Before I Was Kam

This one is of me, before I was "Kam".  

Since, I went back to Korea in 2010 to visit my orphanage and foster mother, I've been wanting to illustrate some of the  moments I experienced while there, but life catches up to you and nine months later I'm only starting to think about that time again.  

Tracing steps I never knew was truly a wonderful and fantastically surreal experience, and something I don't take for granted. I was an orphan until about 4 years of age, but never realized how long 4 years is to a child until I stepped back in time.  I never realized how much to-and-fro I did in the first year of my life. I had no stability, no home, no one who called me their own.  I was just another child in the crowd who shared the same quandary with those around them.  

The first 4 years of a child's life are supposed to be crucial and the most important. While there I remembered trying to get a sense of what I may have been like years ago in my birth town.  

Through past paperwork that listed my traits and now visual verification, I tried to mentally piece together my life in Korea. I would imaginatively superimpose my 4 year old body running around in the streets of my orphanage and for some reason this memory always includes me running around with a ball.  While growing up I never really thought much of Korea so I didn't spend my life hating that I was adopted and accepted my adoptive family as my actual family.

But, surely there were always remnants of my past memories seeping beneath my skin. I'm sure.  Memories that I could only appreciate as an adult.

I have a ton of footage from this trip (Korea and Thailand) and plan to compile it in a little video montage. I hope to do this soon.  After doing this piece I realized I'd like to later do a series of little orphan Kam. In this illustration the Korean hangul (alphabet) writing is my korean name, Young Eun Kim

It was an amazing and unforgettable experience and I have to share it here soon.  I keep saying "soon". I think I should rename my blog SOON.

Raining in My Yukgaejang

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a deep infinity for soup. Jason laughs at me, because wherever we go I have to have soup.

I love everything about it. It is warm, nostalgic and lovely.  

A good bowl of soup always drowns out the frownies.  Soup is especially heroic on those rainy days, even the days it feels rainy inside my body.

This post is actually from November and I finally did an illustration for it. I often tap ideas, thoughts, journal type moments into my iphone notepad.  My iphone contains alot about me. I don't always have a journal book on me, but my iphone is always by my side, so it is convenient.

My iphone is loaded with these random thoughts and moments and I often forget to post them here. The drawing, I tried a Scratchboard method. It is a technique where drawings are created using sharp tools to scrape away at the board. I always liked this. Instead of drawing, you scratch away your image and create negative space.

I remember when I wrote these notes I was having a hard day and suggested to go get some Korean food. I chose Yukejang. Yukejang is a spicy beef soup and yummy to the max. Shredded beef, clear noodles, eggs, green onion all swimming in a pool of homemade broth. This was the post I wrote in my iphone on that day.

November 2010

We rolled into the restaurant and on this particular rainy day I noticed alot of people staring at me. Usually it doesn't bother me, but I seemed to notice it more so today. I wasn't having the best of spirits anyways. Sometimes people stare and sometimes people have better things to do. I like to pretend that they are staring because I am so cool.  Hey, how can I blame them? I would stare, too if I was checking out a really cool person.  

I ordered Yukejang. I like it at this particular restaurant.  The waitress brought me my anticipated soup, and Jason and I were involved in a conversation about how people perceive does it make them feel?...what kind of questions do they have...?

I am always searching to understand how others deal with situations and how they perceive it, because it better helps me to better explain myself.  

The soup was in front of me, and I started crying.  I just couldn't control it. Sometimes it takes over me and I have little control.  I sometimes cry my few minutes, give or take, and then crack a joke and move on, and moving on doesn't happen that swiftly. I tried to shield my face so the people sitting next to me couldn't see me cry.  

At times when I cry, I feel like my insides are pouring out like a bowl of molten soup. I'm not depressed, but sometimes it can bring such sadness.  More than anything I hate the feeling of weakness. I hate FEELING it. My body is a recorder. It lets me feel every moment. This is the thing I hate the most. It has little to do with a wheelchair, yet the knowing that it will not stop and it will only get harder.  I hate that.  

At this point I don't need a cure. I am not resting my laurels on this to make me happy. I would, however, be more than thankful and ecstatic to gain a year back from my body, and stabilize. That is my wish.  To stabilize. Leave me with my fingers, arms and hands. Leave me with my neck capabilities. 

After eating, we wheeled to the car through the pouring rain. And again, so many more stares. Jason threw me into the car while the rain poured so hard that I couldn't even see out of the windows. Or perhaps it was my eyes. They were pouring, too. Most people never see this side of the condition.  They only see the happy. They only see "healthy" and happy pictures and composed poses on Facebook.  It is not a false representation, but there are some really, really dark and difficult moments.

As I stared out the window the city was a blur while the raindrops on the windshield came into crystal clear focus. I played connect the dots with them as they dripped down. I imagined out these raindrop's temporary existence  as well as their travels. We sat in the car for awhile.  I cried and cried.  Afterwards, we drove home.  And then I was ok.