Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Sense Of Belonging

I'm trying to put form to my thoughts and it's very hard. I'm a bit too emotionally involved to keep an objective optinion, and don't really know the nooks and crannies of words like ethnicity, so I'm going to run with my gut.

Since I believe genetics is half of what I am, it means that from my viewpoint at 4 months of age someone locked the door between the two rooms and left me in the swedish part, and I willingly upheld this. People would point out the door but I gave pre-set answers and shied away from thinking about it. "Korean" was just a word. When I looked in the mirror, not many days ago, for the first time of my life, I felt Korean. I felt not just like a fake carbon copy, like a Swede with korean colors painted on, like I have before when people have asked me where I'm from. Instead for the first time I *understood* that I'm Korean, like the difference between mechanically solving a mathematical problem and actually understanding it. I felt one with my physical form. Toes dug deep in the sand. It passes, of course, like feelings do. But it was the first time of my life I felt whole. Maybe that is because I've never felt at peace with my physical form, and it's mostly been trouble for me. Maybe it's because I've always felt largely different from most people and have combined that with looking different. Maybe because I haven't felt that I really belong, really is in the right place, ever, anywhere. But I cannot deny what I saw and felt, nor the lasting impression it made. It is as if I can hold my head higher now.

So having Belgian blood doesn't make you Belgian, and people taking you for an American doesn't make you American. What does make you what you are then? And does that mean you do not consider yourself Belgian at all? I have always known I am Korean. Just like I have always been one to carefully consider before making an attempt at something - as a child I never crawled; I watched, waited and then walked. Culture, ethnicity, race, call it what you want. I care not for the labels. Does my form matter: yes, it does. It is as important to my identity as my opinions, my routines and my preferences. In fact, parts of those are shaped by my physical form. To take that to it's limit; would I have been the same without my crippled leg? Who knows. Maybe I inherited that from my father. It's not hard to extrapolate that sense of belonging to a people. Why do you feel Swedish, and not, say, just connected to your family line?

If there is only "culture" and no "ethnicity", then what is it I feel when I see people similar to me? Had people told me I was chinese or japanese, I might as well have felt chinese or japanese. I do not claim the ethnicity of Korean, or to ever become. I claim to be a Korean adopted to Sweden, and I claim my right to the full extent of that state of being, and that includes a Korean piece of identity. This isn't a huge intellectual venture. It's a gut feeling, and I've learned that those refuse to be ignored. And I don't think there is such a thing as "genetics alone". The two comes inseparably as far as we can tell, for now at least.

How can genetics play a part in an individual's personality but not on a grander scale? Genes are inherited from our parents, and shared by our siblings, and in extension that means more and more people. Different circumstances will force the expression of the same traits in different ways, and it will become diluted, but I have family over there, they are Korean, their ancestors were Korean. I may have a bit of Chinese or Japanese or Mongol, of course. If I say "they are my people", maybe you could argue me out of it eventually, intellectually. But the fact remains that I came from their blood, from their soil, from their culture.

How can appearance can be a cultural phenomenon? I can see that my hair is black and has a different texture and that my skin has a different tone. I can feel that my nose is different, even if I can't see it. A mirror puts it on the edge but is in no way the limit. Without surroundings, would I care about my form? Humans cannot live without surroundings, as little as we would exist without genetics.

Can we know how much is nature and how much is nurture? No. Not yet, maybe never. So it's difficult to say if any race have traits that are more genetically common. So for now that topic is on hold on a "who knows".

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Emotional scares

1) Up
I was handed the card of a person today, who when I was ten was the most beautiful, fantastic person in the world. Normally I have to make an effort to have feelings, like staring into a running river for ten minutes to get into that feeling of you moving and the river standing still. But with her name black on white, or brown on blue as it were, on a piece of paper between my fingers, I realized it must really have been my first real crush. Because every ounce of me longed to see her again as I scoured the card for a phone number, because my first instinct was that I must call her. Then I realized that A) I couldn't exactly call her and say I really wanted to meet her right now so I could find out what it would be like to hold her hand, or at least so I could fawn over her for an hour or two, and B) I remember her as somewhere between 25 and 30, a football player, eleven years ago. Now I'm terrified of seeing her again, of getting disappointed, and losing that fantastic feeling I had when I was given the card. Terrified of finding out that she isn't that person I thought she was, or that she's uglier than I remember her, or that her voice didn't sound all that awesome and cool. Of losing that one person in my life that that ugly, plain "real world" feeling never got to.
And yet, all the more terrified of losing the card.
On the upside I guess I know what kind of feeling to look for now, when trying to figure out if I'm really into someone.

2) Down
Last night my right shin cramped up real bad. I couldn't figure out which way to stretch it to make it stop, and whatever direction I tried just hurt like hell. Shit happens, and I was half asleep and only half perceiving the pain. When I woke up this morning, however, I had a huge flashback to how the problems began with my left leg, that in the beginning it cramped often, that that was one of the warning signs that eventually led to that I discovered the issue. What if I lost the right leg too? I sigh and whine about one leg, but if I lost the good one, I would barely be able to walk. Probably unable to run at all, ride a bike... I'd fall over easier than an Italian football player. I wouldn't be able to dance. Maybe even end up in a wheelchair, and I'd look fucking terrible and ridiculously top heavy.
Now I'm looking for some kind of adoption service helper thingy. If I'm going to end up locked to a wheelchair, unable to dance, then I need to have been to Korea first. I want to walk the soil I was born from with my own feet.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mirror Mirror On The Wall...

I dreamed something tonight that I can't really remember anymore, but I loved it and I woke up with a sense of confidence. I managed to shower and do hair and make-up together with my usual morning routine in the same amount of time, and when I stood there, all gussied up in front of the mirror, I though "I should cut my hair myself, instead of going to a salon and paying money for a hairstyle I don't want. I'll do it right now." And I fetched the scissors, but then remembered how much time it takes just to cut the bangs, and left the scissors there as I went to work.

I came home, saw the scissors, and cut my hair. It took quite some time. Showered, dressed up, fixed my hair, although to my great disappointment there was no wax or gel in the house so it only went so-so, and put on party-style make-up - and more. And looked myself in the mirror and thought:

"I'm Korean."

I cut it according to one of the styles Jaejoong have had his hair, as I remembered it in my head (I've compared it now and it's pretty good to be from memory) and put on my Korean jewelry, and did the make-up as I saw a Chinese girl do on YouTube. I dunno what the difference is, really, but...

I look like all those people I've been watching on YouTube, the strange black-haired, almond-eyed ones. I look like him; like JaeJoong. I feel like I found my roots and was torn out of the ground at the same time. God what have I done? Why did I cut my hair like his, why did I put on make-up like this, what will people think? What will they see? Am I the Swede pretending to be Korean or the Korean pretending to be a Swede? Who am I?

But the mirror answered well enough. Korean.

Lost and Found

Excuse me, I seem to have lost a day, have you seen it? O.o

Honestly, somewhere between Monday, when I know what I was doing, and yesterday, that I was utterly and thoroughly convinced with was Wednesday until my dad told me otherwise this morning, there's a day that I cannot remember. I have consulted my time-table at work and realized that I've skipped writing in it one day. I've gone through the chat logs for work for this week, but they're incredibly messy because I switched chat client in between and the new one acts very different regarding history, I haven't quite figured it out. I can only remember how I got home from work Monday, whichever day in between, and Thursday. I can't really account for what I did, a whole work-day of 8 hours, whichever day it is that is gone, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Hm now that I think about it, I'm rather sure I did stuff for school for a few hours after I came home on Tuesday. And it might have been my parents' wedding anniversary. I vaguely remember something about texting my brother, telling him to remind dad about it so he didn't act surprised when he got home and mom had bought flowers. Yes flowers. Yes, that must have been Tuesday.

Anyone seen a Wednesday running wild? It's mine, and I very much would like to have it back. The gaping hole in my memory is kind of freaking me out.