19 Feb

I woke up and my head hurt royally. I started to see things that weren’t there. It was like a movie playing in my mind’s eye. I could see flashes of things that I knew belonged to me, but I didn’t physically remember. I screamed for it to stop. It hurt so much and the more I tried to control the flashes the more it hurt. Over and over again. I was crying and not even connecting it.

Exhausted, I got up and went to my computer. I asked a group of adoptees online about it and related the story.

I also asked Appa if my memories were true. He verified it for me. Every single last one was verified for me. Except one. But I think he lied to protect me. Because the memory is insistent and keep surfacing again and again as vivid as the other memories.

It took me a while to sort out each one. I originally thought I was going nuts. But I learned from other adoptees that they had also had such feelings and moments. What makes it hurt is the invalidation other people give towards the memories. What makes them surface is like anything else. There is a trigger for the memory. For me, it was seeing Appa’s face on camera.

The fixations I had as a child made sense once I sorted the memories out. The fixation towards Korean houses with white outer walls, the fixation on Farmer’s Markets where there were tents and cement, the fixation on apples in baskets with flat slats, the fixation on tent tops without sides. The feeling like there should be something there, but you don’t know why. The feeling like you are supposed to remember, but you have no actual memory, so for some unknown reason, you just stare and stare at it. You actually feel happy near it, but you don’t know why. They all started to click and make sense.

I learned from another adoptee that what one should do during these flashes like photographs is to watch them, let them flow over you, don’t fight them. This made the flashes stop. And I began to enjoy the scenery, and realized for the first time in a long time that I had broken the barrier of the orphanage. I was seeing good things too. Like love, and respect and I had a piece of Korea with me.

I still get fixations. I got one while watching a Korean drama. I found myself staring at a Korean wall surrounding a traditional house. My mind kept saying, “The wall is wrong. The wall is wrong.” “It should be all white.” Then a flash happened again. I began to see my maternal grandmother letting us into the house’s gates. Then pain started to set in a little. It took me a minute to remember to let it wash over me. It went away.

Incidentally after I let them wash over me, my Korean language rejection was a lot less severe. I had broken my inner fear and I saw a gift beyond the pain. Childhood memories of the love Eomma and Appa and my birth family had for me.

These things I never tell my mom because she invalidates them. I don’t give her the power by never telling her about it.

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