I have to admit I sometimes feel like this.
You are Korean, but not Korean.
You are Jewish, but not Jewish.
You are an American, but not American.
So apparently, I can’t talk crap about the labels I subscribe to because everyone else kicks me out. Or at least some.
I get it, it’s really difficult to wrap your head around a Korean Adopted person to Atheist Jewish parents. So the question, What are you comes up a lot. As if it really matters which tribe I belong to.
I know that some people really do care that deeply. And I get that. But really, can’t I be all of the above? Can’t I decide who I am and how I define myself? Why do you need to kick me out of the club because I subscribe to club human? Sure I have a complicated life, but count me as human instead of going around and saying, “You are not American if you talk trash about Americans.”
Uhhh… I think I *earned* that right by being raised by Americans.
Can’t I complain about Americans, Koreans and Jews ’cause I’m an insider? Let me define myself, you worry about yourself, and then we’ll talk and you can figure it out without those generalized labels.
Sung to the tune of You are my Sunshine.
I love my kimchi,
my only kimchi
it makes me happy when my skies are gray
you never know, dear, how much I love my kimchi
please don’t take my kimchi away
The other night dear as I lay sleeping
I dreamed of kimchi in my mouth
When I awoke dear my kimchi was missing
And I found that it was gone
I told you once, dear, I really loved you
And nothing else could come between.
But now you’ve stolen all my kattuggi;
You have shattered my best onggi
In all my dreams, dear, you seem to eating
So bring back kimchi and make me happy
I’ll forgive you dear, if you make some more.
When I was younger I used to particularly have a dream of a broken house–or a house that wasn’t right. I would spend a long time in the dream trying to fix it. Sometimes my family would watch, but they wouldn’t do anything to help. Maybe a comment that this or that was wrong, but they wouldn’t actually do the physical labor.
Then I had a dream about my childhood home with a broken foundation and how my parents didn’t care their house was sunken into the ground. My choice was between the Social Bunny of the Sims2 game and and my Dad who was ignorant of the world–I chose the social bunny–I preferred the lie over the reality.
Then again, another dream where I had a dream that the house was rebuilt, it had a second floor terrace with no railing, my parents were rich and they’d build the terrace out of cheap plywood–that particle board. So the maid whom they hired was sitting on the edge and almost falling off the edge. I’d been flying in the dream, and now the terrace was so crowded with iron chairs and iron tables that I could barely fit. When I landed in the house I could no longer fly freely. My parents who were rich beyond their wildest dreams were on vacation. So my brother called them from inside the house. My Dad answered and my brother told him that we could buy the materials to fix the terrace. “Wood?” my brother said. My Dad said to leave it alone because it was too expensive. “We’ll do it ourselves, it’s dangerous,” my brother said.
I was about to suggest tile when I woke up.
Was our family house always broken? It seems that my subconscious seems to think so and keeps reminding me of it. Even if the house were to be rebuilt–the family house, then I’d still have to do the majority of the work with my brother while my parents took the vacation. The metaphor works. No matter how hard we try they won’t pick up their portion of the slack. And I can’t live in a broken incomplete house. I can’t keep trying to fix it when a relationship is a two-way street. But it still hurts to figure this type of thing out.