How Does It Happen?

How does it happen?

Does It start innocently?

Does It stem from real fear,

some redeeming, altruistic tendency?

or Is it a

Desire for power; like a rabid disease,

growing internally?

How does it happen?

How does it grow so rapidly?

Why didn’t we stand up

against this hellish atrocity?

Were we living in a bubble,

thinking no one could ever go this far

were we waiting for a hero

to banish the rise of the evil,

dictating cszar?

No one will rise up

if I don’t also stand.

If I don’t go out of my way to condemn

the uncomfortable things, the little signs

The commentary, at first somewhat benign

I must remind

Before they turn from a spark

to a full fledged flame;

Hatred simmers forever, if given the time.

I must not digress, I must resist.

I must speak, I must act, I must agitate –

I insist.

How does it happen,

6,000 dead?

It starts with the starvation

of one’s conscience,

it’s said.

 

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Unlearning Planned Parenthood.

I watched Hollywood starlet Scarlett Johansson speak at the Women’s March on Washington. At 30 years old, I was shocked by my lack of information on what Planned Parenthood actually does.

Within this last election, I delved deeper into the candidates’ history, policies (or lack thereof), and core beliefs. I then realized I was merely scratching the surface as a formerly conservatively-raised and self professed conservative youth.

Yet today threw me off and was a sobering reminder that the first and often most foundational information in life comes from our communities and cultural climates as children. Johansson’s speech was like  a cold glass of water in my face. It reminded me that although I am evolving and educating myself, I grew up in a community where many liberal people and organizations were presented and discussed one dimensionally and myopically.

I am 30 years old and the first I read about Planned Parenthood as something other than a baby-killing, angry-woman run, filthy,sac-religious organization was in October 2016. I read an article detailing the shut down of Planned Parenthood by Mike Pence in Indiana and the local community’s consequent outbreak of diseases due to no longer having access to STD testing for its poorer residents. This was not a Christian thing. This was a calculated, malicious, and cruel thing.

As a child and teenager, organizations like Planned Parenthood were low-key villianized by the conservative Christian church. So were gays and single parents and weird people who cussed and didn’t seem filled by the love of Christ 24-7, but I digress. I’m not upset that I was raised around strong beliefs. I’m mad because no one seemed to acknowledge there was a debate going on. That, I feel, is dangerously problematic and stunts our children’s growth as critical thinkers.

The church growing up didn’t present all facts and also relied heavily on manipulating the emotions of the vulnerable; children. Later into my young adulthood, there were choices I made I feel I was smarter than making. But condoms or safe sex weren’t stressed as heavily as abstinence.

When I was 14, there was a boy in the church who made a “scientific” presentation on why gays were more likely to get cancer and be punished by God for their lifestyle. I always thought maybe he was secretly gay and trying to rid himself of it the only way he had been raised to.

As a person now, I have my views. I have my beliefs and they are liberal, and in stark contrast to the conservative Christian narrative I prescribed to as a young person, provocative at very least. Yet my values remain for justice, for respect of oneself and one another, for love for our neighbor. I am a mom now, and I have to remind myself that while it is perfectly acceptable to instill values in my child, it is not up to me to mold his beliefs. That is my son’s God-given gift and I would be doing him a disservice if I failed to provide him the debate, the full picture, the resources to gain information to both sides of the coin on issues in life.

As a parent, this is difficult. Every parent has an instinct to protect their child. How this plays out is the real question, perhaps.

On a macro-level, this Planned Parenthood speech by Miss Johansson illustrates one example of why so many of us humans are pissed about Donald Trump. It’s not because women and minority groups don’t like what Trump said; it is what he won’t say, what he didn’t say, that is enraging. One must present the information fully and one must not dismiss facts or omit truths because it casts one in a less than flattering light. Trump has pissed off women like Miss Johansson, and myself, because as human beings, we reject being told half-truths regarding our bodies and what choices we have or don’t have to take care of our bodies.

On a micro-level, Miss Johansson’s words provoked me to reflect how I see my relationship and responsibility with my son. I am a part of his foundation and make up much of his community right now. When he is old enough, will I be brave enough to give him the information of both sides without personal prejudice?

So to my son; I’m on this journey. I love you. I will fail at times, but I will keep trying.

 

 

 

Problematic.

imageproblematic?

When I was a girl
I was never proud
to try and act white
though at one time

everyone around me

thought it only right
if a girl like me won’t assimilate
someday
she will be forced to face a fate
of settling for white trash
potheads or black
thugs who dress like rappers
that’s the problem with it
with those cloistered walls
those whites on the right side of
invisible
unneeded tracks

so problematic as it may be
I feel my blackness proudly
And I don’t feel I’m appropriating
I feel the culture has been more than
Accepting to me

The whites wanted me to be like them only
And my own people sold me for less than
A father would price his daughter’s dowry

So I embrace kindly
Who first embraces me
Love
Isn’t it something

I feel my Blackness in this lonely world
yet I am a proud Korean born girl
I’m not confusing the love for the life
The embrace for the struggle
The looks like a hustle
I’m not ashamed of who I am
I’m not hiding me like Miss Dolezal
I am a Korean woman, yes.
But that’s not all.

A Visitor.

Dear Carter,

One morning, as I changed your diaper on the lovely wooden table shipped up from your god mother in North Carolina, a sharp pain stabbed into my chest and I broke down crying. I held onto you from your tummy so you would not roll away. The summer sun burst in from the nursery windows. You cooed happily and kicked your pudgy  legs and tiny feet into the air. At this moment I realized you were now the same age I was when I came to the US.

Just three and a half months, they say. That’s good. No time to remember. You were raised here from the start then.

But I recalled the moment you landed safely in my arms, how I exclaimed through my tears, “I know you!”

I remembered when the anesthesiologist who administered my epidural come in to meet you, an hour old. I could not stop crying, would not let you go.

How it pained me now to think of a woman who carries a child, nurtures him, loves and soothes him while he grows to term. And never has the privilege to love him in the flesh.

Grief is a visitor who comes calling wherever one is, however unexpectedly.

And it seems odd but true, he is closely related to Joy.

Mama

 

 

A Letter to My Son Regarding His Life, Which Matters.

July 10, 2016

Dear Son,

It seems every waking moment this past week I’ve been consumed (more than usual) by my worry and anxiety with regard for your well being.
This week has been hard. I’ve been rummaging through the rubble of a nation’s pain, on top of your father’s and mine. I’ve been trying to take it all in; tv, online, private talks, public protest, aching souls.
I guess if I had to sum it up, it’d be all about, well, you. My pain is about your dad and you. My pain is about love and the lifetime of struggle it took to get you, and the possibility of losing you in tragedy.
I sit in a darkened room at night, haunted and horrified by the acts of the living and the lasting images of the dead. I worry constantly. I sleep restlessly and lie awake to listen to you breathe, hop down from my bed to periodically peak over your crib and see your rib cage rise and fall at least three rhythms before I feel assured again.
Your father and I fuss over you; when you play, when you eat, when you trip over your feet and fall. These are the everyday things for all parents. Now they are coupled with terrorizing fear for your future. I find I have not been merely fretting. I am holding you close at some point each day and fearful tears roll down my face and fall into your fluffy mass of curls on your head.
I wish I had the powers, the super intelligence, the money, the prestige, the ability to still skate professionally even; anything to make you feel more safe, more secure, like something or someone out in the world was devoted to you, your well being and your joy in life as something that matters.
Indeed. I’ve agonized over all these things more than ever this past week.
Today I saw two Black teenage boys fist fighting on the street in a white area. Immediately, my heart raced and I thought of you. I was so angry. I was angry and fearful and I didn’t want the police to be called, because I know firsthand that they are not good at calming people down. I feel they do the opposite even in little issues like a moving violation for a white grown up. So I really didn’t want them to get called for these boys.

But I was also angry because I was scared for you, how you might choose to act or not act later in life, and I won’t be around to hide you, to protect you, to shelter you, to calm you down before you do something that may or may not cost you your life.
I don’t know how to protect you, not that I ever truly did.

Does my fear ricochet off your heart, are you resilient son … I pray you stronger than me.
I am weary. With what I have left, I write a narrative for you.
I love you sweet boy.
Mama