Sunday, August 23, 2009

Journey Within

I have always felt my life is a journey that takes me through various landscapes continuously unfolding into new terrain. It guides me like a map through the long winding paths, and the valleys that lay below. My life takes me forward through the ever changing scenery. It gives me new meaning and direction that sometimes can be misleading. As my history is taking form, I often stop; look up to the sun, and then ahead. I see that my life feels full but when I look down at my life I see that I have no roots. With all the joys I have felt, tasted, and loved, I ask myself why I feel my existence in this world goes no further than the words that were written in 1979.

I was not an infant at the time of my adoption. That is known for it clearly states this on the adoption forms. It tells me that I was born in 1973 and that by 1979, I was handed over to the adoption agency by my eldest sister to be placed for overseas adoption. From there, I take with me, my childhood and my memories. I begin my journey from one side of the world to fly above the clouds to land under a new sun. Upon my arrival, I must learn to talk and walk again on this new earth.

For the years that follow, I learn to eat, play like other children, and learn how I should behave. It is all foreign to me but time only allows you to continue your journey forward. And as a child who is learning to do everything all over again, my mind starts anew and I feel myself vanishing from within. As time goes by, my tears are replaced with new memories and a new life that I grow to accept and embrace.

But no matter how much I embraced my new life, thoughts of my Identity and existence is never too far behind. I could not escape them. Questions regarding my life prior to my arrival always seemed to fall upon me, even at a young age. A few simple words of wonder would rain upon me, drenching me as if to weigh me down, to fall onto the earth, to see that my roots have been cut.

To tell you my story, I have to travel back through these roads...back to my elementary years, only a short period after my adoption. During those times, many people would gather around me with all their curiosity and wonder. Mothers, Fathers, and peers stare onto me, taking notes on my appearances, my verbal skills, and my ability to recall my childhood.

I speak to them recounting my past, my life that was foreign even to me. They ask, “How far back can you remember? How old were you when adopted? When were you born?” I think back to that other life and tell them my memories and the stories of my family. I often received a reaction that was of disbelief. People would want to know but later declare that I was much too young to remember. After all, I was only Six years old when I had come to live in the States. They discredit my life. They would erase the few memories that held together my existence and my spirit by negating my truth.

No! I tell them. I would stand there and correct everyone around me and reply, "I was seven when I left Korea." Seeing my defiance, my mother at times turned to the papers and state I was born in 1973. I feel she is unsure herself but I accept her answer. I begin to believe and accept the Identity that was written and given to my family.

I do not believe it was a conscious decision, but perhaps, one that needed to take place so I could merge into this new world. People do not give the young the credit of understanding the world that surrounds them. Of how they interpret their world and how they desire to make sense of it. For me, I wanted to have this beginning like other children. I wanted to see pictures of myself of when I was born. To see a timeline, the pathways that show us our beginnings, and that of our past.

As years came and passed, I quickly adapted to my new life. I laughed and played mirroring the other children I met. I ignored the subtle differences of our toys, games, and language that we shared as children. I learned quickly to fight back any racial name calling in school and the bullying that came with it. Everything would fall into place until a new year would start again and a teacher would ask, "Where is your family tree with photos? Please tell everyone a little about yourself. Are you not adopted? What was your name? What country was is it, again? Please tell the class when you came to live with your Family. How old were you?"

Here I am back in that uncertain place again. I realize that I am different but more importantly I no longer know my origins. I tell them my story of adoption and how my family had lived. I tell them my age in Korea and my age here. They look at me as if I am crazy. I decide to skip the part about my age for the following year. I tell my class I do not remember much of when I was young. I tell them briefly of what might have happened to my family in Korea. I explain that I was Six when I was placed for adoption.

My story and explanations of my past did not change much over the years. It was guided by the same motivation that was born very early in my childhood. As I moved forward, traveling new roads that my adolescence would bring me, I learned to talk about my past and welcomed the questions that came from it. I spoke of my childhood in Korea whether I felt it was of dreams or of reality. I came to believe, in all these years, no matter how centered I felt, I was still lost. It is a concept that bewildered not just others but myself. How could one’s Identity be intact no matter how much self esteem one has, if you do not have a true beginning?

So, I am drawn to those doubtless astrological signs. I tell myself, I would learn everything I need to know about 1973 to see if the signs all match my personality and traits. I even find myself in my early twenties visiting regularly to have my hands read or my aura seen to tell of my past and my future. I find it fun and intriguing.

To not know your true astrological sign, your birth sign, or the date you were conceived takes you to the outer limits of your very own existence. My memories recall my siblings calling me by one age to later being told of another. I think to myself throughout my life, that perhaps, in the process of bridging languages in my earlier childhood I had confused and scrambled my thoughts to piece them together with misguided memory. But, then I remember. It is all there. I remember what my Mother had told me. My adoption papers, my Birth records, state that I was born on August 20th, 1973. And written by it, it states “Presumptive”.


The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Rendered into English Quatrains by Edward FitzGerald

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on:nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

2 comments:

Hee Jung said...

Regarding the astrological signs..... when I was about 14, I was taught how to do a personality horoscope based on someone's exact birthday and place. I did it for most of my family and friends, but could not do it for myself. I knew that I was either a Sagittarius or a Capricorn (possibly Scorpio), and I would read and read about the signs to see if I had a "fit" somewhere. It was heart wrenching having the information for everyone else (and most people thought my analysis was pretty darn good) and not be able to do it on yourself; not even knowing which month you were born in! That was one of the key moments growing up (early teen age years) when it was apparent my identity was far from being established.

kyungmee said...

Crazy but I turned to it too..usually telling people it was all out of fun but I really do believe in this stuff..LOL! Probably when I was around 18 years old, I had my aura read again,but this time, the lady told me that something happened in my life that had damaged my aura..damaged me. Something from very early in my childhood..very terrible. Well, I continued to see her daily for about a year until I felt I needed to move on and that it really wasn't going anywhere. Oh, one thing..when we were in Korea, on our honeymoon, I got a reading where I was told that we were going to have an unexpected encounter and that we would have our first child within a year..and would be a boy. Well, we reunited with my siblings there about a week later and came back to have a baby boy a little over a year! Things like that happen and it keeps me wondering.

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