Year One, and an update

k-on-christmas-13

Hey WordPress,

It’s been a while. Today is kind of a special day for this blog because a year ago today is when I had started this blog. It was Christmas night, and everyone in my family was off in their own rooms; I was sitting on the dimly-lit living room sofa. Feelings of loneliness emerged…

I felt lonely to be at this place called home, and the usual impulses came to me: drinking, smoking, masturbating, watching anime… things like that. And as usual, I identified them as something that I didn’t fully want to do–I would much rather be having fun with people if it were an option. But there are seldom things to do on Christmas, much less last minute plans.

So looking back, I’m actually surprised at my decision–or should I say, resolve–to start this blog. I had been meaning to join in on discussions surrounding anime, and I actually did it. And what a journey it has been already.

I had been blogging fairly consistently up until my family and I visited Korea back in July. The trip was certainly an eye-opener for me in terms of me recognizing my privileges and the cultural assimilation that had taken place.

Since then, I’ve been learning about a few key concepts that has been helping me better understand who and how I am, one of which I want to share today: capacity. I learned about capacity through facing a dilemma during my trip:

The problem was that I felt incredibly torn between two seemingly exclusive methods of presenting personal narratives. One method was to share my thoughts and observations in the moments that they occur in, and the other was to wait until there is some conceivable resolution and present my perspectives after-the-fact.

This is what would happen: I would have all these passionate and emotional thoughts from events that I would write down to help me remember later. In these moments, I would feel strongly compelled to share them with just about everyone, only to feel extremely awkward in sharing them afterwards when, frankly, I don’t feel so strongly about them anymore.

I realize that running on emotions isn’t the smartest thing to do all the time: ‘don’t fight when you’re angry’ or ‘don’t shop when you’re hungry’ comes to mind. But many times, I felt frustrated in knowing that my depression had a large part in my motivation and enthusiasm levels having a very short half-life. ‘What’s the point? Who would want to read this anyways? Who cares?’

And so, I wanted to do my reporting right away in order to appropriately capture the sense of rawness of the emotions I experienced from the situations that I came across. After all, that’s what I really wanted to share, things that I found to be poignant.

As for the real world, I didn’t really have the opportunity to make that choice in Korea because I didn’t have the time or the WiFi (I know right? In Korea?) available. And so… if I ever write about Korea, it’s by definition going to be from a retrospective perspective. For better or for worse, writing things after-the-fact does tend to have more wisdom and clarity in them, which the immediate perspectives can lack.

What happened after I got back from Korea, and what frustrated me enough to make me give up on writing about it, was in my pursuit to capture my trip just as I had experienced it. It was so that readers could experience it as well, as close to mine as possible. I know that may sound silly, but it came from my strong desire to be understood. The experiencing of culture shock, discovering the weight of family, and painfully coming into an understanding my privileges after re-visiting Korea after 14 years was staggering, and I wanted to share exactly that.

I remember on the plane ride back, I started the blog off with something like: “It’s been quite a journey. As I’m flying back…”. I couldn’t finish it because it was just too big of a project. But as I kept sitting down to write the rest of the contents afterwards, I would be stuck at modifying the introduction portion of my post to match the passing of time. And with each iteration, I would try really hard to capture the challenges of the last iteration and so on…

It became a really big mess. I even considered putting all these into a prologue and calling it a day. But of course, I wanted an actual prologue to talk about my expectations about going to Korea that I hadn’t written yet…

No, it just wasn’t going to happen. At least not to the standard I wanted it to be. At a point, it wasn’t even about the narrative being shared as much as it was about the way it was being shared, in its structure, pace, clarity, etc. I wouldn’t have been satisfied unless the work satisfied me.

Yeah no… I was attempting to write about something that I myself didn’t have a coherent understanding of. The trip was emotionally dense. There were so many themes. I mean, it was my life. I thought that I unpacked and decompressed all that I was in my most-ambitious-to-date blog post series. But nope. My family issues and probably corresponding emotional issues were just starting to be identified and recognized.

That’s going to be fun to unpack, learn about, heal through, but only after understanding all the brokenness and being exposed to all the pain again. Holy Spirit wants me to be whole again. Am I going to accept the invitation?

I can’t remember where I first heard the word, capacity. But it’s become a keyword in that I think of things in terms of capacity now. I think my friend Chris the architect guy uses it a lot. Simply put, what I wanted to achieve, is beyond my current capacity.

On the other hand, my Twitter has become the medium to share the thoughts and emotions of the immediate. I use it frequently and I’m really enjoying using it.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Advertisements

The Weight of Family (feat. Senjougahara)

Imagery-hitagi-senjougahara-34547038-1920-1080

I still haven’t shared much from my time in Korea–for reasons–and unfortunately, the poignancy of the trip has faded quite a bit since then. But there may be another way to share its individual stories, and this may just be a better method in that it gives me the opportunity to really flesh out the themes. And of course, I’ll be going back to the basics: using anime to help me talk about things that are otherwise difficult.

So I just got off the phone with my aunt in Korea, and what I didn’t know was that it was also Thanksgiving there–thematically equivalent to our Thanksgiving. And in that short, 12 minute phone call (Kakao Talk), I reconnected to the experience of ‘family’ that I had felt in Korea.

What I learned only after my trip–from listening to my friends–was that this experience of losing ones family is quite common for immigrant families. And I mean families aren’t just your mom, dad, and your siblings living in a house. It’s your grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and all of their children spread across the country. And I have like 30 cousins. Apparently.

In Bakemonogatari, we learn about Senjougahara’s past when she chose to cut off her ties with her mom, which is how she–literally, in the anime–lost her weight. Now, I’ve seen this arc a couple of times, mainly while trying to get people into Bakemonogatari, but it never hit me as hard as it did when I watched it after my trip to Korea.

2017-10-07 22_27_45-Greenshot.png

You see, I had lost all my ties with my family back home. I mean, my situation wasn’t as intentional, but rather as a direct result of moving far away. But there definitely were some heavy stuff in there as well. Like the fact that I didn’t always get along with my family. Or that identifying as Korean became difficult and embarrassing to do as I grew up on Vancouver Island. There’s brokenness for sure. And for the past 5 years since I’ve moved out, I’ve completely lost knowledge of the bond known as family. I mean the way I saw everyone, they were either my friend or they weren’t. Even at church, forming a family centred around Jesus–as special and amazing it is–was simply the idea of companionship and sharing life together. And not to undervalue the church but to reveal my capacity to understand the depth of relationships.

When I met some of my relatives back in Korea, I could physically feel the weight of our bond. It was actually too much, because it was deeper than anything I had known. It was heavy and I knew I wouldn’t be able to understand it yet. And by no means I’m saying it was bad, but to think that I had lived most of my life without this? It was really sad but at the same time, I’ve never actually missed my family because… how could I miss something that I don’t know about? I was overcome by this new feeling familiarity, unity, bond, and support.

And that’s when the weight of my family came back to me–good and the bad. And tonight, I felt it again. It’s not fluffy (fuwa fuwa) or pleasant like that, but it’s certainly something I will treasure. And for sure, it’ll be a long journey and a healing process that will undoubtedly be painful, but like Senjougahara, I’ll desire it.

Happy Thanksgiving.