I am not just…

19 Feb

I eat Chinese food while watching Japanese dramas. Sitting in my American mess sitting like an American while eating at my computer. Around me are English books and video tapes. Some of them are Japanese, some of them are writing books, some of them are design books, some are games, and some are cookbooks. I have projects scattered around me. A book I’m writing here, a book I’m editing there, drawings, embroidery, painting, languages, dictionaries, calligraphy brushes, calligraphy pens, A Bible–non King James Version even though I’m Jewish. Because it’s straight translated and I’m reading it like a novel. (A Super-raunchy novel.) Around me are different cultures, talents, creativity, and though this space is messy, it’s reflective of me in a lot of ways. I always have sooo much going on that people (outside of my own parents) say I work too hard that I never have a break. I research in my off time, draw, write, but I rarely ever *just* watch TV or *just* do one particular thing. When I draw, I listen to books, when I eat, I am absorbing culture and language through dramas. I’m always working on my brain somehow in some fashion. To everyone this seems like a scattered mess of unimportance. What is that stack of paper…? To me, that’s a novel waiting to be born. To that person, it’s a pile of scrap that needs to be thrown out.

I know this chaos. I become this chaos. I order this chaos and the chaos orders me.But as soon as I step out the front door, I will have labels placed on me. I am no longer a person living in a creative space with writer and creative sttached to me as I attach it to myself.

If I talk to an Adoptive parent, I become Adoptee. When I enter a classroom, I am student. When I sit next to a racist white male, I become to him, “Submissive Asian.” If I walk faster in front of an African American male because I simply don’t want to talk to him, I become “slow.” If I talk to my Mom. I become “Jewish daughter who is not adopted.” If I talk to my Aunt, I become Niece. If I talk to my grandmother, I become “adopted granddaughter.” All those labels are put on me as soon as I walk out into the world and have contact with it. But it becomes so tiring. The Code Switching is difficult and it feels like I’m fighting constantly with the world to see me as I see myself. Right now as you view this, you think I am adoptee. I am Korean. I am Korean American. But to me, I’m not. I’m human first. I’m Korean, adoptee, Jewish, daughter, niece, Korean American, International adoptee, and whatever else you want to label me, second. I am always human first. Does that intimidate you? I claim my humanity first? I am homo sapiens sapiens descended from a fine line of Homo sapiens sapiens. My materials, my dust, my atoms came from the center of this universe, just like you. Genetically, I only different from you by a maximum of 200,00 years. Considering the Billions of years of the universe and planet, you and I aren’t that different. Yet, you want to define me by one label, one set of rules, but to me, I am all of those labels and more. I am human, living, breathing in this space and I see you as human first too. Thinking, breathing with the same capacity for intelligence that I have, whether that be left or right-brained. This is the gift international adoption has given me and I wish you could see it too… but I’m so tired by being backed into labels I can’t live up to. I’m tired of being stereotyped, by people not seeing me as the creative force I think of myself, almost breathing it daily like it was oxygen, but as these impossible labels that have nothing to do with my centered self. Why can’t it be that when I view you, and I take you for human, though I may not like you I think of your humanity first, who you are in the every day. How you wake up, go to sleep, how you talk, move, act, move through space, how you view yourself, instead of “Mexican” only or “Black” only. You are all those things, shouldn’t we learn to reserve that judgment and stop the useless labeling? Because right now I’m tired of moving through such spaces. I’m tired of meeting people at the door of my sanctuary and have them label me in the instant they look at me. I’m tired of being afraid, and having to fight for who I am as I see myself. And this is how you free yourself from prejudice.

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Posted in Adoption Philosophy, Adoptism


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