Tag Archives: female independence

my “momma” is leaving me…

Yesterday, I said goodbye to one of my closest friends. Over the last year and a half, Kacie became an unlikely friend. As a member of the military, it was unlikely that our paths would ever cross. But lucky for me, she posted on a community Facebook group looking for a babysitter and I replied. It was a match made in Korea.

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shopping for boots is literally the worst…

So I have a little predicament.

I want some new boots. Actually, I can honestly say I need new black boots for this year. And frankly, the brown ones are on their way out, too… So, I’m shopping. And let me tell you, Korean standards of “fashionable” and my standard don’t line up. They have some boots, but I don’t like them. Korean women also tend to be very fond of having heels on everything. I just want a flat, riding boot…

Not to mention, Korean women have, like, the smallest body proportions, well, EVER. So, if you want boots, I hope you have legs like pencils.

Guess what? I don’t have pencil legs. I have meaty, runner-girl calves. Also, I’ve been told I inherited my massive leg circumference from my father… (Thanks, Dad.)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ll be the first to [somewhat humbly] admit that I have great legs… You wouldn’t know that I have this, eh, “problem.” That is, until I go boot shopping. It’s not just a problem in Korea, it’s an international problem I face. Ever since my first pair of boots in high school, I knew I would struggle the rest of my life.

And now, here I am, in a foreign country, and I’m forced to look online for boots that will fit my meaty trunks. I face international shipping charges, pain in the ass return policies (if it’s even possible), and tons of guesswork just to get boots to fit my friggin’ legs. And let me just say: it’s a jungle out there.

Amongst all the decent-looking boots, there are some real horrors. For example, take a look at the “Hades Women’s ‘Caymene’ Steampunk Scaley Knee-high Boots” in white:

not my idea of "classy..."

not my idea of “classy…”

This isn’t quite what I had in mind, but I happened upon it and thought I might share it with you, dear Reader. (Honestly, who the hell would wear these?!) If you’re interested, just waltz yourself on over to Overstock.com and search these bad boys out. They’re also available in brown and black, just in case you were wondering…

Or of course, over at Overstock.com, there’s always the “Nature BreezeWomens ‘Vickie-hi  Slouched over-the-knee Boots” boots… in LEOPARD. Just in case you were hoping to look like Fran Drescher or someone:

Vickie Who???...

Vickie Who???…

Alas… I don’t think I’m going to find the “perfect pair” tonight. So instead, I think I’ll just give up and go to bed. The hunt will carry on tomorrow!

Wish me luck, Reader. Apparently, I’m really going to need it…

this year, it changes.

Hey, Reader. Long time, no… Well, you know.

I haven’t written in a few months and I’ll be honest: I haven’t been motivated. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. Trust me – I’m a talker and I always have things to say. No, no. It’s true: I’ve been lazy. Today seemed appropriate to “get back into the swing of things” for a couple of reasons.

One, it being November 1st and the first day of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. (If you don’t know what those are, click on the links for more detailed info.) As you may know from reading my page, thelifelist, NaNoWriMo is one of the many things I wish to accomplish before I… Well, um. Die. And if you’ve been following along during those months where I haven’t been a writing hermit and completely silent, you’ll also know that I made it a goal this year to accomplish this… goal. (Written so eloquently, right?…) Not to make light of the, uh, goals, but I’ve had to make some changes. Again.

And so, I’ve decided, instead, to take part in NaBloPoMo. I need to get my ass back into blogging gear and I want to take this shit seriously (as I’ve told myself for the fifteen thousandth time), and this seems like a perfect opportunity.

So there you go. Reason #1 I’m back and writing today.

The second reason, you see, is because it’s November 1st.

To everybody else, this is just another date on the calendar. The beginning of another month. Fall is really here. Daylight Savings begins (don’t forget those clocks, people). A time of giving thanks. A time for family. Blah blah blah. It’s no big deal to everyone else. But to me? I dread November 1st every single year. Because it’s not just another day to me.

November 1st is the anniversary of my dad’s death.

Today marks eighteen years that my dad has been gone. For years, I’ve allowed this day to suck all the excitement and life out of me for a full 24 hours. I’ve allowed it to control my thoughts and to diminish my happiness. I have unceremoniously allowed this day – this one day – to be a day where I am controlled by emotions and thoughts that I only drag out of my mental closet to commemorate its passing.

While many of you may feel that this is totally acceptable and that it’s okay – that I shouldn’t feel any negative feelings for mourning the loss of my dad – I will agree with you. But I also think that, over the years, I have given this day too much power. I have let it control me and rob me of happiness.

November 1st changes me. I become erratically emotional. I express a momentary depression that fades within days, or in some cases, hours. I become someone I don’t want to be. Now, granted, over the years it’s also been a convenience for me to delve deeper into a depression I was already experiencing and to ride the train for a longer trip. But last year, I felt like “the day” should be different.

You see, last year, I was happy. For the first time in a long time, longer than I could remember, I was completely happy. Not everything was perfect here in Korea, but I loved my job, I loved my city, and I didn’t have much to complain about. (This was a totally new phenomenon to me, seeing as how post-college and often, during college, life kind of sucked for one reason or another.)

Last year, my BFF JW and I had a conversation about it that totally changed my mindset. It just seemed wrong to me that I had to drop everything and mope around for a full day to show everyone around me (and on social media, and myself) that I was sad and mourning my dad. I had always felt like in order to really preserve his memory and honor him, I had to be sad. But talking with JW, he said, “Don’t you think that your dad would want you to be happy? Do you think he wants you to be sad and drop everything?” JW’s grandfather had passed away the year before and he mentioned, “We were sad, sure, but we also laughed and remembered the good things.”

So I asked myself, “Shouldn’t today be a day to celebrate who my dad was? To remember him, yes, and mourn his loss, but also to be thankful for who he was?” Do I have to be sad all day, lock myself in my house (because it’s Saturday and I can do that), and cry all afternoon? And more importantly, SHOULD I do that?

My final answer: No.

My dad was wonderful. So many people have shared stories with me about how wonderful he was. I wish I could have known him better. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what has scared me into believing that I had to hold on to this “day of sorrow” for so long.

Because if I was really, really honest, I would admit to you (and I AM admitting, really) that sometimes, it feels like he wasn’t real. That maybe none of it ever happened and that my life with my dad didn’t exist. Eighteen years is a long time. And every year, it’s gotten easier to live life knowing that he’s not here. I have accepted that my dad will never see me get married. (In actuality, no one may ever see that… the jury’s still out on whether I want to be married or not…) My dad didn’t see my high school or college graduations. He wasn’t there to hold me when I went through my first heartbreak. Or my second. Or my third. And he won’t be there for the others to come. He wasn’t there when I picked up my life and moved to Denver. And then to Portland. And then halfway across the world to South Korea. He won’t be there when I move again.

Every year, it gets easier. It gets easier to forget the little fragments of memories I have left. It gets easier to accept life without him in it. It gets easier to believe that those first few days without him in 1996 were just some sort of dream.

And that, dear Reader, is the scary part. That in my effed up mind, I could even for a moment think these things. Because he was a real person, and he loved me and my sister, and he was here.

I remember him. But I don’t remember his voice. I don’t remember what it felt like for him to hold my little hand in his big, daddy hands. I don’t remember his hugs. I don’t remember his kisses (when I accepted them, as I wasn’t much of a kiss-accepting kid).

There are so many things I don’t remember. And that makes me sad.

These are the kinds of things that make me feel like I need to hold on to November 1st as my day of sorrowful remembrance, but I don’t think my dad would really appreciate that much.

He was kind and generous. He gave so much of himself to other people and lived to see others thrive and develop. These are some of his best qualities, and I am honored to have inherited them from him. Some of his passions, I’ve come to realize, have rebirthed themselves in me. His memory lives with me.

And so, here I am, on this November 1st, grateful to have been honored with such an incredible father. Even though I only had him for a short time, he made a mark on my life. And despite how easy it has become to carry on without him, I did not hide in shame or sadness today. I miss him and wish he was still here, but I am also happy. November 1st was just another Saturday this year, and maybe that’s all it should be.

I love you, Daddy. Wish you were here.

the year I got a bunny... sadly that pet didn't last very long...

the year I got a bunny… sadly that pet didn’t last very long…

hanging with a good family friend, Bill W.

hanging with a good family friend, Bill W.

just me and daddy...

just me and Daddy…

following in Daddy's footsteps, making balloon animals at a kids' church event... Probably about 7 years old here...

following in Daddy’s footsteps, making balloon animals at a kids’ church event… Probably about 7 years old here…

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.

because it’s not a real weekend until you’ve paraded around naked with the locals…

So.

If you’ve been following me, you probably have noticed that I’ve been absent for nearly two weeks. I have a really good explanation for that: I’m terribly lazy.

So, let’s catch up.

Last weekend, my new, dear friend, Kaylee D., came to town to go shopping and have an adventure. Kaylee’s my new South African BFF in SK. Why?? We’re both coffee freaks, we get along stupendously, and our initials are the same. (I discovered this last weekend and immediately was overcome with glee. I perhaps should mention that, on occasion, I am easily entertained.)

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