It surprised me how effortlessly conversation flowed. We talked about her upcoming wedding, her dog, my sisters, and Clara. We even started to talk about “Pachinko.” I found myself not wanting the conversation to end, and felt that the feeling was mutual as it was past midnight in Korea. Finally, she had to say goodbye and go to sleep but promised to message me again tomorrow.
She also told me that my birth mother wants to send me messages on Thursday because she is off work that day.
But since “coming out of the fog” I would say that overall, the forecast has been cloudy at best. There are many rain showers, hurricanes, tornadoes, the occasional tsunami, and maybe, on a good day, the temperature reaches a mere 65 degrees with a light breeze instead of a cold, damp, and gray 42. Sometimes I honestly think that comparatively, the fog wasn’t all that bad. I mean, what’s a little blissful mist compared to standing in the middle of a thunderstorm with an umbrella full of holes?
But why did I, an Asian-American Korean adoptee, not find out that there was a month designated to represent my people until I was 30 years old? And even moreso, why could I not remember learning about one single influential Asian-American in school?
Seeing myself wearing this fabric mask makes it impossible for me to maintain that distance and has created a complex, complicated inner-conversation. On the one had, I am still assimilating by wearing a mask just like everyone else in America. On the other, by doing so, I embody a stereotype of Asians that so many in the world despise.
At this time in my life, kids were also cruel and my eyes became the butt of a lot of jokes. They’d often tell me to “open my eyes” or ask if I could see the same amount as everyone else. Sometimes I would beat them to the punch and say things like, “Oh, I didn’t see that. It must be because my eyes don’t open haha.” Other times, I would be annoyed and snootily respond, “I don’t know if I see less. Why don’t I pop your eyeballs out of their sockets so we can trade and find out?”
I’ve called my adoptive parents “Mom” and “Dad” for 30 years now. They are the only two people in the world who have earned those titles. I know that some people call their in-laws “Mom” and “Dad” but to be honest, I will never be one of those people.