It’s been 10 months after my break up with my ex, who is Korean, who I found was cheating on me. (Suffering and Pain)
Back in July when the break up just happened, I would wince everytime I heard people speak in Korean; men, women, young, old. Anyone.
It was so bad. Reason?
I learned how to speak Korean and read and write Korean for my ex and his family. I tried to learn how to cook Korean food. I befriended my ex’s Korean friends, Korean church, Korean extended family. As a beginner, it was hard to follow when people spoke high speed Korean to each other in front of me (or making jokes and laughing about something I did, but not translating it for me to include me on the joke/conversation). But I never objected. However, it felt like a constant reminder, both direct and indirectly, to tell me that I wasn’t Korean.
So after the break up, I was quite bitter. When I heard Korean, I would remember all those times when my ex’s friends and family would make me feel like an outsider, or make me feel less, or self concious or not welcomed, because they would speak in full Korean, and I could not follow. In addition, the girl he cheated with was Korean, so everytime I heard a girl speak Korean, it would just remind me of that girl.
I was angry that I had humbled myself and put away my pride to try to learn a culture, a language, a lifestyle. Though I am proud of my heritage, I was willing to be respectful and thoughtful to the Korean culture, even though sometimes I felt disrespected and like an outcast, I would try to just brush it off. Some people would treat me so poorly, continually talking to me in Korean, even though I keep telling them I can’t understand difficult vocabulary or when it’s spoken very fast (oh, and that I’m NOT Korean). But I swallowed all that, and still put on a smile and continued trying to learn and adjust.
But after all that hardwork and sacrifice, the Korean man completely humiliates me and breaks me apart. I was bitter and resentful. And this became a pervasive generalization. The words and tones of Korean would take me back to the past. Taking me back to the times when I was hurt by his community and his friends and family, about something that I cannot change (I just wasn’t borne Korean… what are you going to do?!). When I was made uncomfortable, over and over again. Yet I continued to strive on for him, gritted my teeth, and tried to toughen up as the smile continues to plaster on my face as I answered in simple Korean phrases. All these memories made me furious whenever I heard the Korean language.
But this morning, I just realized when I walked past two people speaking in Korean, I had no immediate reaction. I was fine. I realized that this is obviously an issue that I had: reacting to a language, though spoken from complete strangers. The language had ties to miserable and hurtful memories, that also had ties to recent wounds.
But time helps, it really does. The bitterness melts away. The dark clouds are blown away and have cleared up. The furrowed brows are relaxed, and my eyes can see clearly again, past the irrational and emotional responses from before.
This is just another mountain that I’ve overcome on the journey of healing.