I am the author
Reclaiming the pen and paper of my own story
So glad to be here for another week with you. I hope the previous one was everything you needed it to be. If you’re a returning reader, thank you! If you’re a first time reader, also thank you! I couldn’t do this without y’all, and I’m really excited about what’s coming up for Conversation Piece.
With that being said, this is the last newsletter of June as well as the last newsletter before I leave for Korea 😬 for the second(!) time.
It’s wild to write that. For the longest time, I had no desire to associate with anything Asian, much less Korean. That extended to returning to the country itself. It never felt like a place I wanted to go, and whenever people would ask me, the best answer I could give was, “Well, I already have a life here and I don’t want to complicate it.”
Something like that.
Maybe it was a little of my mom’s insistence that she wanted all of us to take a family trip there when my sister and I were older. It seemed like an inevitability, not because I wanted it to be, but because that was something you did, I guess? I’m Korean, I guess I should go back once. In reality, though, I never thought I felt a yearning to go back. To return meant to be somewhere “foreign” to me, and I was creating this bubble of comfort around me, a space I refused to leave for 30 years.
Entering my phase of reclamation changed that. It forced me out of the bubble, outside of comfort, and required me to ask questions I hadn’t even thought to ask while I was growing up.
What does it meant to be Asian American?
Why didn’t I learn about any of this history growing up?
What is an ‘adoptee?’
Are my records false?
Who am I?
It was in this state of reclamation when I first had the thought of returning to Korea and I realized that it was the first time I had the thought for myself. It was powerful because that realization made me aware of the fact that from the moment I was adopted, I had not really been authoring my own story; I was a chapter in everyone else’s.
This is a phenomena I’ve come to learn is common amongst members of our community. I’ve also learned that opportunities to reclaim authorship can be few and far between. When you spend 30, 40, 50+ years being written, it becomes internalized. When it becomes internalized, to break free becomes almost impossible.
The incredible part, though? It’s not impossible.
What I’ve found in this community, whether it be through Instagram or The Janchi Show or this show, is an uncanny and uncommon ability to be just the right kind of empathic, right when I’ve needed it. That doesn’t mean I’m friends with everyone. It doesn’t mean the adoptee community is all ‘sunshine and rainbows’ (y’all should know we push back on that lol).
What I mean is there are people in this community for everyone, who share a lived experience unique to the many that exist in our world, who will meet you where you’re at, when you need them, with the just the right stuff for you. Yes, you. Not someone else.
And when you find those people, whether it be at 30, 40, 50+, you will find yourself on the path to reclaiming the pen and paper, to becoming the author of your own story.
I hold the community close as I get ready to go back to Korea, on my own terms, as an author actively writing their story.
I could not do this without you.
This week on Conversation Piece…
On this week’s episode of Conversation Piece, consultant, podcaster, and content creator Esha Pathak joins Patrick to discuss the diversity of the South Asian experience and the power of specificity. Esha shares the importance of building a personal brand as a means of understanding your identity, the necessity of acknowledging the many cultural divisions within the South Asian diaspora, and why we have to let our love for things be greater than our fear.
🌟 Watch on YouTube 🌟
Some kind words 💙
We always appreciate kind words about the show (and me 😊)! If you’ve been listening, we’d love if you could take a moment and leave us a review and let us know how we’re doing (and what you liked about the show!).
It’s easy, too — you can leave it right on our website!
🏳️🌈 PRIDE ALL YEAR 🏳️🌈
While PRIDE Month might be nearing it’s end, support for the LGBTQIA2s+ community never stops! We had some friends and members of the community on as part of our May series, THE APAHM CONVERSATIONS — make sure to follow these incredible people and support, uplift, and amplify the work they’re doing!
Liz Kleinrock (she/her) is a Korean-American transracial adoptee, queer, Jewish, antibias and antiracist educator, facilitator, and author. Learn more about Liz: www.teachandtransform.org
Marguerite Jay (she/they) is a transracial adoptee advocate. They were born in India and adopted as a baby into a white family in the US. Two years ago, they began sharing their experience as a queer adoptee on Instagram, and their page is a safe space for the adoptee community and anyone who wants to learn. Connect with Marguerite on Instagram.
Rohan Zhou-Lee, pronouns They/Siya/祂/Elle, is a dancer, writer, and public speaker. They are also known for founding The Blasian March, a Black-Asian solidarity initiative through education and celebration. Learn more about Rohan: www.diaryofafirebird.com
August Rocha (they/them) is an adopted, Chinese-American, disabled, non-binary advocate, speaker and writer with over 100K followers on TikTok. Soon to be traveling the U.S., August plans to spread joy wherever they go. Connect with August on Instagram and TikTok.
And that’s a wrap on June!
We’ve got some really incredible announcements in the works. Conversation Piece is leveling up and it’s thanks to y’all’s support that we are able to do so.
We’ve also got some really amazing episodes for July. You don’t want to miss them.
Until then, I’ll see you in Korea 👋🏼
To support this work: