Eleanor and Park is a book written by Rainbow Rowell. It talks about a relationship between a popular Korean boy, Park, with a socially awkward plus sized girl, Eleanor. It’s a beautiful book that manages to capture just how beautiful first loves are and yet is able to highlight just how difficult interracial relationships are regardless your age.
When I read this book, I had no idea or inkling that I was going to be involved in such a complicated situation. I’m not going to talk about my relationship specifically because let’s be real – I need to get over this relationship and talking about it over and over again is not going to help. However, I also believe that every experience has taught me something and maybe I could share with people out there just how unsettling it is for those who were or are involved in an interracial relationship.
1. The first thing you will notice is the stares. You’ll receive stares from everyone. While you’re walking, while you’re standing at the escalator, while you’re laughing at his jokes or while he’s playing with your phone in public. Stares. Stares. Stares.
2. The cultural miscommunications. If you’re from the same society, maybe the miscommunications will be less. But if you’re from different continents, it becomes a struggle, especially through text messages when you’re in a long distance relationship. Sarcasm can be a nightmare. It’s a whole different ballgame if the both of you are bilingual or multilingual and you have to use another language as your mode of communication.
3. Religious beliefs becomes an issue. For everybody else. The ex and I were very aware of the differences in our religious beliefs. I’m a practicing Muslim who wears a hijab and he’s a Caucasian who doesn’t necessarily believe in god. Especially with what has been happening around the world in the last 15 years, it’s no surprise that on paper, we would not match up. But something happened. He kept approaching me, kept wanting to get to know me and eventually things just…happened. And the thing is, both of us never talked about our religious differences. It never became an issue. He let me practice my faith and respected it. Maybe that’s the reason why we eventually broke up but that’s not my point. My point is everyone around me told me to address the issue first. Everyone around me was addressing the issue. And eventually it became too much.
4. Everyone will have something to say. And I mean everyone. Even your closest friends will have not so good comments about it. You gotta learn to just turn everyone off and shut everyone’s criticisms off because at the end of the day, it’s you and your partner. People are entitled to their concerns but they shouldn’t have the right to dictate how your relationship should be because who says there’s a set structure for what your relationship should look like?
5. People are convinced that your kids will be super cute. Uh, ok.
I’m sure that there are more issues but I didn’t want to get too in-depth about it. To be fair, I didn’t have to go through a lot of the challenges because of our long distance. But maybe it’s the long distance that also contributed to the end of the whole thing. Whatever it is, to anyone out there who is in an interracial relationship, you guys are amazing. For those who were in one, hey, at least you were able to experience a special kind of love that not a lot of people have had the opportunity of experiencing!