This is more like early-morning (pre-sleep) musing, but whatever. In the past few weeks, I have tried to change the way I do things. I did a few of the things I planned (like submitting fiction to contests and a bit of cleaning), but for the most part–not so much on the hopey-changey thing. And, quite frankly, it’s bringing me down. I hate the fact that it’s so difficult for me to change my behavior, even when I know it’s for the better.
I have realized that I can’t just have a general schedule because I will push things off until later, with later being postponed indefinitely. Because I have such a fluid schedule, I keep thinking, “Oh, I can do that later.” Then, of course, it doesn’t get done at all. I have realized that I need to make an hourly schedule in order for me to really get anything done. But, something inside my rebels from making the schedule. Then, I metaphorically kick myself in my flat ass for being such an idiot.
Putting that aside for a minute, though I will probably get back to it, I’m quietly starting to freak out about my father coming. 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday. I have to clean the house, which is the least of my worries, but which I really don’t want to do.
My aunt died about a month ago. She was my father’s favorite sister. In his family, you don’t talk about death, so no one told her she had cancer (same with his other sister when she was dying of cancer as well). To make matters more complicated, they are Buddhist and follow all the folk traditions of the religion. The son decided that now was not a good time for a funeral because it’s when the ghosts are out. The daughter had no say in the matter (she’s a mere girl, after all), so they delayed the funeral until September 13th–after my father is leaving the country to come here and to go to a conference in Canada. As is the custom there, someone is sitting with the body 24/7. This is costing a shit-load of money, which they do not have. My father is distraught at losing his favorite sister as well as not being able to go to the funeral.
Here is where I am a complete bitch–I do not want to have to comfort him on his loss. When my mom emailed me about it, I said something like, “My condolences to you, dad, and the family on your loss.” That’s as far as I am willing to go. I have met this woman a few times, and every time, she’s pursed her lips at me and clucked over the fact that I don’t speak Chinese. When I lived in Taiwan for two months, she and the other sister would constantly speak to me in Chinese, knowing I couldn’t respond. When I acquired enough Chinese and could converse with them, they switched to Taiwanese. I understand some Taiwanese, but I do not speak it at all. The last time I saw the favorite sister (during the last disastrous trip to Taiwan), she looked at me, screwed up her face in disgust and started complaining again because I did not speak Chinese.
When my mom called to talk with me about my aunt, she kept saying what a nice and caring woman she was, and I had nothing to say in response.
I do not want to comfort my father. I cringe at the thought of hugging him or trying to ease his sorrow. And, I hate myself that I can’t give him that small measure of grace. OK, the not wanting to hug him part is understandable (I hate touching him), but can’t I at least be willing to listen to him? Understand that this all just conjecture, but I am already freaking out at the idea of having to comfort him.
In Taiji this last week, more images of him hurting me (as a child) came to mind during meditation. This time, it was an old one–him pinning me against the wall with his hand to my throat–but nonetheless painful. In my mind, my friends (and the adult me in a long white dress, like a Roman goddess) swarm my room in order to help the child me. My father lets go of the child me, and she falls to the floor in a heap. The adult me steps up to confront him with all my friends backing me up, but she is not strong enough to defeat him, not even with the support of all her friends.
I had tears by the end, but that is common for me these days.
From there, I’ve thought about my relationship in Thailand. I go over him hitting on me and asking me out. I think about him plying me with alcohol and pushing me to do things physically at a much faster pace than I wanted. I think about how he ignored what I said and pushed the limits bit by bit until that fateful night in the hotel. I can’t help but think, what the fuck did I think was going to happen? How stupid was I to think anything but what happened would happen. In my mind, guys didn’t really force sex, did they? Oh, I knew it happened because I had read about it, but in real life–in my life, that would never happen. Remember, at this point, I had stuffed back all memories of whatever my father did to me and was only aware of my experiences with my first boyfriend who pushed things sexually but not in a bad way–he would have stopped had I said no, but I didn’t know how to say no–of the guys who dumped me because I wouldn’t have sex with them, and of D with whom I had sex the first time (his first, too).
I never had an experience with a guy who simply would not hear no. And, I was too weak to walk away from him before that night or in the two months afterwards.
I can see in retrospect how stupid I was. I don’t know if he was being a predator or simply an asshole, and I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I hadn’t thought of him in years, but he’s resurfaced since I started having the flashbacks. And, in this last week, I can’t seem to push him to the corner of my mind–where he belongs.
My therapist told me she was sad for the younger me because she (the younger me) was so used to denial, she couldn’t defend herself. That made me cry. My therapist was infinitely more compassionate towards the younger me than I am. To me, she was an idiot and should have known better. How pathetic not to see what was happening, and how even more pathetic that I didn’t walk away afterwards. I have always said I would never stay with a guy who hit me (and, I wouldn’t), but it took me years to realize that I had stayed with this guy who was emotionally abusive to me. It was classic, too, in that he would criticize me (tell me I wasn’t womanly enough because I didn’t wear makeup or wear slutty clothes, pinching me and saying I was fat); he told me that we would make many babies and I would stay with him (after I told him I didn’t want children); he refused to use condoms while fucking; he threatened to kill himself if I left him. He told me about his ex and how she walked out on him and how he couldn’t bear it if I did the same thing.
I was so beaten down, I accepted it all. Inside, though, I was freaking out at the idea of not being able to escape him. The one saving grace in the whole situation was that I knew there was an end to the program and that I would be going back to America. I have no idea what would have happened to me if I had simply gone there on my own and not with my college. Later that year, he sent me a letter saying he might come to the States to visit me. I freaked out and started planning how I would leave MN. My ex (D) who was visiting me at the time told me that he and my other friends would protect me, and he managed to calm me down a little. Still, it haunted me until I wrote a letter to the guy in Thailand explaining what I thought had happened and that he should not contact me any more.
I abstained from sex for years after that (and got an AIDS test as soon as I could), and then I had my slut years in retaliation for me being such a stupid bitch.
I am recounting all this because I’m starting to get that panicky feeling again–and I thought I had dealt with what happened in Thailand. Obviously, I haven’t completely dealt with it.
And, there is a still a part of me who feels I deserved what happened to me. But, if I believe that, then I also have to believe that I deserved what my father did to me. And, for the most part, I don’t believe that. I do still chastise myself for not doing anything about it at the time and for stuffing it to the back of my mind for fifteen years and for letting it ruin my life for so long, which isn’t much better.
And, then I start down the road of, “What the fuck am I doing with my life now? How is this any better?” Yes, I know rationally that I am in a better place now than I was even two years ago. I know I have made strides, but it’s not enough, damn it. The demons are whispering at how much time I’m wasting and how much momentum I have lost and how much shit I have yet to do, and they are right, damn it. For every step forward I take, I take one or more backwards. I am my own fucking worst enemy, and I don’t know how to change that.
I don’t want to be like this. I don’t like the way I am. Yet, the more I struggle to be someone else, the more I seem mired into place. I feel ugly and fat and disgusting and ruined. I feel like anything good that others see in me is just a mirage.
I despair. My father is visiting in two days, and I thought I could handle it. Apparently, I was incorrect about that, too–as I always am when it comes to him. I thought I could handle going back to Taiwan, and it nearly killed me. While I agree in retrospect that many of the recent changes stem from the trip to Taiwan, I have little faith in my ability to survive if another intense wave of self-hatred hits as it did then.
My mom’s best friend’s daughter died of cancer this last week. My mom has been…clingy in a way, which is understandable, but I can’t handle her pain right now. I feel the blurring of daughter and confidante, and I cannot be the latter. Yet, I am too weak to tell her to talk to a friend about these things.
My father had laser throat surgery and apparently, he’s not doing well. Which means that I may have to nurse him while he’s here. Do. Not. Want. I can’t even find it in me to give a little damn that he is hurting, and that tears at me as well. Regardless of what he’s done to me, he is a person who is suffering. Normally, that would be tugging at my heartstrings big time. Now, not even the slightest twinge. If anything, I am impatient because it means I will have to cater to him. I will have to wait on him. I will have to appear to care about him, damn it.
The fact that I can’t dredge up even a modicum of sympathy for him makes me hate myself even more. I feel like a monster. And, I feel like a fool for thinking I could do this with minimal damage to myself. Once again, I overestimated my ability to deal with him (like I did with the trip to Taiwan). I know it’s on my own turf which makes it slightly easier, but it’s my fucking father–my own personal nemesis. So many unresolved issues there. So much white-hot anger. So much pain, sorrow, and fear. Yes, fear. No matter that I rationally do not fear him physically–there is still that little girl part of me who is curling up in a ball, arms over her head, whimpering, “Please don’t hurt me.”
I can only control how I react to him, or so I thought. Apparently, I am not very good at controlling that, either. I can feel myself slowly starting to pull away again. I am tucking away the real me and dropping down the curtain of numbness so he cannot hurt me again. I am carefully tucking out of sight any fragile part of me (which is pretty much all of me right now) so I will not shatter. When this happens, I tend not to blog much (another way of hiding), so if you do not hear from me over the next week or so, this is the reason why.
I hate that I am reverting. I would rather be a woman warrior and face him head on, but I do not think I have the strength to do so right now. And that shames me. Same as it ever was–same as it ever fucking was.
P.S. Apparently, I’m a little bit country. Who knew? This is the official video for Lover, Lover by Jerrod Niemann (I adore the bass voice, which apparently is him when he’s hung over). This is the official video for Startin’ With Me by Jake Owen. Dig that growl.