My Fucking Feelings 02.13.19'

Book tour. Invisalign. Kimchee quesadillas.

It’s 5:07 on a Wednesday evening. The lack of parking at the trendy hipster coffee joints has forced me to sit down at the local Starbucks, where I get sucked into buying those adult Lunchables — Two sliced apples, three carrot sticks, string cheese, and a handful of chocolate raisins that call out to the inner kid in you who was only given lunch tickets in middle school. Speaking of Starbucks, I recently went to the very first one in Seattle. It didn’t move me. But it did make me realize that we all start from somewhere. And that anything’s possible.

My book got into airports last week. Common sense tells me it’s difficult to get your book in them due to shelf space. My publishers confirmed that. Maybe it was a flook. Timing. The cover. I don’t know. But I’m grateful AF. Well, grateful and extremely curious to see how it’s going to do. What people will think about it. I’m also terrified. Well terrified and relieved. I’m taking all this as another nod from the universe that everything I went through in the last ten years had a point. There was a reason I kept peeing in the shower when she asked me not to. Why I never made my bed. Was a walking reaction. Never looked into the mirror except to check my hair. You get it. It’s so much easier to trust when you are able to connect dots. Life is no longer a tornado of random events. There is an unfolding. Something greater is happening.

I jumped into the freezing ocean. Water so cold I tasted my balls. I created a dialogue in CrossFit boxes. Spoke at bookstores. Looked into real eyes that have read my work online. Ate a lot of donuts. Threw a snowball. Did an unlanded backflip. Not saying “almost” did a backflip because I’m done with being the almost guy. This new book and experience is helping me dissolve that old limited belief. All in all, my book tour turned out to be a really meaningful road trip. It was easy and effortless like the Commodores.

And it felt like it happened years ago even though I just got back. I feel like when things just happened but they feel like they happened years ago, it’s a good sign. Like meeting someone you feel you’ve met in a past life or something. The distortion between time and space means it’s not logical. And anytime logic doesn’t have a grip, it opens the ceiling to see stars and the impossible.

Speaking of impossible, I’m thirteen weeks into my Invisalign. I only have one more tray left. This means I’m almost done (there’s always a few more trays). I’ve been wearing plastic in my mouth religiously for the last thirteen weeks. If you know me, you know that’s not like me. I would have lasted a month, tops. But I almost have perfect teeth now. One of my greatest insecurities may be dissolved before I die. Put a bookmark there while I spin one more plate.

Kimchee quesadillas. I had some today. It was confusing. My taste buds stood up applauding. But there was a part of me that felt like it wasn’t right. There are just some things you don’t mix. Right? The truth is my resistance came from the controlling part of me who doesn’t want the world commercializing my people’s food. Which is ironic because I grew up embarrassed of “my people’s” food.

So what’s my point in any of this? What does my book tour, adult braces, and Kimchee buried in vegan cheese and tortillas have to do with anything? Well, I’m trying to tie it all together as I’m typing this. It’s the usual Johnkim style of writing. I try to find art as I am splattering paint.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. These are all payoffs to the set up of my chapters years ago. A failed screenwriter who publishes a book and goes on a book tour. Crooked teeth having a second chance at becoming straight again, creating smile soil to dissolve the deep furrows created by insecurity and a desire to fit in. Korean culture embraced and accepted, connecting one back to self. Going through this process (life) arcs my character and allows me to return to the village changed.

Like any story, we all have set ups and pay off. Without them, stories run flat. Our set ups are usually the turbulence or events in our life that sets us off into our Hero’s Journey. They become the inciting incident. Without them, there is no journey. So whatever you’re going through, know that they are set ups. Seeds are being planted. A beautiful story is being written. And if you lean into them, knowing that your journey isn’t just about you but about creating a story that can help others, maybe you will close your eyes and believe you will land on your feet. Like I did in the photo above. And if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you won’t. It just means you’re still on your journey, more seeds are being planted, more lessons are being learned. You are growing, expanding, and your story is unfolding.

In order for an evolution to happen, for one’s character to arc, for a flower to bloom from dirt, there has to be a beginning. Like that very first little Starbucks hidden on a side street at Pike Place Market in Seattle. All the set ups that are happening in your life are your beginnings. Now you have somewhere to go. Without them, there is no life.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that I studied screenwriting. It gave me the foundation and understanding to use the power of story as a way in to helping others. Pull back and start to see your story. There are reasons. There is an unfolding. Trust that and lean in.

  • Angry

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