I’ve been here before. As I ran down the dirt roads today, breath heavy, heart beating, loud, could you hear it too? You gave it to me.
I’ve been here before. Standing in streets that confuse and anger me. Searching for street signs, the ones that i’m used to. Where faces of people are waiting behind doors that are safe, and sounds that are familiar. Could you hear those sounds too? I was with you the first time you heard them.
Here before. The red dirt that covers my shoes here, the color of accusation, the color that stains my fingertips. And when snow covered your shoes for the first time, in the color they all say means that you are born again, you didn’t understand did you. You were just cold. I know, I was there.
Before. I’ve been. As everyone stares, and rarely are people unkind, but the way that look burns through me somedays, when I’m not feeling strong, and how I wish, oh how I wish for one day I could walk and not one person would look. I wonder, how is for you, even 40 years later, less of, but still, do you even see it anymore? I believe you do, because I see you, and I stood at your hip and glared at those who stared at you. To protect you, how I tried, I was there.
Before. And now. I couldn’t do what you have done. I carry the same dreams as you to bring life into life, but not here, its simply too uncomfortable. And I wonder, do I look at the conditions around me when I’m in the slums, with the same look on your face that you did looking at all those houses on a perfect tree lined street. My food now I purchase with the change in my pocket, enough for just today, and I’ve grown to love this. And you. Have you grown to love that if you buy this one, you can get this one for free. Have you ever forgiven us for laughing at the meal before us, ‘meatloaf’ you would announce, on a meal you spent so much on, a meal I’m certain you never had as a child as you often went without, a hunger you would make sure we would feel in a very different way. And we would laugh laugh laugh, our shoulders joyfully bouncing up and down in our second hand clothes. Clothes that you impeccably chose so that nobody would ever know about those 2-jobs you worked so that we could have what you never had. Do you remember that? I do. I started it.
I’ve been here before. Most of my words failing in the beginning. Many of my efforts in how can they understand me. When truth is, I didn’t understand me. The good news is I’m starting too. But I get it now, in days when you felt so alone, you would share with me that I was bad, I was greedy, I was unkind, and I did not love you. I pleaded with you that you had it wrong, that I was none of those things, that I loved you in construction paper hearts and straight A’s, I would prove it over and again. But you were a lifetime of angry, and no one was there, and you were going to make sure it stayed that way. So I, with the ears of a child, I began to believe you. And with my heavy heart I could never quite love anyone fully, cause I believed you when I said I could not. But not anymore. I know that I can. I know that I do. I still get triggered, and these traits, join forces with ‘I am alone’ but I believe i’m getting better at recognizing this, and not so afraid when I feel anger in myself or others. What I’ve learned from being here has been worth it.
And so many times here I say to myself “I’ve been here before” and I can feel it in my bones, our history. Even before you brought me into this earth, I was with you. I was with you the whole whole time, when you were a little girl hearing whatever you heard that made you so damn angry and afraid, but you knew that we would meet one day. And what soothes me now, and brings me so much more understanding for you is the knowing that I am living your life now, living in a foreign land, finding my way. And I am 12 years older than you than when you tried with so many people believing in me, you never had that.
I know I’ve been here before because I watched you, I could never take my eyes off of you. I watched you experience pain and joy and everything in between. I was with you even before we knew one another as mother and daughter, when I was just a dream you had that someday we would know one another, that someday we would fall in love.
And oh, it is love. The amazing bond of a mother and daughter. More than ever now, I see you, the roots, my earth, the sun, the moon as it travels again and again and again each night. Relentless in it’s mission to coax the sun each day, go up again please, shine your light. You are my moon.
And so yes. I will. For you. And for that little girl who stood fiercely at her mothers hip, daring anyone to move, to tell her, hey, it’s okay, let go.
Look around would you?
We’ve been here before.
—When my amazing mother was 19-years old she came to America from Korea to start life new. She left behind everything, a family she never speaks of, memories she has never shared. In the past few years I’ve gone deep in to heal what I wished had been different, spending so many years wishing for it to be anything than what it was. I can honestly say I’ve stopped that now. There is a quote “I am, because you are.” I am so grateful for the strongest woman in the world bringing me forward into this life. There’s no anger left. Just gratitude. If you have a relationship to heal, it’s not too late, here in Kenya that healing has gone levels deeper than I even knew possible, from all the beautiful things I’ve been witness too. Free that space. Free yourself.