Fish & Avatar Illustration Sketches

As I illustrated these, my mind took me back to a bible verse in Matthew Chapter 4, when Jesus spoke to the men who would become his apostles, saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”


I also illustrated an avatar of my sister with the thought that it would be nice if there was more open-sourcing of avatars and characters of multiple ethnicities (e.g. Pablo Stanley’s Humaaans project, but even more diversified). It would long term serve the greater good– in company efficiency and racial equity.

Visiting my Dad in Nashville for the first time.

My dad and I didn’t talk for nearly two years when the divorce was officially about to come into action on the legal side. Prior to that, we barely saw each other, and it was complicated.

I still remember the first day we tried we tried to meet again. It was while I was still working at Barneys New York. Winter. We met at dinner in Koreatown. I was beyond nervous, kind of like how I was this time– for different reasons though. I saw him then, and I burst out crying. I couldn’t stop crying all throughout dinner. I was so happy and so confused. I think my dad was too.

This weekend, there was a semblance of stability, and a bit of real, solid, long interactions of healthy emotion.

I’m happy to see our relationship developing in new ways, and in loving, healthy ways.

I can’t compare it to the past, because it is not anything like the past. The relationship I had with my dad then was nothing I wish for a child.

I am grateful to be getting back the years we lost.

This weekend was a great weekend.

I write this, because I am a living testimony of what happens when you choose radical openness and vulnerability, and you choose love and healing and looking for the ONWARDS as your targeted outcome over anything else.

Trust me on this. No two experiences are ever the same, I know :). And I will never understand fully what you went through or are going through, but I’ve been through it all in my own unique way with the pops.

I’m with you. I see you. Look at love. Explore God. I believe he is the only one who will ever understand the depths of our souls, for I believe he created them.

At some point, you just have to stop focusing on the brokenness and look at what you can start mending.

God is good.

Written on 9.25.2019

Bises,

Soo

2019: Mental Health Awareness Month

Let me tell you a bit of my story.
I had some scary things happen to me in my life: I was diagnosed with a neurological disorder in the 7th grade, was sexually assaulted by a family relative in the 10th grade, had my parents divorce after a traumatic narrative that spanned years, and was raped  my first year out of college.

This in tandem with my naturally emotions driven self brought forth a very unbalanced, and very unhappy Susan for a lot of my adolescence and into my early twenties. I could be happy and “on,” yes, but I was also severely unhappy.


I turned to a quick phase of substance abuse in the last year of high school into my first year of college, to control the control I did not feel I had.

There were certain years, when I did not want to live.
There were seasons I’d stand at the platform of a subway station in NYC and despite having just come out of a splendid date with a friend from NYU or with someone I was dating, I’d dissolve inside, trying to hold back the anxiety attack that was coming, only to barely control it or succumb to it and when the train finally pulled in, I’d enter the train heaving for air, so so relieved I was a bit of a pussycat and scared of jumping. There were also more times that I’d just cry in the train ride home, head down.
In 2013-2014, I was suicidal.
I remember thinking simply out of sheer despair:
I’m so scared of dying.
I’m so scared of dying.
But I feel so much pain.
I was also thinking
I don’t want to just live.
I want to LIVE.
God met me in this dark, dark place back then, in the latter half of 2014.
I then with all the courage I could muster, began to open up to some friends and to my family.

In 2015 I made a promise to myself, that I would not live this way, and 2015 was the beginning of my recovery and fight against the depressive thoughts and feelings I felt and heard in my head every single day.
In 2019, I am living and working to fulfill that promise to myself to live life at its fullest.
And now I am happy as a clam 🙂 (is that the right American phrase?)
For the past 4 years I’ve worked really hard to get a semblance of the joy others feel, and I’ve gotten there, even farther than I’d ever hoped.
I made a lot of mistakes in the process, but no one is perfect, and I was really trying.
(for example, falling in love with someone in early 2016, and not being able to handle the intimacy, or 2) not having been able to appreciate pleasure of touch earlier – I’m still working on that now, but feel like I’m on the tail end of it! I enjoy my romances now, thank goodness :)When I was younger, I’d feel tons of fear when a man touched me and would freeze inside and panic).
The healing is slow, and there are a lot more stories I want to share [and some justice I want to see in the world, if God wills it and it’s wise], but I will share them when I am ready to share those stories. All in their own time. One day, I’m going to be strong enough to call my perpetrators by name. For now, I’m going to work on continually healing and helping others lift themselves up too.
I don’t share this story with you because I’m over it, or because I’m stronger than you. Revisiting things like this make me quite sad. But I feel convicted enough and strong enough at this moment to share in order to encourage and stand with anyone reading this. It’s not easy, and for those who’ve had illnesses for a long time, I understand the hardened nature of the heart that comes with.
I believe that the world would be a better place if we all began to share and stand with each other more and hide, covet, and cover a little less. The world will not crumble down and your conservative family or community might gasp and make you feel shame, but who cares. That shame they make you feel is a lie.
It is your life one “wild, and precious life”, as Mary Oliver says.
On an overarching note, for anyone dealing with any present or past trauma, I want to tell you earnestly that there are ways out and you really won’t have to go back, that there are people all around you here to stand with you if you only extend a hand.
I’m with you.
So here’s to mental health awareness month.

Show Me, Don’t Tell Me Your Values

We all like to say we have values. We write them on our resumes, on our dating profiles, and shout them to our friends,
but values are not the things we’d like to define ourselves by, they’re what our practices and actions show.
Show me your values.
And if you can’t, re-evaluate yourself and start from there.

Mom & I: South of France

We both love France so much.
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It’s quite funny actually– like mother like daughter they say 🙂
We arrived at our intense loves for French culture independently, really.
My mom as a high schooler loved studying French and French culture. She said it was due to an inspirational and charismatic teacher. She loved the language so much she got her Bachelor’s in French and if not for the conservative times in South Korea in the 80s and the social demands of her family, she tells me she would have moved to France right after university. At the time, her father, my grandfather, particularly was adamantly against the idea.
I too, loved France since I was a kid. In middle school, I picked up French as an elective, and I ended up really enjoying it. I was “christened” Juliette– a name I was head over heels with. “So pretty!” I thought. Entranced first by the beauty of the language, as I grew older, I quickly ended up being in love with everything else as I was exposed to other elements of French culture: the food, the cultural practices, the entertainment, the people’s way of living. I even booked a flight to France right after I graduated NYU, and had paid the deposit for a studio and the tuition for a 6 mo. program at La Sorbonne haha– so bent was I on moving there and figuring out a way to get a visa… a job… and a life in a place that seemed so much like home. None of these things ever ended up happening. Different circumstances, along with different decisions come into play, along with different people… and life goes on.
We are so grateful whenever we are able to come back to this country that has left such an inexplainable and cosmic mark on our souls and spirits.

I’m sad that my mom is leaving today.

Our vacation to the south of France is our first mother daughter solo trip since maybe… 2016? I think I should do this more often. It’s been such a blessing getting to know her more deeply this past week not just as my mother, but as a fellow woman and peer.
TO DO: Hog my mom from J and J.
How loved am I.