Stupid me, I didn’t stock up on groceries and forgot it was a holiday. At dinner time yesterday, all the restaurants were shut down and the streets were deserted, and it took me until I saw a little girl in her hanbok walking with her father in a suit to realize and remember that it was the Chinese Lunar New Year, Solnal.
Solnal is that lovely time of the year when all your putting up with being put in your place pays off. It’s when you literally bow and grovel and for your efforts grandpa and grandma give you lots of money for honoring them.
It just happens to fall on Valentine’s day this year.
Some how, some way, I have managed to fritter away two days of my life accomplishing nothing at all. Fretting about this decision. Doing anything I can to avoid making it.
I realize this isn’t about living in beautiful surroundings, because I’ve lived in some of the most beautiful surroundings on the planet, and I was still accomplishing nothing in isolation.
I realize this isn’t about the money, because I’ve had money before and it didn’t buy me or anyone else anything, and I was still accomplishing nothing in isolation.
I realize this isn’t about job satisfaction, because after 40 jobs, I know there is no such thing; nothing’s satisfying when you’re alone.
What this is about is:
I don’t want to be adopted any more
I don’t want to be Korean any more
I don’t want to be lonely any more
Either position would be equally good or awful, have its benefits or drawbacks. I just don’t want to spend another Valentine’s day sitting by myself eating a bowl of instant noodles.
Reverend Kim invited me to the Koroot adoptee Solnal gathering, as he called to gently reprimand me for forgetting to let him know I’d canceled our meeting there.
But I forgot to go. I actually got productive for a couple hours while editing a friend’s memoirs. But I don’t want to go eat noodles with adoptees either. I don’t want to always be working on adoptee issues. I don’t want to always be confronted with my race. I don’t want to be black in the Jim Crow South, when I can be yellow everywhere else. I don’t want my only value to be because I speak English. I don’t want to be surrounded by Korean walls. I don’t love it here.
I need a vacation from my fucking identity.
Unlike most adoptees who come here for a visit in their college years as tourists or students, I had way too much Korea, way too fast. I got an overdose of culture shock this year. no partying. no hedonism. no fun. just lots and lots of rejection, and even among adoptees, I have no one my age to relate to.
Jennifer and Jane talk about the adoptee freak-out, and I told Jane this is not what I’m having and I’m merely trying to find a way to be sustainable here. But today I’m not so sure. There’s more to life than fighting for this cause. Even they have people in their lives.
I signed up for a Korean personals site today. It wouldn’t accept Seoul as a city…Is that hilarious, or what? Even the personals ads reject me…
I want my life back.
Or, rather, I want a life. I deserve a freaking life. NOW.
Maybe this IS what an adoptee freak-out looks like.
If so, I’m not convinced it’s such a bad thing.