Monday, January 14, 2008

Caught in a Whirlwind

I feel so overwhelmed. Every day that passes brings new anxiety. I just wish I had some idea of when (or if) I'm going. No one really seems to have any idea just how much South Korea and this big move mean to me. Let me shed a little light:

One year ago, I was helpless, shattered, and floundering. The dream I had worked years for had been snatched away, my brother-in-law was battling aggressive cancer, and I felt like the entire world was viewing me through scornful eyes as the greatest failure and lump of worthlessness ever to draw a breath. All the insecurity from school that I had overcome in college had suddenly sprung to the surface again. I tried to cover it all up in cynicism.

Then, I let myself be led by someone else, and allowed everything that was "me" to be painted over by something else. I was afraid of losing something I never had. Eventually it cost too much, and I awoke. I realized what I had become and after a few weeks of floundering again, I finally found my way. Korea is not just a place; it's a destination in my life. It's me finally up on my feet again, making my own decisions, no longer catering to other people's wishes or expectations. It's me being a woman again.

Some people were hurt or insulted because I didn't ask for anyone's opinion or advice when I made my decision. They completely missed the point! Finally I was ABLE to make my own choice, and I did. I had to break free of what was still tying me down; namely, the opinions of the "people who care about me."

In school I often referred to myself in poetry or stories as a vision, because I had no idea who I really was, and I didn't feel concrete or defined. I was so easily molded by other people, either by what they wanted or a reaction against their opinions. Finally I'm a concrete individual. Finally I can be who I want to be. This is a victory! But at times the people I love feel like multiple tentacles, grasping at me and pulling in all directions except the one I'm aiming for. I sometimes feel like some people want to keep me that helpless little girl who feared her own mind. Well, the little girl grew up.

Now that I have finally made these important steps, culminating in the decision to move to Korea, it's only natural that I should feel concern when that move is threatened. Of course I'm worried. Of course I'm anxious and stressed. I'm so ready to take that leap finally, and now the ledge I'm supposed to leap from is so shrouded in fog, I can't see it. And back in the woods I hear people calling me back, trying to change me again.

It has never been my goal to hurt anyone. It has never been my desire to cause any harm, or to hinder others from what they're seeking. Yet people keep demanding explanations from me, as though I've committed some heinous act of treason by getting back on my feet and making up my own mind. Why do they need an explanataion? Why can't they just be happy that I'm happy? I wonder if the people I love really love me as much I love them.

I feel a little better having put this all into words. I doubt that all of the right people will ever read this, but at least the thoughts that have been spinning around in me are no longer unsaid.

And with that, she published the post and went to bed. "To sleep, perchance to dream..."

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"