am I an afterthought to an action. An expression to a regret or a regret to an expression. Would it matter if you adorned me with a name, but never owned me. Never claimed me in the night like every night that I waited and still wait. One eye to the door expecting it to open and the other to life and knowing you will never come. Silent steps will always be silent. Steps of my dreams where they and you will always remain.
Sometimes I hate you OM. This fake persona that I have created that takes up my time. You are my creation, I get that, but you also were something of an afterthought.
An afterthought, ouch, I have never been called that before.
Is it odd that I can now safely call myself that? We are no longer talking between just you and I are we? Wasn’t it better when we screamed in the dark? Who opened the door… it was you OM.
But we are the same, are we not?
We are the same but you speak what should not be spoken. You say what should be left unsaid. And yet that was what we discussed was it not?
It was, we agreed in blood. Blood not spilled, since we share the same heart.
I am beginning to wonder if you have a heart. You seem to dislike the world, is that true? Or are you being unfairly judged?
We are all being judged, it just isn’t always spoken. I revel in judgment.
I don’t, I thought we were supposed to revel in anonymity that was provided through our creation? When did we change our plans?
We have always had this plan. You created me… and now I create you.
Broken man, you break so well. Broken, breaking, falling down. Breaking man, see your crown. Broken and now two halves for sale. Fallen man, how far you fell. Slipping from so high to hell. Broken man, can you break some more? How much more do you think you can endure.
I will sing a song of mockingbirds and yell against the wind. No time like now, it must be now, I might as well begin. The timeless tale has yet to be told, my pen still wet with ink. And so I sit and ponder still, for a thought I think, I think. Mystery in past decisions, and future steps tonight. Could I write the past so clear, my hand thinks it might. I close my eyes to doubt, she sits upon my bed. Always with sweet words that go so well with my meds. Tanqueray and misguided kisses, I dream about what she says. Can I write, shall I write, she spurs me ahead. I will write, please help me write, I begin to beg. Writing at least, finally written, it has finally been said.
We box lives daily and fit people into perfect squares. If they don’t fit, we make them fit by forcing their proportions to our desire. Boxing lives we kill life without a thought. Carelessly we destroy dreams and hopes because to allow another to overshadow us is a depressing thought. We find depression waiting under their shade. Motivated by constraint, we often constrain those we love. For who wants to wallow in despair alone? Sadness is only found in failure when you walk the path by yourself… a hand in the night feels so right.
Box us together.
A single snowflake lays in a field. Alone he waits for death and somehow contemplates the irony of it all. Who the hell ever heard of a single snow flake falling?
He thanks his maker still that he fell facing up. It would have been a shame to slowly melt away his life facing down towards the ground, possibly watching his life passing forth life to another. Lucky blade of grass. Who the hell made you so genetically superior that you reap the benefit of my death?
But instead of wasting his single tear on despair, he swallows emotion for the moment the way a frozen heart only can. He looks to the sky to where he assumes his maker is. For had he not fallen from the sky? Whichever brightly shining bulb of light had conjured him, even for what is more and more feeling like only mere minutes, he still gives thanks. And as he feels his heart begin to evaporate he starts to find peace in his melting life.
In Afghanistan, a young soldier lies on the ground alone. His blood is seeping through his fingers as he tries to hold his life in for just a bit longer. His last thoughts are of his family, the love for his mother, and his loyalty to a country that has hated him since he got here. He gasps for air. And as death approaches he opens his mouth in defiance, but all that comes out is a silent never-ending scream.
A young prostitute in Thailand weeps in her room. It is nothing more than a shack. Her first customer has just left, her first time ever, and all she can do is hold herself. The feel of her own skin repulses her. The tears have all been shed; there don’t seem to be any left. All she can think of is the shame she has brought on herself and on her family. Her wails turn into a silent scream, a scream that only ends when the next customer arrives.
A young man runs with his friends in India. They are trying to escape the coming sirens that seem to have surrounded them. He had not wanted to come, but his brother had forced him. Now a young woman is dead and all he can think of is the horror he has just witnessed his friends and brother commit. “It cannot be real,” is what he keeps telling himself as he runs till his lungs feel like they will burst. As he rounds the corner a club hits him on the back of the head and he falls with a silent scream, a fall that will last the rest of his life.
In Chicago a young mother waits by the phone. Her son has been out all night and there have been news reports of violence in the surrounding neighborhoods. She is not overly worried, she has a good kid and he does not affiliate with any of those bad groups. The phone rings and startles her, taking a couple years off her life. The voice on the other end is saying something… she makes out two words. Her son’s name and the word “dead.” The phone drops from her hand as she begins to scream… a silent scream that only the angels can hear.
A man walks out onto his porch. He stares into the night and closes his eyes. There are times when you can hear them, the silent screams, they fill the night and slay sleep.
You stand proud and sure of your own worth. The knowledge and intellect that you have you use for your own understanding. You seek answers even when answers are given. Always curious, nothing is safe from your scrutiny. You argue and laugh seemingly without mercy. You list your reasons and you hold to your convictions. You do not need man, woman, or child telling you what to believe. Dusty books and literature hold no meaning. There is no truth but the one that you uncover. You have heard man’s thoughts, let them hear yours. You are the God Killer.
I see my train of thought. A giant yellow train worthy to be seen. The front of the train, I don’t know what it is called, but the fucker sure is big. I imagine my train is most likely one of the best trains ever built. It is yellow because I am tired of the blacks and whites.
I believe it is a coal train. Yes, yes indeed it is. I see a yellow man shoveling that coal, damn look at him shovel. Must be why we are going so fast, hell of a ride. Oop, look there goes another white train… slowly losing us in our dust. And a black one, red one I start to lose count. It doesn’t matter because my train is obviously winning. What a great fucking train.
We live our lives along perfect lines. Striving to duplicate cheated acts of perfection. A line is never perfect and yet we constrain it till it is. Till it must be.
Perfect lines in an imperfect world. How we outline our lives each day with our personality. Walking lines with printed happiness. How happy must they be?
Perfect line, I seek you still. Through constrained perception I seek my own true line. A line not just to walk by, not just to live along, but to guide my hand. Through dreams of perfect strokes.
“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.
It is a Friday night and I am just now getting ready for the school football game. It is my sophomore year of high school and things have changed somewhat. My friends and I are able to drive, life is a little bit more fun, but the bullying still exists on a frequent occasion. I yell that I am leaving to my mom and rush out the door to my waiting friends and the feeling of freedom and the lack of adult supervision for a few hours. It would be a long few hours.
I don’t remember much of the game, which is odd because I rarely went to football games or large school events as it only invited more opportunities of conflict. I recall it was a nice humid evening, in Memphis, Tennessee, as we pulled into my parents’ house. I remember the familiar double beep of the alarm as I opened the door. In front of me was the door leading to the pool area of our home and to my right was my mother crying. Wait, why was my mother crying?
“Mary is dead,” she says as she rushes to hug me. Shock… I didn’t even cry when I heard the news, possibly because I did not want to believe it. I stored that sadness for later.
Mary had been living with us for the better part of the year of 1998 while she “reorganized” her life. She was smart, witty, had a great sense of humor, and a smile that could slay a room of men. She was from Jackson, Mississippi, where I had grown up and my mother’s hometown. Mary’s mother was my mother’s good longstanding friend. The other connection was through our particular sect of church which had a close knit group of friends from both cities, many of whose parents had gone to college together. Mary was important.
For a kid that had few things going for him, the attention she showed me was amazing considering she was in college already. To a sixteen year old boy, who’s every friend both in school and church was murderously jealous of him for being able to see her every day, this was a huge deal. And now all that was gone. I have a couple special memories with her, oddly enough both involved smoking cigarettes. My always “good for bad habits at the time” brother had introduced me to the joys of nicotine, so I would sneak out and have one on the occasion. When Mary arrived the first week she offered to drive me home from church one night, she had a white Pontiac Grand AM. I will always remember that car. We drove off and as soon as she hit the corner she had one lit. I laughed, and when she glanced at me in question I made a gesture for one to which she gave me with another surprised look.
“Yea, I thought I had caught a smell of smoke the other night, but your perfume does a good job of masking it,” I said with a grin.
“Just don’t tell your mom,” she replied with her memorable laugh.
The second memory is stronger, Mary had been dating my best friend Tim’s brother for a few weeks, but one night she rushes in my room. “I need a cigarette so bad!” she cried with a dramatized sigh. “Quitting for Michael not going so well?” I say with a chuckle as I fish mine out. “No it is not, but I don’t want to leave the house your mom might wonder.” It quickly becomes apparent that with the help of my sister our best option was to climb out one of our second story windows and smoke on the roof. It is one of my best memories of her, maybe of my past, I have. I remember feeling free from my troubles that very minute as we smoked our Marlboro Lights, and for a boy with multiple internal and external struggles going on, this was a blessing.
“They are saying they think she was hit by a drunk driver on the way to visit her mom,” my mother says with a sob. Mary had left that morning. My sister and I had come home to a handwritten note left in our shared upstairs living room telling us to be good and for me to be nice to my sister. It was the type of thoughtless gesture that still touched your heart that Mary was known for and I don’t mean that in a frivolous sense. Her smile could have brightened your day.
We are in Jackson, Mississippi at our old church, Mary’s church. It is a strange thing to know everyone at two separate churches from different cities, but my family does. My father is a Priest, an assistant pastor as he is a full-time physician, so we are forced in a sense to know everyone. I walk to the church doors and I see her coffin. I have never seen a dead body before, is her body ruined? It is my first real encounter with death and I have still not cried. This is possibly one of the two sources from which I learned the lesson of “delayed pain.”
I take a deep breath and walk in. As I approach her body I can feel eyes on me. Everyone knows that she was staying at our home, everyone knows who I am, but most don’t know how this girl, this woman, made an uncomfortable, depressive Korean kid feel like the world might be ok to live in. No one knew that her friendship was like a physical hand on my soul, comforting. As I approach her coffin and I see her face, so pale and still, I am suddenly angry. Nothing good lasts, is my thought as I turn abruptly away and stride quickly down the center aisle and out the door.
It is even more humid and hot in Jackson, than it is in Memphis. I am sitting on the steps of the church as my Godfather, my best friend Tim’s dad actually, comes out to see if I am ok.
“You really cared for her, I know son, it is ok to grieve, ” he says while laying a comforting hand on my shoulder. I tense, for I do not normally like to be touched, but from him it is ok. From him it was a trigger.
I begin to cry.
For Mary, Memory Eternal 1998.
Those things we do. I have many vivid memories of obvious mistakes I have made in my life. Some were major and others minor. I suppose my project has put me in a reflective mood, so I thought I would share a few.
“You want my autograph?” – I remember hearing my name. “Jason!!! COME UPSTAIRS NOW!!!” I of course proceeded to climb those stairs as slowly as possible. You never want to rush into things you know are a bad situation and anytime you hear your mom use that high pitched, shrill sounding voice you know shit has literally hit the fan. Like any other seven year old I had a number of things I “thought” she might be angry at, but I wouldn’t know what it actually was till I saw her. “Did you write in sharpie on your brother’s window sill” my mother immediately asked upon my arrival. I did what any other boy my age would have done. I lied. “Nope, wasn’t me…” I said confidently. “THEN WHY DOES IT SAY YOUR NAME?” Oh… oops…
Betrayal At Krondor – This was my favorite PC game as a kid and it was light years ahead of other rpg games! Unfortunately at the age of 14 I did not have a PC of my own… this was back in 1995 in case you were curious. I solved this problem by formatting my mother’s hard drive so it would fit the 9 hard disks required for downloading the game. How was I to know that format meant – remove forever! I remember thinking at the time, while being yelled at, that it was a serious flaw to place a self-destruct button on a machine that was so valuable.
Dogwoods in Memphis – The first home we lived in on Stonewall had two beautiful dogwoods in the front yard. They were a kid’s dream for climbing and also beautiful to behold once their blossoms opened. I thought at the time that it was a shame that the only thing ugly on that tree was the bark. So I decided to peal it off. I was probably around the age of 8 and I was so proud to show my parents what I had done. It became apparent I had made some type of miscalculation from the look of horror on my mother’s face. My father was furious… it wasn’t like I had cut down a cherry tree or something. In my defense those trees survived and no one ever hugged those branches for dear life like I did.
“Dude Jason… I think we had a wreck…” – We were driving home from Nashville after a night of partying when I fell asleep at the wheel. It had never happened before, but fortunately this time I didn’t hit a car. What I did do was tear up five yards of guard rail, hit a bridge column, and the car ended up catching fire and being destroyed. Did I mention that it happened to be Father’ Day morning and it was possibly my dad’s car…
“Well that doesn’t fit… dammit!!!” – Recently I have discovered I suck at home repairs. I should not be allowed to do them. I decided to surprise my wife by switching out the back sliding door handle with a locking handle instead. Well it helps if you look inside and see what type of door it is. Unfortunately I tried to put a normal lock on a latch handle opening. For those that don’t know, that is kind of like the square peg in the round hole scenario. Needless to say, my wife was pretty pissed at the large hole I had drilled for the handle that didn’t fit.
*Marlboro lights – You remind me of Mary. I miss her dearly. She was a great friend, a confidant, a shining light in my life during a time I needed some light. Taken too soon from us, you will be missed.
*Kids on bikes – I am reminded of when I was younger and still living in Jackson Mississippi. I had a small dirt bike, a hand me down from my brother, and all my friends had nice new “multiple speed” bikes that were just coming out. Needless to say I lost every race. I recall often times throwing my bike into a dirt ditch in frustration.
*Dirt ditches – Anytime I see a street or neighborhood without a sidewalk I am reminded of Jackson, MS. Many of the neighborhoods in Jackson don’t have sidewalks and I get a familiar tingle when I see the same thing in other cities. Ever felt like you were walking down a memory?
*Throwing Stars and nunchucks – I get a vivid memory when I think or see these words. It reminds me of Knoxville, TN. My Asian friends (and the token white dude) were in the parking lot of one of the dorms on campus hanging out. My Filipino friend decided to show us his nunchuck skills. I will say here that he was pretty good. To this day I do not recall any glances of fear or alarm from those passing by, but someone obviously called the cops. A cop car screeched into the parking lot and two white sheriffs stepped out with guns drawn. “Get your hands up and drop the weapon!” We looked at each other in confusion, but of course complied. After making sure we were not a threat, we were left with one last memorable statement. “You boys don’t have any throwing stars or knives do you?” Nice…
*Captain Morgan – Cigarette thrown, angry Korean, guy gets a bloody nose, more rum.
*Wendy’s after midnight – Knoxville, TN we pulled up and ordered almost everything on the menu. As we got to the window we decided it was an appropriate time to spark up. The lady at the window looks over her shoulder for her manager and then says “give me a hit and the food is free.” Win!
*Seattle Washington and stupid buses – So I arrived in Seattle in the summer of the 2000 for the motherland tour to Korea which I write about in my adoption story. I arrived a day earlier so the other people going on the trip were not yet there. One girl was and she invited me to go downtown to the mall to meet some of her friends she had not seen in some time since she was not from Seattle. I agreed and we saw a bit of Seattle and I quickly fell in love with the city. When it was time to go she decided to hang around and I told her I was fine getting a bus back to the airport hotel we were staying at. The problem was that at the age of 18 I had never actually ridden a city bus before. I figured it would be as simple as walking to the opposite side of the street and getting a bus going the opposite direction. How was I to know, I was from Memphis, TN where you don’t ride a bus unless you have to… ever. Needless to say I did not get to my destination and I was forced to ask a police officer, like the orphan that I was, how to get to the airport. Embarrassment
*Scottsdale, AZ – One of the few memories I have of my father and I spending time together. I don’t begrudge him, he is my role model when it comes to providing for a family. He was always busy, but as a chief physician and a teacher at medical schools that shouldn’t be unexpected. It is to a kid though. Scottsdale was beautiful and my father was giving a talk at a place called the Phoenician, which was a Ritz. It was my first Ritz… I will remember forever the mother of pearl swimming pool there. Amazing
*San Antonio, TX – Basic training. Getting a post card 3 weeks in from my family on an Alaskan family reunion cruise. Miserable
*Cracker Barrel – This place is really white and even though I am with white parents I never belonged there. One of the few restaurants I have ever felt that way. I don’t go there anymore.
*The 3 – My two friends and I as kids were the 3 forwards on our soccer team and we kicked some 10 year old ass back in the day. Those fools never knew what hit them…
*The Year Off – My transition from junior high to High School was funny because the inner city schools in Memphis, TN have never had strong soccer teams. When my friends and I entered into the “system” many city soccer coaches took notice because there was literally a “team” of us in the same 2 grades. I remember as we were getting ready to enter High School that I met my future coach, a real pompous braggart that was one of those soccer coaches that dresses as if he is a player too… give it up. He would even try to show us techniques, which was amusing considering most of us played competitive soccer since the school soccer was really just amusing to us. That was the year I “took a year off from soccer” to play golf. The High School coach was not pleased, he wanted us all on his new “super team.” Tough shit Sherlock, I don’t regret it to this day asshole.
*Pre-AP English – “You won’t ever be a good writer. Many people aren’t great at writing, try something new.” So motivating…
*AP English – “Mom I got a 4 on the AP English exam! Can I go shove it in Mrs. ___ #@$%#@%@#$ face?”
*12th grade Art class – My first in school fight that I got caught for. In my defense… it was self-defense. Memorable line from the Principle “we punish all offenders equally here!” My mother “well that is the stupidest shit I have ever heard!” Love…
*2008 – You are released from service Airman. “OMG… OMG”
*The King and I – I was one of the Emperor’s children in a traveling Broadway production of The King and I in Memphis, TN. That was one of the greatest memories of my childhood.
*Boy Choir – I miss my voice. I was a soprano till I was 16 years old. I got made fun of, but I didn’t care. Now I sound like a mortician.
*HarsH ReaLiTy – “This online journal should be a fun and relaxing way of writing a diary…”
WoW it is ugly. I’m allowed to say that right?
The theme said “open and appealing” so I thought I’d go with it. If I have to suffer you have to suffer.
Tears falling from a bottomless cloud. They float forever in an endless sky. I look up through the heavens and see another heaven. Witnessing moments punctuated by the dropping of life on my forehead. I close my eyes and allow the world to wash over me. Caring not what is taken, I freely give a part of my heart. I give it all away until I stand heartless, helpless against the coming change. A change of heart.
Her name was Kitty. She was an elderly woman at my church and that is all I knew to start off, other than the fact that suddenly I had been “tasked” with fixing random stuff at this old woman’s apartment. I believe that if you had asked me on the first day going to Kitty’s house what my feelings were they would have been a perfect mixture of dread and loathing. Dread because I had no idea what this lady was about to ask me to do, and loathing because I had so many other more important things that a fifteen year old could be doing.
I never knew her story till later on, after she had gained my friendship. Sad that I think of it that way, her gaining my friendship, when in the end I couldn’t have been more honored to have hers instead. I remember the first day arriving at her place, it was the only time I ever had her pick me up, it was the scariest ride of my life. If a fifteen year old is scared in the car then the car ride is definitely freaking scary. I remember being so close to fire hydrants that I just closed my eyes and waited for the car to either stop or crash. She never wrecked though… amazingly enough. It did not fortify my faith in the elderly driving, however.
Kitty had a best friend, her dog Sunny. Sunny was a Chow and he was gorgeous. Called Sunny because of his fluffy yellow coat, he was an energetic dog and I could tell that the bond between owner and pet was much more than social. They had a pact, a friendship that was stronger than it probably should have been. I say that because later on I found out why this friendship was so close, Kitty had no one else in her life. Her story was another reason for me to hate “some” organized religion. The callous nature in which her former best friends had treated her made me want to go to their nursing home and break every shuffle board stick there.
Kitty had grown up in a Protestant church (I am using Protestant here because I am not sure of the denomination) for most of her life. For some reason, I have forgotten the exact cause, she decided to search for something else. The odd part is that she searched for a new religion late in life after she was well passed the ages in which discovery should be important or happening. She was at a mature enough age that she should have already decided how she felt about most things life had thrown at her, instead she was facing new challenges and questions every day. When Kitty found my Orthodox Church she was embraced by the parishioners there, as is our custom. What we later found out was that all of Kitty’s lifelong friends from her old church immediately shunned her when she left. They cut her off like a cancer cell.
This was not some sixteen year old girl going through a high school drama episode. I might have begun to understand that, at least to a degree, no this was something far crueler in my eyes. Who cares where someone goes on one day of the week as long as your voices are going in the same direction. True, I do see a difference in other people’s churches and mine and other people’s god and mine own, but that does not mean that I discriminate against those people in regards to friendship. This was a truly sad moment in my own religious journey, as I learned just how important people feel about some issues in life. Those people felt so indifferent to her that they did not even show up at her funeral some years later, a funeral I was proud to be a pallbearer at.
In loving memory.
Half done. Has to be done.
The past unknown can be bore, when no knowledge is had of that which was tore.
When the seal of history is cut, A piece of your heart can be seen to jut.
From that wound so small, so infinite. All you knew is surely bent.
Pain deeper than any well, can surely seem like the fires of hell.
But that pain, that gift, although so small, Starts the pieces of the puzzle to fall.
That puzzle, the key, to finding yourself, Is the inner soul’s manna, its being, its health.
That stranger that walks a different life, with whom you have so much strife.
Your identical twin, your brother, your soul. Whose relations with you takes its toll.
It is his place you wish to be. To be able to say, hey this is me.
But his life is not your path to take. The Gods have rolled their dice, it is their choice to make.
What trials and tribulations each shall endure, we should rejoice we don’t have more.
Kill the image you wish to be, Your fate before you never flee.
Until those gates you should climb, Be glad of the days that you may dine, On the fruits of life and wine.
Until you dance with death and die, To spit in the devil’s eye.
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