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Tidying up things...

FYI: So, I'm taking all my fanliness items and putting it on a different LJ account. I've stopped posting since 2011, so I use LJ to stalk - er, follow - various fandoms and authors mostly, but I don't want to rename the entire account or delete the real-life posts. :)

So if you notice a random ladyhaemi starting to friend / follow you, that's why. XOXO
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i <3 my new job!

I took turning 30 as a sign to re-evaluate, and I'm so glad.  I love my new job as a communication consultant (for internal and organizational communication).  In some regards, it feels as if the grand total of my experience has accumulated so I could be really good at this job.  Did I tell you I love this job? :)
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Thoughts on being a child as an adult...

(re-posted from a blog entry for a high school scholarship/mentorship program I'm an alum of)

At some point after you leave for college, you become an adult in your parents' eyes and they treat you as such. Right. My mom likes to tell me a Korean joke about an 80 year-old granny who shouted after her 60 year-old son, "Take care when crossing the street!" I'm sure I'd find it funnier were it not so prescient.

In any case, evolving your relationship with your parents into adulthood can be a rough ride for all parties involved, and perhaps even more so for those of us who live far away from our parents and only come back for intermittent visits. The rarity of these occurances serve to press pause on the growth of the relationship, and we all tend to fall back into traditional parent-child roles when the distance is bridged sporadically.

I don't mind admitting that my particular situation with my parents is one especially fraught with angst and overtones of long-suppressed adolescent rebellion. We suffer from what I like to call Only Child Syndrome (similar to the "Emperor children" in China, a direct result of the one-child policy).

In this situation, the parents are overly involved, typical helicopter parents who have channelled parental instincts enough for 2 or more children down to the one they have, and who vicariously live through the exploits and accomplishments of the lone child.

The child is preternaturally precocious, having grown up with only adults as companions, and both relishes and resents his/her spotlight as the only fruit of his/her parents' loins. This child often deals with the hyper-focus of parental attention in one of three ways:
  • Becoming a diva
  • Becoming a rebel
  • Becoming absorbed into the family unit, often subjugating his/her own identity for the greater familial or parental happiness
I've been through all of the above, and am currently embarking on the rebellious stage of my life. I know, I know, it's a bit late at 30 to do this rather than 13, but like many other academically advanced youngsters (such as yourselves), I was somewhat of a golden child growing up. So although I had moments of diva-dom, I was mostly at heart both a Mommy's and a Daddy's girl.

Unfortunately, what worked for an idyllic childhood falls apart in adulthood. My parents want nothing more than my utmost happiness, and they won't let anyone-- including me-- get in the way. Going 3,000 miles away to college, staying on the East Coast for my career, and buying a home in PA have been the opening shots of a long-term campaign to peel away from the Hong family identity and to forge my own. And like many of our country's military engagements, my own familial war has dragged on for more than 10 years, been terribly traumatic to innocent bystanders, and has at times devolved into guerrilla warfare (I haven't seen my parents in over 2 years; hence, the lack of visiting the Scholars Program and the Retreat... sigh).

But as painful as it's been, as painful as it still is-- I can't regret the process. I still am fighting to be recognized as my own self. My parents may never change. But I know who I am, at least a little more than I did at 18. And until I figure that out completely, I've decided to put my own needs ahead of pleasing my parents. After all, it's not like I'm replaceable to them. Being an only child is a strategic advantage in these negotiations. :)
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Feline felicity...

After cat-sitting a female kitten in our house for 2 weeks solid, Chester "Scratches" was so thrilled when she went home that he literally spent 48 hours on my couch, kneading and purring and cuddling.

Closed captioning: "Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou. You do love me best!"
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Family Ties

I haven't spoken to my mother on the phone since New Year's or so, right after having a typical exchange about a loan:

- Me: Can I borrow money? [unsaid: I've maxed out credit cards and began refinancing the house, as well as exhausted all other sources of funds because of what I know will happen next...]

- Her: What for? The studio? Why did you have to open a dance studio in the first place? It's not like it's a real business, just a glorified hobby, right? You need to do things that will actually make money. [more followed, but was lost in the red haze that drenched my vision and hearing]

- Her, 10 minutes of lecturing later: Well, if you've started something, you should at least give it a proper try and see it through to the end. OK, I'll put $3,000 in your bank account today.

I am properly grateful, and realize that the very fact that she came through for me is what counts. And at the very least, this exchange reminds me that my mother will always love me as a child and not as an adult. Lecturing, scolding, criticizing, coddling, smothering-- those are her ideas of parenting. Is it any wonder that I haven't seen my parents in over 2 years and reside 3,000 miles away?

A dear friend of mine, an older woman who has sort of stood in loco parentis over the last 5 years, also took a hard line with me. I must release the idea of being a "good daughter" and winning my mother's approval if I am to ever get beyond this tug-of-war, she says.

I think that makes sense were I purely of Western cultural origin. And don't get me wrong, independence has always had a special meaning to me. When I was young I was obsessed with the Revolutionary War, and I was even born near Independence Day. But I must acknowledge that I come from a collectivist mother culture that prizes co-dependency in all aspects of familial relationships (especially mother-daughter).

There's a concept in Korean called "jeong". It means a lot of different things-- affection, emotion, connection, feeling, intimacy, relationship. There is jeong of all types, such as with people, with places or things, and even with enemies-- enemy jeong is literally "mee oon jeong", or "hate jeong" and yet would evoke a bittersweet sadness were the counterparty to die or disappear from one's life. When jeong is gone, there is loss and there is grief.

I think I'm not ready to grieve my place as beloved (only) daughter in my family. I think some nights I still have vivid fantasies that I will miraculously lose 100 pounds, wear fashionable clothing and make-up, rake in tons of money from my job and from sideline investments, and appear in front of my enduring parents with a "Tada!" See, you didn't waste your lives, I want to say.

The other part of me rebels at nearly being 30 but yet so under-formed as my own self based on my own values. Why should I have to justify their sacrifice? I rage that I am not a Messiah, to give up my life for the sake of others. I want to live for me.

If only I were surer of who I am, this would be so much easier.
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New Year's Hex?

Did someone cast a New Year's hex on me? It's not even 2 weeks into 2011, and already I've had:
- 2 flat tires (one at a time)
- Cat piss on my bed
- The IRS delay in paying me $8k (should have been by 1/3, now targeting 2/2)
- Cat barf on my carpet

That's, like, an average rate of 1 misfortune every 4 days!!!

I'm gonna go see my own witch doctor now...
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Skip this is you're a boy or grossed out by periods

After a 10-month hiatus, my period has come back. With a vengeance. It disappeared with no medical reason (after running a battery of tests, both my doctor and my ob-gyn concluded it must be stress) and it reappeared with no obvious trigger. Now that it's back, I'm remembering all the reasons I hated having it.
- Period stains on my chair at work. God. Good thing no one stops by my cube. I spent 2 hours blotting that sucker and disposing of my trash can contents stealthily.
- Aches and pains. Lower back- ow. Stomach- ow. Indigestion (seriously, I always get stomach upset along with it)- yuck.


I hope my ovaries shrivel up and die and I enter menopause before I turn 30. I can't put up with this crap on a monthly basis.