15 July 2016

The Fragility of Return


That word conjures so many emotions. Some feel the warmth of a family quilt, smell homemade baked goods or hear the consoling purr of a kitten.

Since returning to my home in Wisconsin after our life in Seoul, I feel more lost. Our mid-century modern house is my home. It is filled with the things that remind me of who I am.

All the art by friends and potters surrounds me. I have foster kittens demanding my care. I even installed two Korean conveniences … the water cooler and a bidet.

But I still feel that void. I try to shake it. Inside my head, I repeat “THIS is your home; YOU belong here.”

Yet, as I begin to feel more at ease, the gun violence, Brock Turner, Pulse Nightclub, Black men dying, Black women assaulted by police … and Donald Trump flood my life. I cannot hide from these injustices, nor the cold glare of a man in the red “Make America Great Again” cap. I fight them as best I can. Then, I retreat. I stay at home, out of sight.

When I do venture out, the usual question by those who haven’t seen me in a while … “How was Korea?!” The questioner is excited. Yes, I love my country … but which one? How do I respond? The best I can do? Take all the emotions you have ever experienced in your entire life … and roll them into five months.

My quiet longing and safe life in Seoul beckons. Ambivalence.

Winter in Wisconsin was kind. A newborn niece was born in April. There is joy.

I can leave you with this recent performance. Only a few months after returning, I was given the opportunity to perform a blog post I never intended to read aloud. Luckily, the crew of Listen to Your Mother recognized the importance of my words. They encouraged and supported me. Now, I give you me as a blubbering mess, but perfectly authentic.

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