Let me tell you a little more about my pathway to my career as a counselor because it’s important for you to get to know me. It took me twenty years to finally be able to accept that I am a “pretty good” counselor. I pursued my theory of love and hate among Asian women and non-Asian partners’ relationships. My “theory” was finally shaped to a point where I could explain it to others. It was not all as good as it sounds.
At the time, when I finally conceived my theory of Asian mixed interracial relationship, I was in deep pain because I had to revisiting my life. In that process, I often saw reflections of my pain from my dissertation participants, who shared their pain with me. Their voices always accompanied me, even to this moment. I am deeply grateful for their courageous decision to open up to me. I also experienced a deep connection with my God when I sought wisdom and understanding hearts to find missing pieces to my story and their stories to develop my theories and counseling interventions. I was finally proud of me for the first time in my life. I was ready to “show up” and “shine” to whomever and wherever that might be. After all, it took me twenty years.
Then, in a matter of a day or two, everything collapsed. At the darkest moment of my life, I met Joe, you, and several other people at the place where no one wants to be. After we got separated and I became alone, I actually saw you more often than Joe. I realized I am you and you are me. Your life story indeed sounded seemingly “crazy” for me to diagnose you as with schizophrenia; maybe chronically ill. I would add this clinical jargon without much hesitation. I am also guilty of the larger system of this society, the managed care system, and the higher education system. I have been going through tremendous amounts of grief and loss over what I believed to be “doing good” and “not doing harm” after I met you.
Dear G, I am so sorry. I send you my sincere apology for not really listening to your life. I am so sorry that I often referred to other’s deep, painful lives as “stories.” My summer of 2020, especially for those five nights and six days that I spent with you and Joe, directly challenged my trust of the science of social science and medicine. Ultimately, I could no longer see myself as what I used to know. I saw myself in you for both past and present just like what I saw in Joe. However, I was not sacred when I think of Joe. You? I’m scared to death. I’m scared because I wondered whether I saw a glimpse of my potential future in your eyes. I did not know this when I was with you.
It’s partially because I paid more attention to Joe. The more I think about you, G, I am fearful. I do not often say that I am fearful. When I am alone and think about you and the many other women whom I met in my counseling room and in the community, I never saw my future in them. I often saw my past. I encountered my present at times, but those moments were rare. You? I actually saw my potential future. I am scared to death for that reality. I might feel this intensity of fear because of the fact that It is that you are fifty years old. My sister died when she was fifty years old in 2018 when I got my doctorate degree. In the middle of this summer, about a month before I met you, I prayed that I would survive at least another three years until I became fifty years old. I will explain more about this connection of fifty years old later.
For now, my connection with you and my story of becoming fifty is the biggest reason why it took me so long to respond and I found myself distracted from writing to you because I needed to face me. I can’t lie. I could, but I will not do that because I care deeply about me and you. I wish I could meet you and spend more time with you.
I am going to write to you even though I talk to you every day, as you know. Chances are slim that you would read my letters to you. However, writing to you means to me that I write to myself and other women whom I have met, and I will meet in the future. This is my way of having closure for myself, my summer of 2020, and you. I need to do this because you, Joe, and I are much stronger than what we think, because I saw hope in our brief encounters. I am going to keep the memory of our briefly shared life forever. I am forever grateful for us. We are extraordinary people and I only hope you know that truth. I do not even know how to end this first letter to you. I only wish you to know. I wish you could tell me directly. It would not be too hard to write to you again. So long for now.