Bittersweet future with every milestone

I wonder how long I am going to pine for someone who didn’t really exist except in my imagination.  How long am I going to miss a person that doesn’t miss me?

It seems like every milestone brings up this grief and sense of loss.  I took my child to school for the first time.  It went well and there’s no reason to be sad.

Except I am missing someone now.  But not a biological relative who has passed on or lives somewhere we can’t easily reach.  Instead I miss someone who would rather imagine my life than keep in touch to learn the reality.

Of course, it’s my own fault this person isn’t in my life.  It’s my own fault my heart aches so terribly right now.  That is what happens when people date people who not that into them.  The people who don’t care are fine and don’t even have to “move on” so much as just quit.  Even forgetting is easy for them.

I don’t even have a perfectly sound explanation for why I care so much.  I do know this person is more comforting to me than my parents or anyone else I dated.  I felt safe then in a deep sense when he held me in a period were little felt alright.  Perhaps he was the person I was most attached to in my life.  Probably because I met him at an incredibly wounded and vulnerable time in my life and he didn’t regularly criticize me in a judgemental tone as I proceeded to fail at life.

But he didn’t “get” me either.  He didn’t adore me or even prefer me to other pretty women.  He just put up with me because of his own insecurities after his compassion got him in over his head.

I don’t know even how there could be a mutually positive conversation between us now or in the future.  Unless I lie and keep to myself that I miss him and wanted to talk with him.  Certainly impossible if I show any jealousy.

There’s a void and when I miss him, it represents that void.  He somewhat filled up that void, but it wasn’t quite enough and it didn’t last.  Even when I was with him, I felt desperate and depressed daily.  I wanted someone who knew me to deeply love me.  He barely knew me and he didn’t care much for me the better acquainted we became.  He couldn’t give me a steady kind of love but apparently he came the closest experiences I have ever had.

It’s oddly painful to feel grief where before I met him there would have only been dull emptiness.

Perhaps missing him shows a really ugly side of me.

Blinding Hatred, Suicide and Death Wishes

I have hated particular people so much I have wished they were dead. I have hated all people in general so much that I wished humankind was wiped out. Ironically, I will most likely just barely miss that apocalypse.

All this hate is probably because my mom would scream at me that I deserved to go to Hell.

I don’t believe in Hell beyond the very real pain of unhappy living and others’ experience of unhappiness in an afterlife I would not witness seems too remote for wish fulfillment purposes.

Instead, hoping their agency and ability to interfere in my life ends completely is much more rational in the regard that it really is about actual benefits, like control.

So, I hate my son’s paternal grandmother and want her story to be over and retold by someone as unsympathetic to her as I am because she certainly is unsympathetic, self-sabotaging, and possibly delusional in her perspective of me (except for the fact I am blogging about wishing her dead so clearly I can’t be an angel, except perhaps of death–eh, that’s not a funny joke).

I’ve wished my mother dead periodically because of her relentless, unrestrained judgment about my life that put me on the defensive from birth and caused low self-esteem and depression my entire life. Children who aren’t accepted struggle to feel loved. And I have suicidal ideation, self-harm, and interpersonal drama for what is now two-thirds of my life. I honestly can’t remember what not wanting to cease to live feels like. So, thanks for never telling me you believed in me or even good job and always pointing out my flaws or even just what you percieved as flaws in me, laughing at or ignoring my pain, and letting me feel completely isolated and desperate to feel connection. Who needs enemies when family seems like practically the same thing.

I’ve wanted horrible people who didn’t care about me to die despite the fact that I could have decided that I deserved better and cut them out of my life for MY benefit and just let the seething hatred go by reclaiming my autonomy and allow only positive into my life.

I probably believe I deserve to experience life as Hell for having opinions or standards others’ don’t so I can try to earn my way to affection and connection because clearly I never escaped my psychological issues from my childhood. I try to get people who treat me in painful ways to stop rather than protect myself by ending the relationship because self-awareness came later.

The ability to severe ties with people who become toxic to you is limited by the perception of lacking agency, worth, and opportunities. And it makes sense to think that way if that is simply carrying over from my childhood where I depended on my parents and the best I could hope for was to try to convince them to love me. A child who doesn’t believe in herself nor rejects disrespect or hostility directed at her doesn’t suddenly change her beliefs at 18 because now she’s an adult.

So instead, after repeatedly being beaten or just worn down, I would hate someone enough to wish they would die.

And particularly now, I hate some horribly selfish man who for 4 years has gone from subtly abusing me to full out verbal and psychological assault. My life, without fear of reprisals and future interactions, would be better. If he was out of my life and I didn’t have to see him again, I would have a significant source of stress out of my life.

Sure, I would still have stress and maybe stress related to his absence but I wouldn’t need to employ defensive strategies to protect myself from an abuser. I could start to work to feel safe and secure in myself.

I wouldn’t have more opportunities to make mistakes by letting him manipulate or coerce me into letting him control me and dictate the conditions of my life. He wouldn’t have more opportunities to remind me that I should hate myself for letting him hurt me or because he hates me. Instead, I could work on reminding myself I am okay enough to try to live. Without the constant reminder that a person deeply embedded in my life doesn’t accept or love me and the constant criticisms to change aren’t my own.

It’s hard to love yourself when you let people who don’t become too close to you.

Presently, I really hate him every time I remember all the pain he’s caused me with no remorse, all the wrongs he never set out to right, and all the chances I gave him since the first time we met which should have been the last if I was braver, smarter, and healthier.

I don’t think I would have seen him a second time if I had healthy self-esteem. Or definitely not after the third meeting. Disrespect is really internalized if you let someone do that to you from the beginning and a person willing to do that to a stranger is never going to be respectful.

So, 4 years later I hate him as much as I hate myself and it’s absolutely certain my life is better without him in it as anyone else I know has told me. But because I am suicidal, when this man told me he had suicidal thoughts 4 years ago, I had so much empathy and therefore sympathy for him.

However, when he told me the same words 2 months ago, I felt annoyed at first, then sad and worried for him, but finally just dumb and angry. I felt annoyed because this is the man that told me that he didn’t care if I live or die, that he doesn’t want to know if I feel suicidal because he doesn’t want to help, it’s just unpleasant to hear about, and that he values other people more than me, especially to help him. Then he calls me saying he is suicidal in the middle of the night, despite the late hour from the PST and EST time difference and despite having self-reported more helpful friends to call, and despite his apathy regarding my existence entirely. But I am supposed to tell him I want him to keep living. I’m supposed to tell someone that doesn’t care about me that his life is so important to me despite it being fairly obvious to everyone else that he causes immense pain in my life with no remorse and increasing more likely purposefully. After all, it must feel good to be in control of another human and then insult and degrade a person or demand praise from them entirely at one’s own whim.

Thankfully I was asleep and his calls weren’t coming through because I didn’t have the opportunity to blurt out, “But I hate you and your selfish, hypocritical ways.” Later though, imagining how much pain he might be experiencing because of how painful suicidal thoughts are for me, I really felt sorry for him and wanted to try to help.

But then after a few days of misplaced empathy and when he’s behavior returned to normal, I remembered why I hate him. And remembered that I have seen him suicidal at the most convenient times to manipulate a situation with me, his family, and apparently again just then with me.

But I always thought, I don’t want to say, “Go ahead, kill yourself” because it’s truly awful to hear from anyone, much less from someone you hope will somehow help AND what if he really is suicidal?

I mean, deep down I know he’s just acting because he doesn’t understand how hard it is to kill yourself and he hasn’t considered methodology, and his reasoning for not killing himself is only his parents but logically he is the biggest cause of stress, pain and disappointment in their lives. Of course they would never want him to end his life, but imagining their tearful reactions to hearing the news compared to the past decade of disappointment and monetary losses they’ve already suffered by him and most likely will continue to suffer because honestly, he says shit like, “I don’t care about my dad’s feelings,” “My parents will pay for it,” and he bullies his mother and reduces her to tears. So, again, there’s questionable math involved if he’s solely basing his continued life on the impact it has on his parents.

All that questionable data regarding his reported experience with suicidal ideation combined with hindsight of 4 years of manipulative abuse makes suicide seem like the ultimate threat to use against his parents and a sure-fire way to use my own experience and empathy to control me.

But, I still hesitate to say, “You should kill yourself.” After all, isn’t there some possibility he does actually feel suicidal at times?

I have in the past, during moments of crazy, exasperated frustration when dealing with him, blurted out I really do wish he was dead. And maybe if he was suicidal there’d be no semantic distinction between my wish and should. However, as of yet, clearly he hasn’t taken it as such and lives on and continues to attempt to torment me.

And I continue to suffer blinding, destructive hatred and struggle to free myself from him, other people, and my internalized wounds that create it.

After all, even I know wishing other people dead is coming from a place of dysfunction or lack of wellness. Including a lack of sleep. Sleep is super important. It’s harder to love life and people in a sleep-deprived headache and pessimism.

Fucked up dating and life

In terms of dating outside of one’s culture, I think people who really fit in well or have pride in their culture would have a hard time but even then, every family is unique.  Even dating here, a lot of guys drink with their families and my parents never drank hardly at all.  Then I joined a religious cult in college that disparaged drinking.  I still have a hard time with families that drink together.

My mom’s friends are all unmarried.  And one mentioned at NYE that because of her parents, she never thought she could make marriage work.  My mom later said that she thought if her friend had met the right someone, she would have married and I pointed out that if she met a great guy and her response was to run the other way that she’d not marry.  And it got me to thinking why I am single still.  My mom’s encouraging me to be silent and shy sat badly with my generation, when women were expected (correctly) to respond.  And I spent time in groups that I didn’t find belonging in.  All my closest friends while I was an Evangelical had a hard time getting married.  They were too smart, opinionated, and weren’t especially beautiful and took the Bible verses about not putting a lot of effort/money in your looks seriously.  Basically, we weren’t prizes within that culture of women are pretty, happy little helpmates.  One girl got married at 37 because she went to a different church in Ohio (the river is a big division geographically still). The other is talking to some guy and I don’t know about one.  One girl got married before 30 and I don’t know much about their relationship except her husband is quiet.

My old therapist said that anger is a symptom of frustration.  And I find that my family dealt with challenges and conflict by seeing themselves as victims.  So, to this day, I still have trouble realizing that if someone hurts me, I can let go of that pain by knowing I can limit my contact with that painful person in the future.  Or better yet, try to talk openly with them about how I felt in the situation and state I will not be allowing it to continue.  One of my mom’s friends made a comment about my parenting and I realized a) I should not open up and share with them about Jake, b) that I could simply state that it hurt my feelings and ask not to hear more from her, c) avoid her if she says nothing or says she’ll say whatever she likes.  C would be hard because me crying all night over a comment her friend made doesn’t matter to my mom.  My mom has let relatives hit me, let anyone insult me, and values her friends more than me.  So, I would have to hide in my room or go outside with Jake somewhere every other Saturday night to avoid her.  But, at my age, with my medical history, I totally would get upset enough to do that because 30 years of thinking and feeling like a victim, getting dumped on by the world with no recourse has just left me easily frustrated aka angry.

All that being said, I think being healthy emotionally, mentally and communication-wise is super important, no matter what culture or family you have.

My feelings being my responsibility is the hardest part of being healthy in relationships for me because childhood.  I repressed my feelings for decades and figuring out who to trust, how to share, and how to not bully others is hard.

I was a mess when I moved to California.  I met a lot of healthy people and I received wisdom from them but I didn’t become close friends with most of them.  Your roommates and Grace were my healthiest, closest friends and I met them all through Maggie who I think has put appropriate distance enough to me to remain civil with me, which is nice, because if she had demanded her friends not allow me over, I’d have no friends.  But I think healthy people can only visit unhealthy/sick people.  Too much time/too close of a relationship destroys their zen.  Healthy people pointed out things I didn’t know, didn’t want to face, couldn’t understand, or never experienced, but changing took time and required my own effort.  I don’t think anyone who was invested in me getting “better” was satisfied.  Now, I want more reciprocal relationships.  People who talk about how I need to change throw up red signs.  People I feel need to change, I need to give distance and from that distance practice acceptance.

“I don’t want to screw it up”

What is it about the words, “I don’t want to screw it up”?

To the fatalist, it’s nonsensical. Nothing can stop nor change what will come to pass.

But in a very human way, conscious, earnest, self-doubting, it’s at the heart of any strongly yearned for but precipitous result. A result not entirely one’s own to influence.

I see in it my younger self: dramatic, wishful, solicitous, and reliant.  As though my sheer determination should make an endeavor not mine alone to succeed in my own design.  There’s a certain youthful self-centeredness in the belief that the responsibility success or failure of the venture rests solely one’s self.  Sheer ego as though all that mattered was I.

Now older, it’s a phrase that slightly stings. Something the young child I was had said so many frivolous times.  

But now, I can’t help but to think that I can only show up as I am where I am.  The result is never mine alone to truly determine.  The emotion behind yearning to “not screw it up” has faded. It’s a relinquishment to the outside world, to other wills, forces, powers, goals.
I still think about “how” I screwed it up.  Unforgiving hindsight at where the past might have diverged towards a different present if I had acted elsewise.  And again, to a fatalist, a nonsense.  But in calmer, more rational moments that emotional yearning fades as well.  Perhaps there were mistakes, flaws, failings but never was my responsibility isolated in an empty space.

There’s freedom in acceptance.

When Do You Start To Live YOUR Dreams?

Life begins with infancy, grows into childhood and then blossoms into youth and finally graduates into adulthood:

“My guess is that before you know it, woomph and it’s done, that was your life.

Kids, however, impose a timeline. There are milestones aplenty: first tooth in and first tooth out: first words and first steps; going to school for the first time and leaving it for the first time.

They get report cards, and they are always momentous — can you imagine being similarly graded on how much more you know now versus last time they checked? Kids’ seasons are clearly marked with the kinds of books they carry or if they carry them at all. There are games and scores and lessons, all of which are recorded, documented, measured.

And then, adulthood. A free fall into a period when, if you’re not careful, nothing much happens at all.

All this struck me from my vantage point in the balcony of the theatre where my niece was graduating high school. It feels like only yesterday she was just a little girl who liked skipping, but, in fact, 18 years have slid by.

She did a lot in those years, but I have not changed a bit. It was a little melancholy on that balcony. The passage of time does that to me.” – 

“I realized that in spite of myself, in spite of the promises I made to myself on my own high school graduation, I am waiting for my life to begin.

I am letting time slip through my hands without grabbing for anything. I listen with wonder to friends who have decided to visit a place they’ve never been simply because they’ve never been there, or to study something that intrigues them, or to perfect a skill. My friend Margie is figuring out why leaves turn red when it’s apparently easier to turn yellow — who knew? And maybe who cares, but she does, and she’s excited about what she’s discovering.

I love my friend Helen in part because she’s always doing something — taking off to Thailand to learn to scuba dive, or learning to fly a plane. And me? Well. I’m living. But I could put more life into the effort.

Without realizing it I’ve become lethargic. I am sitting out my turn.

I am now weary of that lethargy. Afraid of it, in fact.

And so I’m writing things down, making some plans, Stan, and looking into things like courses and groups. I’m getting out there, getting busy, doing the things today that I would love to do someday.

Maybe I’ll eat a cupcake for lunch and see a matinee on a rainy day. I’m learning fluent French this year, not someday. I’m going to ski. Time won’t pass unremarked and unremarkable.

I want to take my turn after all.” – 

Embracing life, believing in dreams, working towards goals and achieving all take effort.  When you grow up and are an adult, you don’t have to just work, raise a family, enjoy ordinary, mundane, easy-to-procure pleasures.  Childhood could be the best time of life to teach small ones how to be adults and adults who still grow, achieve, learn, and experience life with an eye for it’s newness.

Daily Life in Korea 15

I can’t stand on two feet.

I am notoriously clumsy.  I have had more scraped knees as an adult than anyone I know.  I trip up all the time it seems.

Remarkably, it seems I only started tripping when I realized I could start tripping.  As a child, I don’t remember getting many injuries.  Most of my scars are post-adolescence.

But today, after taking a sick day yesterday, I fell to my knees on my way to work.  Literally, I tripped and ripped the tips of my shoes (which are too big for my feet) and landed on my knees.  My right knee  took the fall.  Torn tights and bleeding wound-still late for work, but now it seems so much more legitimate than just “over-sleeping”.  And the perfect excuse to take a cab.  But the Korean man who saw my tumble needed to ask, “What happened?”  (I might have liberally translated whatever sounds he uttered into that-mid shock.)

My co-teacher looked at my face and said I needed to take a rest.  Actually, I need to go to the nurse and get a band-aid, but we still talk about what happened yesterday and how sick I look until there is nothing more to say.  Then I point to my bleeding kneecap.  Off to the nurse I go.

The nurse is awesome because she likes me, talks to me, and offers me the use of her microwave when I heat my non-kimchi lunches.  But we haven’t visited since I relocated to the fourth floor and started eating cucumbers.  She also had heard about me resigning  … (if only I could eat Korean food well like Ping Ping’s husband).

So, I am sitting up on a sick-bed, getting my knee disinfected.  Alcohol is put on it.  And I need to have fabric pulled from out of my scrape.  The nurse tells me she is a registered nurse.  She asks if I knew.  I realized I assumed she was and I know better than to assume things in South Korea.  And more disinfectant.  There are literally four students lined up to see the nurse now.  The last boy got a big smile when he saw me and then respectfully bowed.  It must make a kid’s day to see his exotic white giraffe of a teacher with a scraped knee in the nurse’s office.  He just keeps smiling.  I try to ask him if he is sick.  Being talked to in English took that smile off of his face right quick.

The band-aid actually covers all of my knee.  I limped up to my classroom, but the teachers I work with are busy with their own classes which have already started (I’m lucky to have first period off).  So I limp off to the sixth grade teachers’ lounge.  There I drink green tea, look at a yearbook that I had to take my photograph for but which has no photograph of me inside, and eventually meet Gaby-a sixth grade homeroom teacher who is just that (her American friend gave her that nickname).

My American friend suggests I visit the doctor to confirm I don’t have a fractured kneecap.  I seriously consider this until he suggests that I merely exaggerating.  Which I am-I don’t need to be limping-but I do have my entire knee covered in the most giant band-aid and what else am I supposed to do with that.

So, off to my classroom where students ask if I am okay.  Because their teacher told them to ask me that.

And I’m off to teach.  And sit in a very short chair because my leg hurts.  And say the word “ball”.  Actually, today’s lesson was “It’s a ball.”   But the lesson title was wrote as, “It’s a Tall.”  Not kidding you at all.

After three classes, it is lunch time and then eventually I take a cab ride home.  I sat in the cab until the driver pulled onto the other side of the street where my building is.  Because I refused to jay-walk with my busted kneecap.  It is just a matter of principle.