I was 8 months old when I arrived in the U.S. I was born in South Korea, but raised in Rochester, NY. As I took in my new home and began to adapt to a new way of living, I found myself struggling to fit in and fill in the gaps. I always knew that I was adopted, but I never understood what that actually meant. It began with my classmates who would point out my differences and question why I looked so different from my parents. Being the only Asian girl in class, I stood out and therefore couldn't avoid these questions. Embarrassed, I kept my adoption a secret. For years, I chose to remain hidden from the world in order to shield myself from any judgment or criticism. At the time, I once believed that no one would ever like me if they knew the real me.
It wasn't until I started using art as an outlet where I became strong enough to face my inner demons and to finally accept who I truly am. I would fully immerse myself in my artwork during a time of loss, confusion or sadness. For me, it is the only way that I am able to heal and move on. Instead of trying to escape reality, I was uncovering a part of me that I've tried to erase for so long. After years of convincing myself that I could never belong because I am Asian and an adoptee, I finally realized what mattered is what I feel in my heart, knowing that I have a purpose and to not let those who judge or misunderstand me change who I am. Accepting myself meant embracing my Korean heritage and has led me to explore more about my background.