I've been spending the past month reading texts for the Summer Forum residency in Hawaii that have me recontextualizing my relationship to the world, to time, history, the environment, other earth beings, and my deeper self, selves. 

It's been a wild couple of weeks unpacking emotions tied to finding and defining my purpose, relationship to money and abundance, desire, fears of abandonment, old resentments, self-doubt, and unhealed intimacy wounds. 

I've also been crushing hard on someone and it's been unearthing these thoughts and emotions I haven't felt since my teens and early 20s - wild, irrational, deep feelings that make me sing at the top of my lungs in joy and agony, and I find myself studying my projections of this person knowing they are only projections, and what I'm really seeing in my imagination is not that person as they truly are, but rather my own fears, traumas, hopes, and desires. 

I see how the past leaves imprints on the soul that create patterns that are hard to identify and even harder to break free from. But once I see a pattern I can assess it, find its source, and see the myriad ways it manifests in my reality. My fears of abandonment, of not being good enough for someone, of being just another disposable trick, of not being worth someone's time, are all related to experiences from childhood when I was first exposed to these emotions. 

I lost my mother at the age of 5. She was a nurse in Saudi Arabia, working as an overseas Filipino Worker, caught up in the still- present industry and exchange of nationalized bodies as economic capital, a diaspora caused directly by colonialism and US imperialism. She passed away from an unexpectedly swift sickness while vacationing at home during the Gulf War. After her death my bio father had nothing to do with raising me. Her sister, my aunt, now my mom, took on the responsibility, but I had to wait another 5 years to join their family. I went home to home with uncles and aunts on my maternal side and learned to love being part of several families with lots of cousins that were like siblings. I felt cared for but the feeling always loomed over me that I belonged to no one, that I was one bad move away from becoming like the children I saw begging in the streets. I knew that only a few circumstances separated me from them. I knew we were no different from one another. I still feel this way in general. Not in fear, but equality. 

I was 10 when my adoption papers were finally processed. My father needed to sign the paperwork to officially release custody, and we set up a day where I would meet him again and spend time with him one last time before I flew out to be with my new family in Japan. I was excited to see him. I waited all day and he never showed up. 

When I was 22, I officially changed my name from Kim to Kiam, adding an A to signify a new beginning. I also dropped my father's name from mine, cutting off the vestige of a dead past and releasing him from any other attachments or ties to me. 

As an adult, I can look back and tell myself it wasn't my fault, that the people that abandoned me did so for their own reasons, not because I was inherently bad or unworthy of love and time. But logic can only do so much when emotions go so deep that words fail. And there's nothing else to do but to sit with these feelings, to sit with that child that still dances within me, give them room to breathe, validate that their feelings are real, and then remind myself that this work of self-love and realization is constant, that the story is still evolving, that the present moment is not the end, but an always-unfurling new beginning. The work that I do, the love that I give, the healing path I've chosen to embark upon, the art I make, the songs I sing, the dreams I build - all of this I dedicate to that child, because they are worth every bit of it and more. 

I share these thoughts on this platform because I know I'm not the only one experiencing these internal shifts, facing the past, and integrating it with the present, especially in this time of seemingly tenuous personal and shared futures in a damaged world. 

If it helps even just one person to feel like they're not alone on this path, that their pain is valid, and their reserves of strength and love are infinite, then I know it's not in vain. I remind myself that the people around me and the situations in my life are there for me to learn and evolve my being. 

We are all mirrors
to one another. What do
you reflect, to whom?