Sunday, July 18, 2010

Who I am

This cosmic question seems to come up more often now that I am out of college and living on my own. Often, I think I have the answer nailed down. That I know where I want to go in life and that I understand who I am. Each time it comes up, I find that it opens up a part of me or bring a new piece of me to light that I hadn't considered or addressed. It can be little things that trigger this self discovery, but nonetheless questions arise. What does this mean? Does this change who I am now? Will this change my future? Will I forget my past? Will certain things up until this become less valuable?

Forgetting my past and things becoming less valuable have come up as I begin to explore more of my Korean heritage. I am proud to say that I was raised in Idaho and that I grew up in Lewiston. Sure, there are things I would change about my childhood if I could, but my childhood was full of wonderful things and wonderful people. All who were...very caucasion. I have to throw that out there, because I'm addressing a race issue in exploring my Korean side. I have many "white" tendancies for lack of a better term. I am Korean on the outside, but extremely white on the inside. My friends like to joke that I am a banana or twinkie.

When I went to Korea I still felt out of place...not because I didn't understand many of the Korean traditions, but because I'm super white on the inside and Korean on the outside. For once, I looked like everyone else. But while I was there, I felt even more out of place.

I want to explore my Korean heratige...I would like to speak conversational Korean and understand the people and the history more. I worry at times, that because I have this desire to know more, that this will mean I'll forget where I come from. Or that the things that my parents have passed down to me and taught me will be pushed the wayside. I worry that that's how it will seem to my family.

Someone asked me once where I would feel the most comfortable. Where would I feel like I fit in? I had no idea. I still have no idea. I tried so hard when I was younger to blend in...I didn't like sticking out and I didn't like all the attenion that being Korean brought. I just wanted to be Karen. Nothing else...I didn't want ot be known as that Korean girl, that Asian girl...Paul's little sister, the girl who's good at math, the one who plays piano or whatever label was thrown at me. I just wanted to be known as Karen.

I find that often this desire of wanting to be known can't be fulfilled in the way I envision it in my head. There is no person on this earth that could begin to comprehend who all of Karen is; the Karen I see vs the Karen you see. Each person has a different relationship to me and therefore has a different understanding of me. The tip of an iceberg is probably the best visual example of what I'm trying to explain. Underneath the water is where the rest of me is hiding. And yet...I don't want to be underneath the water.

Who I am. Well, I do know for sure that I am on an endless journey. I have learned that whatever self discovery I have done so far...cannot compare to the amount of things I will learn about myself down the road. Karen is a multitude of things. Just like everyone else. If we must use lables, I am a twinkie. I am an injured athlete. I'm a foodie. I am Korean. I am American. I am dense. I love logic and reason. I value those two things over emotions and intuitiveness. The list could go on and on....and yet the list would hardly begin to describe me. You try making a list of things about yourself that you like or wish people would see. It's not so easy, is it?

Who then is left to know me? Who can know that there's so much more under the water. Right now I have but one choice. I don't think there are any others and I don't think I'm wrong.

Where am I going from here? I am learning Korean through Rosetta Stone. I read books and at times I like to feel like I know what it's like to be culturally Korean. In reality, I don't. I have nothing to compare the things I learn with what I currently know. What a frustrating place to be...But this is what self discovery is all about right? There aren't standards when you discover yourself. You just uncover different things...and then change based on the standards of the type of person you want to be at the end of the day. So maybe this post isn't just about who I am and Where am I going. But also, who do I want to be.

Who do I want to be? I'll have to think about this a bit more and get back to you...

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