absence makes the heart grow fonder… even when you aren’t sure who you’re missing.

As you may have noticed, I’ve been absent yet again… Guilty as charged. (This small legal pun is also the result of my recent binge-watching of “Suits” from the USA network… Dude. Addictive.)

Here’s what I left you out on:

A) I wrote my post about supporting gay parenting (if you missed it, you can read it here), and 350 people who viewed my blog that day restored my faith in the kindness of humanity.

B) My first pieces for the city of Daegu was published on the city blog for foreigners (my other, actual paid, gig). You can read them here and here.

C) I went back to my beloved Americas for two weeks and basically ate the entire time I was there. It was awesome.

D) I came back to Korea to find myself right in the middle of an office war charged by personal dislike rather than actual work-related issues.

E) I decided the best way to snap out of my pity-driven depression was to train for and run a half marathon in September.

F) I’m currently writing this while I sit and meet my first Tinder “date,” which I’m not expecting much of anything out of… Want to know more about my involvement with Tinder? Read it here.

So, lots of stuff. Don’t worry, I won’t throw everything in your face from the above points in this single post. I know we have a lot of catching up to do, Reader, so I won’t smack you with it all at once.

Maybe the best place to start is to tell you about how I’ve felt since I’ve been back in Korea. I mentioned above that I’m now involved in a very personal workplace fight… Turns out that not even Korea is exempt from having people who will fight dirty to appear victimized and can’t stand to not be the center of attention. It all sort of started before I left for the States. Without delving into the details and boring you (because it sounds like a movie depicting a high school feud between girls), I’ll say this: I was pissed, and I think I had every right to be. However, I will also be the first to admit that I probably didn’t handle it in the best way.

If you know me, you know that I don’t forget easily and I don’t tend to forgive without an issued apology first.

I didn’t get that apology, and what started as an inter-office disagreement has blown up into a personal attack against me. The lines have been drawn, and the other side is literally trying to recruit other women to her side. Seriously? I thought this kind of thing only happened on TV (like on “Suits”), but I guess I was wrong. And while I could defend my side and blow the opposition away in a “legal” battle, my workplace isn’t a courtroom and I’m on my own. What were somewhat simple disagreements have turned into a fight I didn’t know I needed to have. The game has just begun. Now, the job I loved and the place I felt so comfortable has become my prison. I feel like I’m serving out a sentence with no chance of parole.

I love teaching, Reader. I’ve decided it’s what I was meant to do. I’ve decided to pursue becoming a “real” teacher with legit credentials so I can actually make a career out of it and make more than the $26,000 a year than I’m making now. I didn’t take this job to make a ton of money, but I took it to see the world and to see if it was the right avenue for me. And you know what? I feel like it was. Do I regret it? Nope, not for a second. But, I also didn’t sign up for this bullshit situation that I now find myself in.

I’ve felt so conflicted about this that I also kept feeling like I just needed to let it out. You know, like, have a great big nasty cry about it. (As a woman, this is how I deal with some things.) I’m not a crier by nature, so I have to plan for these sorts of things. I need a sad movie, the death of a beloved animal or loved one (harsh, I know), or some of the worst news ever: every Starbucks, everywhere, is closing for good and there’s nothing I can do about it. (Thank god that last thing has no hope of ever happening during my lifetime.) I didn’t have [or want to make] time for a sappy movie. No one was dying (which I’m thankful for). And most importantly, Starbucks is still going strong. So, it seemed I wasn’t going to get that cry I felt like I so desperately needed. Until the other night.

It just hit me. (Well, and I read this.) It crept up on me in the middle of the night like a silent assassin… And you know what I realized? That I feel trapped. I also realized some things that I don’t think I would have ever admitted before blubbering like an idiot on my own and talking to myself in the dark…

Like, why I really came here.

What I really wanted my life to look like.

Why I’m so determined to be independent and don’t really ever want to get married or have kids.

I’d say I tend to side with the feminists. I believe that women should be strong. Free to make our own choices. We don’t need men to take care of us; but it’s okay to *want* one to do that. The thing to remember, here, is that we don’t *need* you. We want you to want us. To *want* to take care of us and to provide. But we don’t need you.

I stand by that belief for myself. But Saturday night, in those moments in the dark by myself, I realized that while I don’t need anyone to take care of me, I do actually still want it for myself. I want someone to want to take care of me but also support my decision to be strong and to hold my own in the job of my choice. To not expect me to stand in the kitchen and whip up a meal every weeknight and to just “put out” because as the wife, that’s part of my responsibility. I realized that I did want a kid or two with someone who genuinely wanted to co-parent with me. Someone who wanted to spend thousands of dollars and lose years of sleep just so they could do it with me.

I realized that I wanted these things… I realized that my excuses of selfishness were true, but only half the story. Sure, I admit to being selfish: being in a committed relationship means that it’s not all about me anymore. It means that I am a responsible party in an agreement with another human being and that my life would then revolve around the decisions and changes we made together. I wouldn’t be able to simply worry about me anymore because I’d have someone else to factor into every decision and life change. That puts a damper on things. In the same token, I’m selfish and don’t want children. The same reasons I don’t want a relationship apply here, too. I would finally have to become financially responsible… Not to mention that vacations (especially to Disney World) wouldn’t be all about me anymore…

While all these things are true and I am willing to admit to my selfish ways, I also had to admit to myself that the thing I am most terrified by is “falling in love.” If I fall in love, I might sell myself, and my potential to accomplish what I want to in life, short. I’d be signing my own life-sentence: being a part of a family. Additionally, I had to admit to myself that while I fear these things, I also still really want them, deep down inside…

I still want to be a mommy with someone who wants to be with me through it. If the right person came along, I realized that I would sign that life sentence I spoke of.

I will, however, also say this: That dude, if he actually exists, would have to really sweep me off my feet. While I want to continue down the path I’ve started, it would take some serious feelings to make me leave it. But, it would be easier for me to settle down and raise a family in the Americas if I was already there.

Hence, Korea.

I’m scared of losing my independence and my “I’m a bad bitch” attitude and selling out for “love.” So I came to Korea. To learn if I wanted to teach. But also to make it immeasurably harder for me to be lured into cohabitation and giving in to my uterus pleading with me to grow a human.

Being away has been eye-opening for a number of reasons. It has allowed me to realize that every day I become more of the person I was meant to be. It has helped me find passion in my work and led me to a line of work that I have grown to love. It has taught me that sometimes vulnerability is the best way to learn about our true selves. For the first time in a long time, I became happy here. But it has also made me recalculate why I came here and how long I should stay before moving on to the next chapter.

I’m still single and proud.

I’m still a strong and independent woman. Those things won’t change. Not ever. Not for anyone. But maybe someday I’ll trade the “single and proud” title for “matched and complete.”

We’ll see.

2 Comments

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Good to hear from you again. Knowing more about who you are and what you want to be will help you make the right decisions regarding those next steps. Good luck with all of it.

  2. Pingback: pains and gains… it hurts to grow | a little bit brave

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