A healing process…get yourself a bandaid The marks we make that cannot be undone. The many questions we have that are often unanswered.
“The Case For Not Being Born: Life is so bad, so painful, that human beings should stop having children for reasons of compassion." - David Benatar
The Histories of Moms. “All the eggs I will ever carry formed in my ovaries when I was a 4 month old fetus in the womb of my mother. My cellular life as an egg began in the womb of my grandmother. I spent 5 months in my grandmother’s womb and she in turn formed in the womb of her grandmother. I vibrated to the rhythm of my mother’s blood before she was born. This pulse is the thread of blood that runs all the way back through all of the grandmothers to the first mother.” (adapted from Layne Redmond)
I wonder where the first mother was born and what her name was. I wonder how many generations of women we are. My mother never knew when her mom died. She has not been home in 22 years. The last time I saw my grandmother was 35 years ago. 6 months ago I visit her gravesite. When I return home from Korea, I give my mother the date of when her mother died. Relationships with moms are complicated. My relationship with my mom is complicated and her relationship with her mom is complicated and most likely she with her mom and so on and so on. I realize I don’t want this cycle for myself.
a glimpse of me, my mom
“It’s raining furiously In the morning time, doom In the afternoon, doom In the evening time, doom Oh my goodness, it’s so scary… it’s a skeleton’s head”
I think it’s interesting that I call you Mom or Mommy and talk mostly in Korean to you but I talk to Appa mostly in English and never call him Dad or Daddy.
Everyone says I look like you. I guess we do look a lot alike. Jenny looks more like Appa.
The other day when I showed you the video of me teaching the skull song to others, you laughed. At first, my feelings were hurt but now I realize, you were surprised and amused. You must think it’s silly, but I love that song and I love drawing and singing and teaching the song to others. They seem to enjoy it too. I’m more sentimental than you. I wonder if it’s cultural. I bet it is.
I wish so much that you had a community outside of home, outside of Appa, outside of me and Jenny. I’m happy you have time with Jayden, Derek and Jordan but I wish you had friends and activities outside of home. I recall the story when you made radio knobs and another Korean woman was going to teach you English but she never returned your phone calls once you quit that job and started helping Appa at the store. I wish she returned your phone calls.
Sometimes I want so much for us to understand each other but we don’t really speak the same language. I wish my Korean was better. Growing up, I could never express the things I went through like when Heidi’s father crumpled up the drawing I drew for her or how I paid a boy $1 to tell me his father told him to no longer play with me.
Finding the video of you dancing at our family grocery store in Lincoln Square was a surprise and delight. I was 11 and it was Memorial Day. What a very strange day of playing with bunnies, going to Lincoln Park Zoo, hanging out at the store and a painfully awkward, silent and unengaging family dinner in the backyard. What’s even more odd and surprising is realizing that I got my first period shortly after the video rolls out. You thought I was too young.
Mom...you are so far away… How can I travel to you? What is your original nature? Where is your original home?
Through the use of video and live performance, Watermelon Graveyard highlights the absurdity of a woman’s role in the 1960s, the fear and loneliness of abusive relationships and the nostalgia of childhood love stories.
Presented at Dance Shelter May 12 & 13, 2016 at Hamlin Park Theater as a D49 Awardee/Affiliate Artist. Produced by Chicago Moving Company. Performed approximately 13 minutes in length.
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky. If you wish to travel far and fast, take off all your envies, jealousies, selfishness and fears.”
Direction and Choreography: Helen Lee Performers: Ysaÿe Alma, Jamie Corliss, Helen Lee, Alison Slak
In partnership with Indira Johnson, Ten Thousand Ripples and Chicago Park District