Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Amerasians I've met- J.R

Born 1987









 Quest for love and belonging



JR seemed in perpetual search for a place that he could call home and

people to count him as one of their own. At the time, he was out of a

job – but he supplemented his meager income with odd jobs, eking out

an income for his brother and himself.


When I met him, I thought to myself – here is a vital young man – sure

he has invisible crutches, but he seemed capable of standing on his

own two feet if he set his mind to it.


In this young man I saw a strong yearning– which alternately moved me

and frustrated me. Because I recognized it for what it was – somewhere

deep within him, like in all of us, there is a reservoir of feelings

that has almost gone dry from not being filled by others.


In a sense, he is thirsting for love – but, like the man who is lost

in the middle of the desert, he is going to die of it unless he finds

an oasis in a vast land of despair. Or wakes up from his delirium and

stops chasing mirages.


Charismatic and fiercely loyal, Jr was always in trouble – or headed

for one. He surrounded himself with friends – his gang – who were

there, I felt, to make up for what he lacked – a family of his own.


He still believes in a concept called " Father", something I learned a

long time ago to cast away – like the belief in Santa Claus, which did

not survive my childhood.


I learned early on that ' Father ' will always remain just a word to

me. And so I set it all aside – together with whatever desire I had

for one. For me, there was no use trying to crave what you could never

have.  That is, until I became one.


And realized what I lost a long time ago when you turned your back on

me and walked away. Forever.


In spending with Jr and being around someone so open about his

feelings, I came face to face with the reality of what I – and others

like us -  confront in their everyday lives. In my case, I had

squashed those feelings that grips him now, until they no longer

exerted any influence on me. But seeing it in him provoked me to think

about our situation.


 How can you pin your hopes on someone who abandoned you? How can you

love someone who loved himself more than you? And, finally, how can

you hold on to this desire to be with someone who may not show the

same inclination?


What Jr has  been through – and what is going on in his life now – at

least, in my mind, is still potentially alterable if he first accepts

the reality of his situation.


He is searching for something that others seem incapable of giving him

– unconditional love – from people who impose conditions on their love

for him. Once he gets past that, then he will be within sight of the

road to recovery and eventually find the will to stand on his own.


More than anything, he spends time with his gang. In each other, they

find solace, even as their own preoccupations veer toward the

dangerous or the absurd.


JR I  always on the brink of one disaster or another – and usually,

the source of the trouble often comes from the people who are supposed

to love and take care of him – his friends and adoptive family—this is

the tragic place where fate has placed him.


But beneath the tough exterior is something tender – a yearning to be

cared for and be loved, mixed in with a great capacity for giving of

himself  to others.  In the end, that could also be what saves him –

if he can lay his demons to rest.

1 comment:

Tabatha Donley said...

Hello, I just watched "Left by the ship" and was deeply moved. My mother is Japanese and father American (Navy).
I commend your journalism and compassion for this issue.
I would really like to know the current situation of Charlene, Margarita, JR, and yourself. My heart goes out to all of you. Looking forward to hearing a response.