I am reading Kim Sunee’s memoir, Trail of Crumbs ~ Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home. Sunee is a Korean adoptee and if she looks like her book jacket photograph, she is most beautiful indeed. The fact of Kim’s beauty has me going down the contrast and compare path. The path where I dead end in a thorny thicket and the beautiful one’s path opens up onto a vista view befitting of her loveliness. I do not mean to sound like sour grapes. I do not think I am filled with envy and jealousy, only. I will admit to holding a modicum of wishing that I, too, could be beautiful like the author. But mixed in there is the old and familiar wondering of what and who and how I look like, where I stand in the Korean continuum of beauty.
Through the years I have figured that this life long personal mystery (see Lost Face essay) to growing up without benefit of seeing other Asian faces looking back at me. I came to understand that I was not and never would be pretty like the red haired, blue eyed women who peopled the Sears and Roebuck catalog. The catalog my adoptive father regularly perused, pointing out the female models on each page that he thought was the prettiest. His finger always landed on the red head with a white creamy complexion and the bluest of eyes. This father-daughter game that we played each time the catalog arrived in the mail, quickly taught me that my brown round face framed by my coarse black hair and squinty black eyes, were no match for Miss Sears and Roebuck Blue Eyes. I was a Daddy’s Girl and that sting stung deeper than deep. So deep that I have been unable in a long life time to decipher what or who I look like.
Later in the week ~
I have now finished reading Kim Sunee’s book. She tells a rich, interesting, and touching story of her life to date and her search for her core and past. Sunee writes of her struggles with knowing who she looks like and her continual asking of her companions do I look like her what about her are you sure? I have asked those exact same questions throughout my life when I see other Asian female faces and almost always the response is no, not really.
So back to the mirror I go. I figure one day when I ask ~
mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the one I look like most of all?
that I may be graced with an answer the kind that a human can understand maybe in the form of a face beside mine or standing beside me. who knows. as long as I’m wishing for answers, I may as well be bold and wish for a miracle. so here goes. maybe my first mom, my omma, will appear beside me and we will turn from the mirror and look straight into the other’s eyes and then ~ I will know who I look like. I will understand more of who I am.