I've been watching the Olympics. No, I won't ramble about sports and stuff. What I will ramble about is nationality and identity. See, these laste six or eight months I've been feeling myself changing a lot on a certain point. Confidence. And within that lies the fact that I've changed attitude to myself being Korean.
Before I've always ignored it. Seriously. As a child I avoided mirrors. When people pointed it out or asked questions I just turned my head off and answered blank statements that I'd learned from listening to mom. I kept myself completely, utterly neutral to the fact and held it at arm's length. It didn't exactly damage me. No one ever made me do it. I just chose to not handle it at all. (Being made easier by the fact that I've been lucky enough to never have encounteder racism.)
This christmas I met an old man who had been everywhere and met everyone and had had four wives. He was always blunt to the point of rudeness. As soon as he saw me he started talking about that I should go to Korea and find my biological parents. I got angry, actually, but he just kept talking about how nice Korea was and how beautiful the women were and how they all spoke english so I wouldn't have a problem speaking to them. (Not true, as I've found out, the english that is.)
But it got my head going, and the more I thought, the more I felt... maybe. Maybe I should. Another guy at school, also unafraid of speaking his mind, had a theory that the bond between mother and child the first few weeks or months are very important, life-defining. I asked him face to face if he thought being adopted disrupted that and he said yes. People around got uncomfortable, but the oddity that struck me when he said it, was that I agreed.
And this week put two more nails in the coffin, so to speak. For one I watched the Olympics, and the nationalism is always as strongest in sports. I got to see more Korean people than I have in my entire life, and somehow as I saw them, something clicked into place. Just the way they looked and moved. This is my people too. And then I talked to another adopted Korean who have found her family and spoken to them over the phone. They don't speak english, but they talk to her anyway, for some reason. And I felt, as I listened to her story, that it could be me.
It is biologically in our blood, isn't it. The feeling when we stand side by side with someone who shares our genes and our faces and look into the mirror, seeing the ghosts of two of ourselves. And people who have lived with that their entire lives, do you understand it? What you get? I didn't. Not until now, when I'm starting to wonder;
Can you ever replace family?
5 weeks ago