October 23, 2015

the reason

It's been a long while.
The biggest change?
I'm married.
I suppose I should add an exclamation point in there.
I'm married!

Marriage has been good to me thus far. But what I really want to get into is the reason "why."

Many people, various people, people who are close, people who are acquaintances, have asked me one similar question: "Why did you marry him?"

There are a few ways to take this question, I suppose. For this situation, I knew exactly what they were implying. One, I am Korean-American (culture clash?). Two, I am in a more financially stable position that him (the woman as the breadwinner? Gasp!). Three, my personality seems to be stronger and more masculine while his seems to be gentler and a little less masculine (in the western sense of "masculinity").

The question directed towards me is pretty obvious. Why would I, a Korean-American, able to speak English and live a far more conventionally comfortable life, choose someone in which I would seemingly have to "carry" and support, resulting in a lifetime of difficulty and struggle? (Mind you, this IS coming from a more conservative, Asian mindset).

The people who ask may never read this. But I've thought it through in the past eight months since we've been married. And I believe I finally can put it into words.

As we sat with his friends around a table of Korean food and beer, one of his friends mentioned a moment from our wedding. We had been announced man and wife and were walking down the aisle to the applause of our friends and family. As we passed a particularly rowdy group, my husband lifted his right hand in the air and made the sign for a three-pointer in basketball. Now, in any American wedding, this is no big deal. Americans have great weddings. But Koreans, they have these standard, stiff and stale weddings that are pretty much required. What he did, that small hand gesture, took either guts or arrogance. When my husband's friend mentioned this, he also mentioned how he had wanted to do the same or similar at his own wedding, but just couldn't muster the courage.

This was when I realized why I had married this man. I've known all along but just could not put it together in any cohesive sense.

He has this hidden confidence. It's a confidence that resides below any superficial thought or action, but rooted deep in who he is. It's not like he has any tangible achievement to boast of. Yet his confidence is there, and what's more, it's waiting for someone to truly believe in it... in him.

And isn't this what we're all looking for? Someone to come along and believe in us. Not in our talents or triumphs. Not in our physicality or potential. But just to believe in who we are, just as.

Sure, people believe in us. They believe because we are gifted in a certain area. They believe because we can be of some use to them. They believe because we make them feel happy or useful. They believe in our humor or character.

For me, it was different.

I realized that it was him, who I believed in. Simply, the core of him. I believed in him because he believed in me. Not in what I could accomplish or even attain in the future. Just me. Could I ask for a better partner? Regardless of whether I fail (which I inevitably will) or occasionally turn mean (which I assuredly do) or cause embarrassment (which inescapably happens) he accepts me and believes in me. He surely cannot understand me in all my erratic ways, but still he believes.

So, I'll have a new answer for anyone who asks me why I chose to marry the man I married.
It's because I believe in him.

March 17, 2014

reality bites... bit

I once wrote that "philosophy is a luxury." My friend, fervent in his devotion to and admiration for philosophy strongly disagreed. Philosophy is not a luxury, but an opportunity to truly delve into the deeper ideas of humanity. True. But one has not time for that when life... all complexities of life get in the way.

I recently had a heartbreaking moment in which discussing it or sharing it with others was more hurtful than talking it through. I realized that it was moments like these that reveal a friend's character. When I decided to share with some of my close ones, their responses were sadness and mostly just support for me. Other friends were not so helpful. I could see that they were hurt mostly by me not sharing this information with them sooner. It wasn't my hurt that hurt them. It was me not sharing that hurt with them, therefore making themselves the center of my story. Well played. I suppose it's these times that show how friends accept me as me, or as a version of what they want me to be.

My schedule these days is so hectic, I'm not sure where or how to begin. It's pretty much been working/tutoring/meetings... all back to back with no rest in between. Compounded on top of issues at home and my sudden forced move from my current apartment. My own stresses I think I could handle well enough. Yet the stress and hopeless situations of those I love is kind of putting my mind into a sort of catatonic state, I don't think I can really think straight, see straight, comprehend everything I need to comprehend. I can feel the disappointment in people as they sense my lack of passion in my daily activities. My students, the parents, fellow teachers, teammates... I am going through the motions, trying to fulfill my obligations, but the zest and excitement I once had for them certainly aren't there anymore. In times like these, I suppose real friends show concern and empathy. Others show their disapproval or feel only their own loss.

In a funny way, I don't blame them. I myself am the star of my own life. And when my actions affect those around me, I suppose they can only think of how they are being disturbed, not why or how I am making these choices that have an effect on their lives. Karma for being a prima donna my whole life? Maybe.

Now, philosophy is a luxury. I'm thinking who cares about the interactions between people? Who cares about the intertwining of humanity that creates such empowering and heart wrenching stories? Who cares about the clash of personalities and the tidal wave of emotion that comes with such meetings? Reality is what is on the mind... not the what ifs or how comes...