Yea, everything is fine

Yea, everything is fine


Geu sah jin uh di suh goo het ni? Where did you get that photo?”

My mother calls me soon after I send her this childhood photo of hers I received from my cousin, Eunmi. 

Oh, Eumi gah bo neh juot uh. Eunmi sent it over to me.”

Uh mo nah, that girl next to me is my oldest uncle’s daughter. And my brother…

“You look like you were what maybe 4 or 5?”

“I look older than that... you ate? Where are you?”

“Oh, just outside. Yea, we are about to eat.”

“OK, your brother went to a doctor’s office and Mrs. Lee is here. You want to say hi?”

“Oh, ok. He’s ok?”

“Oh, yea. He’s fine. Doing some blood work, and he wanted to go and see his son play soccer.”

“Ah, I see. Everything is ok?”

“Yea, everything is fine.”

Our conversation went something like this yesterday. I would have wanted something more, maybe, my mother tenderly speaking on her memories back when she was six or seven, and telling me more about her dress she is wearing in that photo or any anecdotes that I could fantasize. Or maybe something more about her mother. 

Everything is fine.

Yea, everything is fine.

In the past few weeks here in fLoromancy, I went back and forth between my mother-in-law’s garden and two other artists’ works, going deeper in ways we think about our relationship to land, caring and making. And when I returned to my own matriarch, my mother and her mother, and my fading memory of the garden I used to play in, I realized I had very little to reference for this post. Its reiterations in my own art making are getting more vivid out of self-indulgence, yet when I actually tried to go back to women before me, not much was there for me to hold on to. I meant to call my grandmother back in Korea, but I hesitated out of guilt and I lost time.

“Hi everyone, hope everyone’s well. Reaching out to see if you guys have any photos of the garden our grandparents had. The memories there are so precious, and I only have two photos from that house. Would really appreciate it if you can share them with me.”

Soon after I reached out to my maternal cousins in a group chat, Eunmi sent me that photo of my mother and her younger brother - Eunmi’s father. It probably was 1960 or so, a few years after Korean peninsula split into half with Demilitarized Zone. The Korean War armistice paused the war itself with a few signatures from General William K. Harrison Jr. of the United Nations Command Delegation and North Korean General Nam Il. It stopped the atrocities of civil war, but it split the peninsula into half, North and South, communism and democracy, known and unknown.

Everyone’s spirit got split into half then.

I am so sure of it.

How can one stay intact as a whole after all that? 

I suspect you can’t.

Looking over my mother’s childhood photo downloaded on my iPhone sitting in my Brooklyn apartment, I am split into half with the irony of my comfortable, privileged living circumstances. 

I am in knowledge of the bodily trepidation that has been passed through my matriarch, 

and I am in loss of where to look, where to go for comfort. 

This morning, I just slapped my mother’s childhood photo with mine.

She is holding her brother.

I am holding my brother.

I force this narrative to see

If it is going to make some sense

For her

For me

For my grandmother whom I have not spoken to for a few good months

Whom my mother has not spoken to for a few good months.

Is everything ok?

Everything is fine.

Yea, everything is fine.

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No Docile Bodies

No Docile Bodies

Louise Tate's garden

Louise Tate's garden