frames of reference. So we split on mutual terms, the first time I had ever parted a relationship so well. No tears were shed, no love lost, we were just different and that was understood by both parties. But for all our differences we shared one very important fact, we were both KAD’s.

At the time I was just coming out of the shroud of adoption fluff. I was trying to figure out what this burden of emotion and despair was. I was realizing things that swelled within me that I never knew existed. I was angry, I was depressed, I was probably not much fun to be around. So last night one of the first things I said to her was “I’m Sorry”. I felt I needed to apologize to her, and just like everyone else in my life that I am trying to bring up to speed on why I am the way I am, I felt the need to justify my adoption feelings and find some sort of vindication. I apologized for being a bore and for being so drab. She said it didn’t matter and that she thought I wasn’t drab and that she enjoyed our time together. But I knew how I was then and how I am now and I felt bad. She on the other hand was and is one of the most perky, happy go lucky, everything is great people I have ever met.

My reasoning for asking her out to dinner was that I wanted to make sure my suspicions were right. I wanted to hear it from her mouth that she loves being adopted and that she thinks adoption is great. I never brought up any of the adoption stuff when we were dating because I was just discovering what it meant to me to be adopted and to be of a trans racial family in a predominantly white city. I didn’t talk about it with her then because what I was feeling scared the hell out of me and because I was trying to suppress it more than anything. Maybe that was why I felt so boring, so mundane, all my energy was going towards covering up this pain. I was most definitely not comfortable in my skin and with who I was or was becoming, and I feared that if this got out I would be looked upon as some sort of weirdo, maladjusted freak. But now was my time to talk to her about it, now was my time to confirm what I had suspected all along.

We sat there after catching up on the course our lives have taken the past two or so years and I came right out with it. I asked what she thought about being adopted in general, how she felt about being in a TRA family, what her thoughts on growing up in a community much like mine where she was viewed as such an outsider.

WHAMMMMM!!!!!

I don’t know why it stung so much or why I winced, but her words hurt. Even though I had long known the answer to my questions, actually hearing them come from such a familiar, round, tan, almond eyed face cut right thorough me. How could someone who had an identical upbrining to mine fell the way she did about being adopted. “I love that I’m adopted” “It’s great” “I couldn’t ask for a better life style”. Each smile that acompanied such nonchalant, matter of fact statements pierced me, but I was being selfish. Far be it from me to think someone else is weird or wrong for thinking and feeling the way they do. Shame on me for not being understanding to the fact that not everone shares my views. For this is what frustrates me the most when people don’t take head to my voice regarding what I really think of all this adoption stuff. Shame on me indeed.

So what if she thinks being adopted is great and that there are poor kids out there who need homes and that we are provided with so much more than we would have had living in our home countries. I guess on some level she is right and I can not begrudge her for not agreeing with me. Like I said I expected this from her even before we sat down, but what hurts the most is that I wasn’t wrong. I wanted so badly for her to be putting on a face, for there to be some sort of mask she was donning and at my suggestion that I felt negatively about being adopted she would part with said mask and breath a sigh of relief. I imagined her setting aside her happy KAD face and saying “at long last I can be free, someone else who feels what I do inside”. But this didn’t happen and that is what hurt most. She is just one more I will cross off the list, another friendly face, that will keep on smiling, whilst I walk around with this sad smirk.

I am glad we had that dinner, I am happy we talked so candidly. I am glad I reconnected with such a bright soul, I am pleased we might hang out again soon. Most of all I am happy that she is happy and that she can go about so easily in this life without the burden of being adopted.

When you are young you are afraid(or not) of a lot of things. Spider, snakes, the world running out of chocolate milk, monsters under the bed. Oh wouldn’t that be nice now. To return to the days when all you had to fear was creepy crawly creatures or the supply of sweets and snacks. As we grow older and develop into bigger more sophisticated creatures our fears too grow more developed and complex (kind of/sometimes). Long departed are our carefree days when our worries were easily solved and our minds put to rest. As I child I never knew fear as I do now. I was scared of breaking my arm if I fell from a tree too high (oh the silly dares you take on as a kid), I feared that I might get bitten by a cotton mouth snake (that by the way are not indigenous to my area), I was afraid that there was a man hiding in the walls and shadows of my house that would come and take me away.

Now I am older, I am wiser, I am more discerning or so I think. Snakes still scare me, but only in that I am startled by their presence in the woods when I walk. I have actually never broken a bone in my body (aside from the ones in my feet from years of soccer) and I don’t jump off roof tops or from high tree branches like I used to so breaking anything from foolish misjudgments seems unlikely, so needless to say I am not scared of that. I am most certainly not afraid of people hiding in my walls, this fear was substantiated from a weird movie I saw when I was way too young, and now I am confident I could beat the piss out of anyone lurking in the shadows of my home. Ahhh sweet relief, all of my childhood fears are resolved, well at least the silly ones are.

But the things I do fear as an adult are much more complicated and less easily dispelled from those I harbored as a child. Now I fear the cold, angry, distressed man I could become. I fear not having a set identity, but rather being a jack off all trades eager to please everyone, that push over type image. I fear being lost between two worlds, the white American and the Korean blood. I fear not having family, either my adoptive, my birth family, or a family all my own that I make one day with someone I love. I fear not being loved. I fear not being understood, mostly these feelings inside me that very few seem to pay heed to or have the patience to try or the ones that I keep locked up that few people know exist within. These fears of mine are not easily dispelled. Not like when I was a child and petting a docile snake, or leaping from tree branches, or turning on all the lights as to assure no one was lurking in the shadows; I could get over these fears, I could conquer them. These fears are of a different nature, they take time and experience.

As a child I always feared being different, I loathed standing out. Now the thought of being stuck in this place eats at me even more. I fear our suburbs, our super markets, our chain restaurants. I become anxious when I walk through our sterile malls, I bit my nails when I am at Cheesecake Factory, I smoke till my lings hurt when I am at the bar. Ever since I was a child I realized this picture wasn’t right and I feared that it may never be. I just want the eyes in the pictures I take to be more chinky, I want the hair to be darker, I want to not be the only one giving the peace sign. But I am afraid that this will never happen. The nurture has been branded so deep inside of me that I am at a point of no return.

I hate this identity that I am stuck with for the rest of my natural life. That I will always be someone who was given away, someone who was bought. At least hookers choose their Johns, when my body was sold I had no choice. Like walking through the red light district of Amsterdam someone sized me up and decided to have a go. I fear that this will always be with me. Forever I will be the object of someone else desire. I will fill that emptiness for someone whom was not to really be mine. But who will fill mine. Surely I could not ask someone to do what was so wrongly done to me. Some say it was fate, some say it was love, some say it was God. I don’t know whom or what it was, but I know I shall never be what I desire and that scares me.

I am afraid that I am small and lost in all of this. There is no road map, no guide on how to navigate this whole situation. There are so few of us and our voice is little more than a whisper in the night. I fear being attacked and ostracized for this speak, what more could be taken from me that has not already been taken. How much more are we to give and why would you even ask knowing that we cling to such humble strands as it is. There was a wave of you whom started this and gave us a voice and an outline on how to work though it, but the system and the circumstance was always changing and I fear I wont be heard, that the landscape is no longer recognizable. I fear that I am only one and thus out casted from the collective. I know many, I met my share, all ages, both sexes, but I still stood out, even amongst those whom I shared the essentials with. I fear that there aren’t more guys and girls my age whom feel like I do, thus I keep my voice even lower still because I don’t want to be outed even more than I already am. Has the fog become so thick and the procedure so well honed that you don’t even know you’re in it. Why did I leave in the first place, how am I the only one who sees what this is. I fear someone like you won’t come by these parts ever again and still I will be left lonely. I fear crying too loud because someone might hear me and know this pain. I wish no one in this world ever know this for themselves, that would truly be too cruel.

I don’t know what else to say other than I am scared of being alone in this. Where are my kin? Where are the ones who see the world in the same shades I do. Where is my best friend whom can hold my hand as we shine the flash light underneath the bed and scare away all the monsters lurking in the darkness. Where is the buddy who will jump off the bridge and into the river only to emerge from the water to signal that everything is safe. Where is the companion who will emerge from the dark cave and signal that everything is alright and that through the darkness there is treasure. Why did you have to go so early. Now I am left to cower underneath the covers, this plastic orange flashlight the only things keeping me sane. If I can nourish this light just a little while longer, before the batteries run out maybe day will break and I can at last come out from underneath my protective dwelling. Pray that Energizer does not lie and that these double A’s will keep going, because I don’t know how long the night will last or if morning will ever come.

I fear doing all of this alone. I wish you could have checked underneath the bed at least once before you shut the door.

With each keystroke I leave a little bit more of myself. With each drag another portion of me dies. Another night goes by and I sleep very little. I toss and I turn, trying to find a comfortable position, but it is not until my my mind, all but exhausted from running about wildly gives up that I fade into sleep. The hour is too late and my responsibilities come too soon. The whine of a small fan is the lullaby I know, the distraction to my wandering thought. I am so tired and this is my existence.

Someone, anyone please wake me up. I waddle through this mist, with my eyes closed tightly afraid of what I might see if I open them. I am so in need of rest but I don’t want to sleep anymore for I fear what it brings to bear. If the world that I should happen to gaze upon is anything like that in my head then I dare not open my eyes. Is this all in my head? Does the realm of what is real and concrete conspire with the world inside my mind to make all sorts of weird and contorted shapes. I dare not wake, I mustn’t, but I am so tired and this is not sleep; this is not rest.

When I remove this mask and place it at my bed side the the demons are released. Schizophrenia is its handle, so many temperaments it wields. All of the people I have been accustomed to know the display and compete for reign over me. This is why there is no rest at night. I am no longer the happy go lucky friend, the eager employee, the nurturing and inquisitive companion, the wise cracking jester, the obedient son, the longing little boy, the scared child, the fiery and angry KAD, the wise prophet, the eloquent fashionista, the man searching, I am none of these things and all of them at once. I own not one of these things and my diversity is not heralded.

I decide to do what I love most and that is sit under the night sky. The warm glow of orange and red dangle from the end of my mouth and I exhale slowly towards the heavens. Little shards of me fall to ground as I flick away the ash, these are pieces of me. Even in the dark of night, far beyond my vision in the black of the woods I hear life stirring. I think a family of deer mat down the long grass and fancy themselves a bed for the night or a borough of fox cubs play about whilst their mother looks for food, but it is so black that I can not be sure. All I hear is the noise and the hope of life within the darkness, hope is that which I can not see. The only light now comes from the tip of my cigarette and and that is always fleeting. These small tools don’t slow the pace or muffle the voices, but it is habit now and I am so accustomed to it. And it seems that even with this I leave a little more behind.

I lock up for the night and creep slowly back into bed, the background of my computer reads “For a Tortured Soul” with an outline of two men standing against a fading sun, their hands clutching swords. The small fan is still buzzing and I pray that I find rest tonight. Tossing and turning it doesn’t come as the thoughts jockey for position. I find every excuse to stay cocooned there and yet every other excuse to stay awake.

I want to find you find you and ask why you did it, why was I given up. I picture it always. You standing there wondering who I am. Despite our physical similarities you do not recognize me, you struggle through your memory to discover who this man standing before you with wet eyes is, but it doesn’t come. Choking and sniffling I struggle to tell you who I am, but you do not know English and I know no Korean, so instead you just stand there a bit bewildered. There is sympathy in your eyes, not the kind you would have had for a son, but the kind of sympathy you hold for a normal human being who you view to be obviously pained, and this is what hurts the most. In this vision I wish you knew me, I wish that a signal that is inherent  in our shared genes would be set off and you would not view me as a tortured soul no different than a stranger off the street, but as the infant you gave up so many years ago. I wish for you too see through my weeping eyes and understand the pain I have had to endure for you and for those who raised me. I want you to see my nose, my mouth, my ears, and realize they came from you. That this sulk before you is your boy. But this is only the way it is in my head. I dare not open open my eyes.

Entangled in this vision is glimpses of my family. The mother I have hurt, the father I have ashamed, the sister who wants me to be whole, the brother whom I hold no regard. There is more anger and sadness and frustration. For as I seek out that from which I came a widening gap is formed between myself and those who I have come to know. The lack of communication is apparent as the sheer look of bewilderment and shame lights their faces. If I could only tell you how I feel then maybe you would not be so upset. Maybe it wouldn’t feel like I am betraying you or that this is goodbye. I know you have done your best, and perfection is not a plateau but a far off vision that we run towards. I know there has been love in abundance too, but even this is not always enough to nourish a soul. Oh if I could only tell you these things but I can not. I can not bear the disappointment any longer. I have tried so very hard for you but this life is mine and at this point in the journey I think it best that I navigate it alone. I know you will always be there, but it is your terms which I can no longer live up to. There will be very little sleep tonight.

The sadness is connected to the anger through a mist of frustration, but this mist does not cloud, rather it illuminates a path between two raging storms. It builds and it builds as it guides me along the way. Leading me to a tempest of power and emotion. I realize that anger and hatred are not real power but delusions of grandeur, yet inevitably I end up here thrashing around this pool, this quagmire. It grows thicker and its binding power holds tight to my skin, fueled constantly by the mist of frustration. The futility I feel in this adopted existence. This is where my brain ends up and it must be when the mind has become spent from fighting through the muck and the grabbing hands that I finally lay to rest. If only this rest could be forever more, but fleeting it is, like a dream had but not remembered.

When I awake my body is stiff and sore, a result of the struggle for power. Hardened and in need of comfort I rise. If I only knew love and compassion I might be spared this cycle. I cry inside, eyes still shut. I know that this path leads to a place where those who travel it are swallowed up and forgotten. But I have already been forgotten. The day I was given up I was forgotten as a human being. Forgotten as a being that needs love and affection. Forgotten as someone who has needs and desires. This path leaves my true intent lost to the rest of the world and no kind of flare or GPS could find me. Yet still I keep my eyes closed to the world outside and pray to be found.

No one voice has come to the forefront and yet again I am forced to put on the mask before before I even consider walking out the door. Maybe that is why I have such a  big head, maybe I was meant to carry around all of these identities. This ability to dispense them freely and quickly like a business man does his card at a convention. I suppose I need all of this space to fit them all. But I don’t subscribe to fate so I suppose this large head of mine is just another genetic result that you won’t recognize.

I want both of you to know me. The one who spawned me and the one who nurtured me. I want you to understand clearly my intent. I want to rest.