Childhood

My mother has been sending me old photos and documentation from my childhood—drawings, report cards, booklets from my piano and band recitals. In my forties now, these things hit different than when I looked at old albums in my 20s, 30s. I still remember most of the things that happened in my life, and have controlled, somewhat, what I light up to entertain myself, but avoid too much nostalgia. Instead I transport my mind into the body of my 5 year old, 8 year old, 9 year old, 12 year old, 16 year old, 22 year old self. It is an intoxicating trance experience. When I sit inside those younger bodies, I see total yearning because I was alone for much of my childhood. Alone, as in alone with my sister in an otherwise empty house. Days would go by before we saw our parents at times, and we lived in a socially isolated environment forbidden from making friends with anybody but our immediate neighbors and other Japanese or Korean families. Inside the house, we weren’t even allowed to speak English. Life outside of the home always felt like an alien planet. On that alien planet (school), I never felt a part of any particular social group until I joined band.

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