Sometimes it feels like life is an endless road of wanting to be accepted. After your family it begins when you comprehend the concept of friendship and with it the pain and harsh reality that not everyone has the same amount of friends in the world. For some who find it hard to form bonds on this planet, this realization comes much quicker than for others. I think regardless of how popular we are there are times at night, when we are alone, that we feel an alienation from everyone else in the world. This includes the ones we love, no matter how strong those bonds might be, for we are human and have those moments. With the severing of the umbilical cord comes a very real release into a world that will often times distrust or hate us. And so we spend the rest of our lives searching for another connection back to what we had at birth, a struggle to feel accepted.
Why do people love the Harry Potter series so much? What could you possibly hate about a story of an orphan child that lives the life of an underdog and goes on to be the hero? His very struggles did not even have to mirror our own for us to accept his life as an image of “struggle” itself, an image we all deal with at some point in our lives. It reminds me of my own obstacles in trying to fit in through life. That feeling of struggle came to a stop on January 3rd, 2013 when I began my blog HarsH ReaLiTy on WordPress.com. It has been an eye opening experience and a period of personal growth to say the least. I have found I can express my opinions without feeling bridled by contempt or disdain and at the same time people can throw back their controversy literally right in my face, since I read their comments daily on a computer screen. This has provided, interestingly enough, an opportunity for this stubborn Korean to open himself to new ideas. I have even evolved some of my own values and outlooks on life, or at the very least provided the seeds for future thought on the topics.
It is amazing to me that I write daily to an audience, but in my daily life I am just another figure. Another number, a body in a chair. My current manager, who is an awesome person make no mistake, barely sees me because I work the graveyard shift. Yes, like a ghost I come in the backdoor of the building, past the working janitors and tired, oblivious late-night workers and I come watch servers to make sure they don’t go red. The only thing that keeps me from going insane is the sound of my keyboard floating into the empty office air, it is music to my ears and provides a promise of something more. Call it what you will but I earnestly seek whatever it is that inspires that feeling inside of me to press on when most would sit back and bask in accomplishment. You are allowed to feel satisfied in life, but too much satisfaction quickly becomes the recipe for a stagnant nature.
My blog has become an outlet for me. At first I created it as an online journal, but quickly it became my fingerprint on the literary world. There is a world out there of writers, readers, editors, publishers, curious minds, and growing minds wanting to keep the written arts alive and an audience can be easily found. We strive to keep this dying art form from going extent against the easily ingested television and accessible online media commonly found on at this moment in most of the world’s living rooms. I understand and I will confess to being a lover of the television myself, everyone needs their methods of falling asleep and mine just happens to be my mistress the TV. That was another motivator for me to create an inspiration that would force me to write on a regular basis, I see this often said on new blogs as their initial posts. The constant interaction and feedback I receive from my viewers has given me the backbone I needed to write this book now, one that might still never see the light of day. But I have to hope that at least by gracing this white screen they are given a life, even one as brief as the time it takes me to delete this word document.
I have often wondered if anyone on the staff at WordPress.com has been or is a manic depressive. There should never be an easily accessible delete button on anything as important as our blogs, and this is not a rib at WordPress who is gracious enough to offer a free platform for aspiring writers such as myself. I must confess that sometimes a depressive like me looks at that delete button with disgust. They make us jump through hoops of fire to cancel a credit card, but a precious blog I have spent countless hours on I can delete at the push of a couple buttons. I don’t stay on that page that long and I hope that the demons from my past don’t come back to force me to ever press that button. It would be a mistake I know.
An outlet to the world and to those beyond our room. That is what blogging has provided for me and has allowed me to achieve right from my rather mundane life in Denver, Colorado. I do love my life, my family, and the relatively safe environment we live in is one less distraction that pulls me away from writing. As a father of a four and three year old, plus working forty hours a week graveyard shifts, I have to find the time to write when I can. This past year has been my first year of addiction to blogging, but it is not at a level I consider dangerous and the potential for success through it is enormous. This provides the needed leverage on the table when trying to convince my loving and understanding wife of the need for the time I a lot to my “passion.” She is an artist and walks the same road I do, but while carrying a paint brush, so she understands in her own way. Besides, she is my number one fan and understands that my family is my inspiration for success and they are also why I hope to create a working profession from writing and not just a continuation of a hobby. That is yet to be seen, but I see a full deck and the game has not been played yet.
When I started HarsH ReaLiTy under the pen name Opinionated Man I had no idea that it would grow to the size it has now. Sure I had a business model and an idea, but I must confess I have been successful at very few things in life. Always the type that thought he was smarter than the teacher, knew better than everyone else, it is amazing I even listen to comments from a second opinion when I consider how closed minded I have been my whole life. I would like to think I have been open to opinions, but in truth I am simply well read. Reading opinions and even learning about other ideals does not necessarily constitute a growth in personal morals. We can read anything with a closed mind and it is just words. The interaction found through blogging, however, has changed the face of words and we are unhindered by a character limitation restraint. We know that the people speaking to us are real people, well at least the ones not categorized as spam by the people at AKISMET, and normally the views being expressed back are heart felt. This has at least been the experience thus far on my website and I hope it continues on.
As the number of people and countries grew that were regularly viewing my posts, I began to evolve the way I viewed the potential for the platform I was writing on. This was not just a few “wannabe” writers and struggling authors pandering out their materiel for free in hopes of book deals, what I found were real people that had real issues and lives that they were relating at real-time speed for the viewing pleasure of whoever cared. I think the concept of blogging is growing even today and is still gaining popularity and the result is that it is easy to connect with individuals from across the planet. I recently ran a project on my blog called “Project O” in which I featured articles that consisted of templates participants filled out and submitted to me by email. One hundred and twenty-eight bloggers from around the world took part in the project and the feedback and conversation that came from it was invaluable not only to my own personal growth in knowledge about the world and the people in it, but I think it also helped to correct some stereotypes we have when we consider other people as so different from ourselves.
The project also offered the opportunity for the creation of new connections and that is what the “social” in social media is all about. If writers wanted to simply write we would do so on a word document or journal, we blog our writing to get it out there to an audience so we can get feedback and free critiques and we use that newfound knowledge to improve our writing. That would be my goal at least, but added to that is the new community feeling that is received when you encounter others that are also trying to complete the same journey you are. I have dreamed of becoming a published author since I read my first fantasy book and thought to myself “I could have wrote that.” It is only now, after writing on a daily basis and receiving positive feedback that I think I have what it takes to put out at least one novel and see how it floats.
Inspiration is an unpredictable emotion because it can come at any moment. I find that it comes far more frequently when we surround ourselves with things that might contribute to that occurrence happening. That is why writers congregate in corners and artists socialize with other artists, we seek out people that understand and relate to us. HarsH ReaLity, yes I can be very Korean sometimes and that is how I choose to spell it, has become an almost forum like webpage of writers and people with many other talents that congregate to discuss topics of similar interest. Since I am pretty much a dabbler in any topic, my interest range from the obvious to the curious, I provide articles frequently that people find interesting. That accounts for the high number of views my website gets in comparison to perhaps a far more skilled writer in a specific genre that only garners viewers from that similar interest. I suppose this book will fall under a genre, we are forever labeled as human beings that cannot be helped, but at least my blog is still free of any such label. That is how I intended it.
I am not a very malleable person nor does my personality lend me to accept differing opinions very often or very well for that matter. I force myself to read CNN.com, even though I am a Republican, because CNN has better reporters than FOX News and I like to see what the other side thinks as well. I have frequently opened up topics on my website that have caused open debate, even some heated discussion and argument. Luckily the members of my more frequent audience show a lot of restraint, but it can be shaky ground when you are dealing with human emotion and ideals. People tend to fire first and ask questions later and that is why I have been rather surprised at how open the bloggers have been when interacting with one another. There has even been a cordial nature between nationalities I did not think really liked each other, to put it bluntly, put Project O showed me that not all individuals within a nation think alike. A concept that should be easy for an American to understand, but is surprisingly difficult for many to realize when we consider nationalities across the oceans. We like to believe stereotype because often times stereotypes are accurate or based on fact and are also the only things being fed to society through the media.
From small to large can basically sum up the concept of the expansion of my mind and views on the world through my personal growth found from my blogging experience. This is not to say that I am some reformed man that has fully changed the ways in which he lives or observes the world, no on the contrary it actually has reinforced some of the views I have conceived but it has also introduced me to some new opinions which I respect and love to hear about. That is the beauty of creating a website that has a “forum like atmosphere” and welcomes the sharing of openly expressed opinion. I appreciate allowing people to say what they want even if it is against the grain and I highly encourage anyone that has the backbone to stand up for their own ideals. That is what is great about blogging and the uncensored content that is floating out on the internet. While some of it might be obscene, others might make you want to scream, yell or curse, but what you really have is a freedom of expression. That is a freedom people will not give up lightly and Project O clearly showed the value that everyone in the world has placed in having an opinion and further being able to express that opinion.
We hate to be labeled and yet we gladly place these labels on people to make them easier to categorize. For instance, it might be assumed about me that since I am Korean, have a successful blog, consistently post a lot, and have a family as well that I must not have any other life. People also assume I am technically savvy, which actually if you ask my brother in law I am not very technical at all. Oh sure I know the basics about many things, which places me at about average in today’s computerized world, but I just bought my first iPhone this October and I will admit it makes me feel dumb. I think there are really only a few things that make me a successful blogger. I type between 85 – 100 wpm, I process information quickly (this has been widely debated), I speed read, and I enjoy the interaction only found through an online setting and creating an atmosphere and writing in a way that welcomes conversation. That is the goal of any blog I think is to seek out comments and the fastest way to shut down conversation is to start labeling people.
I have used my blog as a window into parts of my life, but as one blogger mentioned it is very hard to pry out very many “exact” details about me. That is of course on purpose, as the safety of my family is first in my mind, but I have taken the opportunity on my blog to write some on my adoption and my feelings towards my birth mom and the sister I have not met since we were separated as children. The internet has actually provided a very nice avenue for therapy for me through allowing me to express my feelings about the past openly and accepting the unchecked criticism or encouragement sent back my way. It has been an interesting experience connecting with both adoptees and parents with adopted children and I think we can all agree that each story is different. There can be similarities, but it does an injustice to the lives of those individuals when people try to label and categorize things too much.
My adoption story received a lot of views and was a create way for me to finally pour out how I saw and felt during the course of those events in my life. It was a trying period and no one can really say they understand what I went through because there was only one Korean kid walking in those shoes. I am thankful for such support during those times, my family and mother in particular helped me to see there are reasons for living even in the darkest of hours. It is just very hard to know that when you are living those moments. I was adopted when I was 3 years old, left on the street with my sister by our mother in front of a police station in Busan, South Korea. I did not find out about the part of the story involving my sister and birth mother till I was eighteen years old and was on a trip to Korea with a group of adoptees that were also adopted through Holt International. It took me 9 years and one suicide attempt to get over it all and I can’t actually say I honestly have moved fully forward. Do you ever? I may still write more on my adoption other than the few articles I wrote on it. It would make a good novel, but sometimes you just don’t feel like reopening a door over and over.
I think in many ways blogs are windows into our hearts. We allow people to see our feelings, emotions, and sometimes our personal stories because we feel the need to share without actually physically sharing. We press that publish button and that post is sent out into the web and we half fear, half hope that someone will read it and care enough to respond. That the response back will somehow matter. That is what I hope when I publish any article on my blog and I also seek out other bloggers that feel the same way. Simply because we are unsocial in the real world, and I really wouldn’t fully label myself as unsociable but more on that later, doesn’t mean we cannot still find connections that broaden our world. Who has the time to listen to a whole conversation anymore when instead we can have thousands of conversations at once and more importantly the control to interact with that conversation at our own convience. The power of writing on a website like WordPress is the ability to control your own speed, no one should say you have to post every hour or even every day, what readers look for is content with meaning.
I also find I like to pick on political issues even though I know a very large number of my readers are not of similar political party or mind on many “hot topics” in current news. I still speak strongly on my stance on these issues whenever I feel like and that is something I will never change. Surprisingly this has actually caused many to support me in my stance of at least sharing and standing by my opinions, even if they strongly disagree with them and it causes them occasional flashes of anger. These topics have ranged from abortion, Korean’s having eye surgery, the Russian Orthodox stance on homosexuality, opinion and the importance of having the right to an opinion, and any current news topic that floats my fancy. I also include frequent posts of what I like to refer to as poetry, but I believe might be accessed by a professional as utter garbage. I once submitted my poetry through a computerized website that grades them and it almost shutdown from computerized laughter at how low my score was. I didn’t even know computers had such a sense of humor.
I have labeled people my whole life and even harbored a racist view or two. It is a common practice these days to take on a shocked look of appall at the word racism and anyone that even admits to ever having had a racist thought in their life. Luckily I am not planning on running for any political office and I can safely assume I cannot run for President of the United States of America since I was born in Korea. That leaves me liberated to at least express my opinions and views with those that will listen and I have found an audience that actually accepted my admission of past views and appreciated my progression. Dare I even admit I have found people that have walked a similar path? That is encouraging to me, a person who often thinks not many others consider subjects in a radically different way. To find those that consider it ok to admit that you have had a racist or improper thought and that the world will not forever label you as a hooded demon or extremist is a good thing in a current society that loves to ostracize those that dare to speak against the current “trending view” even if that view is still far in the minority of what everyone feels. The irony of this is actually remarkably bottomless, but it takes a certain type of cynical humor to appreciate it.
The daily interaction I have had with people from countries I have never visited is remarkable because it has broadened my mind and understanding of the different cultures out there. I am forced to recognize preconceived notions as ignorant and the resulting strengthening in character can only serve me in the future. I actually had a feeling the other day that even though I watch and read the news far less than I did, I still feel more connected to the world the individuals within it. I of course do not converse with every human on the planet, but I am speaking to far more people on a regular basis than I ever have in my life. That definitely expands your mind especially when you are not privy to topics that are perhaps not widely known about or discussed internationally. Someone once asked me why should we care so much, “why do you care so much?” I replied that the day we stop caring about a story, about a person, is the day that something dies. That is a sad thing to me.
Blogging has opened my eyes to the fact that it is a good thing for us to have a social fingerprint to be known by and perhaps even to be followed by. It allows me a little comfort to know that there are people that care if I am still alive and kicking, even if those people have never met me in their lives. I once blogged about a Saudi Blogger who received a grossly unjust sentence for simply creating a blog and forum to openly talk about religion. One commenter asked me what good it did to simply write about someone and I responded that by writing about someone we spread notice of their existence and in this case their trials or tribulations. I went on to say that I hope if I were in a similar situation that my readers and friends would also take to social media and campaign for my cause. People easily forget that we have a voice and that voice is as powerful as the engine you put behind it. I went from speaking to three hundred followers to twenty-five thousand in ten months and it is all due to one thing. I cared to get my voice out there.
Note: I stopped writing this. It won’t be completed
“She says she wants to shine a light into the darkness,” but thinks a blog will not accomplish the deed. Does she not realize that with every eye that looks upon her words, a heart might possibly be softened? A mind might be altered slightly? The power to share, to care, and to allow ourselves to affect others… “affect” because we are indeed changing them. It is a scary thought for some and this is not some super power we speak of. It is the power to care and that is a very human quality. That is a character trait that should never be overlooked and instead should be embraced.
A borderless world is social media. This land that we stand in now, these people of all colors and no color at all, their personalities created on fonts called Calibri and Times New Roman. And yet we know them as we do a character from a story we love to reread in the night. These connections are real, as much as some may scoff at silly chains of necessary friendship. These men adorn themselves with lofty titles of “Opinionated Man.” Ignore the wind, it is only the wind from America.
If you want to paint then paint. But if you want to change the world of others then paint the sun. Alter not only their perception, but their reality as well. Do this with pen, brush, keyboard, or word but do it because you do have the power. You have the power to care.
- -Do your parents speak English? No, they kind of wave their arms around and point at things while grunting.
- So do you like eat rice every day? So do you like eat fat every day?
- When did you come to this country? How do you know I wasn’t born here?
- Do you eat Asian food? While assuming we eat every type of Asian food you can think of IS annoying… also asking us obvious questions such as this one is pretty lame as well.
- Is that your dad? (points at random Asian man) No, is that your dad? (points at the first person he sees… man or woman.)
- Do you celebrate Chinese New Year’s? Do I look Chinese? Wait… don’t answer that. I SAID DON’T ANSWER THAT!
- Could you suggest a good Asian restaurant to go to? Sure, try The Drunken Chinese Chopstick Eating Dragon Wonton. I hear it is excellent!
- Go back to your country! If I did that who would do your math homework?
- What is the easiest Asian language to take for college credit… I just want to pass! Chinese is so easy and takes little effort. Go and be a star!
- Can you show me real quick how to use these chopsticks? How about I show you how to use a fork instead… deal?
1) I can walk to the park and start swinging my arms around and claim it is some form of martial arts when it isn’t and people will join in.
2) My eyes are so small I don’t really need shades. I buy them anyways because they make me look badass.
3) If I am ever lost in the woods I can create a fire with the chopsticks I always have with me.
4) I throw my hands at people like I am throwing a fireball and people actually get scared. Thank you Hollywood.
5) If someone has a problem with their cell phone I can normally take it, look at it for a few minutes, tell them they need a new one, and still look smart.
6) When people ask me math questions they believe me when I quickly say an answer, any answer, and hopefully they don’t realize it till they are down the hall.
7) If someone is about to approach me that I really don’t like I pull my cell phone out and start yelling “what sounds like Korean.” I don’t personally speak Korean, but no one wants to bother an angry Korean man.
8) I can drink anyone under the table in shots of Soju.
9) We look really young until the day we grow old. On that day we are as old as we are going to be till we die…
Man’s greatest triumphs can sometimes be found during his most difficult times of adversity.
This is my new saying when I reflect upon the “Dark Ages” of my life and my deepest days of depression. I am often not a praying man, which is odd considering my father is a priest and a doctor, and I don’t consider praying in times of need and praying to win the lottery as being a “praying man.”
I feel comfortable talking about my dark ages now, perhaps it is the mask of my pseudonym that gives me courage; but no, it is actually because I have moved on to greener pastures. My dark ages were a product of finding my birth mother at the age of 18. This came about in the most innocent of ways, in the form of a senior graduating gift from my adopted parents, my real parents in my eyes, a gift of adventure and excitement. It was a trip to Korea with a group of other adoptees from Holt International Adoption agency. I could never have dreamed prior to that trip, a trip I packed for with such excitement and enthusiasm, that it would be a trip that would usher in my darkest days. Granted, I had an acceptable childhood (no childhood is perfect), I had already struggled with demons of race and depression. I never considered that those demons would be small compared to the Devil I was about to encounter.
I really won’t get into the specifics of the trip unless someone asks or I am inspired to do so at a later date. Needless to say, since I have already provided the window to view it through, this trip was awful. I had been provided my adoption package by my adopted parents at an earlier time so I “thought” I was prepared for this trip. I “thought” there would be no surprises. I was wrong, depressingly wrong.
I found the information about my birth mother and my blood sister in Busan, South Korea, in a pathetic orphanage that I don’t even remember the name of. I have never liked hospitals or orphanages and I now knew why. No one, unless you are also adopted, can understand the pain that is brought when you are faced with the reality that you were not wanted. Add to this the pain that your mother decided one sibling was less trouble than you would be, and what you have is a maelstrom of emotions, regret, and anger. My storm could have killed me, it almost did.
When I returned I immediately went to college. A time that was supposed to be filled with excitement and growth, was instead filled with depression, anger, weed, and alcohol. I filled my time finding things to fill my “hole.” It did not help; it only delayed the sorrow and pain that I had to face eventually. When I dropped out of college after three and a half years the only welcoming I really wanted was a grave. Failure had become a part of me and it evidently had originated when I was left on that lonely street in Busan, South Korea in 1983.
I become a drunk. At 23 years old I was a first class alcoholic. I recently read Anthony Bourdain’s book “Medium Raw,” and part of my inspiration for writing this comes from him. The other part comes from my loving wife and my two wonderful children, all three of whom I continually feel that I do not deserve but I am forever thankful that I have. So thank you Anthony for the courage to speak or rather to write.
I remember, vaguely of course, stopping every day at Joe’s liquor store and buying a daily pint of the rawest whisky I could find, I believe it cost around $3 dollars a pint, and feeling like the drunks I had always despised I would begin to guzzle it on my short ride home. Before you judge, YES I know this was highly stupid of me and irresponsible, but who can ever say they were responsible while being depressed and drunk? If you know anyone that can make that claim I can in the same breath claim that bastard is a liar. Alcohol was my friend, my confidant, and his name didn’t matter whether it originated in Mexico, America, or hell even some African country. It didn’t matter as long as it felt good touching my lips.
It was late; I would say 3 am, when I saw him. He was not what I expected and I really can’t be sure if it was him or if he just gave me a glimpse of what I would see if I ever really met HIM. I was drunk; I think Braveheart was playing in the background. I was in the upstairs of my parent’s house, yes at age 23 I was living at home again another dagger to my heart, and I felt a presence at my door. In my childhood my father used to have the (then) annoying habit of standing behind us and watching our TV show with us. I never thought about it then, but looking back, he just wanted to be with us even if we did not particularly, at age 15, want him there. This presence was not a comforting one; I felt the hair on my arms stand. I saw a man, it was a man, but he was a shadow of a man at the same time. He looked at me and something awakened in me, it was fear. I had never been so afraid in my life. Keeping in mind that alcohol and weed are the nectar of the gods and that with those coursing through my veins I had thought myself fearless. I was mistaken. With one look the Devil showed me my humanity and all I could think was that I desperately wanted to live. I cried and shut my eyes and when I opened them he was gone. I still to this day do not know if I was dreaming, I really doubt it.
Fear can drive a man crazy, but it can also drive a man to life. I look back on that day and I realize that fear had kicked my ass back into gear. Today I am content. People ask me if I am “happy” all the time, I don’t think like that anymore. I look upon my life with my wife and my daughters and I realize… sometimes being content is enough.
If you want to read the rest of my adoption articles please visit http://aopinionatedman.com/category/my-adoption-articles/
She comes into your life and brings nature’s blessing. And with her entrance comes a curse of wanton passion. The grass is still alive as it blazes in the sun. The chorus of our laughter floats gently in the Spring breeze. We are the definition of love and our hands are linked as we dance amongst the growing and the grown alike. We enjoy timeless sunsets on picturesque settings creating canvases waiting to be painted at each moment. We love.
Time works wonders and bonds grow firm. We resolve to walk quietly into the night together. Hands held tightly against the shadows we once faced alone. We pick each other up in the heat of the Summer, against the blazing sun and humanity’s punishment. We turn as one, in unison with one another’s needs. I am your need and you are mine. And like an oak tree we grow together.
The rain has come and we have weathered storms. We still touch… but sometimes our hands Fall like leaves from our tired limbs. The chatter of children running around our base keeps us united, we are still united with finger painted signs and chalk figures. But some nights are cold and the moon shines two shadows upon the ground.
It snows here in Denver. The Winter seems to be most of the year… at least lately. But even with the constant ice, it does melt with the strength of will. A will we share each morning and return to each night. The seasons form a timeless ring that hardens into a golden promise. They touch each time our hands unite with infused emotion. Regardless of what emotion that is the presence of feelings means that we still care.
1. Stalk them online for months until you know everything about them. Then one day drop the bomb. Comment on their post, but tie everything in that they have ever said for the past year into one paragraph. You will impress the shit out of them… or scare the living shit out of them. Who wouldn’t love that?
2. Ask for help every day on every post. People LOVE to be helpful. It works seriously.
3. Naked photo of self or hotter self.
4. Pretend to be a little younger than you are and if you are really old a lot younger than you are.
5. Don’t tell people you have kids. I torture my readers with pictures of my kids all the time only because I am mean as hell.
6. Steal pictures off the internet of new locations so it looks like you travel the world every day. Be sure and include a new car, bottles of champagne, and hot women of course.
7. Pretend to be dying.
8. Battle a shark, youtube it, and lose.
9. Write offensive material that no one should give a shit about, but they probably all will.
10. Just tell us about your day. No one else is living that day but you so someone will find it interesting.
There was a time in my life when the land was covered in darkness. It did not matter what time of the day it was, there was simply no light. I walked the world a ghost and prayed to any god that would listen that he or she would simply end it for me. I wanted to die. I wrote the below poem in remembrance of that time of weakness.
And there they lay. The tools of the day. A razor, a pile of pills, and a bottle of Tanqueray.
I have stared in the mirror for hours. All have gone to bed. With each tear has come resolve. We may as well end it all. I hate you. With a hand I gulp the pills, the bottle is already near. I gulp death’s companion. And to the left are the backup dancers.
A letter to someone… I hope… anyone?
Never there is a reply. I say this aloud now as the razor cuts once, twice, thrice… and as the ice cold water washes away my sight. I feel life fleeing from my nearing empty vessel. And suddenly a wrongness, a surrender of an opportunity? I do not know.
And as the light flees the coming darkness, all I can do is embrace the growing warmth.
People fail to realize that there is depression and there is suicidal. To me suicidal is the point you reach when you just don’t care. You could give a shit less about heaven or hell, they are one and the same because your life has become a living hell. It doesn’t matter how many “do gooders” speak soft words in your direction, you only see darkness.
I remember well that time still to this day. The feeling of that night, sitting online and telling a few “close online friends” that I just didn’t care. That it was time to see what the next page brought. I remember a feeling of finality when I shut down my mother’s computer. My steps were almost light as I walked slowly upstairs. Neither asleep, nor really awake… I walked like a man in a daze to my bathroom. I starred at myself in the mirror for what seems like hours and in those precious minutes I decided I was ready to die. I made that choice. I took those pills and I drank that bottle to the head and I remember smiling. Because finally I didn’t feel so cold anymore. The warmth of death was my friend that night and I was ready to receive him.
It changes you… that type of experience. It is nothing to brag about and many might feel ashamed of that type of weakness. To feel ashamed of being human is a shame in itself. I was human that night, but I am lucky my humanity failed to die.
She draws upon herself with beautiful knives of steel. With each stroke she paints a picture of her pain… with pain. Each cut produces a blossom of relief followed by a single tear of desire. A yearning for relief so strong is present that the hand acts without thought. It creates etch marks upon the arms and legs to mark the turning of each page. Another chapter of depression is finished, marked by the flowing of blood. They form droplets of periods and commas on the floor that highlight the desire of the moment. The emptiness of the page that follows reveals more than a lack of desire to write. The absence of a picture paints the image of pain that would be understated by words. It is instead underlined by the “swishing” of a razor and a pained smile of contentment.
[This post has been edited from the original]
I have tried before to locate my sister. I have failed. Part of me wants to never try again. A lot of me hates that part of me. I will try again because there is always a chance she might see this. One can hope.
My name is Jason Chandler Cushman and I was born in Pusan, South Korea in 1981. I have a sister who is a few years older me. I believe she is probably 37 now and her name was Ahn Jung Hee, my birth mother’s name is Kim Ie Soo. Our mother left us on a street when we were young. I was 2 years old and my sister was 5 I believe. We were taken to an orphanage and my mother later returned for only my sister. That was the last time I saw her. I found this out when I returned to Korea in 2000 during a Holt International Motherland tour. I was 18 years old at the time.
In 2002 I pulled a prodigal son and asked my father for the rest of my college tuition so that I could return to Korea to find the rest of the answers from my 2000 trip. I was determined to not return until I found them. I did not find my family, but I found an answer. A simple one from my birth mother. “Stop trying to see us and do not try to find your sister. She is still with me.” My sister was probably 23 at the time.
I am now 34 years old and have long since given up most hope of seeing them. But then I began this blog in 2013 and created a realistic way of reaching them. If they care to be found and if anyone cares to share my story so that my sister might see it. My blog has been viewed over 300,000 times from South Korea alone. I pray that maybe one of those people can share my story in such a manner that it might be seen by the one I seek.
I’ve never asked much from anyone on social media. Never needed anything from any of you really. I find myself in the unusual position of needing help now and hoping that someone might care to try. If you could please reblog this post and share it on other platforms so that there is a chance my sister might see it I would appreciate it. It would honestly mean a great deal to me. Good things rarely happen without effort and even when effort is applied they still don’t always come to fruition. I can only hope, as I have hoped for a lot of my life, to see my sister just once. To let her know I am alive and ok and that sometimes in the night I feel her presence still… even though I do not know her face.
Sister – if you find this post and feel the urge to reach out to me I will be waiting. As I have been waiting since 1983.
I am including some info from the other post. Below is a photo of my sister, Ahn Jung Hee. My mother signed for her when she came back and got her. That guest log is below as well and the address written in English was my mother’s as recently as 2003.
Jason Chandler Cushman
Ahn Soo Jin
I walk upon broken hearts, like broken roads I have traveled before. A path full of cracked confidence, I step upon broken promises as well. Tender words lying next to words of anger. A testament to my reality. A perfect world does not exist for me.
Broken hearts like broken bridges. Forward is the course for me.
Shatter me, come shatter me. Punch me till you have your fill.
Confine me, come confine me. Boxing my ever growing will.
Release me, please release me. A change of heart I find at last.
Let go of me, please let me go. Freedom from my chasing past.
Hide me… hidden me. Hiding from myself each day.
Forgive me. Can I be forgiven? Comfort sought from digging graves.
Shatter my glass ceiling and cause the world I know to crash down upon me. Leaving shards of a broken reality in my hair. I shake myself loose from fading memory. At least I try to as I dance with a shadowy past. A past that seems to match me step for step lately. Under full moon or blood moon it still moves so well. I move so well with a hand that never lets go. I hover between a broken reality below and a broken ceiling above. An entrapment of my making.
Could I whisper past your ear. Past the meaning of words and into the motion of your heart. Could we beat together and still ourselves to the moment. Holding each other’s hands against the coming storm. Knowing I am here for you, I feel you now. Could I grasp a string from your soul to hold on for just a second longer. Giving me strength when I fail. Could I express my love when my love is forever changing. Growing as we grow together. Whisper me a hope so I might know the song. The song of your heart, let me make it mine. Intertwine my mind as you have my thoughts. Thoughts of you and me as it was meant to be. Love me as I love you. A whispered love together.
For you See
Disclaimer: I write lists because they amuse me. My humor may be found offensive to people easily offended. Don’t read the post if that pertains to you.
Pay someone to do it.
Wait till someone else does it.
Build an app that cleans your home.
Build a robot that hopefully cleans your home.
Hold a group prayer and pray the house cleans itself.
Hold a group prayer for a flood to wash your home away so you can have a brand new one. (Any floods that should occur in the near future are not my fault.)
Start a fundraiser on your blog for a nice Swedish maid.
Trick the kids into cleaning the home somehow.
Walk around the rest of the day with a blindfold on and hope you don’t break anything valuable.
Continue wearing blindfold throughout week and month.
Start quest for a magic lamp with a magic genie that grants real wishes… this time…
I should just go clean this damn house.
This flash holds my current project. On a whim I decided to put it on my keychain because I am reminded of it each time I touch it. Sort of that physical connection psycho babble people are always rambling about. I normally zone out.
I’ll be back and forth while I work on it. I hope everyone is doing well and your own projects are progressing. Time is something we all share the same amount of no matter how we wish it differently. I am trying to focus for 6 months because I think that is how long it will take.
Ever rewrite the intro so many times you never progress? I never thought I’d have that issue.
I do have an annoying post that has been floating around in my head and no matter what I drink it still keeps buzzing around.
My yesterday sounds like fallen bowls of bi bim bop. Of half known fears and half made tears. Seeking and never sought, a life lived but feeling bought. A man with opinion trying to opinionated his daily thoughts. I hope for a better tomorrow.
I forgot the bunnies!
I don’t care what you name your bunny.
I hope people remember me as I was and not as people claim I was. Hopefully drawing on any real interaction we may have had. I want to be remembered as a simple blogger. Nothing more.
We cannot live our lives cringing from the sound of every trigger we step on. Instead that sound should become like music to our ears as the cacophony of reality impresses upon us the reality of our conquest. We are taught now to ignore triggers and to steer clear of even the subject. In our politically correct society we are forced to forewarn people that “trigger warning” the words written here might actually mean something to you. Might actually affect you in some way.
When I look over my shoulder I do not see a past presented by picturesque Monet created pathways. Instead I am assaulted by the rawness of Memphis city streets alive with the power of memory. A painting littered with forgotten words and stained with pain born tears. A painting of reality is what my past presents and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I wake up to a trigger each morning. A Korean face looks back at me in the mirror and no matter how many times I splash myself with cold water, still the same slanted eye, half smile appears. It must be me. It has to be me. And yet that introduces the second trigger of my story, the power of acceptance. To accept what does not feel right, to be forced to be who you don’t think you are. Who cannot relate to such a feeling for differing reasons? The world is a melting pot of such forced persuasions as we are each told who we are and what we were meant to be.
I think the saddest part about my first two triggers is that they were decided for me. They were part of a path connected by an action one cold morning in Busan, South Korea. A morning when a mother decided she no longer wished to be a mother and in doing so she placed around my neck a necklace that did not hold a locket of love. Instead it held a golden trigger upon which was written a name. A meaningless name which was never to be used. A name that I sometimes wish I was. Ahn Soo Jin.
Jason C. Cushman
A Book of Triggers is an online book written by Jason C. Cushman on the blog aopinionatedman.com. All rights and copyright ownership to these posts and words are owned by Jason C. Cushman and HarsH ReaLiTy.
I live in a black and white world. Shades of indifference walk around me, beside me, we walk still. We hear the noise from the left and right. The world ignores the middle. And here we stand, those confined to the center away from the edges of humanity. Those of blends and trends, we bleed red and yet are seen as less than human. We feel the passion surrounding us daily and yet we can never relate. For where is the recognition for those with no recognizable color. We live our lives with colorless pride.
Having fame as a father is hard for many people. Actually I would go a step further and say it is hard on most children. Regardless if you are a young prince, a young peasant, or even a young robot having a famous father can be difficult to bear because of the large shoes and metal feet to fill.
My father is well known in the medical field. His name is Dr. William C. Cushman and he is the chief of hypertension at the VA Hospital in Memphis, TN. He is also a teacher at UT Med, chairman on the American Heart Association, a Priest, a great father, and a good husband. I aspire to be like him even though I am nothing like him. I owe everything to this man and I am humble enough to recognize when gratitude is owed. He is the smartest person I have ever met and I have met some pretty smart people in my life. I will never be as great or as dedicated as he is.
The Cushman family traces their lineage to David Cushman who helped organize the Mayflower and the pilgrim’s travel to America. Our family legacy owns a whole block of Boston, a city where many of us trace our line. I accept this history as my own because I have no history I wish to honor. I would rather be a side character in this family’s play than the main character in my own story. That is the harsh reality of the life of an adoptee.
I do not speak about my family much and for good reason. They have all done and are doing great things while I peddle away at the mediocre. I grow amused when people praise my blog and tell me what a success I am. I am not a success, not even close. I have a website with over a million views, but that really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. I am not saving lives like my brother or gaining promotions like my sister. I am not writing books like my mother or finding cures like my father. I am just living and the sad part about it is I am content with just living. When you never thought you would see past a certain age it becomes a joy to wake up to the sunlight each morning. I do not say that lightly or frivolously. I appreciate every waking breath because it is a gift from god and that to me is life.
Jason C. Cushman
Our rooms are painted with emotion as we live our life within them. We play our parts well under sun and stars. No script is needed as our hearts spar daily with one another. So passionate is the act our shadows join in the dance. They smile maniacally back at us as they observe the scene of the day. Random House… you present both ends of the essence of feeling and tie our humanity in a knot. Our hands meet and pause while we consider the mood of the moment. Moments spun together presenting life, the life found within the Random House.
Today I spent the day away from the comfort of my blog. Today I read blogs. I visited new blogs, I revisited old bloggers I’ve known since I started in 2013, I also found many blogs shuttered and it made me sad. I always physically stop my mind and wonder what happens to bloggers that close up shop and move on. If they have found something better to do with their time and what that new activity might be. I don’t allow myself to dwell on such thoughts for long though. Bloggers come and go like the seasons.
I think many people forget to be social when they begin to expect others to be social with them first. I have worked hard not to adopt that type of attitude. I set aside a percentage of time each day working towards new and old connections. I believe it is one of the most important aspects to blogging and I enjoy seeing how people are doing and progressing with their lives.
Honestly I am trying to inspire myself. I have felt that “bug” that bloggers get when they feel they may have “said it all.” I am hoping it is just a slump and that I’ll get over it. It is the first time I’ve felt this way about blogging. I have to admit I have grown bored lately. I guess that is what happens when you let your sail down and just float for a while. I can’t allow myself to float for too long.
In a country as diverse as America you may randomly get asked this question. I suppose that is to be expected, however, there are a few instances where I find it ridiculous. The main instance is when you and I have already had a conversation and THEN you ask me if I can speak English. “No Sir I can’t, I was really just nodding my head to the rhythm of your words…
It was a Saturday night and the wife and I had decided to go to Blackhawk, CO to play at the Indian casinos. We had an amazing time, namely because my wife was extremely lucky that day and hit two large jackpots on slot machines. We of course had a shot of patron for each win, but because I was driving I withheld the urge to have more beverages to celebrate. We stayed a few hours at the casino, more than enough time for me to process twice as much alcohol as I had, but we still made our way carefully down the mountain back towards Denver. The road can be remarkably dangerous and I knew this first hand having hit a deer in my brand new Eclipse a couple years earlier. Apparently deer have no regard for their own personal safety or the image of my baby car which I still mourn to this day.
As we made our way towards the one gas station located a few miles outside of Blackhawk I began to see red and blue lights ahead. I immediately thought it was either an accident or a DUI checkpoint, and sure enough the police were standing in the middle of the road conducting DUI “interviews” on passing cars. I say “interviews” here because the cops were actively talking to each driver and sending the ones they “suspected” of being under the influence to the dirt parking lot nearby. It was my lucky night.
“Sir have you had anything to drink tonight?” the cop asked me.
“I had a couple drinks three hours ago,” I answered honestly. I could actually feel the nervousness from my wife.
A second cop approached from the passenger side and shined his flashlight at me. The first officer placed his hand on his gun and said “I am going to need you to pull over so we can do a quick sobriety test.” He made it apparent this was not a request. “Please pull over slowly to the right and don’t allow your car to break contact from my hand” he said with what I imagine he thought was a stern demeanor.
I pulled slowly over, very slowly, and ensured his grip of authority never lost contact with my vehicle. I was a little nervous, not because of the possibility of blowing over the limit, but because both the cops were white and I have a large suspicion about law enforcement in general. Namely that I think police are worthless for the most part, at least in many of the cities I have lived in, and they seem more gauged at causing trouble for the law abiding citizens than the criminals. Once I had parked my car the cops motioned for me to get out of the vehicle.
The police explained to me that they had pulled me out because they smelled alcohol on my breath. I thought “bullshit” because I had only had two shots and after those I had eaten and drank non-alcoholic drinks. There is absolutely no way he smelled anything but my Febreze air freshener. I was very confident because I knew I was fine to drive and that these cops were just looking for a criminal if they could find one. We spoke for a few minutes in which I explained why we were in the mountains, because apparently Asians don’t travel into the mountains at night because they melt from the high altitude, and then he dropped the question on me.
“Before we begin I need to ask if you speak good enough English to talk to me. Do you need a personal translator?”
I had a hard time biting back my retort which would have thrown me in jail. The deciding factor was his partner who still had not taken his hand off his gun. Overaggressive policemen are not hard to find and they frequent Youtube these days on viral video after video. I wasn’t about to be the next “when police attack video” that got a million hits, it wasn’t worth sacrificing the beauty of my face just for a viral video. But seriously where does a guy get off asking me if I speak fucking English when we just spoke for several minutes and my vocabulary obviously exceeds your own?
We began the test and let me point out that giving ANYONE a DUI test on a gravel parking lot is complete bullshit. I have trouble enough walking a straight line in the street, add some rocks and I definitely wasn’t looking very coordinated. I am a part-time ninja, but I can’t do shit without my ninja outfit. The issue arose when we began the ABC test which consisted of me saying the alphabet backwards. Now I don’t know about the rest of you, maybe I am just a dumbass, but I have never practiced saying the ABCs backwards. Why would anyone learn to do that? I was about two vowels away from getting tackled before I made it through finally. It wasn’t pretty, but I suppose I could have simply said “I guess I really don’t know English…”
So what ends up happening? After all five tests, YES FIVE TESTS, were done the idiot ends up giving me a Breathalyzer test and guess what this non-English speaking Korean blew? 0.00, that is what. I refrained from giving the cops any sign language as we drove off and I am surprised they didn’t chase after me for “accelerating too fast.” What can I say? Cops love me.