Issue Five: Birthright

Asians Between Cultures

It’s strange how phrases that are so hurtful and wrong on so many levels can be said with love. It’s also strange how I’ve grown to learn to understand the context behind the culture and forgive that more easily than I can forgive myself for being ugly.

Ugly being my subjective description of myself. Because no matter how much affirmation I receive from my friends or from strangers, I will always avert my eyes from the mirror because I hate what I see.

In Korea, your looks are your currency. I haven’t been back since I moved to the US twelve years ago but the message travels over oceans and time zones to find itself lodged alongside my fears.

Years cannot be undone in days and this story is one that hits too close for many. It is passed down and amongst ourselves, this birthright no one wanted. I have cradled it in my heart, letting it gnaw away at me as I rescinded my permission to eat.

The first step to fixing any problem is identifying it. I have my eye on it, fixated, waiting for the day I can learn how to respect myself again.

In my brokenness I sit here, writing that I no longer claim a birthright I have carried for a decade. I bury it here, apologizing to the girl that I used to be, for hating her when she deserved to be loved.