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Thursday, October 30, 2014

What the Fog Took: A Halloween Story

I was nervous as I rehearsed the conversation in my mind.  There were so many ways to say it, and most of them felt wrong – overly sensitive, accusing, weak.  I knew I had to approach one of my dearest friends with caution, because matters of race always seem to get volatile

I checked the photo again, just to be sure of my position.  One of my closest friends (we’ll call her April) had posted pictures from a Halloween party.  In them, April’s husband (we’ll call him Mark) wore my husband’s old Army uniform, with my married name embroidered above the left breast pocket.  April wore a silky kimono, a black wig, and her face painted chalky white (she is not Asian).  The photo was captioned “Geisha?  Or mail order bride?”

For context: I am a Korean adoptee, my husband is white, and we both graduated from West Point and served in the US Army.  I had recently come out of the fog – like many adoptees I had an awakening that opened my eyes to the reality of many uncomfortable things.  I harbored a deep, wrenching pain.  I was still surviving trauma.  And I could no longer pretend to feel white on the inside.  My awakening had happened over a series of years, probably from 2008 through 2010, and I was finally on the other side.