When I first speak to someone, they will generally automatically assume I am a bitch. And I mean, well… But it’s mostly just my voice. Sometimes I’ll get snappy patients that tell me I need to watch my tone of voice. I tell them that I was born with this tone of voice. It’s a low, soothing tone I like to call RBV, or Resting Bitch Voice. It’s the same voice for everything. This is my bitch voice, my empathetic voice, my bedroom voice… I just like to keep people guessing…
I grew up in Alaska, where my playground was the seaside. Our beaches were different though. Covered in dark, jagged rocks, protected from the road by thick, evergreen trees. The air smelled of more than simple sea air, it smelled of brine. And the only sounds would be of the eagles, and the wind, and the waves. When tide was low and the brine was at its strongest, small pools of sea would collect in the divits and grooves of the rocks. They would be full of fluffy sea anemones, and scuttling hermit crabs, and sea snails. So many snails. We used to try to take them home with us, ignorant of the fact they’d dry up and die without the sea. Small, soft creatures, protected by a hard shell. A small round disc that fit perfectly over the opening like a front door. I sometimes feel like that. A small sea snail. Soft and vulnerable hiding inside a beautiful shell. Too afraid to come out. And I have been inside my shell with the door closed so long, all that’s left inside is a dry, withered husk..
I have always been a klutz. Mutant toe is probably the culprit. But by god, if there is nothing on that floor, I am sure as hell gonna trip over it! Chronic dizziness is now just the excuse. And it is the devil. I can no longer throw my head back and yell, “Whyyyyyyy?!” to the heavens, or do my signature fist punch/leg kick move when I am angry, without a wave of dizziness threatening to topple me over.
It is a crisis.
Who am I if I can’t be dramatic? Is it the next step in drama evolution if I yell, “Whyyyyyyy?!” and then fall to the floor? Or is this life, telling me to hang up my drama queen crown?…
It’s been a long and strange year. For everyone.
Here’s a reminder to myself of some of the stuff that happened.
I did my Black and White Food Challenge.
I got a bug up my butt and did a major rearrangement of my place…
…right before moving…
We created and accomplished The 120 Dumpling Challenge, in 1 hour.
Took the tortoise for a walk… ended up pulling up a chair and drinking a beer…
Mari and Little Mo came into my life.
I managed to pay off all my credit debt!
My beloved chest freezer, Body-Stasher, bit the big one. I had to tearfully throw away so much meat and fish… But a cheritable co-worker donated to the Restock Rose’s Freezer fund.
I finally applied to Grad School!
…and didn’t get accepted…
New (used) car happened!
I survived the One Chip Challenge. Despite it being booby trapped with a stale chip…
I held a wee hummingbird that required rescue. (Actually happened twice. Poor buggers keep getting stuck in my stoop.)
I journeyed around the world in a ship of Spaghetti.
I met a girl today. Another Asian adoptee. I caught her crying at one point because someone had assumed she was Japanese, and if not Japanese, she had to be Chinese. She is neither. While crying, she suddenly yelled, “Why does it matter what race I am?!” And in that moment, I knew exactly how she felt. I have been feeling it alot lately. And while I find my heart grow angry and break whenever someone tells me to “get over it,” I also realize people being racially ignorant towards me is never going to go away. After reading White Fragility, I realize just how White this country is. It is in the very BONES of this country. It is in the way our systems are set up. This country was built on White Superiority. Simultaneously, I am reading The Primal Wound, a book about the trauma of adoption. The idea that no matter what, an adopted child will suffer trauma from it, whether small or large. Whatever your situation, a child has spent 9 months growing in their mother and in essence, forming a very unique bond. Good or bad, early or late, being taken away from the woman who gave birth to you is a trauma. And it can develop into alot of other issues if not treated carefully.
I guess I felt alot of emotions today. I felt angry with this girl. I felt sad. I felt sympathy. And I felt protective.
I suppose it nurtures my desire to move on with my education and career. I want to help people exactly like this. I want them to know that in this country that is White, and cold, and ridiculously blind to Asians, that they are not alone.
I had a record breaking 3 racist comments towards me within 24 hours. All different people. One patient refusing my care until I proved to him I could speak fluent English. And I understand this is a burden I must bear for being born Asian. But it is not something I can help, I didn’t ask for my genes to be this way, and it is not something I can do anything to change. I can’t lose weight, or put on weight, or dye my hair, or cut my hair in order to change how people will see me.
But the most disheartening thing, is when people tell me to “get over it.” I joke a lot about when people are racist towards me, and someone once pointed out to me that that is another burden I am putting on myself. I can’t recall the exact term used for it, but I have conditioned myself, as an Asian-American, to make light of my pain to make other people more comfortable with it.
What the fuck is that all about?
My heart hurts extra because I go to my friends and colleagues, 90% of which are White American, and some of them actually tell me to, look who I am dealing with, why am I surprised? Why am I surprised? Because I am dealing with Americans, and because I am dark skinned and they are white skinned and they have no idea what it feels like to have someone automatically just see that I am different. Before even asking me what my name is, or bother to let me say, Good Morning. They have never experienced someone stop and actually walk the other direction after seeing them.
And this is what it means when someone says, someone of colour must work twice, three times as hard to be an American.
And I hate to bring the added adopted factor into this, but they also have no idea what it is like to feel like an outsider it America, and have the added burden of knowing that even though I am an American citizen and only know what it is to be an American, were I ever to “go back to where I came from,” because I am an American, I would be just as much an outsider in Korea. It will not make sense to an American, but Koreans would see it on me. The way I dress, the way I hold myself, the way I gesture. Before even asking what my name is, or allow me to say, Good Morning. So where am I supposed to feel like I belong?
I shouldn’t have to feel like an outsider in my own country. I am not saying that I need people to get up in arms when someone exhibits racism towards me. I am not saying that people need to paint their skin and walk around in my shoes to fully understand my plight. But I shouldn’t have to deal with anyone telling me to, “get past the racist comments.”
…He got distracted by the grass. So I cracked open a beer and pulled up a chair…
The Suspicious Package…
I’ve never been one to get super creeped out by the idea of my phone really watching and listening to me. But I’ve begun feeling a little creeped out that it is actually reading my mind…
Saw my doc on Tuesday and had him put in some refills on scrips for me. Usually they arrive to me in a day or two. No worries. Except I was quickly running out of meds and leaving town at the end of the week. Crisis mode when on Saturday night, I still hadn’t gotten my meds and was leaving the next day (today). I knew they were coming as my bank acct had been charged for them. I begged my friend to diligently check the mail while I was gone and then express mail them to me. Sunday comes and I hopefully check the mail one last time before leaving town.
I drove out of town wondering if I’d survive if I went down to half tabs for a while…
I arrived at my parents place, unloaded, fed the kids, put my jammies on, looked over at a suspicious, lumpy package…
A: How did my pharmacy know I was going to be out of town?!
B: How does my pharmacy know my parents address?!
I honestly can’t remember it without looking it up. I don’t think I even have their address listed as an emergency contact… address. And I did not recite my own or any address to my doc while he was refilling the scrips, as he has refilled many, and I should be on file. At my house…
I’m ooked out. I don’t even know if I want to take these meds!
Work Parking Lot:
The students are back. They descend upon our parking lot like new born crabs, scuttling under foot. Minus a care in the world or a shred of value for their lives.
The car next to me is close. Like, so close I curse the amount of food I ate last night as I unceremoniously shimmy into the drivers seat and shut the door behind me.
A student walks past my car in the passenger side. As I put my key in the ignition, I hear a thunk, and look up to see my side mirror flipped in towards the door.
While looking at it, I see a hesitant body move back towards my car. A youthful face peers into the window at me. I know full well I am giving him a look. A look notorious to my face to be titled The Look. An irritated eyebrow might be raised, a narrowing if the eye lids, an intensity within the eyes to melt glaciers. Or some such thing, I’ve never seen The Look myself.
The student gives me a wide eyed, awkward smile. He apologizes and flips the mirror back into place. He even takes the time to give it a little wipe before he hurries off.
I start my car, shimmy it out of its spot, and slowly inch out of the parking lot, dodging baby crabs the whole way.
I use Tinder, it’s true. Generally more as a tool to ground myself in the reality of my life situation. THIS is IT. 🤦🏻♀️…
I also use OkCupid, but admittedly haven’t been on it in ages. Everything is so much more real. Questions, percentages, algorithms… like, the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of this math equation! It’s very intense…
But alas, the app icons are right next to each other. While settling in for a depressing reality grounding session, I accidentally hit the OkCupid icon. Boom! Profile hits me in the face and the real reality scares the shit out of me and I desperately hit buttons to cut the app down before it can do any permanent damage!
But wait a sec… that guy was kind of cute…
The app opens up again. Boom! Profile hits me in the face and indeed, that guy was kind of cute. I thumb swipe thru some more pics and feel my eyebrows raise in interest. Dare I risk… looking beyond the photos to… words?
Wtf?! This guy loves animals? And “coffee” AND “beer” are listed as vital loves? Did he just use the term “macguyvering?” Oh no he didn’t just say he loves anything David Attenborough… He listens to Radiolab? Oh lord, he listens to good music…
I can’t stop reading on. And then I realize I have laughed… Not at him… Not negatively… He has made me laugh.
If you have made it thru the gauntlet of my own profile, you know I end it with the warning to only message me “if you think you can made me laugh.” (Which has unfortunately opened the door to many an awkward knock-knock or dad joke. Seriously.. I’m embarassed for you…)
And before my brain knows what my thumb is doing, I have swiped right. 😱
Followed by the heart stopping 2-3 seconds, where the blood rushes to my ears, and I hold my breath, “please please please don’t be a match…” I usually plead.
Until those seconds pass and either BOOM!! Love Match 🎉❤❤❤!! And I suddenly feel sick.
Or …nothing. And I can breathe again…
BOOM! Love Match 🎉❤❤❤!!!
At some point in my 33 years prior, this man let his thumb right swipe me. And now we are matched. Two thumbs of a similar mind. 95% love probability bestowed upon us by the Love Algorithms.
I am twitterpated.
I am nervous.
I think I’m in love.
And then I notice, he lives in California…
Curse you Love Gods! Your cruel games SUCK!
‘Tis a bitter sweet day…
(Cue Whitney Huston’s I Will Always Love You.)
For today, I say my final goodbyes to ye auld Fitbit… We have been together for 5 long years.
But after many tears, frustrations, and super glue… it is finally time to step aside… for my New Fitbit.
Farewell Fitbit of Old… you stuck with me, thru the hard times and the good, every step of the way.
Go quiet into that good garbage can 😢…
Me: (Leaning over small sink applying eyeliner.)
Cat 1: I need water. Now. (Jumps on to tiny counter)
Cat 2: I need to nuzzle your arm! (Jumps onto even tinier counter space)
Me: No! (Shoos both cats off and resumes eyelinering.)
Cat 1: There is no water here! (Jumps back up and begins swinging paw under faucet to prove point.)
Cat 2: Arm! (Jumps back up and headbutts elbow causing eyeliner to go up into my eyebrow.)
Me: I said No! (Shoos both cats away and shuts door on them.)
Cats 1 and 2: Pay attention to us! (Cat hand reaching under door…)
A Ballad… or Trajedy… Dramedy?… Musical?…
…Standing in the shower for an hour… blow drying my laundry cuz the crap dryer in my complex can’t seem to finish the job, and I didn’t have enough quarters to run another cycle. Perhaps any other day, I might have just let it all hang dry, but said laundry happens to be my sheets, and it’s already full dark out and I’m kind of tired.
…All the while friends and loved ones merrily book/plan their exciting trips for the holiday season.
…At least she will sleep in dry sheets tonight…
Well, it finally happened. My ancient fitbit finally passed…
Farewell perfect figure, for why should I ever leave this chair. Farewell sunlight and birdsong, for why will I ever need go outside. Farewell wind in my hair, from power walking to keep up with others…
It’s been nice using you feet and legs, but without a fitbit, what purpose is there in walking anymore??
Rip Fitbit, may you finally find peace and motionlessness..
(Or rather the marshland before the beach..)
I may not be an English guy walking my tortoise to the pub. Or an old Japanese man strolling thru town with my skirt wearing tortoise. But hes like my cool party trick. Passersby are a mix of shocked, flabberghasted, and intrigued. Would’ju look at that, a turtle on the beach!
And I smile, and tell them how old he is, let them poke and pet his shell, let their dogs sniff then bark at him, let them ooh and aah. And there is one consistency. One thing that never fails. Everyone, EVERYONE has a turtle story. And they always share theirs with Shredder and I.
Hashtag: Bringing the World Back Together, one Turtle Story at a Time. 🐢