This is my story: losing my hat, looking for my hat, finding my hat. But it isn’t really about hats at all. It’s about how I figured out who I am, where I belong, and why.
I’m an American, but my parents are Korean, and I was born in Germany. How am I supposed to know who I am? My parents moved to Memphis from Chicago to run a wig shop before I started school. My memories are like a series of snapshots — kissing Tina in kindergarten because the rest of the class dared me to, watching TV in the back of the shop while my baby sister slept, trash cans full of kim chee buried in the back yard, new friends, birthday parties, angry discussions about changes and about moving, and then a new home in Houston, a new shop, new places to get used to and new friends to find. And through it all, always wondering who I am, and how I will fit in when sometimes I feel so different.
And finally, learning that in life, and in learning who I am, I have to leave not only places, but also people, behind. Sometimes life isn’t easy, and not all the hats I’d really like to wear are ones that fit, and I have to find the ones that do.