By Katelyn Earhart
You were this explosion that shattered my heart. You were this country everyone around begged me not to visit, but your mystery was something that intrigued me. I truly believed beauty existed everywhere, so why should you be any different? I knew better than to live there forever, but what’s wrong with visiting for only a few weeks?
So, I came to your country and you watched me like a hawk. Cameras, listening devices, spies … you had them everywhere. Through your crafty words you somehow convinced me that we shared a similar intrigue for something new. You claimed to never have seen “such a wild foreigner move throughout life with magic in her eyes.” I was so naive.
I thought if you could just see what I see … then maybe you would change. If you could see beauty in the world around you, maybe, just maybe, you would think about the people’s lives you are hurting. You may even, one day, live in peace. For the sake of your people … for the sake of your heart … maybe you could change.
But you were never really learning. Were you even paying attention? No, you were just using my heart. You were just trying to harness the magic in my eyes so you could add it to the collection of all the other things you owned.
I wish I could say that I was strong and pushed you away. I wish I could say I was smart and saw through your plans. But that’s not how it happened … that’s not how things went down.
I was this beautiful wildflower that you just waited for the perfect time to pick.
Sure, you gave me water sometimes, but by picking me, you had already changed my life’s course. Death was the only reality I had left. You had already pulled me from my life source.
My sun, my beautiful embracing sun — the thing that gave me life, joy, and energy every moment of my day — you took that from me and put me in a dark room by myself.
My ground, the place from which I drew my life and water. The place where I had interlinked my deepest roots. You took that from me and told me they weren’t needed because I had you.
My wind, my place of growth and strength. Sometimes the breeze was soft and steady carrying my pollen to the rest of my flowers. Other times it pushed me over, but I always came back stronger. You took that from me and told me I was too beautiful to change.
You convinced me that …
- I don’t need roots, you’d give me water.
- I don’t need my sun, you’d be my light.
- I don’t need my breeze, you’d be my protector.
You pulled me out of life and convinced me I was still living.
And somehow, I believed you, North Korea … why did I believe you?
I could have … I should have … stopped exploring at any point in time. So why didn’t I?
Why couldn’t I see through your lying eyes …
I have seen so much of the world, I should have known how to spot them.
But I never did. Well, not until it was too late.
Not until after you stole my magic.
North Korea, you’re different from the rest of the countries I have visited. I knew you didn’t hold the key to my heart. I knew I was only going to stay there for a moment because you were unsafe. I thought I was cautious. I thought I was safe. But here we are with you standing there, holding a piece of my magic that I can never get back.
North Korea, you are a thief.
I hope you’re happy, North Korea. I hope it was worth it. Yeah, you have a part of my magic, but what have you really gained? Was the experience really all that great? Was stealing my magic really worth it? What do you do now … you can’t even use it?
The truly sad thing is if you were actually paying attention to me, the beauty I was trying to show you would have led you to find a magic of your own. That was my heart from the very beginning of this journey. But here you are … a country who can only steal magic instead of create it.
I hope one day you learn, North Korea, but it’s not my job to teach you!
Despite all this, North Korea, somehow, I don’t completely regret my journey. I traveled to you and got to experience a beauty that others could never see. I experienced a part of life that I’ve never known, and I’m stronger because of it. You don’t get to stop my magic or my pursuit of beauty … all you’ve taught me is there are some countries that you can’t stay with for too long.