Reflections, realizations, and revelations

What coming back from Korea has been like and what it means going forward

Hey everyone! Patrick here — I’m back from Korea and back in the saddle for another week. Shout out to our returning readers and to everyone new joining us for the first time 💙 

As many of you may already know, I had a rough week last week.

Attempts to process my thoughts and feelings and realizations I experienced in Korea was continually interrupted by a variety of things both in and outside of my control. It started with the realization I left my laptop at Incheon airport. And the hits kept coming from there.

This ultimately culminated in my decision to do two things:

  • seek therapy for the first time in my life, and

  • take a break from sharing to my personal instagram.

I wrote about it in my announcement post, but something I realized during the cascade of unfortunate, not great events of the past week was I’d given too much of myself away on that platform (this also includes LinkedIn). I don’t believe it was a bad decision to be and show vulnerability in such a public place like social media, it was the lack of discernment in what I chose to share and how I was sharing it.

Of course I’ve held some things back. The reality is, though, I gave so much more than I had ever originally anticipated. And those things I share have ripples. And those ripples have affected my life in ways I had not intended or foresaw when I began to share.

One of the biggest regrets of my life was not graduating college. I feel like when I reached self-acceptance I’d finally gotten over that, but I can’t say it wasn’t a driving factor in what I do on social media. What I mean by that is, on top of dropping out, I never stayed at the same job for longer than 1.5 years. That’s not a long time. It’s also not enough time to develop “a thing.”

In short, I never felt like I had something of my own, a career that became a facet of my identity, that I could point to in social gatherings and be like “I do this.” Embracing vulnerability and sharing my story became that, particularly on social media.

The Janchi Show was definitely a part of that, and while I identify as a podcaster now, it never really felt like “my thing.” It wasn’t really until I began to actively share on Instagram and then LinkedIn where I truly felt like I had found “it.”

This is what I’m supposed to be doing.

I told myself this over and over and over again throughout the past two years. This was affirmed by the plethora of people who commented and messaged me saying how much they resonated with my words or how much a post I shared made them feel seen or how something I wrote helped them in their journey in some small way.

It was affirmed even more at both KAAN and IKAA. These were the largest in-person Adoptee events I’ve attended so far. And what really caught me off guard was the number of folks who came up to me to thank me for my work, not on podcast, but on IG. That really stunned me. And it happened more than I could have ever expected.

I told every person who came up to me: I was humbled and honored and privileged for their words and support. I was also uncomfortable because the impact of my work and what I shared was made very real and apparent. But for that first week and a half, I repeated that mantra:

This is what I’m supposed to be doing.

And it was.

But the back half of IKAA, my return from Korea, and the series of unfortunate events that transpired over the past week made me realize I’d done too much. Not having to meet folks in person provided be a buffer re: the impact of what I shared. It also buffered me from confronting those things within myself. And with that realization came a revelation:

Maybe I don’t want this spotlight, especially on my personal life.

I love the pressure and spotlight of the work. I really enjoy having a fantastic interview and doing a great job there, I love to research, learn, write, and share those things with a broader audience, I am incredibly excited about doing the work in Indianapolis and the greater Midwest region to bring visibility to both Adoptees and the broader Asian diaspora here.

I can also do these things without being so open and public with the things I’m going through. And that’s okay.

Claiming vulnerability as “my thing” was important for my journey. For the first time in my life I felt like I had a job, a career, that I could point to and be proud of: not an influencer, but an advocate who shares this way. And while I will continue to claim that space for myself here and on my podcasts, I’m also taking a step forward.

Consider it an evolution of my work, a leveling up of my ability to be vulnerable. And, for me, it’s exciting to think about what work I’ll be able to do now that I’m reclaiming a bit of that peace, a bit of that space, a bit of that time for me and my work here.

If you’re reading this, you (maybe) realized that what I’ve shared on IG might carry a greater significance in a more intimate, more exclusive space, both for me and for you. I greatly appreciate that, or whatever reason you’re here for that matter. And I hope to continue to be vulnerable and open and honest with all of you here. This newsletter, Conversation Piece as a show, are all evolutions of that vulnerability I first (re)claimed on IG back in November 2020 when I shared a piece of me for the first time.

Moving and exploring that vulnerability here exclusively is the next step in that journey. And I’m so glad you’re here with me.

This week on Conversation Piece…

On this week’s episode of Conversation Piece, author and fellow Adoptee Caroline Sumlin joins Patrick to discuss her new book We'll All Be Free: How a Culture of White Supremacy Devalues Us and How We Can Reclaim Our True Worth (out Tuesday, July 25th!). Caroline shares how this particular book came to be, the ways in which we can identify and resist white supremacy culture, and some of the tools we can use to dismantle white supremacy within ourselves and reclaim our sense of self-worth.

Connect with Caroline on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok!

Shout Outs!

I want to shout out Leah Burns and Kira Omans for taking the reigns and contributing to the newsletter while I was out!

KAAN and IKAA were powerful reminders of the importance of community: finding it, building it, facilitating it, and engaging with it. While I partook in those activities over the past two weeks, it was the community I’ve already built over the past three years that helped keep my work here afloat. And, if I’m being completely honest, they wrote better than I ever could.

At the very least it was some of the best writing we’ve shared here so far, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Because I loved reading their work so much, I think I’m going to have a guest contributor at least once a month. Be on the lookout in your inbox or DMs 👀

A Poll…

Part of me stepping away from sharing to patrickintheworld is a renewed focus on the work I’m doing here, with The Janchi Show, and speaking. Something I’ve really enjoyed about this newsletter has been its accessibility (specifically not being behind a paywall).

As I reevaluate my income from this work, I’m thinking for making the weekly version of the newsletter paid (like, pay monthly/annually). Since this community has been growing steadily over the past couple weeks, though, I wanted to check with y’all first.

There is no wrong answer! Maybe it’s not time yet; as we continue to grow, though, it may become inevitable.

Either way, I really appreciate your support and openness and transparency with me as we’ve gone on this journey together. For now, the newsletter continues to be free both here and on the web version!

Final thoughts

Whew. What a week. What a month. What a time to figure my shit out.

I really appreciate you all for being here with me. I can’t truly express how

much it means to me, nor can I adequately thank you all for going on this journey with me. If this is the stop where you disembark, I totally understand. If you choose to continue on this ride, it means the world.

Either way, thank you for your time and for being a part of this community.

We’ve got some amazing guests coming up in August, a new series we’re working on for September, and even more new stuff working in bloom.

If you’re looking for an immediate way to support us here, leaving a review of the show is one of the best ways. You can do that here.

Love you all. See you next week,

To support this work: