Quietly, She Weeps

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.

15 Responses to Quietly, She Weeps

  1. Hi asiangrrl,
    I clicked your link over at tbogg just to see who you were and read most of your above blog entry,(Sorry, I should be working and didn’t have time to absorb it all)
    Sounds like you have a lot of life going on now, sometimes that’s a hard thing to deal with. I hope you don’t mind my two cents worth, I know you didn’t ask. Not much either, maybe only one and a half cents…Keep at the change bit. I never realized that some of my changes took 10 years to happen. Go and take a listen to this too. A song with some depth, a reminder that life is bittersweet, not just one or the other. Kind of helped me get through some times too, feel the pain and frustration so the you can feel the other end of the spectrum a little more fully.
    Go easy,

  2. Sorry, Twin of mine. My heart is breaking for you at having to be around your father again, and I wish I could come rescue you.

    But the scheduling thing? The lack of follow through? All I can say is “Woman up.” You’re an adult, and more than capable of controlling your actions. You know the benefits of creating and keeping a schedule. You also know the potential pitfalls of continuing on this path. Leave the “I can’t” and the “I don’t have the strength” or any of that bullshit behind. It’s crap. You’re better than that, and you have the power to do this. Being lazy is not an acceptable excuse anymore, my friend. You have all the support in us, and we will love you and help in any way we can. But on this one particular issue? You need to pull the Nike out of your ass and “just do it.” =)

    Love you ALWAYS.

  3. I feel for you. All of this stuff coming up because you are certain you will simply fall back into being manipulated by him. I am certain it will not be entirely the same, even though I refuse to promise it will be all OK.

    Your adult self and your friends could not protect you in your meditation because you won’t let yourself believe that we can. I cannot dissuade you from that path, but I can hope that the reality will show you some hope.

    You have resources: Use them as you need. Schedule an extra therapy appointment. Get your brother to help with hosting your father. Crash here if you need to. Imagine me sneaking up behind him and breaking his neck if you have to. You know I know how.

  4. Rick Hill, hi to a fellow Bogger. Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. You picked a peachy time to read my blog, eh? I’m glad you jumped in, though, because I always appreciate different perspectives as my thinking tends to get into a rut. Thanks for the Dead jam. You are right that it’s hard to judge things in the immediate because we live our lives (therefore, the changes are minute in the step-by-step) and that it’s only with time and distance that we can see what we’ve actually accomplished. Anyway, come again. I promise that not all my entries are so bleak. Perhaps eighty percent of them, but there’s always the other twenty percent.

    Kel, I value each of my friends for a different reason, and one thing I trust and cherish about you is your no-bullshit attitude. You tell me what I need to hear, even if it’s not always what I want to hear. You kick my ass even as you wipe away my tears. Love you, too, girl.

    Choolie, ok, you made me laugh with the last bit. Yes, I know you know how, and I’m glad that you will be teaching it to me one day. You are right that it’s partly perspective that keeps me from allowing myself and my friends to help me do what needs to be done. As I said, I’m my own worst enemy. Thanks for believing in me (and teaching me how to kick ass).

  5. I don’t exactly blog, my wit and wisdom is limited in length to comments. I cannot understand putting so much out there for strangers to read either. I did post to a memorial site for pets when I lost my dogs after 15 years and it helped somewhat so I get the gist of it. I just can’t see leaving myself vulnerable by doing it to the extent that you do. Well, keep at it, get to the root of what’s hurting you. Not wallowing in it but understanding it. Understand the why of what is wrong, not the why of why it was done. That’s the only way to deal with the past.
    Anyway, I have a daughter, 22, and I can’t help sticking my nose in and giving a little advice. Take care and go easy.

  6. *smooooooooooooooooooochies*

    I love you too. Always. And I know you do the exact same for me!

    Here’s the thing I see, though. When you were in the midst of your father’s abuse or the situation in Thailand, you were, at the time, a victim. But the minute you stayed alive and started to heal from those things, you stopped being a victim, and started being a survivor. “It’s semantics, Kel, jeez.” Yes. It is. But we were trained very carefully in our rape crisis classes that we never -ever- used the word “victim” to refer to a woman who has been assaulted. To do so robs her of the power and strength she so desperately needs at that exact moment.

    I think, in my non-professional, arm-chair shrink, opinion, that you are stuck thinking of yourself as a “victim” and not as a “survivor.” And while it’s a teeny tiny semantic point, it’s a vastly huge difference. You’re not a victim, and I won’t treat you like one. That’s why I don’t pat you on the head and coddle you with the, “Awww. Poor li’l Minnakins!” No. You’re a survivor, and you have the strength to hear it when you slip off the path here and there. My job is to poke you in the shoulder and tell you to grab my hand and climb back onto that path.

    You don’t need to be treated like a spun glass porcelain doll. You need people who love you for the strong survivor you are, and who stand by you. Which is me (and a dozen others I could name off the top of my head.)

    So knock that shit off. And um, go uh, eat something healthy. Or something. =)

    Oh, and Chools? Let me know when you’re teaching THAT class so I can book my flight to MSP!

  7. Rick Hill, Bogger (as in TBogg), not blogger! I blog because I can. Actually, I blog because I keep thinking if I had had a blog like this to read (or something else since there were no blogs back in the Stone Ages) when I was your daughter’s age, I would have made much more progress in a much shorter time.

    Kel, victim vs. survivor is not mere semantics. Each word means a very different thing. You are right that I don’t quite see myself as a survivor because I feel that just because I literally didn’t die from the abuse or from the experience in Thailand that I have survived. I endured. That was the best I could do. Now that I’m edging out of endurance mode, it seems like the littlest thing pushes me back into turtle mode. I no longer see myself merely as a victim, but I don’t view myself as a survivor, either.

  8. Best of luck with your father’s visit. I hope it goes well even though it looks like it’ll be a lot of stress.

    As for making a schedule vs. rebelling, keep in mind that a change like that is actually phenomenally difficult. It seems simple on the face of it, but it’s more like quitting smoking. Give yourself plenty of room and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it right the first time. Just keep at it and eventually it will take. It’s a battle between the adult you and your inner 5 year old that has a tantrum any time you try to impose a little order. (“I’m an adult dammit! I don’t need to be on some kind of regimented schedule like a prisoner! I can make good decisions for myself without having to blah blah blah…”)

  9. Your ability to see and speak your truths here, in such magnificent vulnerability, clearly demonstrates to me that on many levels you are integrating the changes that you are reaching into the future to embrace. Someday, maybe even tomorrow, you will feel stronger. Someday you will feel more peaceful. I know that when fear is present and palpable that it’s hard to imagine not being afraid, but remember, courage is not the absence of fear, it’s going ahead despite being afraid. You may wake up tomorrow to find that you are able to choose differently. Breathe. Be gentle with yourself. The changes you crave are happening, moment by moment, little by little. Keep reaching out to your future, Minna, and don’t forget that your friends (both near & far) are with you in spirit. Peace & love to you.

  10. Ah, I see. Told you I was supposed to be working! Speed reading is my excuse not my eyesight(I’ll go with that) I’m glad your blogging helps you, it does sound like your plate is pretty full.

  11. Dan, thanks. And, yeah, it’s the kid in me who’s insisting I don’t need no stinkin’ schedule. You are right that it’s not easy to change lifelong habits, but that doesn’t make me any more patient!

    Friend, your comment struck a chord in me. Thank you for your support.

    Rick Hill, oh sure, blame work!

  12. Here is the problem…
    You think of yourself as a stupid bitch.
    Knock it the fuck off and go post a blog entry that says 1000 times (no cutting and pasting ALLOWED!)
    I am not a stupid bitch, but my father is!

    You know who

  13. I think you have two choices here: you can beat yourself up for not doing everything, or you can step back and admit that you did get some things done, and that this represents real progress. Change takes time, because human beings are creatures of learned behaviors, habits, addictions. If you start out expecting to win every battle at once, you will discourage yourself. Win a few battles, accept that sometimes you have to settle for a draw or a strategic retreat, and don’t be harsh on yourself for being realistic. Give yourself praise for what you did, reward yourself for it, and take it as a basis for the future. You’ve now got a floor beneath which you don’t need to fall. Try and move the curve up a little next week, but don’t fall into the perfectionist’s classic trap of lacerating yourself for what wasn’t done, rather than admitting that you have made progress. Pick one thing to get done next week that you didn’t manage this week, and get it done. Don’t pick three goals and manage half of one.

    If you condemn yourself for being imperfect, will you also condemn the rest of us for sharing your imperfection?

  14. Hiya, morzer. I plan to do number one, thank you very much. Then, maybe, I will move on to number two. I think I will pick five goals and finish two. How about that?

    As for your last question, no, I won’t. I am hypocritical like that.