Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Being Rescued.

Last night, I was leaving taekwondo when I realized that I didn't have my house keys. I distinctly remembered locking the door, but after that, I don't know where they went.

Of course, I started panicking. I went back to the studio to search, but during practice, I'd lost my contact lenses. I was blind. I couldn't remember how on earth to pronounce the Korean for "key," even though I could spell it, so I was having trouble asking my studiomates if they'd seen my keys. Finally, I gave up and called Min Gi to ask him what the word was.

I was so distraught, I couldn't even understand what he was saying. At this point, I was guessing I'd probably dropped them in the park on the walk to the studio and without the aid of my glasses, conveniently locked inside my apartment, I would never be able to find them 10:30 at night. If they were even still there.

I think I might have yelled at Min Gi on the phone (not about anything, just about being blind and effectively mute in a foreign country when I was supposed to be in bed). My mind raced over the other important thing I thought I lost this week (a USB drive, which I found this morning, thankfully). I was a failure. Useless. Less than a baby.

Walking home very slowly, trying to squint a little and scan the ground for a sign of my keys, I ignored the middle schoolers in the park commenting on my foreignness (though even I would think my behavior must appear very strange). I arrived at the door of my building, just as Min Gi called, asking how the search was going. I told him I had found nothing. I asked if he would come open my door.

He said he'd be there in five minutes (he lives a 40 minute drive away). He'd gotten in his car right after I called him the first time.

Then, as I walked up to my apartment door, there, in the lock, are my keys.

I am an idiot.

Two minutes later, Min Gi is in my apartment.

"Well," he says with a grin on his face. "This is the story: I wanted to see you so much that I couldn't wait until tomorrow, so I drove here to see you. I'm the crazy one."

We laughed and then he went home because we both had a really early morning.

***

Most girls have a rescue fantasy. Maybe it's hardwired in there, developing along with the fallopian tubes and milk-producing glands. Or maybe the result of downing too many doses of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty as a young lass. Or perhaps, as my feminist parents believed, it came from the false gender role imprinting in our society that teaches women to be helpless victims and work only on cultivating our beauty and manners so that we can snag a big, strong man as soon as possible.

You see, I have the opposite fantasy--that I don't need nobody to do nothing for me. I am extremely uncomfortable asking for help.

Ironically, I've realized that rather being the fully enlightened next generation, perhaps we swung the pendulum too far the other way. Complete independence is a fantasy as much as that white-horse riding knight in his jazzed up armor was. Living in Korea has only pointed this fact out to me numerous times--I am indeed dependent on my school to assist me, on my parents to send me important documents from the U.S., on my friends for advice and support.

Funny thing is, once I realized that the whole princess fantasy/fiercely independent GRRRL was a false dichotomy women become trapped in (just like the madonna/whore thing), it freed me to finally make my own decisions about life and love.

And I think I'm making some good ones....

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