Monday, June 2, 2008

Freaks Like Me (Part One)

I'm a freak. Always have been. Close friends and immediately family already know this. And if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you've probably figured that out as well.

I was born in Fredricksburg, Virginia over 40 years ago. My father was (is) white, and my mother was (is) from Japan. Times have changed. People are more accepting of children from mixed race couples. But back then, I was an oddity. Being Asian in rural Virginia back then would have been enough to set me apart from the rest of my classmates; being a little bit white and a little bit Asian was a double threat. This is not to say I didn't have friends. I did. The wonderful thing about young kids is that they are not inherently prejudiced; it's a learned skill. The older I got, the more I came to understand I wasn't like everyone else, and the more that I began to understand I just wasn't going to be accepted in certain circles. Not that I didn't try. I watched my mother skillfully change people's attitudes towards her by going above and beyond what was expected. She treated my father's family and our neighbors with kindness and generosity. She went out of her way to endear herself to them. It was amazing.

But I didn't have those kind of skills. I thought that by pretending I was just like everyone else, people would simply play along. That didn't work out so well. Not only was I a freak physically, I was also ADD. I would not be diagnosed until I was 22 years old, so for all those years, I was just annoying. I have always had a handful of close, wonderful friends. For their own reasons, they were social outcasts as well. But as a kid, your ultimate goal was to be among the ranks of the popular, the beautiful. To add insult to injury, during my junior high and early high school years, I also struggled with my weight and my complexion. Oh, and did I mention that my parents divorced when I was in the sixth grade? For a brief period in high school, I was on the fringe of the popular crowd for the simple reason that I looked older than I was and was able to get into the hottest club in town. Something highly desirable to the popular crowd but not attainable without me. I held the golden ticket. I also no longer struggled with my weight, thanks to a friend's brother who turned me on to bodybuilding, coupled with the fact that cocaine was the drug of choice for the night club crowd. I was partially accepted into the inner circle, but only long enough to get them into a club. I had a total of one date with someone from my school. My other dates involved men I met at nightclubs who thought I was older than I actually was. Nice.

This is not meant to be my life story, so let me just briefly sum up my life in my late teens and twenties: Lots of binge drinking, a fairly decent amount of drug experimentation, and basically looking for love in all the wrong places. (Sorry, bad song analogy.)

I met my husband when I was 28. I had been in several bad relationships, the latest of which had recently ended after 7 years. I was all partied out. It just wasn't fun anymore. And while our lives together hasn't always been a barrel of monkeys, I now realize that God reached down and put him in my life because He saw two broken people who, when bound together through the amazing love of Jesus Christ, were more complete. My husband grew up in the church, but had had his fair share of a life apart from God. After the birth of our first child, I was on the verge of an emotional breakdown and he decided it was time to get back to church. I was out of options, so I agreed.

I'm not here to tell you that going to church saved my life. Acknowledging my brokenness and laying it at the cross did that. But that's for another post...

6 comments:

Jamie - RoseCottage said...

I can't believe you write such a lovely heartfelt post and END IT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE!!! Way to leave me hanging! I appreciate your candor, not hiding the icky stuff from your past. I don't hide mine, but I like people to know me NOW pretty well before I lay it all out. Guess I'm afraid they won't like me - I hate that I still care what people think! Hey, look, a chicken! Oh no wait, that's just me!

katdish said...

Jamie,

Sorry to leave you hanging. I have to admit, writing that post took a lot out of me, so it may be a few postings before I write Part 2. I'm not a big believer in drudging up the past for the sake of airing dirty laundry, I actually have a point in the end. But I think it would be dishonest of me to attempt to speak truth into the lives of others without first letting them in on my journey, however icky it might be.

And for whatever it's worth, I like you very much, my friend!

Justine (Justwaaaa) said...

Great post today, Kathy! You really let it all hang out and I think that's healthy. My childhood and teenage years were just about the opposite of yours, in that I only got adult acne and fat once I was already grown!

Justine :o )

JML said...

More than anything, I admire honesty. You have an amazing testimony and I'm glad to hear it. I feel like a lot of people take for granted where they came from once they get somewhere remotely close to where they want to be, it's like the past isn't important anymore. Of course everything is under the Blood of Christ, but the experiences you had shaped you into a funny person who can honestly minister to similar people. And as far as being weird or an outcast goes, that's the best! being strange draws attention to you, and you can totally take advantage of that for the furthering of the Kingdom, or your own cause, whatever that might be. Wonderful job!!!!!!!!

Nitewrit said...

Katdish,

My father was (is) white and my mother was (is)...well...white, too. But I was also a freak. I discovered early on if others wanted to dislike and torment someone they'd find a reason. Being racially different makes it more convenient. I won't bother with any life history, did enough of that on my own Blog.

My wife is part white and part Native American. Her family didn't care for that fact and tried to hide the Native American connection. My kids think that was stupid; they think being part Native American is cool.

My friends as a child were all outcasts in our small town, too. I was the hick from a swamp, my friends were the Jew, the Gay and the Black.(Other kids used somewhat different terms for us.)

As tough as it can be, its like getting sick young, it builds antibodies and strengthens character if it doesn't kill you first. It also gives you a broader perspictive and acceptance of individuals, makes you able to see the person not the crowd, not like those who can't see the trees for the forest.

And when you come to Christ, you know none of those others things really matter in the sight of God.

Larry E.

katdish said...

Larry,

Wow. This is a really old post! I had to reread it again. It always makes me a bit uncomfortable; reading my soul laid out like that in print. It also reminded me that there's not a "Part II". Hmmm...

Thanks for sharing part of your story. I love the antibody analogy - so true. I went to your profile the last time you left a comment, and it seems you have quite a few blogs. Is there one in particular that you write most frequently?