It was the winter before I started graduate school and I was in the first term of my pregnancy. Between waiting to hear back from prospective campuses and working a full time job that paid below a living wage, I was spent. Many women face this decision with fear of what others might think. This piece is my story about my journey to choice.
I could not arrive at a reasonable plan to make it through my first year of graduate school as a single mother. The programs I had applied to were full time, elitist and predominantly white. How would my classmates treat a single pregnant woman? Higher education already posed a series of ubiquitous challenges. Adding a newborn to the scenario was going to be exponentially trying. During my only ultrasound, I sang a childhood melody to my baby. After many tears, embraces, conversations and prayers, I decided to bid my farewell.
For as long as I've remembered, my grandfather has played the starring role in all of my father's stories. Dad will always, to this day, proudly describe my grandfather to me and my little brother as a bold, patriotic, and dashingly handsome young man, a perfect specimen of Korean manhood who will risk everything to protect his loved ones.
Once, for an elementary school assignment on illustrating our heritages, I drew my grandfather as a raven-haired, smiling stick figure holding the Korean flag. When we presented our drawings, I proudly retold my father's stories about my perfect, adventurous grandfather, embellishing details until my fellow classmates' eyes bulged in awe or narrowed in disbelief. My grandpa, I thought, was the most accomplished, caring, hard-working, and loving person in the entire world.
When I was growing up, my parents told me that sex was an exchange between two people who love each other very much. It was a special gift that you gave to another person, which should hold great value. Through my experiences in life, I’ve come to realize that sex is in fact a wonderful exchange. It just doesn’t necessarily need to be shared between two people who love each other...