Loving Your Roots

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Self-love: We’ve all heard it.

“Love your body! Work your style. Discover your individuality.”

And this is by all means is true and all means important. But I’ve always found self-love’s real definition to be a little more deep in my roots –I’m talking about my origins. While my nationality is full Korean, there seems to have been little substance behind this classification. Living there for only two years and having no trace of memories behind it besides eating a lot of black noodles, saying “I am Korean” was an understatement. Yet I never felt enough “American” to confidently state I was someone from California.

Through all of this, I’ve pushed away the asian culture I should have yearned to be apart of. And the media did too. Whether it was through the filtered lenses showcased by favored films, music, or other similar platforms, asians gravitated away from the limelight. While this may be an exaggeration, let’s face it: a white-washed community has been promoted in one form or another. Perhaps this lack of exposure towards embracing asian influence hindered my curiosity in Korean heritage.

No, I was not necessarily embarrassed to be Korean but I had no real urge to take in pride for being one. It was not until recently I have rediscovered the beauty Korea has to offer. As I observe more and more Koreans making a name for themselves, whether that is through protest or through other outlets, I have developed a strong sense of admiration. The way we exhibit ourselves in both sophistication and boisterous forms of character (not simultaneously of course), the way we emphasize respect religiously, and the way we view society are all aspects of being Korean I long forgotten. Yet absorbing and retracing these steps into my consciousness has enabled me to define what self-love really is all about.

So while I take into consideration to love my body and accept my style, I remember to cling onto my origin close at heart. It is a part of me, a part of all of us, that embodies who we are.


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