I have died. I have died many times—before I was even born. After my birth, they still wanted me gone, but they failed. They pressured my parents to sign me away for adoption, but my mother held onto me for dear life.
The story of my birth defined my personality early on, and it continues to inform who I am. When I tried to write about walking across Kyrgyzstan, I realized that a more pressing story needed to be told. I needed to first understand myself before I could write about my actions. My birth story, therefore, became my coming home story.
Youjia Song is an English language teacher, adventurer and new writer. Her article about her 2-year expedition called “Crossing Kyrgyzstan: A Woman’s Journey on Foot Through Land, Culture and History” was published by She Went Wild in 2018. Youjia is currently working on her memoir.
You can find more of her work at http://acrosswildlands.com
Memoria was written, produced, edited and presented by Natalie V.
I died before I was born was written and read by Youjia Song. The story was sound edited by Jen Farrow.
Music in this episode was by Blue Dot Sessions, Sage the Hunter, When in the West and The Envelope.
Illustrations by Peta Manning. Her book, See Me Doodle, is out now.
sound effects – I died before I was born
Beijing block By Paranoid2droid CC0 1.0
College library ambience By Hourofmidnight CC BY-NC 3.0
Female crying By Luzanne0 CC BY-NC 3.0
Female Distress Screams By YouTube Audio Library CC0 1.0
Hospital room ambience with clock, heart beeb and paging By Nixeno CC BY 3.0
Marching off By Jonopodmore CC BY 3.0
Moaning baby for freesound By Carolgee CC0 1.0
Office Ambience By Dean-Raul DiArchangeli CC0 1.0
Pencil 2 By Le Abbaye Noirlac CC BY 3.0
Skipping heartbeat By Under The Hood CC0 1.0
Slow Hammers By The Mini Vandals CC0 1.0
Tearing Paper By Aiwha CC BY 3.0
Tumble downstairs b By Malexmedia CC BY 3.0
Truck By JonnyThePonny CC0 1.0
Typewriter By Exterminat CC0 1.0
Walking in the snow By iamkaylagreen CC BY-NC 3.0
Winter outdoor ambience, crow, brids, traffic, fountain By Lwdickens CC0 1.0
Winter Winds By UrsaDaBear CC0 1.0
Woman keening and sobbing in grief By Tweedledee3 CC BY 3.0