Wednesday, May 27, 2009

like Surgery


He told me, It’s like surgery.

Suddenly yet slowly, the light began to flicker on.


I got myself worked up into quite a froth last night.

I don’t understand, as I wrung my hands and tossed my face into my palms.

My husband sat next to my prostrate body flopped across the bed.

It’s like surgery, he said.

Huh? I thought to myself.


But he was right.

This is like surgery.

That is, metaphorically and emotionally.

Surgery is a process that offers remedy for a condition that is either otherwise unresponsive or unreceptive to alternative treatments.

Surgery can bring relief and healing.

But it also brings with it potential risks and possible side effects.

It is a hopeful option, but not the perfect solution.

There is no perfect solution when one is dealing with the ailments of the human body, and even less so when one faces the complex anatomy of human emotion.


In less than four weeks, I will be thousands of miles above the surface of the earth, dangling in the sky.

Upon our descent, it will be as though I have traveled through a time warp, catapulted into a maelstrom where my past, present and future will suddenly meet—along with all the emotion that accompanies such a convergence.


Surgery can save life.

It can also endanger it.


That’s a risk I’m willing to take.

the Bulb


i have black eyes.
even when they are white.


i have never produced genius. i do not even know.
what genius.

there are numbers to tell me: what is. and.
what is not.

like the numbers 7 and 3. or

the numbers 1, 5, and 0.

but i still get confused.


maybe the garlic bulb is genius.


maybe the way i flee when i do not want.
to smell.

the tension.
the discord.
the unhappy home.

is the number 7 and
the number 3.


so i will go back to.

chopping and.

my garlic bulb.

maybe then i will have the scent of. a

swallow my

until my eyes turn always white.

even when
they are.


Monday, May 18, 2009

the Swell


I am tearing in between. My heart feels as though it is shrinking. My mind is running off with itself.

I feel alone.

I feel, at times, that those closest to me are furthest away. I reach out to grasp the love that lingers—it dissipates as vapor.

Cure me of this isolation, this depth of emotion that threatens to consume me.


My intellect knows that I am not alone; I am not drowning—

I am surfacing, emerging.

There is hope resting at the bottom of Pandora’s box.

So can I crawl inside and pull the lid over me?


Yet I know that when we are given hope—we are to keep none for ourselves.

Hope dies locked up in a box.

We hold onto hope for a time but at some point, we must let go—we must set it free that it may spread itself out and accomplish that which it was conceived to do.

My hope is so heavy, so parturient, so vast—I think it is crushing me.

I want to somehow contain all that is seeping out from within me, but I know that I cannot be contained—lest I explode.

I feel myself swelling, bloating, stretching—at some point, I must cut myself open, reach out my hands to pour out that which writhes and proliferates within me…

With such a vulnerability and determination that something magnificent will have opportunity to take root and find birth.

Monday, May 11, 2009



I tell myself that there is no longer any need or reason to be tragic.

All the tragedy and drama are being driven out. Right?

The unknown is being made known.
That which was secret is being revealed.
Those who were abandoned are being retrieved.


And yet I cannot deny this reservoir of emotion still pooling within—all these tears pushing at my eyes and tightening in my throat?

Perhaps it is as has been said before—there are some wounds that never fully heal; hurts from which we never completely recover.


Finding my birth parents and answers to lifetime unknowns do not function as an ecumenical poultice.

Indeed, the process of being “reunited” can bring healing and comfort, but it cannot—and hence one should not expect such—instantaneously cure one of all turmoil and pain.

There is something in me trying to convince myself that this will “fix me.” I think it is perhaps natural to desire such. Who does not desire wholeness and completion?

But I know this isn’t something to be “fixed.” But rather lived.

To try to attain completion by insufficient and incompatible means only leads to more heartache and disappointment. Never will one single event of this world cure any one person of the deep emotional wounds common to man and that forever compel us to seek remedy.


I know that there are those who might presume, with good intentions that now that my biological parents have emerged, I have arrived.

I will admit honestly that in some ways, I have. I am not trying to take away from what a difference, what a relief comes with finding one’s biological origins. I already feel so different and so much more empowered and complete.

But I guess my point is that we often neglect the post-reunion.

On the front end is the novelty, the excitement. But as the journey continues—that’s when we really need to pay attention.


It’s like comparing a wedding and a marriage. The wedding is the most joyous of occasions. Everyone celebrates and rejoices with the new couple. A day always to remember.

But it is only the beginning.

The marriage is ultimately what counts. The marriage is what will need constant attention and maintenance. The marriage is the post-reunion. It’s not going to magically come to together without hard work and effort. And you better believe hurt feelings and conflict will come.

As wondrous and as magical as the wedding was the marriage will only thrive if the couple continues to pour themselves into their relationship, no matter what strife and hardship they encounter.

So it will be with the post-reunion. My initial meetings with my biological parents are only the beginning.

This is only the beginning.


The road a thousand miles down is for what I am bracing myself. Getting in the car is easy. It’s staying in the car when the drive gets treacherous and the roads get dangerous that will test my heart and my motivation.

I’ve changed the oil and gotten the alignment checked. I’ve locked the door. I have fastened my seatbelt tightly around my torso.

And although my eyes are fixed on the road ahead, there is no horizon in sight.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

another Photo

(I have removed the photo for sake of privacy)

I am two daughters seeking to be one.
I am two people seeking to be one.
I am two of flesh and blood seeking to be one.

I am a thousand pieces longing to be whole.
I am a thousand tears weeping to no longer drown.
I am a thousand questions seeking to be known.


This is another photo of my omoni, or Korean [birth] mother, that I just received in the mail a couple of days ago. She stated that it was taken over 15 years ago during a traditional Korean dance performance for a group of special needs children and families. I also received a letter enclosed with the photos and am awaiting its translation.


Seven more weeks remaining before we travel to Korea. Seven more weeks remaining until I step into a strange and extraordinary world that for a brief moment, over 30 years ago, called me its daughter only to relinquish me in grief and sorrow.

And now as it beckons me again, although a palpable ambivalence still troubles my heart, I must decide how I will answer to such a call.


"Refrain from making conclusive judgments at this point--that needs to be my mantra," I tell myself.

I want to have all the pieces in front of me.

But I know better. I know that I’m not ready to have all the pieces given to me. I’m still in pieces.


Nonetheless, I can feel my heart wanting to make certain conclusions and decisions.

I want to blame my birth mother for relinquishing me without consulting my birth father first. I want to blame my birth father for not being able to protect me.

I want to blame Korea for its old Confucian ways that forced us all onto a remote and isolated island with only one way out.

But it is what it is. And all of us fell under a tide of circumstances beyond our control. The point is not to point the finger at one or the other. The point is to embrace one another.


I want to make the most of this journey. I don’t want to hurry through it, so anxious to get to the other side that I lose the wonder and awe, the horror and terror of this mystery unfolding.

I want to experience this journey for the sake of the journey—for the sake not of its destination, because really, a journey like this has no single destination. There is no final arrival nor a return journey.

But it is neither a one-way road. It is an intangible type of journey. One that can find its way in circles and other times in lines and still other times it has no shape, no outline, no direction. It just is.


I still feel as though I am dreaming. I still feel as though I am wrapped up in a cloud, and although I can sense what is happening, it is unclear and nebulous. And yet, in some ways, I find the ambiguity and uncertainty comforting.

Perhaps it is simply due to the fact that ambiguity is what is familiar to me.

Or perhaps it is because the ambiguity means that anything is still possible. It means that the fairy tale could still emerge. The “happy ending” still has its chance to take hold.

But what would a happy ending even mean in this case? What does a happy ending mean to me? I know some wince or cringe at the notion of me even daring to refer to the possibility of a happy ending.


I cannot apologize, though—perhaps at heart I cannot suppress that five-year old girl who still believes in knights in shining armor and evil witches coming to their doom. I’ve tried to suppress it. I’ve acknowledged previously how foolish and how na├»ve I feel at times for clinging to such fantasy and idealism.

But I’ve got to do something with this well of emotion that swells within me. Perhaps some would choose a more mature and intellectually developed perspective. And perhaps that would be the wise and responsible decision.


I admire wisdom and respect responsibility. They most certainly have their time and place and are necessary for navigating the complexities and demands of life.

For me, though, right now is not the time or place. And a little bit of crazy is at times just as necessary as are wisdom and responsibility for getting us through the aforementioned complexities and demands of life.

Worth its weight in bizarre and creative thought. Maybe sometimes that is wisdom. Maybe not.

But I do know that I have come too far to succumb to the dull and the grey of mundane and unimaginative thinking. I like fantastical. It is such thinking that brought me safely thus far. And when the time comes and requires that I apply my more rational faculties, I will indeed employ such. As I've said too many times before, for now, I want to bask.


I'll end with a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke:

I beg have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps, then, someday, far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing, live your way into the answer...