Sunday, August 26, 2012

the sound of music

It's kind of amazing how things trigger a memory you've forgotten about. A whiff of a certain cologne can throw you back into a memory of a boy you used to craze over, or a visit to a certain place can bring a flood of feeling into you while you remember what occurred in that exact location. I've noticed I experience this phenomena quite a bit depending on what songs are pushing through my earphones, as well as the fact that I come to my greatest realizations whenever my mind is absolutely blank.

I was listening to my Disco playlist on Pandora when almost every song that came on totally took me back to my younger days, days when I felt closer to my family, despite all the things that were going on back then. I remembered the time my dad taught me how to do the Hustle, or when he'd sing along to the BeeGees. Or when my mom would happily sing Abba songs and the four of us would all dance as if we were the most normal and happiest family in the world. I remembered that at one point I felt that we were the richest when it came to laughter and family closeness.

Then it hit me that I've been too caught up with the bad memories I may or may not have exaggerated to justify my disregard towards my family. True, there had been dark times, but in my anger it seems that I've forgotten that we had great times. Golden times. Times that are now few and far in between and I can't help but to feel totally responsible for the rift.

I'm currently going through a number of different emotions as this realization is settling in and I'm trying to find a way to readjust myself. I'm filled with an immense sense of guilt and am a little depressed that I can't seem to successfully find a way to reconcile my Korean sense of filial devotion with my American cultural surroundings and (gasp) assimilation. I just can't seem to find a right balance.

How does one apologize to their parents for being selfish? For being blinded by anger? How does one explain to their immigrant Korean parents that one has lived one's life rebelling because one felt completely torn between two (very opposing) cultures? And one can't help but to wonder, is this the price that a first generation has to pay in order to become an American?

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