I’ve pictured my death in many ways, especially in the last two and a half years; two and a half years after my return from Korea. You know when you can’t take the pain and loneliness anymore? You know when you just don’t give a flying fuck anymore? You know when you just want to give up? I’ll throw the disclaimer in here that I’m too fucking lazy to kill myself. Disclaimers: the preface of my life experiences. Nonetheless, I’m grateful I am too “lazy” to kill myself. I use the term “lazy” because it puts most people at ease after I mention how suicidal I have been in the last two and a half years. Always have to be putting people at ease, because I shouldn’t burden others or so I was taught. “You should just get over it. Focus on what makes you happy.” So easily said than done.
Please understand the main reason why I would never kill myself is because of my kid. I don’t want her to live without her biological mom like I did. God, that shit messed me up. It’s a primal wound that scabs over while still infected, spreading diseased ideas to my mind that I’ve carried for decades. For example, whenever I care about or love someone, I fear his/her departure from my life. The fear of abandonment adds fuel to the fire of the anxiety I deal with on a daily basis. You know, the fun anxiety that deters you from eating and sleeping, that encourages you to obsess about all that you cannot control, and reminds you that you are invisible to the world–especially those you desperately seek validation from.
I know we, as human beings, all experience the same feelings associated with abandonment. Different details, same feelings, as I always say. Yep, I naturally spit out yet another disclaimer to prove to you that I’m not trying to be a poor me’r and that I should be grateful for the life I do have, post-adoption. Anyways, abandonment or the fear of it triggers what I subconsciously ruminate over on a regular basis: Why am I so fucking unlovable? What the hell is wrong with me? And the same questions behind these everlasting thoughts make me want to react in the same ways I always have: to fight or flee. Fleeing always wins because I will leave you BEFORE you can ever leave me. “It’s such a wonderful way to live,” says this sarcastic Korean gypsy.
As I write this narrative, I worry people who don’t know me are going to judge me, or even worse, leak it to my kid or extended adoptive family members, who will eventually pass it along to my adoptive parents–adding yet another layer of guilt I already deal with in regards to my adoptive parents, whom I’ve voluntarily been estranged from since last November. It’s hard enough to be open, let alone honest when you’re always trying to protect everyone else but yourself. But everyone IS more important than me. (Damn voice in my head.) It’s how I have lived my life for several decades. Be obedient. Please others, so they don’t leave you. Sacrifice your worth for the well-being of others. Don’t rock the boat. Take the high road. Basically, let people shit on you because he/she/they will leave eventually and abruptly. And foremost, don’t be yourself; if you do, he/she/they will leave you for sure. You’re unlovable.
It’s about primal wounds. It’s about losing my biological family and gaining knowledge that made me wish I never knew the details to its demise. It’s knowing my Omma is dead and I’ll never meet her again. It’s knowing my oldest bio-brother, who is thousands of miles away from me and speaks a language I can’t even RE-learn, is alone in Korea without any family. It’s knowing his anxiety and depression are a hundred times worse than mine. (Fun survivor’s guilt.) It’s knowing my middle bio-brother and I don’t speak anymore. Honestly, I don’t ever picture us talking again in this lifetime. It’s processing the recent death of my biological father, who chose women and booze over his family.
It’s living with the fact that my motherland didn’t want me either and didn’t want to help a husbandless woman with three young children stay together. It’s living in the USA, where the slant of my eyes makes me an outcast or some sexually desired erotic “thing.” It’s about being told I am too sensitive, too dramatic, and my favorite–moody. It’s about sleepless nights and battling insomnia when the anxiety is out of fucking control. It’s about trying to get out of bed, showered, and to work when the depression becomes debilitating.
All of this is the shit that brings a person to her knees, wanting to just remove the pain and anxiety, not necessarily to die. Because you know all of this is going on in the head while trying to be a single mother, working full-time, maintaining friendships, and trying to develop relationships for potential partnership/companionship. It’s exhausting as hell. Maybe this is why a flat tire or a leaking window AC unit or financial issues can bring me to the brink of complete insanity.
Scary thing is, there’s another kind of suicide–the gradual suicide. It goes by other names–self-destruction, self-sabotage, addiction, harmful distractions, recklessness, to name a few. I believe this type of suicide is more clever than traditional suicide. This type of suicide keeps you breathing, yet promises to make a mess out of your life to the point that actual suicide sounds appealing. And it likes to house you in a place called the “Rabbit hole.” You feel falsely comforted by the walls of this burrow to the point you isolate yourself and pull away from people who support/comfort/believe in you. The darkness keeps out any light–even the positive energy that pushes you to keep trying. You know you shouldn’t stay in there for too long but before you know it, time passes and the hole is even deeper than it ever was.
As I approach my 43rd birthday, I am extremely self-reflective–more so than I usually am. Each year, for the past seven years I have said aloud, “I am in a better place than I was a year ago.” This year will be the eighth layer of my birthday mantra. Will I be lying through my teeth if I chant these words this year? Part of me shamefully mumbles, “yes.” The other part of me, who is very conscious of those who love/care for me and encourage me to forgive myself and make decisions and follow through when I’m good and ready, says otherwise.
In actuality or the illusion I choose to live in, I know I have grown exponentially in the last year. I am humbled, calmed by humility, by how many damn mistakes I continue to make and repeat. I am humbled by the genuine friendships I have and how those in my inner-circle are still around; friendships still intact. I am humbled by the positive influence I have had on my kid as she enters her teenage years and the extreme closeness we share.
As a person who has felt unlovable, misunderstood, and lonely for most of her life, I can see and feel the personal growth. Some years the personal growth is miles and miles of progression; other years it’s just an inch or two, which is better than going backwards or no growth at all.
Sometimes wounds need to be reopened so they can heal properly. And if you want to heal, you must get out of the rabbit hole. And if you cannot get out of the hole by yourself, use all the strength and energy left and reach out for help. Demand help. Your life depends on it. Stand in your power. Surround yourself by your people, your community, by your inner circle, your support system. Seek therapy that will help you find your inner-peace, whether it’s traditional or progressive therapy. Practice and enjoy activities that will not only exercise your body but your mind and soul as well.
Change will not come overnight. Be realistic. Be kind to yourself. You cannot change habits and thoughts you have embraced for simple survival over the years in one desperate wish; you must be willing to step out of your comfort zone and experience something new. And fuck yeah, it can be scary as hell. Crawl out of that damn rabbit hole. I did and am. And remember, you are NOT alone, and this, too, shall pass. I promise.
Written by KAD Jodi Park, aka So Young (Korean Gypsy)