On Having Depression

If you’re interested in reading all about OCD, check out this post here. I was going to follow it up with Things You Don’t Know About Depression, but I’ve come to realize that there are still things I’m learning about it, so probably I shouldn’t be writing some blog post like I’m the boss of the depressed. And if you suffer from Post-Partum Depression (for which I am very sorry, and please know that there are a lot of people in your corner, even though right now it may not feel like it), check out this awesome post by my good friend, Julie.

In looking back over the annals of my life, there are specific events that catapulted me into the throes of depression, but we didn’t really know that’s what it was at the time. My best friend moving when we were five. Middle school. Watching one of our cats die because we knew it was coming and Mom and Dad had to go to work. Most of the time, it was reasonable to feel sad because what I was experiencing were sad things, but I realize now that what I was actually feeling was clinical depression, one of my many mental illnesses that started taking root and growing every time I felt blue.

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The reason I’m less knowledgeable about depression is chiefly because when you suffer from OCD, you don’t get much time to focus on anything else. My morning routine (aka compulsions) takes about an hour before I get out of bed (my anxiety piquing in such a way I never knew was possible because the entire time I’ve got to pee, but peeing isn’t in the equation. I’m working on including it to lower my anxiety, but we’re not really there yet). And with OCD comes additional anxiety (I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and a panic disorder, but both are difficult to navigate because of, you know, the OCD). The depression became quickly and easily backburnered because I’m just so anxious all. of. the. time.

It’s all getting better. It is. I’ve worked out for a solid 30 days now (I don’t work out on Sundays and I missed two days, one due to a back injury and one due to a medical procedure that knocked me out for an entire day), and aside from the anxiety that accompanies OCD, I haven’t felt like scratching all my skin off because I can’t handle life (that’s not really a thing with me. I don’t actually feel like scratching all my skin off, but that’s the best description I can give for general anxiety that goes with you everywhere), and my depression has left the building. For now at least. My mother and I were discussing this today after lunch (at Chuck-a-Rama), and we both agreed that even if I were to never lose any weight or inches or fit into my “skinny clothes” ever again, all this exercise would still be entirely worth it because of my mental well-being. I eat, exercise, study, work, and socialize all for my mental well-being these days, and it’s been pretty great.

But having mental illness means I can’t just be cured of it — that one day I’ll wake up and that will be the end of all the anxiety and depression. It means that, despite all my best efforts, one day, sooner or later, brought on by something or entirely out of left field, I will wake up and be physically unable to get out of bed. Prior to my regular exercise (and prescription meds and therapist and Vitamin D supplements), my depression would attack me at least once a week and would last anywhere from several hours to a couple of months (depending upon any chemical imbalances, the weather, how much my job was killing my will to live, etc.). Mental illness attacks your mind, your soul, and even your body (depression, I have found, is incredibly painful, so oftentimes I stay in bed because it hurts to get up and work around my home).

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When you say, “I have anxiety,” a lot of people respond with, “I feel you.” And perhaps they do because they also suffer from anxiety, or perhaps they’re exacerbating their actual life experiences and know what it’s like to be temporarily stressed out, but either way, you receive a lot more empathy than you do when you say, “I have depression.” I’m not quite sure why that is — perhaps it’s because depression feels more vulnerable than anxiety or maybe it’s because anxiety is far more common — but I think that’s what inherently makes depression even more difficult to withstand. You don’t just feel like no one gets you — in fact, no one gets you, and what is already an isolated medical problem becomes even more isolated.

I get it. Not wanting to exist isn’t a feeling many people have experienced to the degree of the depressed, and it’s not the same thing as being suicidal, so it’s just confusing and weird. It looks like laziness, it sounds like an excuse. And while I am on occasion quite lazy and have a bag full of excuses, ready to utilize at any given moment I don’t want to do something, depression doesn’t fall into either category, and it’s offensive to imply that it does.

Why am I writing about this now? Because I’m genuinely scared that tomorrow or the day after that or the day after that or the day after that, I’ll wake up from this blissful depression-free life and hurt from the inside of my brain to the soles of my feet. And when that day comes, I’m going to need some understanding because I fear it’s going to be even harder than it was the last time.

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The Night I Needed “Galaxy Quest”

Guys, depression is so, so stupid. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Why human people were built to be able to feel this sad for extended periods of time is kind of a joke, you feel physically unwell (chronic headaches that aren’t affected at all by pain reliever? Cool), and chances are you gain weight.

Which kind of bums you out more.

Although I will say my sleep aid is finally working, and I sleep like a boss these days — and during the nighttime, even, which is cool since there’s really no good TV at 3:30 am. So I mean, little glimmers of hope here and there. And when I’m feeling social and am around people doing stuff I like, I feel reasonably happy — makeup, singing, makeup, singing, it’s all just good stuff.

Days spent home alone, though? Caverns of further depression. The sleep aid worked a little better than anticipated last night, so when I woke up at 12:00 noon (precisely the time church ends), I was looking at an entire day at home, with Husband, Princess Fluffybutt, and our new old girl who basically sleeps all day long, interspersed with sneezing. Don’t get me wrong — I super love my family and spending time with them, but I usually need some sort of social interaction outside of the home to get me really going.

Post-gaming, Husband declared he wanted to watch “Galaxy Quest” during dinner (which I made out of real actual food that wasn’t pre-packaged or frozen — LIKE A REAL PERSON!), and that didn’t sound too bad because, after all, Alan Rickman. And, incidentally, it was kind of what I needed.

Image courtesy of tortagialla.com

Image courtesy of tortagialla.com

It’s not like I didn’t know the catchphrase of the movie, I just hadn’t been thinking about it a lot these days because mostly that would be weird. But when it came up the first time of the movie, it kind of struck a chord with me (I know, total nerd moment, bear with me). There are few things easier than surrendering to clinical depression — I think I can probably speak on behalf of most depression sufferers when I say that (although if I’m really wrong, please let me know). The bed seems softer and more welcoming, preparing food seems cumbersome, doing anything else seems nearly impossible. And it takes a lot to convince yourself to, like, function like a grown-up person.

This idea, giving up and never surrendering, while a little colloquial and corny simply because of its origin, is also meaningful and important. And I was briefly reminded, during this seriously fabulous movie (don’t even try to tell me you don’t love it because I’ll know you’re lying), that despite my desire to cancel life and stay in bed with my snuggly kitties till I became a candidate for TLC’s “My 600-lb Life,” I need to push on. It’ll be hard, and most of the time it might even suck, but in the end you might save an entire alien specie, make it on time to your Comic-Con event, and get a standing ovation.

And who doesn’t love a little standing ovation once in awhile?

I’m Back

I’ve been depressed lately — the clinical type — and that’s a low point that’s not funny. Plus I’ve  been busy makeuping and, um, sleeping because that’s what we depressed people do.

But things were starting to turn a corner, and I woke up this morning really feeling like today was going to be super rad. I only had two things on my schedule: a haircut, which was sorely needed and rehearsal 10 1/2 hours later, which meant hanging out with really funny, awesome people and singing songs.

I love singing songs.

That left oodles of time for me to drive around the area and buy stuff with Husband’s money, and that naturally got me pretty excited. I was going to be productive. I was going to buy things and do stuff that had been on my to-do list for ages but had been neglected because depression/sleep. And then I was going to come home and make yet another real, actual dinner with real, actual food for Husband and me, and we were going to play video games in our sweats, and then I was going to head off to rehearsal and he was going to snuggle with the cat, and going to bed, I’d think pleasantly upon the day, with a half smile on my face, like they do in the movies. I might have even chuckled to myself WHO EVEN KNOWS. There was a lot of promise.

I feel like the best way for me to illustrate how today went is through a series of selfies you’re welcome.

I got a great haircut this morning. This isn’t abnormal because my stylist is kind of a goddess, but in growing my hairs out, I’ve slowed down on the regularity of said haircuts and only visit her once every two months or so. I was growing out my bangs. But then I got cast in a show where I’m a child character, and we all agreed bangs would really make it better. So the bangs, they came back. And guys, they’re, like, super cute.

If you live in Utah, go to Shep Studio and visit my girl Siara.

If you live in Utah, go to Shep Studio and visit my girl Siara.

I wanted shorter bangs because I make my eyebrows look rad these days and didn’t want bangs to cover them up. Also, it’s inevitable that I’m going to get little kid bangs above my eyebrows for the show (I get into character, people) and didn’t want to shock people too much on April 1st when suddenly I looked ten. I felt great about this haircut. This was the kind of haircut you get and then plan out a full day of being in the public eye so everyone can enjoy it with you.

I might have a small problem with narcissism.

And then it was off to all the fun stores to buy all the fun props for my birthday party photobooth. Not to give it all away because at least one person who’ll be coming will probably read this blog post (incidentally, more strangers read my blog than friends/family — is that cool? Is it sad? Hmm), but WANDS AND A BOA. ALSO A COWBOY HAT AND PINWHEELS. I should have know, however, that the day was going to turn when I was going down the aisles and found artificial butter flavoring.

Artificial. Butter. Flavoring.

I don't ... think that's a good idea.

I don’t … think that’s a good idea.

Look, I get it. There are women in the world who desire pristine white frosted wedding cakes that are pure as the driven snow and are willing to DROP THEIR MORALS and let their bakers use clear, artificial butter flavoring for their buttercream. These women are grossly wrong. Grossly, grossly wrong. They should be smacked.

But I was buying photobooth backdrops and a birthday tiara for myself, and that felt like a little tiny blip. Insignificant — we’ve got nothing to worry about here, everyone, the day is going to be great despite making a rather upsetting discovery.

And since we’re talking birthdays, we might as well announce right now that mine is coming up in a mere five days (four if you are willing to agree with me that my being born on the 23rd in Korea = my actual birthday being the 22nd in America … Husband remains unconvinced, but he’s probably just jealous). And with that comes a lot of free food. No seriously — all the restaurants want to give you free food for your birthday whenever you want, and it’s fantastic. I pulled into the parking lot of my local Noodles & Company, pulled out the ole phone to bring up the coupon FOR A FREE NOODLE BOWL, NO BIGGIE, and was met instead with a bunch of messages from Gmail essentially saying “You literally have no emails from anyone with noodles in the name or about noodles or your birthday or free noodle bowls, give up on life now.” And trust me, I looked really, really hard. I searched all the terms. No dice.

I JUST WANTED SOME FREE NOODLES IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK.

I JUST WANTED SOME FREE NOODLES. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK.

Yes, it was too much to ask, in fact, so I drove away, quite dejectedly, to go to the Walmart Pharmacy, at which I’d already had a fairly heinous experience in the past. Note to self: just because the pharmacy is close to your house doesn’t mean you should, like, use it. Go to another state if you have to, just avoid the Walmart Pharmacy like the friggin plague.

I stood in line. I stood in a line of only one other person and myself for a really long time. I posted two pictures to my business Instagram page. I texted a friend. I checked some notifications. And finally it was my turn. (Yay! It’s the little things! And I’m going to get my anti-depressant and take it and be happyyyyyyyyyy!) So the crabby man asked for my name, misspelled it once, and said, “You have to go to the drop-off desk. They have to talk to you.” Not sure why they needed to talk to me, I headed on over, where I stood in front of a woman on the telephone, looking at a computer screen, and not actually indicating that she was aware there were other human people around.

I waited for her to get off the phone.

I waited for her to talk to the pharmacist.

I waited for her to talk to the other pharm tech.

AND THEN VICTORY WAS MINE and I gave her my name, and she said, “Your medication was recalled. There was something wrong with the batch, so we’re not dispensing it. But we might get it in tomorrow? So … just call tomorrow morning?”

In case you’re wondering, anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medications are literally the worst to recall. We’ll risk it. Just give us our drugs.

Figures. First no noodles, now no meds.

Figures. First no noodles, now no meds.

But, like, they’d called me twice about my prescription being ready. No one said anything about a recall or not getting meds, and IF THEY HAD, I would have probably had the prescription transferred to the Rite Aid AT WHICH I’D USED THE RESTROOM A COUPLE HOURS PRIOR.

The drive home was a somber one. I can’t even remember if I listened to the radio because all I could really think was “No noodles, no meds.” over and over again because, you know, OCD.

I parked, I opened the trunk, I discovered the half gallon of milk I’d purchased (whose safety seal was perfectly intact, so how any of this went down I have no idea) had leaked in the bag all over and into the upholstery of my car. Which is rad because milk gone bad smells awesome. I ran to get it inside. I had a little incident with a couple bags and my keys and the cat ran outside (don’t worry, she does this thing where she runs immediately and then freezes like she has no clue what to do). Milk on the entryway floor. Milk on my favorite suede boots.

Dear God, Are You There? It's Me, Mary.

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Mary.

In case you’re curious, when I pulled up my email on the computer, I totally found this beauty within seconds.

Happy birthday indeed, Noodles and Company.

Happy birthday indeed, Noodles and Company.

And this is what lunch looked like instead.

The ratio of mayo to sandwich was pretty on point, though.

The ratio of mayo to sandwich was pretty on point, though.

Let’s See How 2014 is Going

Overall: Pretty well. I’ve already done makeup for three photoshoots and one wedding, plus hosted an event with a Mary Kay consultant. I was cast in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at a community theatre in the role of Marcy Park (which, duh because she’s Asian, and I’m one of I think four Asians in the entire theatre community of the state). I was also cast in a Night on Broadway cabaret-style show at another local community theatre, during which I will perform “Pulled” from The Addams Family musical in my friend’s wedding dress (long story). I substitute taught for a friend and the students, they liked me. Husband still loves me, Stella is still the fluffiest, sweetest, snuggliest kitty ever, and also she smells amazing. No seriously. She smells really, really good, which is a mystery to us since she consistently has cat food breath. I got a tooth fixed at the dentist recently, and he made it look like the other one next to it, and I think it’s the prettiest tooth I’ve ever had.

Day-to-day: Fair to middling. I suck at doing the dishes, keeping the different rooms of our condo organized, folding the laundry, sometimes DOING the laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, and dusting. I see a therapist for these things, which makes me feel really bad, which leads to more therapist seeing. Husband continues to deal. I find myself in the throes of insomnia yet again, only this time I don’t have any sort of sleep aid medication, and my night guard (which I’ve been eating away at since I first placed it in my mouth) hurts. I have acquired a fantastic case of tinnitus. I’m kind of getting fat due to not working out since 2011. I discovered tonight that I have forty-one lip colors, which makes me feel excited for about five seconds and then truly appalled for the remainder of my thinking about it. Which, you know, can be a long time depending on how obsessive I want to be about it. I watch a lot of “Law and Order: SVU” and even more “CSI: Miami.” Let’s not discuss it.

I mean … there have been some really rad parts that have looked like this:

Professional photos by Mallory Francks Photography, Instagram photo by Daisyhead by Mary

Professional photos by Mallory Francks Photography, Instagram photo by Daisyhead by Mary

but there have also been less rad parts that look like this … a lot:

Kitchen counter#smh

So … we’re working on things. We’re trying to be adults who are productive and responsible, all the while tapping into our creative side and doing all the artsy things possible. Right-brained. I’m really, really right-brained. There is the possibility that the left side of my brain doesn’t actually work in any way whatsoever.

Lessons You Learn When You Have OCD

— or — “A Lesson in Self-Discipline, Age (Almost) 30”

It seems these days all I take pictures of and blog about is makeup, makeup, makeup, and thusly I’ve neglected this blog (once again, just like Puneet Sandhu *ahem* has neglected hers). I worry sometimes that people will think I’m airheaded, that I’ve lost my intellect, that maybe I made up the whole getting a college degree thing since, you know, I never once profited from it and worked as a secretary, which had its own form of mindlessness, for seven years. But I did — really — go to college and learn critical thinking skills and critiqued literature till I was cross-eyed and blue in the face. I still know big words like pandemonium (I love that word) and extraneous AND how to use them. Well, most of the time. I CAN SPELL THEM, AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS. I have opinions on things going on in the world around me and would like to see my life shaped into something spectacular and meaningful, alongside Husband and kitty.

But I digress.

We all read that uncomfortable post I wrote awhile back about having OCD (and if we didn’t, then we can access it here). Perhaps only uncomfortable to me and my parents, but something that felt vulnerable, and if there’s one thing I really hate to feel, it’s vulnerability. But luckily I am not a famous person, and I am never met with harsh words from strangers EXCEPT on XBox Live, which, I know right? Weird. Anyhow, since then I’ve been working through my stuff. Stuff like inability to keep a clean home, inability to sleep (we’re still working on that, as was made apparent after last night’s hour and a half of sleep, which took place somewhere between about 1:00 am and 2:30 am), inability to act like a normal person sometimes. Because sometimes I feel terrible inside. Not depressed (I think we successfully got rid of that, thank you 10,000 iu of Vitamin D), but wound up, finding difficulty in breathing, not wanting to express myself and unsure if I can even if I tried.

But through all of that, we hit some high points. Most recently: the dishes. I can spout off a few reasons why the dishes plagued me, and plagued me bad, man — I don’t like getting dirty, I don’t like germs, I don’t like getting wet, etc. I would let them go for a couple meals and then suddenly the manageable plates and smattering of silverware became a mountain, and don’t even get me started when I had the irresistible urge to bake something. Dishes for days. Dishes  for weeks. Dishes for what seemed like an eternity, till I honestly considered throwing them away and purchasing new because that felt easier to deal with. Husband said it was unreasonable, coached me through it, encouraged me whenever I emptied the dishwasher and put plates in it.

And you know what? I felt like a damn baby. Because what 29-year-old needs her husband to turn dishes into some sort of game in order for her to complete them? Or push her till there’s an outburst and a vindictive, “Oh I’ll show you, Mister” reaction, till not only the dishes were clean but the countertops and probably one bathroom to boot. Also, organized papers. It was humiliating and demeaning, and although Husband never once put that on me, I felt as though it was there. And some fears rose, like, “What if he wakes up one day and realizes this is a total joke and leaves me for a woman who can function like a normal grown-up?”

He stuck with me. He stuck with me through the dirty dishes and unmade bed and unvacuumed cat fur and anxiety and here he sits behind me, playing a video game while I start a load of laundry and blog, till he finishes his mission and we play a round of cards. Do I deserve a man who puts up with all this? I’m not sure. I’m not sure I’ll ever be certain of that. He even took me out on a date after I essentially threw a temper tantrum from a combination of being hangry (def: hungry and angry, especially when the anger is induced by the hunger) and frenetic from missing a couple dosages of medication (which, by the way, I think I’ll be stuck on forever because the side effects of “weaning” off it are wretchedly wretched and not entirely worth it).

So I made a decision, a couple weeks back (and we’re not going to call these decisions resolutions because if anything, a New Year’s resolution kills my resolve) to be better. To try harder. To do the damn dishes every damn day because they’re not hard, they don’t kill me, and at the end, I feel better. I like how clean my counters are. I like that I can make anything and have clean dishes in which to do it (not that I would actually do that because duh it would create dirty dishes). And you know what? I’ve made it. I’ve done the dishes for the space of an entire week now, and, really dry hands aside (and I use gloves … I mean, what kind of weather is this that my hands get chapped and dry EVEN WHEN I WEAR GLOVES), things have been great. I’m considering adding regular laundry washings to the mix to see how that suits me.

I’m hoping it suits me great. I’m hoping that one day, I’ll scroll through my blog and find this post and think, “Oh … I vaguely remember feeling that way” because I’m not forgetting breathe and I’m regularly productive and I do regular chores on a daily basis because that’s just how my life is, and it’s fine. I want a fine life.

So You Say We’re in Denial

I’ve seen a lot of Facebook posts and Tweets the past several weeks (I mean, really, when you think about it, probably the last several years, but for all intents and purposes let’s just say weeks for now) with the general message of: “If only people spent as much time caring about what’s happening in the world as they do: Miley Cyrus, North West, Ben Affleck, Baby George, fill in the blank with whatever big name you’d like. If only people weren’t superficial asses who didn’t think about everything happened around them. If only people stopped being selfish. If only.

Image courtesy of yahoo.com

Image courtesy of yahoo.com

But it’s not really that simple — it never is. And I’m here to defend that point.

We are bombarded every day in Facebook and the Yahoo! homepage and CNN.com and BuzzFeed and Twitter about death and destruction and desolation. Pre-dating all those websites, horrible news was often avoidable, but it isn’t any longer, so unless Tweeters are referring specifically to individuals who are without the internet and newspaper subscriptions or, you know, the general American teenager, we know what’s happening. And it’s horrible and it makes us anxiety-ridden and it makes us cry sometimes and it makes us yell because we’re trying to figure out what in the heck is going on outside our front doors that makes us think maybe going outside isn’t really worth it. Maybe agoraphobes have had it right since the beginning.  And then it’s all we can do to not lay down on the living room floor and weep for all the women and children, for the people who have lost their lives when they didn’t need to in the first place, for the corrupt governments that sprawl out across the globe.

Image courtesy of cnn.com

Image courtesy of cnn.com

Sometimes we need Ben Affleck to be cast as Batman. Sometimes we need to know how British royalty are doing. Sometimes we crave fluff stories about Kim Kardashian’s secret wedding. Sometimes we don’t think it’s necessary or even appropriate at times to fill our Facebook News Feeds or Twitter feeds with bad news that inevitably makes us feel worse and that everyone else is generally aware of because they’re seeing it too, in their own respective ways.

I assure you, I’m aware of what’s happening in Syria, and it scares me for more than one reason. We’re all watching things unravel with you, so don’t accuse us of not caring because we care so much that it renders us paralyzed.

10 Things that Don’t Need to Be Said

As an anxiety-ridden obsessive-compulsive Korean-American adoptee Mormon in an interracial couple with a penchant for depression and not planning on having children, I kind of get the whole gamut of things people probably don’t ever need to utter under any circumstances.

Also, I am really addicted to BuzzFeed right now, so here goes.

1. “I’m kind of OCD” and/or “That’s kind of OCD.”
To specify, you can’t really “kind of” be OCD. You either are or you aren’t. What you CAN be, however, is generally compulsive, which is a trait every single person on this earth has. You don’t have to have some mental disorder to feel compelled to alphabetize your Blu-Rays (which, by the way, if you’re not doing, just start, okay?) or organize your kitchen counters. You aren’t mentally ill if you don’t like fuzz on your clothing or notice a speck of food on your work desk. If you weren’t compulsive, you’d be kind of … in a vegetative state of apathy, when you really think about it.

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Image courtesy of youtube.com


2. “Just think happy thoughts.”
Just stop. Just stop now. People suffering from depression, seasonal or otherwise, do not need to hear your sage advice as to how to overcome it. There is an inherent difference between depression and feeling blue. Feeling blue is one of those things that would absolutely be fixed by thinking happy thoughts and eating cheesecake. Depression isn’t really. If it were that easy to overcome, we’d all be thinking the damn happiest thoughts on earth all of the time.

Image courtesy of juxtapost.com

Image courtesy of juxtapost.com

3. “Don’t worry about it” or “Don’t stress too much.”
I will if I want to. I will if I don’t want to. There is literally no way that you can convince someone with anxiety that things aren’t worth worrying or stressing over. Just let us deal in the ways we need to deal. Like with medicine and therapists. This especially goes for individuals who have OCD. “Oh, so you want me, an obsessive, to cease worrying? Done and done.” <—– will literally never happen
Your plan to make us stop worrying is futile, so you may as well just throw in the towel and either worry with us or love us for our other outstanding qualities.

Image courtesy of glennster.deviantart.com/

Image courtesy of glennster.deviantart.com/

4. “Never say never!”
This is specifically in reference to the not planning on kids issue. I get it, you and your spouse and your children are the happiest family on earth, and I admire that. There’s nothing bad about having a family; I literally can think of nothing unless, of course, you’re Amanda Bynes, and then maybe hold off, mmkay?
When people hit a certain age, like 29 or 30, and Spouse has been through an -ectomy, and both are college graduates with their heads on straight, chances are they are old enough to have made a solid decision together that doesn’t involve anyone else. Also, colloquialisms. Let’s just rid ourselves of them right now while we can.
Furthermore, should we change our minds, that’s not a good time for you to say “I told you so.”

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

5. “Where are you from?”
Oregon.
No, but where are you from?
Oregon.
Before that.
Well, I was born in South Korea, but I was adopted when I was three months old.
<insert awkward Korean phrase here>
Oh, I don’t actually speak the language. Because I was three months old.
When are you going back?
… I don’t really have plans to.
Don’t you want to meet your real family?
They’re in Oregon. I see them pretty regularly.
etc.
et cetera

Just watch this.


6. Anything about the “real” family.
Let’s just establish something: calling either the birthfamily or the adoptive family real is offensive to the other and generally incorrect. The best way to get around this? One’s a birthfamily. The other is family. Adoptees don’t generally consider themselves to have any sort of fake family in the mix.

Images courtesy of mamiverse.com

Images courtesy of mamiverse.com

7. “What’s your real name?”
Not all adoptees, especially those adopted domestically, have different names than the ones they’ll have the rest of their lives. And it kind of goes back to the real v. fake family thing. I was given a Korean name by the adoption agency (Kim Jong Mee, which I find disturbingly similar to the former and current presidents of North Korea), but my real name, which appears on my birth certificate, is Mary. Always has been, always will be.

Image courtesy of thegazette.com

Image courtesy of thegazette.com

8. “You speak really good English” (can be followed by “… for being from Hong Kong” and yes, that really happened in my real life)
I’d hope so. I was an English major, after all.

Image courtesy of forlackofabettercomic.com

Image courtesy of forlackofabettercomic.com

9. “You’re Mormon? How many wives do you have? hahahahahahaha”
Polygamy (called plural marriage by Mormons in the 19th century …) was taught by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) for more than half of the 19th century, and practiced publicly from 1852 to 1890 by a minority of families (between 20% and 30%). (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormonism_and_polygamy)
For the record, we haven’t practiced polygamy for 123 years now. That’s a long time. That’s longer than the oldest person in the world has been alive. So probably we can stop with the jokes about it.

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

10. Are you going to raise your kids bilingual?
If you’re talking to an adoptee, then don’t even bother. If you’re not talking to an adoptee, then maybe. Maybe they will raise their kids to be multilingual. Maybe their kids are going to get all the jobs because they speak literally every dialect on earth.
Probably it is not your business. Also, seriously disinteresting when it really boils down to it.

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net

Image courtesy of memegenerator.net