Moments of Clarity

In the depths of the pandemic in an unsettling post-election holidaze, I’ve had exceptional moments of clarity. What about you?

What’s kept you alive and well these days? The comfort of home or loved ones nearby, whether through touch or tech. The emergency fund that helps you enjoy the break of the daily grind and break the norm as we knew it. The exposure of political and social patterns we readily ignore or perpetuate.

Call it a breath of fresh air, or rather Covid, but chaos is the perfect time to recognize the sense from the noise.

At the beginning of this year, like many beginnings of years, I made a commitment to pursue my genuine self. Each year, I have a greater understanding of who I am and who I want to be. In 2020, my commitment was to create and release my debut hip hop album and share my poems as a hip hop artist. It happened. I ended up releasing two musical projects: Current Virus and The Book of Cosmosis. These two EPs catapulted me into a creative flux and empowering collaboration with local underground artists. In this stage of creation, a range of romantic and rabid mind states propelled me with momentum.

Now, in December 2020, I review my goals and progress as if it’s another end of the week. It takes thorough reflection and analysis to see how far we’ve come and how much further there is to go. How far we’re on track and how much we’ve wavered. To check in is to calibrate and redirect as needed.

When I finish a project or job, the notion of identity and belonging slithers back into my mind as doubt and insecurities. The all-too-friendly imposter syndrome gets in the way of the pure joy in doing the things I love. For a second, or a month, I take a break to feel and process these emotions. For the gajillionth time, I come back to my purpose to write and share.

These moments of clarity are forgiving, more so today thanks to the committed rounds of therapy. These moments must be forgiving, because what the fuck was this year? These moments remind me that not everything is as it seems.

In fact, we can create our own realities, manifest our success, and accept the deranged and unexpected ways life can take us in our pursuit.

God loves ugly, says Slug of Atmosphere. Don’t let the elevator take us down, says Prince. Hang-ups do not define a kid, says Sa-Roc.

Please celebrate your success in movement, progress, and growth – whatever it may look like.

Korea Part 1: Stasis is Death

Since I was 12 years old, I have lived by this maxim.

Stasis is death.

Because in my pre-teen angst, nothing was more deathly than resigning to a life where comfort besieged all.

As I got older, I used this to high power my decisions choosing to make mistakes rather than stay in the same place afraid of what may come. The strategy was not misguided, just not directed enough, and I developed a habit of going forward sometimes blind to the heart and guts of my whole operation.

And so I pursued my love of learning and grew my chops in quality management and operations. This was not the wrong decision, but it prolonged what I already knew. I was not scared to make the wrong choices, but I was scared to make the inevitable one that fit my oh so contemplative soul.

Last month, I left my disturbingly high-paying job at a distribution center to pursue something, anything, closer to my heart. My priority right now is to write – my first love, my first heartbreak.

I was overjoyed walking out of a role I knew no longer fit my determination and clear-sightedness. At the time, my nephew, who I helped raise for the past six years,  was planning to move to Seoul, Korea to be with his dad.

The apt choice, an easy one, but only in retrospect. I spent the next week and a half hanging out with my nephew and reconnecting with my older brother. The drama is not mine so I won’t share it but through that previous time, with my whole body and mind, I was finally able to forgive.

When my mom and I stood at the escalator before security check at LAX, trying to wave happily and not let our overflowing eyes be too obvious, I locked eyes with my nephew. At 12, he was a wise one after moving around from home to home adapting to changing circumstances since he was born. His face froze briefly as he realized I was going to cry, then he smiled softly as if to comfort me as he rode the escalator up with his dad.

A week later, my grandpa died.

A decorated 3-star general from the South Korean military and patriarch of my dad’s side, he was a serious man who I didn’t really get to know. The last time I had seen him was when I was 12 years old, the year of my maxim decree. Now, 18 years later, I was going back to Korea for his funeral.

Quick planning helped my dad get a flight out that night, and my mom and I got one for 2 days later so it wouldn’t cost extravagantly more than a month’s rent.

Before I left, I  reserved movers to leave my expensive Rancho Cucamonga apartment for a rent-free room at my parents’ condo in Buena Park. Everything was changing, and at that point, I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad. It was all – transition, death, and rebirth.

To be continued…