Maturing Sentiments / by Stella Kim

Photo by  Myoungsoo Lee

Photo by Myoungsoo Lee

As a teenager, I remember being very reserved and sparse with my words. I was never one to get too worked up or upset over anything that happened, and sometimes I had a difficult time expressing myself on a more personal level.

In my early 20s, I lived through a number of different, what I like to call, “learning experiences” at home and at school. I remember feeling so confused and lost in a rush of emotions that I wasn’t able to verbally express in real words. I tried my best to write them down hoping that one day the words might come together and manifest a personal testimony. Looking back at them now, most of my thoughts were around family and relationships. This was when my strongest feelings, opinions and triggers were being formed subconsciously.

Now in my mid-20s, I find myself living through a different set of obstacles. Career-related goals, personal development, health maintenance, etc. are what consume the majority of my mental capacity; but at the end of the day, everything winds down to the well-being and happiness of my immediate family. Family and relationships are what I most passionately talk about, laugh about, and cry most heart-achingly about.


As I grow older, I feel that it gets harder to stand emotionally aloof in certain situations; I find myself sharing stories and sentiments, empathizing and sympathizing with people’s experiences in life, the good and the bad. I’ve also realized that the things that make me get attached to people, laugh about and cry about with them have changed over time.

Perhaps this is because, as we age together, tears become something shared whether the causative factors pertain to another’s life or your own. And we have the security of knowing that whoever you may look to for a shoulder to lean on, she will cry with you knowingly – knowing that life’s indelible experiences bring you both to a point of cultivated, matured and shared sentiments. Then and there, beneath the flux of other desires, you find what you’ve been looking for, listening for and wanting to know of. The faint echo becomes manifest and doesn’t die away, but swells into the sound itself; what you feel is tremendously quiet and gentle, but compelling. All of life’s individual experiences come together, complement one another, and ultimately impart one sentiment: unconditional love. It’s what we cry about with no inhibitions – heart-achingly, warmly, happily.

I think the things that trigger tears are indications of how we’ve lived our lives thus far and what is most important to us. I also think that they, in one form or another, indicate our acquired wisdom as individuals; whether that’s wisdom about life, family, hardships, or about one’s self –

- and I personally find that very encouraging.


ps, 가끔 눈시울이 붉어진다면 꾹 참지 말고 그냥 아낌없이 눈물을 흘리세요 – 나에게 가장 진실된 감정들이 무엇이고, 가장 귀한 사람이 누구인지 증명해주는 순간들이기도 하니까.