Thursday, July 12, 2012

Everyone is fighting their own battle

Life is a process.  It is for me.  I was always so very careful.  I grew up doing well in school.  If I did well I got noticed.  I impressed people.  I got recognition from teachers, friends and most importantly my parents.  I knew no other life.  I worried about everything.  I still worry about everything.

I'm not a big risk taker.  I want to play it safe.  If you think that going to Korea was so adventurous then I'd look at you and say that you could do it too.  It was a choice that I made.  I had a secure job and a place to live.  I didn't even have to purchase my own plane ticket.

Now that I'm getting older I'm letting go.  Letting go of the control.  Letting go of trying to be perfect.  Like when I first met Sung Hyun.  And when it was IMPOSSIBLE for us to be a couple.  And because we knew that, we just enjoyed our moments together.  We couldn't plan for more but won't be happy with anything less.  We didn't have expectations.  We couldn't play those silly dating games.  The culture, the language, the family were all against us but somehow we just couldn't not try to be together.  This is love.  For whatever reason I was meant to be with Sung Hyun.  He is an ideal partner to balance  out all of this craziness.  I'm trying to figure out life, and he's just living it. He comes home at the end of the day with a smile on his face.  In his life everything is so simple.  He chooses happiness.  The end.  

I can't understand how life can be so simple for him.  I make life complicated.  I think too much.  I swim up the river.  I try to control things that can't always be controlled.  I worry about things that don't really matter.

The moments we had together in Korea were so beautiful.  We talk about them.  About going back to the time when we just laughed all the time.  About how we didn't have a care in the world because that time we were together we just enjoyed each others company, no strings attached.  It was like the outside world didn't exist.  We were so far away from reality that our life seemed magical.    

But then with life, as with relationships, expectations change and pressure from others (but mostly myself) surmount.  I know that I want to be with Sung Hyun.  I can't imagine my life without him.  He allows me just enough freedom to explore and feel before tugging me down to reality and saying "hey, you stay at home all afternoon I expect you to cook at least two nights a week".  I need those expectations.  I need someone to give me freedom to wonder yet guidelines in which to operate.  He lets me be me.  He lets me contradict myself and holds my hand when I think I don't need it.  He assures me that things will be alright.  He knows the exact words to say and what to do at any given time.  He respects me.  He trusts me.  He loves me for what I am, not who he thinks I should be.

Sung Hyun is more socially sensitive to my feelings than I could have ever imagined.  He's smart.  He's handsome.  He's got a six pack (I'm throwing this one out there for him, since he like to remind me about his six pack ;)

Marrying him was the biggest risk and best decision I've ever made.  Never have I thought differently.  

I'm learning.  I'm growing.  I'm contradicting myself.  I'm loving life one minute and then pissed off at my laziness/ lack of drive the next.  I expect the best but then don't put in the work it takes to get there.  This is who I am.  You can judge.  I'd expect that you would.  But remember that even if you were a fly on the wall in my life, you are still not ME.  We are different.  You don't know how I feel, or think, or how my past and life experiences have shaped me.  I own myself.  I admit my mistakes.  Slowly, I'm opening up and letting go.  I'm documenting this transition process on my blog.  I don't have it all together.  I don't expect that I'll ever 'figure things out', but this is my journey.  I am owning it.  I am creating it.  This is the life I am living -- even if I don't always like it.

My life is on this blog.  My parents are sometimes uncomfortable with what I write about here.  Sometimes they think that what I write makes my husband look bad, sometimes they think that I'm sharing too much personal information.  In these cases, I like to ask them why they feel uncomfortable.  Why is the sharing of personal information create chaos?  When I started this blog in June 2006 never did I imagine that it would go on for this long.  This is the biggest thing that I've ever committed to.  I don't commit to much.  I get bored easily.  I need a challenge.  I need a purpose.  When things get comfortable they get easy and I more on.  My life goal is not security or stability.  I thought it was.  I thought that's what a 'good' life was about.  That may be what others want for me, but it's not what I want for myself.  I feel there is a larger purpose for me.  I haven't found it yet.  But I'm redefining what I want.  I'm making my own choices.  And I'm living my life, for me.

And aren't we all fighting our own battles in some way or another? Aren't we all contradicting our decisions at some point and wishing for more.  Aren't we all torn by the way we want the world to see us and the way we want to live our lives.  No?  Then you must all be like Sung Hyun, dammit!

This is MY journey.  And this time I'm trying to be less careful!


Now, go ahead and comment anonymously on this post.  In doing so, tell me one thing that you dislike about me/ this blog/ who I am (you get the point) but follow it up with something you admire about me/ this blog/ who I am.  Constructive feed back is good.  You don't need to identify yourself.  I'm giving you permission to say everything you've wanted to say without telling me who you are.  Now go ahead, DO IT!  I promise you won't hurt my feelings or hold it against you (my readers).


JJ said...

As someone who feels the need to vent to others the frustrations in my life, I empathize your current plight. However, one thing I dislike about the personality you display on this blog (with the understanding that this blog probably only captures 30% of the low low and high high extremes of your personality/life) is that you seek advice and suggestions without really absorbing them to the point where you would act upon them wholeheartedly. From the viewpoint of a stranger who only knows you as the Jennifer girl from the Korean expat blog, you seem to always crave for reassurance from family/friends/readers, but then act on your own whims and fancies as if you only ever had your own opinions and thoughts to go by to make decisions. I think this is why you have readers who provide negative feedback on the current you that is displayed on this blog - readers feel as if they have a part in your life when you ask for suggestions/advice, but when they read how you choose to react to certain situations in which you asked for everyone's advice, they become offended because it appears as if you "blow off" everyone's time and efforts in lending you a physical or virtual hand.

On the other hand, I appreciate your ability to see past the prejudices and bigotry of foreigners (more specifically Korean born and raised people living in non-Korean land). As someone of Asian descent who was born and raised in the United States, I realize that most of my closest friends happen to be Asian. However, they are a mixture of "fobs" and "non-fobs", and all of them do not have that group mentality that dictates how everyone needs to act the same/be the same/ have the same social and economic status to be deemed "acceptable" as a lot of Korean "fobs" seem to retain. In your blog posts, I can see how you try to see past these negative aspects in even the most difficult Korean "fobs", and how you try to challenge their ideas about the world/relationships through your questions, patience, and relationship with your own Korean "fob" husband Sung Hyun. I think if we were to ever meet in person, we would sit down with cups of tea/coffee/biscuits and have long conversations about this topic. You're a candid (if somewhat emotionally volatile) person, and I appreciate your efforts to understand cultures that are not the norm in either Canada or the United States.

The best of luck to you in life - everyone needs some luck, even if it is from a virtual stranger who is also struggling with issues and demons of her own.

Foreigner Joy said...

Those were good words. LIfe isn't simple and I too worry all the time.

But you do have to sit back and appreciate how far you have gotten.

Mrs. Kim said...

I do think you usually try to be honest with what you post here. And it may come across as kind of pendulum-swinging. (But that is how it is, sometimes we're crazy up, the next minute things seem like crap.) I've told you before, I get bored by blogs where every entry is a lengthy dissertation on Korean/Western cultural differences. Or where it's “look at all the cute things my K-spouse says!” Or “how great is my life, I am so blessed!” Heck, we've got Facebook for that.

John from Daejeon said...

I think your blog is pitch-perfect the way it is. Don't change a thing.

You and I are far from the only worrywarts around, and in today's world, it's always good to have a few months' funds (and a bit of food) saved up for those always unexpected (yet, somehow always occurring) bumps in life's twisting road of the highest of highs and some pretty low lows that mark each of our trip's map. It's also great to have someone along who can keep us from hiding out all the time in our safe bunker as we'd be missing a lot of the wonders of life that would have passed us by if we didn't poke our heads out once and awhile and even try and enjoy the detours.

*Krista* said...

Jen, I have to comment because I read the anonymous post on your last entry and it really bothered me. It bothers me because people have no concern about judging and attacking others without introspectively stopping to consider their own issues. Coming from the perspective of a mental health therapist, I can tell you that what you experience is not abnormal. In fact it is quite normal. The fact that you are willing to share about it so candidly I think is what makes the difference. That is to say that people, rather than stopping to reflect on the "true nature" of your posts, assume that just because every joe blow isn't telling their life stories of ups and downs on their blogs, that it isn't a normal human experience and that somehow you experience "highs and lows!" PFffff!! Um, yeahhhhh, it's called LIFE! Sheesh! Sorry, it just really pisses me off. Pardon my French.

Anyway, I know that you are a very smart and introspective person, so you've probably already figured this out...but when writing a public blog, there are some really ignorant people (and by ignorant I mean they don't know anything about what they are talking about) who are going to comment on the status of your mental health just because you are willing to share what an ACTUAL range of HUMAN emotions looks like! We all have good days and bad days. We all contradict ourselves to some extent. Those who believe that they don't have these behaviours and that they are not "normal" just haven't stopped long enough to pull their heads out of the dark place between their buttcheeks. Furthermore, I think that your experience of good days and bad days, or just days in general, are more than what you post on your blog. However, because your blog is your creative outlet and place to vent, you often only show your "crazy" side. And some people may not stop to think that there is more to you than what you post on your blog. It's like me with my clients, a lot of times I could assume they are purely messed up, just because everytime I see them, they are complaining about some problem. Or I could remember that they are REAL people who also have good experiences, however, my job is to listen to their problems, so that is most of what I will see when they come to talk to me.

So this comment is not just for yo and your peace of mind, it's also for all you "hater anonymous" posters out there. It's easy to judge others, criticize, and think that you are "different", but I'm here to tell you that you are NOT any different than Jennifer or myself. We are all HUMAN! We are all children of God! We all have bad days and good days. What we need when we are expressing those things, is for someone to say, yeah, I've had similar times in my life where I've had bad and good times and it feels like a rollercoaster. Validate people! Don't attack, criticize or judge, unless you are willing to admit your own faults - 'cause I can guarantee your poop stinks just as the rest of ours does!

Woo, okay, that's my rant for the week! Lol! Love you Jen!

Anonymous said...

The main message i got from that was the deep love you have for your husband and I thought that was so lovely!

Anonymous said...

Well, you're a bit of a drama queen. "Oh, my life is a disaster" and all that.

If I didn't know how old you are, I would guess this blogs belongs to a 14-year old. All that up and down (one day it's the end of the world, one day is all a blast) is very teen-like.

I think you need to grow up, honestly.

It's ok that you're trying to find yourself and your purpose, but it doesn't have to be so dramatic. As somebody commented a few weeks ago, your life is pretty good. Stop being so dramatic.

Good thing? I guess it's good that you post about everything. It keeps the blog interesting.

Anonymous said...

I think most of the time, when you ask questions of your readers, you're just looking for people to tell you how great you are. (And it works.) If you really wanted advice, you'll actually take some of it.

You often write "THIS time, it's going to be different!" But it never is. Time management, weight loss, money saving, whatever. I know it's shocking, but some people actually DO change.

And a lot of people don't have manic swings in their daily life because they've found a sort of balance.

Why am I here??? said...

Hi JJ, yes I think that I mostly only document the highs/lows through my posts b/c I figured the rest of my life is just ho-hum. But maybe if I documented some of the daily things then it would be more authentic and show a more rounded picture. Seems like people think I'm and bit manic. As for taking readers advice....I want to thank you for writing about this because I actually do what readers say but I just don't report about it back on this blog. For example, I've been going back to counselling (even seeing a career counsellor), which was advice from a reader. Also, I've played tourist in my own city and started to enjoy and make opportunities for me in my city. But in both cases I haven't "reported back" to my readers. Great observation JJ. I'll have to start doing this. Thanks for the well wishes and luck.

Yes Joy. I'm a glass is half empty kind of gal and Sung Hyun is always giving me opportunities to see how far we've come. I need to sit back and appreciate more often. Thanks for this reminder.

Thanks for your candid and honest comments that you've contributed to this blog Mrs. Kim. I know you're a long time reader/ commenter ;)

Hi John, well said! Thanks for the positive feedback.

Krista, I think because you know me you are able to see the kind of person I am on a day-to-day basis. So then when you see people attack me on my blog when they don't have an accurate picture of myself then it's upsetting. Yes we are human. AND I think a lot of people are able to see faults in others very easily, but when it comes to examining their selves it's not as simple. Thank my friend!

How lovely Anony ;) you are indeed correct!

Drama queen? 14 year old? Oh geez, I think if you met me in real life you'd think differently. Would you appreciate if I documented more of my daily life then it would be different/ less dramatic?

Hey (last anony), I hope to be that one person that can change too. But I don't think it happens overnight. Not with me anyways. And you know what's great....I don't give up even though I fail. I write about my mistakes. You can roll your eyes at me if you wish every time I write "THIS time will be different" or you can stop reading b/c it sounds like you don't have faith that I will change. And you're absolutely right about me liking recognition and positive feedback. I was always like this. I am extrinsically motivated. I like when people tell me I do a good job......I NEED a pat on the back. That's why I find it difficult to work in a job that doesn't recognize/ acknowledge when I do a good job. I've always been like this.....just ask my mom ;)

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

I love your blog and I think you and I are very similar. Great post! I can't believe how long you've had this blog!!! That is insane! Good for you for keeping up with it for so long.

Anonymous said...

Well, I wouldn't have called you a drama queen, but I think I understand where the poster is coming from. We only get the really lows or the really highs of your life.

And changing your mind so frequently (I hate my life/I love my life) does make you sound very immature.

Maybe the solution is the one you suggested. Post more about your daily life. Show us when you go out somewhere, or when you're working on the garden, or whatever... Something "normal" that isn't good or bad, just everyday stuff... That would help.

Why am I here??? said...

Okay, deal!

John from Daejeon said...

I am not a big fan of my own highs and lows, but that's how life rolls.

Popular movies, books, television programs, sports teams, blogs, etc. are only popular because they document these highest of highs and lowest of lows. From what I can see (and have read), middle of the road is pretty much invisible to most people on this planet. (Now really be honest with yourselves. How many of you ever gave a moment's thought to the poor in India before you saw "Slumdog Millionaire" or have since?)

I know I don't tune into medical shows to watch safe surgery after safe surgery performed by perfectly adjusted doctors and their perfect family lives or watch movies to see paint dry or flowers grow for two hours. It's a sad fact of life that most of us in this world are rubberneckers when it comes to accident scenes, but we also cheer loudly when we see people we like (like the owner of this blog) doing well.

Amyable said...

None of that don't know you IRL can possibly say that we know you because of this blog. Sure, I've judged you plenty throughout the years and I guess that's what blog readers do, form judgments and opinions about the blog owner and I assume you know that.

So, what do I not like about you based on that premise? I don't like that you keep asking your readers for advice or opinions about you and your life. Really, what can we possibly offer when we don't really know you?

What do I like about you? Well,l I think you are just a normal woman in the midst of a life transition period going through what all people go through (all of have different issues and handle them differently but we all have these phases in life). Just a normal person....

Anonymous said...

Your totally freaking NORMAL.

EVERYONE thinks like this; one day we're on top of the world, the next day we're ready to pound the car windows out all because we got a speeding ticket, our boss gave us a rude comment, and we forgot to pay a bill on time. IT'S NORMAL to be all over the place, we're human. Life is constanly changing and so there really is no constant. The only difference between you and everyone else is that you are writing all of this down.

Just wait until the day comes that you (may) decide to to have a child. IT GETS WORSE! Only then your back and forth emotions become less ego centric and more focused on your child and providing them with all they they need for physical and emotional well being.

I've never thought you a drama queen. For every bag that you've packed, I'm sure I've packed 5 more. It's just part of the process. I would say though, if you are a chronic worrier, there is a possibility that you have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This is a really common disorder, and it's symptoms are; Chronic Worry. If this is your case, then a low dosage anti-depressant would really take the "edge off" of your worrying. Not because you are depressed, but because chronic anxiety is treated with anti-depressants. Just a suggestion of something you may want to think about. My last comment on this is that you just need to take it easy. You and your husband are going to get in lots of fights. Marriage is an uphill battle, so just try to have a little fun along the way. The next time "Leave me Alone" is said, you will probably be the one saying it. It's just part of the process. It's REALLY HARD to live with someone, and you are going to have some bumps and bruises, and possibly blunt force trauma along the way.

Take Care!

~Annonymous Coffee Table

Anonymous said...

“I can guarantee your poop stinks just as the rest of ours does!”

“He's got a six pack (I'm throwing this one out there for him, since he like to remind me about his six pack ;)”