be longing.

The Great British Bake Off, my favorite and only reality show I watch, always leaves me feeling a little empty and sad. If you watch the show, you might find this odd because it’s the happiest, most friendly baking competition the world has ever known.

First of all, the competition takes place in a large white tent in the middle of the greenest field you’ve ever seen, next door to a beautiful estate where goats roam free, ducks play in the pond, and butterflies flutter about among the flowers. Inside the tent, pastel stand-mixers sit atop baking stations surrounded by vintage-inspired SMEG refrigerators, which are also pastel colors. It’s just the most physically pleasant environment.

Then there are the bakers themselves – always the loveliest people who never hate on each other. If one contestant is falling behind, nearby bakers often jump in to help! You would never see that in an American baking competition. Never. Ever. Every year the hosts fall in love with the bakers, and they hug the baker going home that weekend. Actually, everyone hugs everyone at the end of every episode. I cry every time. They’ve worked so hard and learned so much!

So why do I always feel sad and empty at the end of each series?

It’s the familiar pang of jealousy. I know it well; I feel it quite often. I feel it when I listen to Conan O’Brien’s podcast, and he talks to other artists about finding their “People” or realizing, “Wow, I can make people laugh. I’m good at this thing called comedy.” I feel it when I scroll through Instagram and see the same groups of friends hanging out every weekend – yes, even during a pandemic. I feel it when I see posts about a job promotion and how lucky someone feels to have found a job where they connect deeply with their work and love their coworkers.

More often than not, the bakers in GBBO say that they have 1. Learned so much, and they’ll continue baking and 2. Made lifelong friends through the competition. The winners always talk about their insecurities and how they’ve always struggled with confidence. And yet – they won! I always cry at this too. Both out of joy for this stranger I’ve never met and because I’m sad I will never feel the pride they feel in that moment they hear their named called as the winner.

I relate so much with the insecurity and lack of confidence, but I’ve never felt that connection with anything I’ve done before. I’ve never loved anything so much as these bakers love baking. And I’ve never quite found My People. Or maybe I have, and I lost them before I could really get to know them.

At my core, I just want to belong. To a calling and to a group of people.

The closest thing I’ve felt to belonging was in journalism school during my long-form narrative writing course. I never felt more insecure than during journalism school, but I felt really connected to the work. If it wasn’t for my incredible anxiety, I would have loved reporting. I always felt privileged to hear people’s stories and be a part of their lives for a while. I loved my classmates, talking about stories, writing, and suffering together. I mean, I didn’t love the suffering, but going through it together made it kind of fun, in a sadistic way.

Sadly, I haven’t kept in touch with my Medill classmates. Mostly because of my social anxiety. I think about them often and wish I could be cool and reach out. But I always stop myself. The A N X I E T Y.

I wonder every day if I’ll ever belong. I obviously won’t if I just sit around at home and cry about British bakers hugging each other. That’s for sure.

Medius Ocris

[…] talent isn’t genius, and no amount of energy can make it so. I want to be great, or nothing. I don’t want to be a common-place dauber, so I don’t intend to try any more.

Amy March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

It wasn’t meant to be a trap. I thought the answer would be a simple, “Yeah, of course!” He’s my husband. If you marry any type of artist, isn’t being a fan of your partner’s art a prerequisite to marriage? Turns out, it’s not. It also turns out, I’m not okay with that.

This is how our conversation on Sunday unfolded:

“Do you think I’m talented?” I ask Eliot.

Eliot stares at me blankly for a couple seconds before he answers, “In what way?”

I’m taken aback. “What do you mean?” I say, “In general.”

Eliot takes a few seconds to think about this. I’m already annoyed before he says, “I think you’re hard-working and ambitious.”

So, not talented. Does he think I’m not good at anything? 

“Okay” is all I can get myself to say.

Eliot continues, trying to save himself he says, “I don’t think I know many talented people. Except maybe (insert your guess here).” 

“Uh-huh.” I don’t want to talk about it anymore, but he keeps going.

“I think talent is something you’re born with.” He’s flailing in a pool of his wrong answers.

“Okay, thanks,” I say and laugh to make it seem like I’m not hurt by his answer. I try to convince myself I’m okay with it, too. I mean, I get it. His definition of talent is different than mine. I guess I was just thinking of talent as some skill at something – anything. I suppose that’s a very soft definition. According to Merriam-Webster, the definitions are: 1. the natural endowments of a person, and 2. a special often creative or artistic aptitude. When Eliot thinks of a talented individual, he thinks of geniuses who win awards or people whose abilities always impress him. He thinks of Conan O’Brien, Michael Jordan, and Sufjan Stevens. I’m not a professional anything, but I guess I believed I still impressed him. At least, sometimes.

I put the conversation behind me and forget about it until the next evening when I ask him for feedback on a draft of my previous blog post. I watch his face as he reads in silence. He tells me he doesn’t like a phrase or word, I agree, make a mark on the page, and continue to watch him read. I carefully study his mouth for smirks or smiles. Nothing. I feel the curse of mediocrity twisting in my chest. Eliot finishes reading and says with a smile, “I think it flowed well in the second half! I liked it.”

“Mmmk,” I say, unconvinced that he actually likes it. I know he’s making up for admitting yesterday he didn’t think I was talented.

After a pause, I say, “You’re not impressed by my writing.”

“I admit I haven’t been blown away yet by your recent writing.”

The curse of mediocrity twists harder in my chest as my throat swells up, and tears fill my eyes. I lie on my stomach on the floor and bury my head in my elbow. I think about writer Michelle McNamara and how her husband Patton Oswalt would gush about how smart she is and how talented she is during his stand up. 

“I want you to be a fan of my writing. I want you to want to read it, but you only read it because you have to because you’re married to me.”

“Elise, don’t you think I’m trying to be honest to—”

I cut him off, “Yeah, I know you’re being honest. That’s why it’s sobering; I’m wasting my time dreaming about a career as a writer. I’m never going to be great.”

“Elise, don’t you think you’re going to get better if you keep writing?”

“I’ll keep writing, but only like for my blog.”

“What about your memoir?”

“I’m not doing that.”

I get up to get a tissue, my nose is stuffed up now from sobbing into my arm. I change the subject and ask Eliot if he knows where we put the Sudafed.

I’ve been thinking about why mediocrity bothers me so much. Why do I have to be unique? Part of it is because I’m an Enneagram 4: The Individualist whose basic fear is that they do not have an identity or personal significance. But are we born with our Enneagram types, or are our types shaped by our experiences?

It occurred to me the other day that I have been treated as if I was special growing up, especially by my elementary school teachers before I started hiding my hand in fifth grade. Teachers were impressed with me because I could keep up with my classmates, even with my limb difference. I could participate in gym class, even during the gymnastics unit when we had to climb ropes or flip on the uneven bars. In computer class I was able to type faster than some classmates. At times I did feel favored; teachers wanted to make sure I wasn’t left behind. I’m definitely thankful for their care and attention. But maybe little Elise perceived my teachers’ careful regard for me as love unrelated to my hand. Because at the time, I didn’t think of my limb difference as limiting; I simply thought of it as different.

As a kid I wasn’t comfortable with the disability label because I felt more able-bodied than other people with disabilities. The first time I became conscious of this dissonance was when a man with no legs came to speak at my junior high. I don’t remember his name; I don’t remember anything about him other than his lack of legs. What was his message? Why was he speaking to 300 kids from atop the auditorium stage? I think his main message was that he can do anything an able-bodied person can do. He started the presentation wearing his prosthetic legs. A few minutes into his presentation, he detached his legs to walk up and down the stage on his hands. He showed us a device that allowed him to drive his car with his hands. He told us to stop using the word handicapped and use the phrase “differently-abled” instead. I hate that phrase. It’s trying too hard to be positive. Just say disabled.

I didn’t think about it as a sixth-grader, but now I wonder what qualified this man to give a motivational speech? Was his goal to be Inspiration Porn? To show us that even he, a man with no legs, can live a happy life? I don’t know. But I bet my right hand that every kid in that auditorium walked out feeling inspired, thinking, “Wow, if a man with no legs can be happy living life, I can too.” I walked out of there thinking, at least I have my legs.

I’m not happy with myself for thinking that. But that is the purpose of Inspiration Porn. And even people with disabilities buy into it. I bought into it, and maybe even The Man-With-No-Legs bought into it. That’s why he was okay objectifying himself to inspire 299 able-bodied kids and me.

Before fifth grade, I thought I was special because teachers treated me with extra care they must see something in me. After fifth grade, I felt I had to be special because people with disabilities have to be inspirational. Now I don’t want to be inspirational because of my hand. I don’t only want to be remembered for having a limb difference the way I remember the Man-With-No-Legs.

In fifth grade, I was at the Glenview Ice Rink sitting on the floor, tying my ice skates when I heard my name. I looked up and saw Brandon and Patrick, two boys who were in Ms. Dresner’s first-grade class with me. Brandon repeated, “Elise?” and Patrick said, “You know, the Girl-With-One-Hand.” I turned my face away, hurried to tie my laces, and went into the skating rink before they could see me. It occurred to me then that many people at school probably refer to me as The Girl-With-One-Hand. Maybe even today, that’s how people identify me. I don’t think it’s unfair, especially because I’m likely the only Elise you know with one hand. It’s a fact, yet, I feel… shame? I’m not quite sure what it is. A sadness, maybe.

I want to be known for more than my hand. I want a different identifier: a talent that makes me unique and respected. I’m terrified of mediocrity because, to me, mediocrity equals failure.

Did you know that the word mediocre is make up of the Latin words medius, meaning “half” and ocris, meaning “rugged mountain”? A mediocre person could only make it halfway up the mountain, or as The American Heritage Dictionary describes it: “halfway to the highest point of excellence.” In other words: a failure! I don’t want to be a clunker, a dud, a loser who was only ever identified for having one hand, and being an “inspiration” just because I lived an ordinary life with one hand. 

Stella Young once received a Community Achievement Award at 15 years old, even though, as her parents so lovingly put it, “She [hadn’t] actually achieved anything.” As she notes in her Ted Talk, Stella hadn’t done anything that would be considered an achievement for anyone without a disability. She was given the award because she was living an ordinary life in out-of-ordinary circumstances. It’s condescending to receive an award this way; I would not want it.

By the end of her life, though, Stella did deserve a Community Achievement Award for her journalism and disability rights activism. Ironically, her Ted Talk, “I’m Not Your Inspiration,” inspired me, and I wish I could thank her in person. Stella did not live a mediocre life.

My eyes glazed over every time I tried to start writing today. My body turned to jello, and I slipped off my chair onto the floor. I keep thinking, what’s the point if it’s going to be mediocre? I hate the idea of writing a mediocre post about mediocrity. How embarrassing.

Do posts always have to be tied up nicely with a red bow? My body won’t let me move on until I come up with a positive note to end on. So here’s my attempt:

Keep writing even if you think it’s mediocre, because it’s healing. Write because it’s the only way you know how to process your feelings and organize your messy thoughts. Write because, if you’re honest and vulnerable, you connect with a deeper part of yourself and sometimes with other people. And sometimes, they share their stories, and you’re reminded you’re not alone; you’re reminded of God’s love for people and hopefully, even yourself. Write because you want you, because you enjoy it, because it’s what you’ve wanted to do since you were five years old. Write for five-year-old-Elise. For 10-year-old-Elise – 16, 20, 80. Just write, Elise. You won’t regret it. 

Call Me Pretty

“Hi, Elise! Oooh, you look much prettier in person. Do people tell you that? I saw a picture on Kakao and I thought, oh. But you look much better in person! Some people aren’t photogenic.” 

Thanks, Regina*. Nice to meet you, too. 

Regina is an acquaintance of my Dad’s. Dad connected us in hopes that Regina will find me a job at the Cook County Circuit Court where she works as an interpreter. We meet at Twin Dragon, a Korean-owned Chinese restaurant in Glenview. They have the best Jjamppong and Gahn-Jjajangmyeon in Chicagoland, but they only have three-and-a-half stars on Yelp. They deserve at least 4.5 stars, but non-Asians aren’t the best judge of Korean-Chinese food. You’ll notice the one-star reviews are from non-Asians and the four-star reviews are from Asians. That’s why when I vet an Asian restaurant, I only look at the Asian people’s reviews. But I digress.

I sit down at the round table next to Regina. Given only two facts about Regina: Korean-American woman; early to mid-40s, I expected her to look like all the Korean school teachers I had growing up: short hair, glasses, light brown eyeshadow, a little bit of natural lip-colored lipstick, and an earth-tone suit jacket and a long skirt that does not complement her short stature. But in front of me sits the opposite: Regina, tall and thin, dressed in a tight black top and black skirt, has straight blonde hair down to her waist and tan skin most Koreans can only achieve from regular visits to L.A.TAN. Her eyes, twice the size of my eyes, dressed up with a thick layer of eyeliner and dark eye shadow, stare at me with intense interest. Her red lips part to tell me, “Elise, you are a pretty girl. You have nothing to worry about! Really, you are pretty!”

I don’t know why you think I’m worried about my appearance, but thanks for the reassurance, I guess. I fidget in my seat with my arms crossed, trying to keep my left hand hidden.

“Maybe just… put your hair down. Grow it out and put it down and get it styled like mine: straight and styled. And maybe a little eyeliner. Yeah.”

I thought we were meeting about potential jobs; instead, she wants to know what kind of boys I like and if I ever dated before. Do I want to be set up? She reassures me again that I’m pretty enough. Boys could like you!

Then she brings up the Big One. She tells me my parents told her about my disability: my hand. She tells me it’s not a big deal because I’m very functional. I have nothing to worry about. She suggests I get a prosthetic. I tell her I don’t want one. She tries again. Just get one for the look of a real hand, she says. Before I respond, she announces, “I would date a guy with a hand like that. Maybe like no arm, too, is okay. But no wheelchair.” For fuck’s sake.

She continues, “Yours is the most mild disability I have ever seen on a person. Really! It’s not even noticeable. Right? A lot of people don’t notice it right? Yeah, you cover it really well. Good.” I just sit there, taking in all her insensitivity, numb to this kind of thinking because I’ve hated my hand for so long anyway. 

Regina goes on, “If I were your sister, I’d tell you to cover it. You don’t have to show it unnecessarily.” I laugh and say, “Ok, thank you.” I don’t know how else to respond. My real sister has never and would never tell me to cover my hand. Regina reminds me of all the adults who decided I needed to know I was disabled (eye roll) and had some exciting advice for me (bigger eye roll).

A couple of weeks before meeting Regina, one of my uncles said to me, “I’m going to be honest with you: you’re handicapped. It’s going to be hard for you to attract a man. You need to make a lot of money so men will be attracted to you.”

When I was a college student, one of my campus pastors advised me, “Warn people before you show them your hand. You don’t want to shock them.” It’s most important to think about others. Let’s protect the sensitive people who have all their limbs. Fuck your feelings and desire to be treated like a normal human, Elise. Who cares if you’re lonely and in agony?

The day after my lovely lunch rendezvous with Regina, I go to the movies with Eliot. We’re just friends now, but in December 2015, he’ll tell me he likes me and on September 22, 2019, we’ll get married. What do you know? I didn’t need a lot of money to attract a man after all.

After my hangout with Eliot, I come home and write in my journal: 

I hung out with Eliot today and it was such a struggle for me to enjoy it because I was so suffocated by my need to hide my hand. I hate it. Not my hand.
I hate this… hiding. It’s so heavy. It hurts.

As I write this post, I’m in my home office, and Eliot is working next to me. I’m reminded of the ache to be free of hiding before I came out about my hand to him and my community. I remember the fear of rejection. I’m sorry for how little credit I used to give people.

I still struggle with hiding my hand – particularly around Koreans and Korean-Americans. My fear of rejection from my community shaped by comments from people like Regina, my uncle, and my pastor – all of whom are Korean or Korean-American. I understand that these comments don’t come from a place of malice; it’s ignorance. It’s from living in an Ableist society. But God, I am so tired of it. I reject it all. Can we do better? Please. 

*Name has been changed.

A Toddler, a Banana, and a Recovering Shame Addict

It’s a summer day in 2016 and I’m at an indoor pool with some friends. A couple months before today, I had publicly shared – first at church and then on Facebook – a part of myself I had been hiding for 27 years: my disability. In 2020 I like to call it a limb difference, but in 2016 I call it a disability. I was born with a left hand amputation.

At the pool I try not to hide my hand like I used to. But it’s still a struggle. My body remembers all the years of hiding and it’s itching to cover my hand. It’s especially reflexive around toddlers. Babies are ok because they don’t even know what their own fingers are; toddlers are a different story.

My friends Daniel and Selyun are here with their three-year-old Lily. Lily is a quiet toddler. Always cautious and thoughtful. Lily is so proper and ladylike for such a tiny human, it makes me giggle. At church services she sits with better posture than all the adults – back straight and hands folded in her lap. I watch her and wonder if she comes from a royal bloodline.

My favorite moments are when she acts like a dismissive queen. For instance when she eats a donut, decides she doesn’t want it anymore, hands the leftovers to the nearest adult – whether she knows them or not – and walks away with a look of disdain. My friend Jane and I like to narrate the scenario: Here, peasant. Enjoy my garbage.

Lily is also highly aware of her surroundings and people. I love this about her, but as a recovering disability-hider, it makes me anxious.

Today Lily is as quiet and careful as ever. She’s scared to go in the pool but she’s enjoying sitting at the edge and kicking her feet in the water. After about an hour, Lily becomes comfortable going a little farther in the water: ankles, knees, waist, neck. The pink frills at the collar of Lily’s baby blue swimsuit dancing in the sparkly water, bringing out the pink hue in Lily’s adorable droopy cheeks. 

We’ve established a good routine after four or five banana bites. I start peeling the banana when I see Lily getting out of the pool. I watch carefully in anticipation because, with my left limb difference, it takes me a little longer to peel the banana.

I see Lily is on her way for the sixth bite. I’m trying to peel the banana, but I’m struggling. By the time Lily is in front of me, I’m still fiddling with the banana with my little hand. I start to tense up because I don’t know if Lily has ever noticed my hand before. I try to play it cool, kind of laugh, and finally get enough banana out of the peel to feed Lily. But she’s distracted for a moment because she’s noticed it. She takes a bite of the banana, shifts her body, and tilts her head a little to get a better look at my hand as I try to hide it behind me. She has a blank stare. She points with her index finger and makes a questioning noise, “Uh?”

I don’t know what to do. Do I address it or keep hiding it? Should I give her a better look? I decide to put it out in front of her so she can see it better. She stares – again a blank stare. No judgment, just curiosity. Point. “Uh?” She looks at her mom.

Now my body tenses up even more. It starts to tingle with anxiety and I can feel the sweat in my armpits, leg pits, and my upper lip. I’m so sorry, Selyun, now you’re being pulled into my awkward situation. You probably feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to say and don’t want me to feel weird and I don’t want you to feel weird. But it’s weird. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Why was I born this way? I’m sorry. 

I’m about to pull my hand back behind my body when Selyun says in her native Korean, “Oh, that’s auntie’s hand. 예쁘지 (Yeh-bbeuh-gee?) Isn’t it pretty?” 

Selyun points to Lily’s left hand, “Just like you were born with that hand, Auntie Elise was born with this hand.” She points to my left hand.

예쁘지. Yeh-bbeuh-gee. I have never heard this word used to describe my hand, let alone in Korean, a language rarely used in my household to even talk about my disability. Or “problem” as my mom calls it in her limited English on the rare occasions that she does mention it.

My hand is cute, I think to myself. 

Lily doesn’t say a word. She goes back to the pool and moves on with her life.

At church, Lily and I share a few more moments over the next few years where she sees my hand and curiosity strikes her again. I put it out for her to see and let her touch it. I say to her, “Yeah! This is auntie’s hand. Isn’t it cute? It kind of looks like a baby’s hand, right?” Lily giggles and nods. I giggle with her. She goes back to playing with the other toddlers.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I will have to address my hand with my niece. And one day, hopefully, my kid(s). It scares me. But I’m thankful for Selyun’s example.

Mom Caught Me Taking Drugs.

“그약 먹지마! 아유… 너무 속상해 (Don’t take that medicine. I’m so upset),” Mom said to me after she caught me taking Cymbalta a couple weeks ago. Cymbalta is an antidepressant. One of the medications I tried along with Sertraline, Wellbutrin, Wellbutrin XR, Lexapro, Prozac, and probably one I’m forgetting. My parents don’t believe in antidepressants because they don’t believe in Depression.

Depression isn’t real – you’re just sad. Don’t be sad. What do you have to be sad about? Depression doesn’t exist – you just need to exercise and get a job and you’ll feel better. Since Depression isn’t real, Mom and Dad weren’t worried when I told them I was depressed. It was the Sertraline that made them “so upset.” Upset.

In Korean we say, “속상해 (sohk-sang-hae).” The first syllable, “속” (sohk) can be translated as “inside” or “heart.” The second two syllables “상해” (sang-hae) means “damaged” or “rotten.” When you say you’re upset in Korean, you’re saying your heart has been damaged. In other words, I damage my mom’s heart by trying to keep myself alive.

Mom talks about antidepressants with a gravity appropriate for, I don’t know, an opioid addiction? Maybe that’s too severe, but she’s pretty serious about it. “You need to stop taking them,” Mom says, brows furrowed. “큰일나. (Kkeun-il-nah) They’ll mess with your body and you won’t be able to have kids.” 큰일나 (Kkeun-il-nah) directly translated in English means, “A big event will occur.” It’s a negative phrase meaning something bad is going to happen. Warning: Danger.

I’m sure Mom was extra hurt and worried because she thought I had stopped taking my medication six years ago when I first started taking them and she and Dad told me to stop. Back then I couldn’t explain Depression or medication very well, and it was exhausting to explain myself anyway, so I just nodded and continued taking the drugs in secret.

Before I got married and moved out of my parents’ house I would stash Sertraline, or whatever I was taking at the time, in my backpack because my parents respected that boundary. I’d take the pills out quietly and pop them in my mouth before I left my room to get water. Or I would get a cup of water and take the pills in my room. I was really careful. But I guess taking them freely in my own home after I got married made me too loose with my drug use. That rhymed, ha.

A couple weeks ago I visited my parents. At 8PM I took two Cymbalta capsules and popped them in my mouth as I walked down the hallway toward the kitchen on the way to get a glass of water. I reached the water cooler and thought I had gotten away with it until I heard Mom ask from the kitchen island, “What medication did you just take?” 

I’m not a good liar. So I drank my water and pretended not to hear her. She walked over to me and got close to my face. She asked again in almost a whisper as if it was an illegal substance, “What medicine did you just take?”

I looked her in the eye and continued to drink water trying to gather up the strength to lie. Just say it’s Tylenol, Elise. But when she asked me again, I swallowed my water and instead of lying, I shook my head as if to say, “It’s nothing, it’s nothing.” That gave it away. 

“Are you taking those pills you were taking before?” I nodded. 

“Stop taking them!” She was really upset now. If I were a teenager in that moment, my heart would have started racing and my throat would have had that swollen feeling. I would have felt so ashamed and sorry for taking medication my parents don’t approve of. But I’m 31 years old and have been going to therapy for six years. So instead I said, “엄마 (Mom), It’s fiiine,” and walked back to my room to tell my husband and laugh about how I’d been caught taking antidepressants. 

Even though I’m 31 and no longer afraid of my parents’ opinions. I had still been hiding my medication from them because I still don’t know how to have a direct, clear conversation about why I need to take my antidepressants. I immediately go into defense mode and assume they will never understand. I dismiss everything they’re saying about it being dangerous, etc, and walk away hoping they’ll leave me alone.

I don’t think I owe them anything. It’s my life and my body. I’m trying to save myself any way that I can right now. On the other hand, it would be nice to explain and eventually have parents who understand that Depression is real and suicidal thoughts are real and I have been suffering for the last six years. I’m not just lazy. A word they use to describe me all the time. They even once told our waiter at a Korean restaurant that I was lazy – I don’t remember why. 

I want to be understood by my family. I’ve tried to explain it when I first started antidepressants. But they were so against it that they couldn’t really hear me. And I don’t think their views have changed.

I’ve had really bad luck with antidepressants. My body hasn’t responded well to all the ones I’ve tried so far. I’ve experienced bad side effects and the medications haven’t been very effective. But they have helped with the suicidal ideations more than if I wasn’t on them, but not completely.

In addition to Cymbalta, I started taking Abilify exactly a week ago. It’s a different class of medication and I’m finally starting to feel a little better. Apparently I respond better to antipsychotics than SSRIs. (I hate that it’s called an antipsychotic. It makes me feel like a crazy person.)

I don’t like having to take medication. I wish I could live without them. But they’re keeping me alive. And a month ago I didn’t even want to be alive. A week ago I wouldn’t had been able to write five sentences. But today I am happy to be alive and I was able to write this blog post. I’d say that’s an improvement.

Even if my parents never understand, that’s okay. It’s more important that I get to share other parts of my life with them. We’re going home this weekend, so maybe I’ll try to explain it to them again. If I do, I’ll have more to write about 🙂