Monday Confessional: I Am Contradiction (and So Are You)

Welcome to Monday Confessional, where I spill the beans about something in my life, funny or serious. Because it's a good habit to fess up and come clean.


On the road trip I took earlier this month, my friend Adam had a few nicknames for me. One was the Korean Spider because I climbed something high, and I'm half Korean. What I got the most was this one: The Korean Redneck. Because, again, I'm half Korean, and also because sometimes, I look and act like a redneck.

This makes me laugh. It reminds me of the old Starburst commercial with the Korean guy in the kilt, and he points to a Korean kid eating Starburst and yells, "Look at this! One contradiction eating another!" It was an insightful, enlightening commentary on the contradictory makeup of Starburst candy and Koreans who are Scottish.

I've been thinking about contradictions quite a bit lately. Specifically mine, the ones I embody. I have to confess...the Korean Redneck is just the beginning.

I can be equally as happy spending a weekend in Manhattan as I would a weekend in the Adirondacks.

I could watch or talk about sports for hours, or I could binge-watch Veronica Mars or Gilmore Girls.

A great time with someone looks like good, slow conversation and pour-over coffee, or it looks like a powder-covered mountain, our snowboards, and the wind in our faces.

A big chunk of my budget is swallowed up by kale salad, Honeycrisp apples, organic nonfat yogurt, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and fresh salmon; and then I have a place I go to every Thursday night where the waitresses know me and my order because it's the same every time: a pint of Guinness and a roast beef sandwich--dry, with end cuts, sharp provolone, and gravy on the side.

One minute I'm singing a Coldplay song. The next minute, old-school Dre. Or Shania Twain. Or Radiohead. Or Mariah Carey. Or the Foo Fighters. Or Ke$ha.

I'm (half) Asian, but I don't like math. Maybe the half-ness accounts for that.

And those are the less bothersome contradictions.

Sometimes, I wake up and want to light the world on fire. I have a dozen tasks to complete, and I hit every single one like I'm in a game of tee-ball. Other times, I'm in a haze with a what's-going-on look on my face, and everything I need to do whizzes past me at 90 miles per hour while I stand frozen and dumbfounded.

Sometimes, I'm good at loving people well. I speak the words, I send the texts, I find the ways to express to someone how much they're valued. Other times, I'm tangled in the web of myself and my problems, and everyone around me probably suffers for it.

There are times when I talk about how being vulnerable with people is the best way to live, and I even put it into practice. Then there are days (almost every day this last week, to be honest) when I'm done with vulnerability. It's uncomfortable. It's tiring. And I don't like it. I don't want anyone to know what's going on, I don't want to "open up," I don't want to talk about it, I don't want to feel exposed, I don't want to take the risks involved.

I am contradiction after contradiction after contradiction.

And some days, the contradictions pile up and they start to point fingers and say things like, "You're a phony."

But here's what I'm learning: to be human is to be one giant list of contradictions. We want this, but we do that. We're over here, and we're over there. One day we are X, another we're Y, and yet another we're Z. I am contradiction. And you are contradiction. We are all sorts of contradiction, but not all contradiction means we're messed up, two-faced hypocrites. It just means we're human, and it's kind of what we do.

Most of us, we're trying, you know? We're figuring this out. I'm figuring this out. It's not easy.

I'll make you a deal:

I'm going to cut myself some slack, and you cut yourself some slack, and then let's all cut each other some slack.

Go be your beautiful, busted, normal, strange, fearful, brave contradicting self today. I will, too. Maybe.