When I was younger, I was always on the quieter side. Because of my shyness, I felt like I always wanted to speak out but could never do so. Although I don’t see this now as a negative character trait in particular (I think it is part of someone’s unique charm), I can attest to the fact that it hinders the ability for one to fully communicate one’s desires.
On the day of my birthday at daycare, this girl scratched my face multiple times for no apparent reason. I cried and cried but no one came to help me for some reason. I didn’t understand why she would do that, or why no one came over to help me. I don’t remember which birthday it was, but I can never forget the helpless feeling I got when she did that to me. It has been so long, that the whole situation seems like a dream to me, if not for the reality of the scars that it had left on my face that remain today.
On my best friend’s final birthday party before I left to the United States, my mom had prepared matching gold items for my friend and her older sister. Although my friend opened hers, I was too shy to tell her to keep looking for more in the bag. I wanted to open my mouth and tell her, but my brain would not let it and I remained dumb. It is difficult to explain why this exact situation was particularly heart aching for me, but it was something that I thought for the longest time to be so regretful.
Although I try to be a positive person, for some reason, only the negative memories stick in my brain.
In my early elementary years, I had a lot of friends, but my grades were average at best, and I even failed classes. It’s funny to look back now. I don’t know if it was because I had moved to the United States, but I didn’t like the idea of approaching people and conversing with them when I arrived in the United States. There was a girl in fourth grade who wasn’t really a friend to me; she was weird. The most vivid memory I have is when I won a prize in computer class and everyone was so awed by it. I would bring it home and back to school. One day, she suggested that I leave it inside my desk. Although I was suspicious, I left it there, because if I didn’t have her as a friend, how would I find another friend? The next day, I wasn’t too surprised to find it gone. I remember people silently laughed at me when I had a runny nose and put two pieces of tissues in my nostrils. I remember there was this guy I thought was so good-looking and we were in a math enrichment together and I would be too scared to ask him questions so I would just wait until another girl asked him. Hahaha, I was so weird. I never wanted to be the center of attention, but in fifth grade, my parents wanted me to run for student council (yeah I know, why did they expect me to do such a thing). I was so afraid to say a couple sentences in front of my peers that I just cried the whole night. In the end, I didn’t give the speech.
In middle school, especially in seventh and eighth grade, I was so blessed to have a group of people that I could call my friends. I was in club swimming, did math club, and orchestra. Oh, and I loved to read. I liked to read so much to the point where my parents would ban me from reading. I never questioned this, but looking back, that is such a weird thing. I questioned my parents at the time too: I told them “everyone else’s parents are happy when their kids read, why do I get in trouble?”. I remember I would keep flashlights in my room and read my books underneath my bed at night still. When I finished reading Catching Fire, I felt like there was a void in me that could only be satisfied with the next book. Middle school was such a great time in my life, even though I didn’t like everything about it.
In high school, I began to like Korean shows. The first post on this blog documents the exact moment, and it was because of that moment that I have this blog today (literally). After binging a couple of episodes in the middle of the night, I would try to act like the female leads in the dramas. I think it was since then when I first dreamed to be an actress. The actresses in the dramas gave me confidence when my brain told me no. Every time I would be afraid of a situation, I would just imagine that the world was a show and play the part of a character in a K-drama. K-dramas taught me that, in a way, it was okay to be loud and voice your opinions outside of home (I was pretty rambunctious at home). In particular, Jung Eun-ji’s character in Reply 1997 really inspired me at the time (it’s also the reason why I like APink so much). I would also lip sync K-pop songs in front of the mirror with the bathroom fan on and my earbuds in. I got more accustomed to seeing my face in front of the mirror, and less afraid of showing that side of myself to others around me. Although I try to conceal my love for Korean things outside of the house and Taremin, the aspects that the pieces of Korean popular culture have taught me have impacted my life for the better.
Hope you enjoyed this rather-lengthy, but rather-appropriate story.