It’s final mid-terms week (I say that because that’s what they call it –there’s a mid-term between school start and actual mid-terms, and then it repeats again next semester) and we work only half days. Which comes at an awful time because I go home to my four walls and work in literal isolation, though it’s good for TRACK as I put in about 8 hours yesterday.
Between photo processing and blogging I bounce from napping to changing channels to eating too much fruit and drinking too much coffee. And then I accidentally hit the channel where all the young beautiful foreign students are jabbering away in Korean, giving Koreans even more ammunition to belittle all of us who aren’t subsidized by mommy or their governments, who can’t pick up even basic survival words. And my entire body is racked with the tension of a suppressed small scream and I flip back to On Style channel. (My incest therapist told me to pay attention to my body and every time I was tense. Do you have any idea what a knot my body is here in Korea???)
Of course, there is plenty of time in this period to be cracking open the books. But they sit there, mocking me.
It’s fatigue. It’s walking a thousand miles to face a mountain, after having spent over four score climbing mountains. To be zapped daily with rejection to find yourself back again alone surrounded by four walls.
Who do I do this for? My mom? For all my (cough) Korean friends? (they only want to speak English to me, even my one Korean friend) Is overcoming this even worth it if all I get is this dull tool in this impenetrable culture?
It’s despair over being faced with your stolen birthright. To fail at communicating with everyone around you reminds you how you’ve always had to walk a separate path from everyone else since the day you turned around in the market and everything you loved and knew was gone. It’s beyond the insecurity of saying something wrong or being shy. It’s beyond words.
Who do I do this for? For me???
This language is the language of abandonment. Our minds tell us we should reclaim it. But our hearts tell us that it’s a pointless exercise, a reliving the nightmare of crying in Korean and nobody being there to answer. With every word misunderstood is an invisible beating with a blackjack. With every word gained is a faint echo from deep inside telling Korea to go to hell. Each. and. every. Korean. word. creates a storm of conflict in us adoptees. What will communicating here really do for me? Except maybe have a more exquisite understanding of pain.
This hungry ghost has tape across its mouth.