A Birthday Wish List
It was my birthday, not so long ago, within the sun-sign Sagittarius, and I thought that I’d share some of my birthday wishes this year as they are long overdue, and the whole aspect of this idea is long over-wrought. When I think about my life, which one is wont to do around the anniversary of another year’s journey around our Sun, I think about a lot of things that revolve around my identity. As an adopted Korean, I was raised by two white people in an all-white community, and so, the context of these wishes, this year, revolve around this reality-my adopted family, fundamentally, does not understand me, and as such, despite the seemingly love-filled intentions of their actions, the unintended consequences of their ignorance were abuses I survived. Fundamentally, I also understand that my adopted parents do not understand to what abuses I refer when referring to the emotional abuse I suffered. They are clueless.
For example, I no longer read the emails my adopted mother sends to me for my own protection because, for instance, I can read the first sentence or so of each email from the view of my inbox (as I imagine you also can) without opening the email, and the most recent email I received from her began, “U may think we abused u. But we have always loved u and adored u. … Forgiveness is the beginning of peace for u and us.” So, I’m not even going to touch on the lackadaisical nature of this email because it’s so apparently obvious that it hurts me inside to witness such carelessness when constructing such an important email. What I am going to point out is that this is all, still, somehow, my responsibility. That if only I forgive, then all will be renewed and restored, again, like it was. And this is how I KNOW, that they are clueless. Why? WHY THE FUCK would I want to go back to a life with them, again. Why? I have spent the past ten years of my life extricating myself from their death grip. I refuse to go back, and there’s no need for forgiveness; I’m not angry or spiteful.
And so, it begins. My list* of birthday wishes, 2021-
I wish that … my adopted family would realize that I am not a younger sibling, I was the first-born child of my birth mother, and I was the eldest, first-born child of my birth father, which means that I was the first grandchild of my birth grandparents, and I lived with all of them for three and a half years before being adopted to the United States. That being said, I wish that my adopted family hadn’t lacked the creativity needed to rear two children, both of whom were first-born children in their birth families, which means that this whole idea of my older adopted brother being my “older brother” was laughable to me. As we grew older, the ridiculousness of it all really sank in for me, and this is why I believe that my older adopted brother never liked me very much and took every opportunity to cut me down, both literally (like one time [of hundreds of examples] when he ripped the sheet upon which I was dancing around and having fun, right out from underneath me, making me fall flat on my back knocking the wind out of me, not to mention his outbursts that caused him to literally kick a hole in the kitchen wall) and verbally (like while visiting me one time [not too long ago, actually, as grown-ass adults] in Seoul, when he refused to stop derriding me for the way that I play poker, mother-fucking poker, insulting me, calling me stupid, telling me I don’t know anything if I don’t play poker his way, how I must suck at math if I can’t play poker his way, etc., etc., etc., all while he’s never once, not once, taken my money from me during a round).
I wish that … my adopted mother would realize that I can see through her vanity. My adopted mother spent more time telling me how I could remember her and tell people about her than she actually spent being a person after whom I would want to emulate myself. We’ve had “high tea” exactly two times, and at our first tea time, she said something like, “See, now you can remember that we always went to tea together.” When driving past some semi-trucks, “Uh, I love a good Peterbilt. You can always tell people that your mother loved a good Peterbilt.” During the first snow, “This is our tradition! We love to run around in socks in the snow every first snow!” There is absolutely nothing I want to “tell people” about my mother because the only things I remember revolve around her yelling at me for some reason I never quite fully comprehend. And then after a cry in her bedroom, she comes out, looks at me, and says, “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful,” a line often quoted when I first emerge from my bedroom every morning, which is typically prefaced by a scoff and an, “Ugh. I can’t believe you wake up like that.” And then, during my time of the month, she’d ask, “Are you on your period? Cause I can see your belly pooch.” So, I ask, why? Why would I want to speak of my adopted mother to other people? And why, why?, did she put so much effort into telling me how she should be remembered instead of simply living her life like someone who should be remembered? I will not remember her fondly.
I wish that … my adopted family would realize that the entire endeavor to instill any sense of filial piety is/was futile. I had a family, and I was raised by them for a long enough period of time to know who they were, to know who was my mother. And then, that family left me on the front steps of an orphanage and asked me to smile for a picture (I’ve seen the picture). And then, I lived in an orphanage for about five months before being shipped to a foreign country. I obviously knew that my adopted mother was not my mother, and that my adopted parents were not my parents. To assume otherwise is to be completely fucking ignorant. There was obviously no way to convince me that my adopted parents were my actual parents, and so, for my adopted mother to put so much pressure and emphasis on my “attachment” to her is both selfish and stupid. My birth family would be stupid to make claims on me, also, by the way. And why would I be fond of them? They were the abandoners. And so, the fact that my adopted family feels as though they can claim me is also stupid. I’m a free agent. Here’s a fun side note, when my bodybuddy/lifemate and I were finally off on our journey to live in South Korea, my adopted mother bid me a particularly nasty farewell when she snipped in her nastiest voice these final words to me, “Have fun with your birth mother.” When I told my adopted father about this incident he responded, “No she didn’t.”
I wish that … my adopted parents would realize just how racist they are, and that they instilled within me my less-and-ideal place within society. My adopted father taught me how to say “Hello” in Tagalog, “Thank you” in Mandarin, and “Goodbye” in Vietnamese. I taught myself how to say “Hello” in Korean, and while my adopted father was “learning” how to say it he said it with a clown face matching each syllable, “AN! [wide eyes, wide mouth], YOUNG! [like a mentally ill person] HA! [like a person getting in your face]
SAY [wide eyes, wide mouth again] YO [as if it’s the american “yo what’s up”]!” And we all know that Korean food is my adopted father’s least favorite asian food as he stated while we were dining at the one Korean bbq restaurant during the 90s that we frequented for which we had to drive three hours to our state’s capital in order to enjoy. Vietnamese food is his favorite, followed closely by Thai, and Korean food is last because it’s too salty, just vegetables, and just spicy spicy spicy. My adopted father has made it very clear time and time again that he could not give a rat’s ass about anything Korean. So, there’s that. Also, my adopted mother told me to not call my friend a (whispers) Mexican, and I said, “Mom, she’s from fucking Mexico.” And so there’s also that.
I wish that … my adopted parents would realize that I was adopted from a foreign country to a foreign country, so when, as a tiny little human, I was constantly constipated from a change in diet, I wish that my adopted parents had shelled out the cash (like they do for their yorkies’ special diet canned food) on some food that was more akin to what I would’ve eaten in my homeland, as opposed to sticking a tube up my butt (traumatizing me further) and giving me an enema every time I became constipated by their shitty white people food. I had had a steady diet of Korean food and kimchi, we know this for a fact, and my adopted parents made zero effort, zero, to ensure any sort of dietary consistency. When I bring this up to my adopted mother, she yells at me and says, “I did the best that I could! We bought you kimchi, and YOU wouldn’t eat it.”
I wish that … this year, mostly, this year, I wish that my adopted family would realize that I am not angry. From my perspective, there’s nothing for me to forgive. I am not seething with righteous hatred, nor am I furious about the way that they treated me. I went through all of that by extricating myself from my adopted family. I’ve never been angry about my situation. I was dealt the hand I was dealt; I suffered privileges, and I paid the cost for some of them. There are other privileges I am willing to sacrifice for my own well-being. I also cannot guarantee that none of my adopted family members won’t emotionally or verbally abuse me whenever we interact, because historically speaking, there is a 100% guarantee someone (most likely my adopted mother, followed closely by my adopted brother) will say something hurtful to me, say something mean about me, say something harmful to my overall mental health, and I am in a very good place these days. Ever since the day I finally wrote off my adopted mother, my debilitating migraines have become less so, they are now mere infrequent headaches, through which I can still live my day. I am not trying to hurt them. I am protecting myself. And after decades of willingly being hurt so that they can “enjoy” my company, I quit.
I wish that … my adopted father would realize that I was the person who reached out to wish him a Happy Father’s Day in mid-2020, and he hung up on me. So why, why?, would I ever reach out again?
And finally, I wish that my adopted family would realize that they have never supported me or my dreams. When my bodybuddy/lifemate started our first business at the tender age of 25, both sets of our parents laughed and thought of us as a joke. They never offered financial support, nor did they support us verbally other than with questions about how maybe we should get jobs. They did, eventually, come eat our food (once). And I’ve always identified as a writer, but not a single member of my adopted family has read any of my work, at least in any meaningful way. I’ve been writing for over a decade, posting everything I think and feel online, and every member of my adopted family says, “We don’t know what you’re doing or how to find you. Are you even living in the same town? Do we even have your same address?” The one time my adopted parents supported us financially was during the dawn of the pandemic when we needed to sign a lease on an apartment while temporarily jobless (we were literally between moving States), and this was an extremely modest amount of financial help when considering the fact that I’ve not lived under their roof since I was eighteen years old (nearly exactly eighteen years ago), and during all of this time, I have not once asked for money until the first pandemic in the past century hit the world and shook me and the bodybuddy/lifemate a bit out of our financial comfort zone. We didn’t want to drop near our lowest tolerable threshold, so we needed a tiny influx of cash. I knew it would come with strings, so we did our best to mitigate the perception of ingratitude, but my adopted family’s desire for my presence is never worth the suffering of being in their presence. I only bring up the money issue at this time because I don’t want to seem like the “ungrateful bitch” that my adopted family calls me. I understand that they did their best. I understand that they gave me a leg up (maybe). I understand that they wanted me to be theirs. I understand all of this. I understand their side of the story. I understand everything that’s going on with THEM. The issue is not that I do not understand them. The issue is obviously that they do not understand ME, and they refuse to believe it.
And like I decided months ago, I’m moving on. My writing is fundamentally going to change, and so, this is the last time I will write about my adopted family in a way that is so straightforward. I am going to explore these adoption issues of mine, but I strive to make something more of them than mere complaints or issues. The issues facing adoptees (especially those of us of a trans-racial nature) are deep and complex. There are more issues at hand than mere intersectionality, although, there is obviously a lot of that going on as well. And so, I wish to insert myself into the adoption conversation, but I do not wish to delve much further into my personal family dramas. There are, however, obviously fundamental issues that my adopted family can dig into and work on by themselves. I do not see how I am needed or necessary in their process of learning about what happened to me, the suffering they caused me, and the disastrous harm of their ignorance. Sure, you can all think, “Well, look, you’ve turned out just fine,” to which I first respond, “Fuck you.” And then I’d say something like, “Sure. But should others continue to suffer at the hands of ignorant white people despite whether or not they mean well? Prolly not.”
In the meantime (between now and my re-evolution as a writer), I am largely working out of the online space tkscm dotcom, so if you’d like to meet me there, that’s where I’ll be, full-time beginning in January 2022. ^^peace^^
*apologies for typos or poor proofreading, it’s a fraught subject and the thought of reading over this over and over again seems like something I just don’t want to do, so please feel free to point out errors, and I will correct them, thanks! if you feel as though you’ve pointed out so many errors that you feel as though you need to be compensated, also feel free to demand compensation.
Originally published at http://ladypolarity.wordpress.com on December 21, 2021.