public speaker

Hapa- half. Not whole.

Somehow this feeling of less than-ness is more pervasive here than others pause to realize. I didn’t realize I wasn’t the only one, until I came here. The stories sound terrible. Unbelievably so, but I know they aren’t fiction. I have been there. I have been covered over and pushed under so no one would see my broken self as a reflection of her. 

You would think that after nearly a decade of not knowing her daughter. After years of scattered phone calls and a handful of visits that a summer would be built on bonding. But what I recall is my differentness, my “American” characteristics were brusque and garish. She compared me to my father and not in a good way. I was all the bad traits of a man who I could never compare myself to. Only others could compare us. And somehow I was just as terrible to her as he had been. This white child of a white man who only took and caused pain. 

Then I realized how not whole I truly was. 

I remember when I first saw her basement, thinking it wasn’t a basement at all. It was more a warehouse. I ran across it smiling. I ran and thought, my mom has a basement. MY mom. I can’t recall wanting anything as much as I wanted to be her daughter. So many hateful women surrounding me, and this one, this one gave me life. This one loved me. My mom has a basement. 

It’s where she kept the kimchi fridge. All my Korean friends know about the importance of the kimchi fridge. It’s also where she exercised because health and beauty are important. More than important. We ran, and exercised there everyday. I wanted to stop and she made me keep going. Yelling at me about lazy Americans. I was always too white to her. Not enough Korean in this motherless Korean girl. 

Eventually, the basement became the place where she kept me. Hidden away, told to be quiet and wait. No one knows about you. They don’t need to know about you. 

Fuck. Those words cut me still. 

I feel them deeply. I feel them through that tiny body, entering into that frail little chest, stabbing my breaking heart right in the center of everything. This woman, this “mother,” she only wanted me when no one else could see. Who could love me if she can’t? Hide me away in the basement quietly. Even the dogs get to be seen. Even the dogs get to be loved in the open. But not me. Because I chose to be less than. I chose to be half. I chose to be created in a world that only accepts whole people. I chose to be a half of something on either side. 

Our stories hurt. They aren’t always easy to share, but God, how I wish I had known these stories years ago. How I wish I had known it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t just me. How I had begged to be accepted by both my halves and never thought it possible. 

So yes, I don’t speak a lot of Korean. But, what I do speak, I learned the hard way. 

About Me, Blog, Children, Choices, Fear, hope, Love, Relationships, Strength, Thoughts, Women

A Mother’s Fear

There is nothing as beautiful as being a mother. There is also nothing as paralyzing as being a good Mother. We are full of power and life but with that wonderful strength comes a very harsh and debilitating fear. There is a constant worry that hums in our hearts over the safety of our children. It starts during pregnancy and it never relents after that. I can recall the point in my first pregnancy when I felt utter adoration for that sweet girl. I had never seen her. I had never touched her soft skin. I had never looked into her eyes, but I felt a love like none I had ever dreamed of before. It was an encompassing love. One that did not need to be reciprocated. It was selfless, pure, and the simplest thing that could ever be. No relationship before had ever prepared me for the intensity of this future relationship. No man could ever come close to giving me the absolute that this little girl was already promising me. I was hooked on her before I ever even knew her.

I was unquestionably in love with her and there was nothing that could be done to stop the fear that was growing within my stomach. We have all had our hearts broken at some point. There is always a risk in loving someone. The risk in loving children is different though. I don’t worry that my children will reject my love. I know that they need it. They need the knowledge that it gives them. It is a security for them. It lets them know their worth. It fills their hearts with joy and peace. It shows them that they are wanted and that they are mine. It is a vital part of their childhoods. Their lives would be empty without love. Children more than need love to be happy they need it to survive. Babies can die from a lack of physical contact or essentially from a lack of affection. Children need to know in their hearts that they are important and that is what love does for a person. It shows us that we are vital to someone else. It gives us meaning in so many ways.

My chances of being heart-broken don’t come from having my love rejected by my children, they come from the reality of life. Our world is filled with terrors. There are people out there who would relish the chance to hurt my babies. There are diseases that could destroy the children I know. Nature could take us while we sleep. Society has a hold on parents and the rights a parent has as well. There are more bad things in this world than a mother’s heart can handle and I fear them all. I worry about strangers talking to my babies. I worry when I let my daughter go to school. I pray that no one will hurt her feelings. I worry about them if they sleep later than normal. Some part of me still fears SIDS even though I know that an 8 year old will be just fine. I worry when they get a virus. I worry if they visit anyone without me. If I leave them for a short while I worry that it will be the last time I will ever see them. My heart is constantly restrained by fear.

Fear doesn’t allow reason to exist. Fear will take over and make everything possible. Those worst nightmares can come true because that is what fear does. My children are everything. They are my world. I have made my decisions based around them. I wanted to be a better mother than what I was born into. I wanted them to never question my loyalty to them so I chose to be with them as often as possible. I have chosen for them. I have chosen because of them. I have made decisions so that their lives could be better. Parenting is a fearful thing. You will always question and worry. There will never be a day where you don’t doubt yourself. I fear them maturing into people who do not have morals or respect. I do my best to teach them these things, but what if I am not doing a good enough job? What if I am not the mother they deserve? What if they need more than what I am capable of?

My fear will never die. I will have it every day and every night from now until forever but love tempers those feelings. The joy that they bring me fills me over and over and over again. Love is the miracle feeling. It can be a drug, it can be a cure, it can be absolutely fulfilling. Love can calm the fear and let me see past it. A smile from one of my children is all that it takes to let me see the moment. That is what fear doesn’t allow. It doesn’t allow you to be in the moment. It pushes you into a future that may never come. Let love bring you back to now. This moment is perfect with them. Cherish their faces. Hold their hearts by hugging their souls. Love them and allow that love to wash away the worry.

To all of you parents out there who understand the fear I ask you to look for the love. The love will save you. You are not alone.