I don't usually spend too much time reading other blogs. Not because I'm a snob. And not because I'm too dim to appreciate that blogging is to some degree about building a community of reciprocal readers. I used to cruise other blogs more frequently, often in search of inspiration. Inevitably, reading one post would lead to another, and I would eventually run into posts like this one on MetroDad or this one on Geisha School Dropout. Before I knew it, I would be scouring their archives and laughing out loud by myself, forgetting that the whole point was to sponge off of their ideas.
At times like this, it is only when I loop back to my own site that disappointment sets in. When I start reading what I wrote in the past few weeks, it becomes apparent that I really have no business blogging. My writing style is completely wrong for this type of format. Blogging, by its nature, seems to require a certain amount of levity -- and entertainment value. Instead, my posts are weighted down with a lifetime's worth of angst, befitting the likes of Holden Caulfield and three of his clones.
I'm not sure if it is because I'm trying to live up to the reputation of Koreans as the Irish of the East, but I'm often drawn to sad stories. Not only in my own writing, but in those of others as well. I went through a stretch where all I read were true accounts of tragedies, whether it is about someone who escapes from a labor camp in Siberia and treks across the continent to return home (As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me) or a mountain climber who is left for dead after breaking his leg near the summit and finds his way back to base camp on his own (Touching the Void) or a family suffering under the madness of Pol Pot (First They Killed My Father). (All excellent reads, by the way.) Name a memoir or biography about someone suffering horribly, and chances are, I have it on my bookshelf. Let's not even get into fiction. My movie selections run along the same vein. Jeff doesn't like to let me pick out films on Netflix.
Once I ordered a bunch of documentaries about Korean/Korean-American history, something I was acutely interested in learning more about. They included one on comfort women, the LA riots, Koreans left behind in Sakhalin after World War II, and Korean adoptees. After watching them with great interest, I took them with me when I visited my parents. I imagined us watching them together as a family. When I told my mom about them, she refused to let me pop them into their VCR player.
"Why do I want to watch movies about other people suffering?" she said. "Life is hard enough as it is. I want to watch only happy movies!"
Now that I have little T, I am starting to understand that sentiment. These days, I don't want to be bogged down by unhappy thoughts. Sure, there are some unhappy things going on in my life, some of which are too personal to write about here, but I feel like I really can't afford to wallow in a sad space, especially when I lack the power to resolve the problem. I spend the whole day hanging out with little T, who watches my reactions constantly. He's such a happy kid, and I don't want to do anything to detract from his happiness. I want to create a happy environment, not one mired in tragedies and grievances, and protect it for his sake.
This is not to say that I won't keep writing about some of the stuff I've been writing about. This blog has been so useful in helping me to process some of the things that happened to my family as we were growing up. But I have to learn to stop seeing my family's history as a tragedy that is still being played out. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but for the time being, I intend to give myself the latitude to take a pass on unhappy events that threaten to draw me in like quicksand. Sometimes, stepping away is the right thing to do.