I’m a member of a middle-aged flash mob called Ajumma EXP—MmHmm—and it’s terrific. I mean, we are making some serious waves, people! Not to brag but we’ve had over 100K views on Youtube and Facebook . (You should probably follow us; we will not disappoint. Click here, here, here, and here to stay current with our antics.)

Are you wondering what an Ajumma is? So did I! According to the Ajumma EXP website, “Ajumma is a Korean term for a woman between her 30s and 70s who is typically married with children and works her ass off for her family.  Lately, however, the word Ajumma is mostly associated with rude, unattractive, older Korean ladies wearing colorful, unmatching clothes with big sun-hats who elbow their way through the subway…”

Did I mention I’m not Korean? As it turns out, my heritage is immaterial. I’ll back up.

Sonia Chin and Lee-Ann Kim, co-creators of Ajumma EXP, are both Korean-American—born in Korea and immigrated to the U.S. as tykes of hard-working parents seeking a better life for their mini-me’s. They are now wildly successful American citizens living the dream. The three of us have kids at the same school. You know what that means—we volunteer at the same carnivals, watch (perhaps cringe at?) the same talent shows, and take turns speaking passionately at meetings for the betterment of the blibberwunkus. You get the gist. The blibberwunkus isn’t real and isn’t meant to trivialize these events or any group of passionate people who strive to make the world a better place, it’s just that, while I’ll always do my best to show up to be a part of the solution, sometimes the event-things run together. That is, until Ajumma EXP started showing up!

Back to Lee-Ann and Sonia. It was apparent to me straight away, when our kids were still boogery bedwetters, that these women are bad-ass. Not only are they gorgeous, they are also articulate, fearless, and hilarious. I mean, you can’t have more fun saving the blibberwunkus than you have with these two. Of course we’re Facebook friends—that goes without saying.

Sonia Chin, Master Ajumma

Lee Ann Kim, Master Ajumma

Fast forward seven years, and I’m scrolling through my feed. Talk about things running together, sheesh. I usually wonder why I’m scrolling as I continue to smear up my screen with my thumb, until my eyes light on a cute baby or a cat video, and I’m like, oh right, that’s why I do this. But on this day it wasn’t a sleep– or wine-related meme that froze my thumb—it was Ajumma EXP. The night before, a gaggle of middle-aged women in tight perms, quilted vests, fanny packs, sensible shoes, and giant visors had exploded onto the scene at the Asian Film Festival Gala supporting the Pacific Arts Movement. They cleared the dance floor and broke into a well-choreographed routine that was beyond epic. It blew my mind.

I watched the entire video, I don’t recall how many times, but it was borderline creepy. Then I tapped Comment. I can’t find the post now, but I wrote something reeking of shameless desperation very similar to: THIS VIDEO IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER WITNESSED IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE!!! I’M SO BUMMED I’M NOT EVEN 1% KOREAN RIGHT NOW BECAUSE EVERY MOLECULE IN MY BEING YEARNS TO BE BUSTING A MOVE WITH THIS CREW. WAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Did I notice that not every dancer was Korean? No, I was far too busy thrashing about on my back, agonizing in self-pity for being caucasian. Vanilla with no topping. Damp, untoasted Wonder bread. Living a boring, purposeless existence that was handed to me for no other reason than the country and time in which I happened to be born and the pale hue of my hide. It was a self-loathing, I’m-stuck-here-in-sludge-while-the-grass-is-day-glow-emerald-down-yonder moment, garnering sympathy from exactly no one.

Once I collected myself, I naturally resumed my scrolling position. And what to my wondering eyes did appear but a reply from Sonia to the effect of, “Lindsey, the Ajumma EXPerience is not about being Korean. It is about the ferocity of your middle-aged, warrior heart. And if you want to be a part of it, there is a visor with your name on it.”

I might have cried or peed my pants a little. Probably both (I’m an Ajumma now so I can say real stuff like that and not care what people think of me. I’m telling you, this Ajumma thing is so liberating!). I hit Prime for my perm and Goodwill for my get-up. Sensible shoes I have in spades (I just heard my bunyun whisper you’re welcome. Seriously? We need to talk.). The rest is history.

This description on the Ajumma EXP website says it all: “We at Ajumma EXP believe that Ajummas are fierce, tenacious, and solid from enduring challenges throughout their lives.  They have earned the right to be who they want to be and say what they want to say…Ajumma EXP is a crew of fierce women who embrace growing older, getting wiser, and being able to laugh at ourselves. We boogie, we bargain, and we bust-ass… because we’ve earned the right to. So grab your sun visor and join us in celebrating middle-aged women everywhere through the Ajumma EXPerience.”

I’m so proud to be a part of this crew. Thank you, Lee-Ann and Sonia, for your leadership, your genius, and your inclusion. I can’t wait to see what we do next.

And to think, middle-age used to be shame inducing! Thank you, Ajumma EXP, for clearing up that misconception.

[

Ajumma apprentice Lindsey

Photos courtesy of Ajumma EXP

14 Comments

  1. Lori Logan

    OMG! From bustin’ass in Kappa Cabana to Ajumma EXP…this is your destiny. Keep rocking it girl!

    Reply
    • Lindsey Pindsey

      it is truly a full circle moment. I only need you by my side to make it perfect!

      Reply
  2. Lee Ann

    Thanks for bringing extra spice and enthusiasm to our crew, Lindsay!!!! Love that you peed in your pants over this. hahahahahaha But seriously, this truly is about owning where we are in life and embracing being older and wiser. Love you!

    Reply
    • Lindsey Pindsey

      Love you, too! I’m definitely embracing the growing older and crossing my fingers that the “wiser” shows up at some point…

      Reply
  3. Wendy

    No words for how amazing this and you are!! And yes I am slightly jealous! Do you think they have an OC chapter??!!

    Reply
    • Lindsey Pindsey

      You would be the perfect ajumma (except your clothes match)! If there isn’t a chapter in your hood, you should probably start one!

      Reply
  4. Jacquelyn Stewart

    Hi Lindsay,
    I love this. Can I join? I’m already one of you in you heart.

    Reply
    • Lindsey Pindsey

      Are you in Phoenix? We definitely need a Phoenix chapter. The movement is growing…

      Reply
  5. Kirsty Heron

    Linda think how perfect your Indian pants would have been if only you hadn’t unceremoniously dumped them. Keep on keeping it real babe, you are truly an inspiration.

    Reply
    • Kirsty Heron

      Really not sure who the hell Linda is, sorry Linds, curse you auto correct xx

      Reply
      • Lindsey Pindsey

        Auto correct gets me every time, my friend. And either way, I always answer to Linda, so we’re good!

        Reply
    • Lindsey Pindsey

      Linda definitely regrets giving away her yellow jockey pants!

      Reply

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