It’s what my mother called me for 6.5 years. Memories of her scolding Haebeom linger in my memory. It’s how my mother’s side of the family refers to me when I visit Korea: “Haebeom this,” “Haebeom that,” “Haebeom, you need more soju,” “Haebeom we don’t think you should do that,” etc. It’s the name and identity I’m reclaiming – Haebeom.
Soon official documents will say Kevin Haebeom Vollmers, not Kevin Douglas Ost-Vollmers. The change is something I welcome; Haebeom, whom I neatly tucked away (out of necessity) in the far corners all of these years, is ready to reemerge as I begin to journey through another chapter of my life. Honestly, I’m unsure how well the integration of Haebeom will go in the immediate future, but I’m certain the merger will eventually result in a kinder, gentler, empathetic, compassionate, grounded, and understanding me.