Loving My Mom

Before I start, the question of what is or how to love should be defined. I don’t have it defined yet, which is why I am writing this to help sort my mind. Right now, I just know that to love her should maybe feel more happy rather than annoyed.

She’s a difficult person. She loves to complain, which I hate hearing about. She is extremely passive aggressive, but if you confront her about it she is ready for a verbal throw down. She is a picky eater, and therefore always cooks every meal (really, I can probably count the number of times we ate out on my fingers, until I turned 18 and left for college). She is a workaholic busy-body. I think some of these things are like blessings in disguise. After all, I had a very healthy diet through all of my growing years, and hell, I learned what qualities people really dislike and thus what to avoid doing in my own behavior. Perhaps that was a bit of an inverse ‘blessing in disguise’ for me though. Anyways, my mother is my mother. I know she cares about me. I know she misses me when we’re apart. I presume that she loves me. I’m part of a particular percentage of Chinese where family does not show love openly, nor praise. I grew up with what people might call a tiger mom. For me, it just felt like a sad life. Many other factors made it a miserable and lonely life, but at the end of it all (a.k.a the present now) I feel that I turned out to be just fine as a person. A little cold in some people’s opinion maybe, because they like hugs and touches, but if I wanted to give a hug and a hand, I’m perfectly capable of giving them. I just normally don’t.

Calling our parents regularly once we are no longer living under the same roof is common practice. How regular a practice it is, well, that’s another story. For me, I kind of avoid calling my mom. Or I even just plain forget. When I do remember, I always get this feeling of I don’t want to do it because I know she will nag and complain, which c’mon, who actually wants to listen to that every time you give someone a phone call. Like, if that’s the result I am expecting, of course I don’t want to call. It’s so negative and I don’t want to invite negativity into my mindset on a regular basis. But maybe I should just listen to her and try to instill some positivity into her mindset. That could work. Maybe. Potentially. When I’ve avoided calling her for long enough, she’ll call me, and that’s when the guilt kicks in. It should’ve been me to call her, because she’s the parent after all. Propriety, Confucian philosophy, societal expectations. What can I do? She’s already called me before I called her; it’d be even worse if I didn’t pick it up. So I pick up.

Sometimes she surprises me. She’ll have a good laugh over something in a movie on the television, that’s a common one, and I enjoy it because we can bond over that. Other times she’ll completely surprise me by casually suggesting that we go out to do something other than grocery or supply shopping. It shouldn’t surprise me too much, but it does. My aunt told me that they used go out shopping, go to the movies, go for car rides, etc. quite often as kids. Why didn’t that apply to my mother’s adulthood any? Or her motherhood any? It confuses me how it used to be so common in her childhood, but now it doesn’t seem to exist. You can’t just throw your past away like that, it follows you in life! She has so completely immersed herself into this… minimalistic-ish lifestyle that I do not know how to make her happy or enjoy a day in her life without it relating to some type of chore. I cannot buy a gift for her, because it’s either wasting money or it’s an ugly gift or she doesn’t ever use it/loses the gift, or something else! I’ve tried. These are the results of multiple years of trying to gift her. Things that make her “happy” are helping her buy groceries or going with her to buy them (in which time we may also grab snacks and drinks to bring home and enjoy at a later time), helping her sort her mail and potentially doing some phone calls to help her sort the paperwork that came in, doing the laundry. The thing is that she’s set up this whole image of self-sufficiency that honestly, what can anyone do to make her life fuller is the question. We try to do materialistic things, and she rejects them or loses them. We try to do abstract things like helping her do work chores, and we get zero thanks or appreciation (oh, but if we decide not to help after having helped her once before, it becomes a guilt storm where she yells at you and guilt trips you for not helping her anymore. It isn’t a duty or expectation, mom. It was the only choice we had left to try and make you “happy”).

How in the world do I show you that I do love you mom? I don’t know. Most of the time, my actions seem to say I don’t care, but it’s because of the whole environment that’s been set up. I do not want to work like a workaholic, and I don’t want to have to do that just to show her that I care. I can say I love you, mom once in a while, an awkward while, but I’m not sure how that’s getting to her. Probably it just makes her feel weird, the same weird I feel by saying it. Hugs, that’s just extra weird. Honestly, I can’t remember us having any gentle touches (i.e, hand on a shoulder, passing plates, sharing food) in the longest time. I remember once I even backed away because she got too close. That upset me, and I felt terrible for it. Every time we have a phone call, almost every time, I tend to zone out once she begins to complain. The problem is she doesn’t have anything else to talk about. I don’t know what to tell her about either because saying oh, I’ve been lazing about most of the day instead of being a productive worker like you, well, that just doesn’t sound like great conversation topic. My interests and her interests don’t overlap for the majority. I wish, I wish, I really wish I could express to her that I do care about her and I want to love her (do I love her? I think I do), but I don’t know how to do that.

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I remember when I was about 14 years old, I had these great dreams of creating an animated story. I was going to draw the pictures myself, and I already had all the great themes and morals thought out that I was going to put in the script. Then I watched a cartoon show that I really loved, and it broke my heart because this show had at least half of all the things I wanted to say already in it, and it did it so well because it made me cry. I was so pleased and so sad that my dreams were already out there, accomplished so damned well, but it wasn’t to my credit.

Now, I still have dreams of putting something out there. My ideas aren’t as solid as the one I had when I was 14, but it’s still somewhere along that path. I feel different now, older just a little bit, but not by a whole lot, and a little more weighed down. At 14 all the teenage drama and angst was definitely in me, but now it’s less drama and angst and more pushing myself. I had all the drive when I was younger, and all the time. Now it feels like my age is something to be used against me, and my time must be given to something besides my dreams (i.e, keeping a roof over my head, feeding myself, maintaining friendships because I don’t want to be lonely and sad when I’m much older). I know it’s all just me holding myself back, but I still can’t help but feel those above listed priorities as, well, important. I can’t ignore basic needs to live, and I can’t ignore those I care about. Okay, maybe I can sometimes. The point is that sometimes I just want to become a recluse in the woods or something like that, and spend all my time not feeling judgment and obligation. Except I don’t know how to survive by camping or anywhere not a concrete jungle to be honest. Like honestly, I’m living in a first world country, regardless of how big or small my city is, it’s still got lots of concrete and lots of convenience.

I’m going to think about camping more. And after I post this, I’m going to go look at the bills I have to pay, and figure out how to deal with my health insurance network. Back to reality.

On the Topic of Depression and Social Disconnect

I was scrolling past some social media on my feed yesterday night, and I saw a post casually addressing depression. It was one of those gif’s with commentary that read “me replying to messages 10 days late and blaming it on my busy schedule to hide the fact that my depression has me thinking simple correspondence is an actual workload.” It’s clearly social commentary, but it also shows how common place and quiet depression is. It’s talked about, but I think it’s still not empathizing with society. The topic definitely resounds within Millenials and Gen Z, but out main concern right now is more keeping the earth alive long enough to have more generations. Priorities right? But seriously, it’s an important message because I think so many of us born in or after the Millenials generation completely understand that feeling of simple correspondence as a chore. I definitely feel it. I’ve been feeling this way since I turned twenty.

I got my very first cellular phone when I was 16. I was quickly addicted to texting. At 18 I started college, at 19 I had dropped out and at 20 I was in my second semester at a new college. A lot happened, definitely that dropping out of college part of my life left me feeling depressed. When I was 20, at that particular moment in my life, I just needed to seclude myself away from others and deal with my feelings of loss and disappointment and beginning anew. Instead I was constantly surrounded by text messages, invites to go out that very moment or later that night, social media and all sorts of information thrown my way via the instantaneous communication. It was really overwhelming and never gave me the moments I needed to just be out of society for a little while and deal with my emotional and mental stability. There were other circumstances that added to that too. My family constantly surrounding me, and I mean constantly. I didn’t have a bedroom. I was sleeping on the living room couch, and every weekend I was seeing and hanging out with my family members instead of.. anything else that might have been solo time for me to deal with me. I moved to a new state, California. It was a culture shock for me. I never went out so much in my life prior. Basically every single day, Monday through Friday, was spent going to school and out with friends, then the weekends out with family. I’m an introvert more than I am an extrovert. There’s lot of nuanced details I could go into about that, but for this post’s sake, it means that I was getting zero time to recharge my energy levels. To sum it up, I began to feel an avoidance for people. Simple things like a text message asking me “how are you” became a chore. If I said fine, I’d be lying and probably would get an invite to go out. If I said not well, it’d lead to a conversation of talking to others about my feelings that I hadn’t yet sorted out. Sustaining a conversation, much less beginning one, was something I was constantly trying to avoid.

Even now I am avoiding messages. There is now a culture where people reply instantly. There’s also a split in this culture now where people just don’t reply until much later. It’s really crazy how instant messaging and internet and cell phones have blurred the personal boundaries line. I personally do not like to have a constant back and forth text conversation unless it’s been a long time and I really am trying to catch up with that person. However, once in a while phone calls work just fine for that too. But things like learning how to let a conversation die out is a skill people need to learn. Conversation topics die out, and if it’s a text message conversation, please, I want and need people to understand or learn that everyone has a life outside of the ’til then current conversation. And texting every day? Humans live by routine generally. What am I up to? Well x, the same damn thing I’ve been up to the other four days of this week, last week, and the past year really. Aka, working, eating, cleaning, and sleeping. Not much new to tell. Please stop asking me this every damn day.

Okay, this somehow became a rant. My apologies readers. Anyways, I want to sum this all up to depression is real, though it doesn’t manifest into something like constantly sad or anything super visible like that. It’s also different for everyone. Their reasons are their reasons. Not everyone will think they are depressed either, because you can still function. You can still communicate with people, you can still go to work and do your daily life routines, and you can take care of yourself well enough to function in society. Depression is something that leaves you feeling empty. Simply interacting with people becomes a chore, and you want to leave the interaction, but leaving also leaves you feeling empty. It’s become something of an age where there’a disconnect between people, and most of the blame is put upon technology, but there’s also blame in people not actively taking accountability to their own actions. Create boundaries, stick to them, let people know them. Boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t want to communicate and be friendly, it means you are taking care of yourself, and others should do the same for themselves and respect your boundaries. There’s no “if this were in person you wouldn’t xyz” comparison. This is an entity on its own, the internet and instant messaging age, which means that we need to set up new rules for this new setting/situation.

Saying Goodbye

This is a poem. It’s somewhere between a first and second draft. It’s totally bare bones right now. I see a lot where I can flesh it out and add, but I’m not sure what direction I want this poem to go toward just yet, so waiting to figure that out first. The title is also under construction. Not sure if I’m going to keep it the same title later down the road. Cheers, the world is going to publicly view my emotions now.

Saying Goodbye

It was never supposed to begin, but since it did, it was supposed to only be a summer fling.
We spent every single day waking up to each other’s touch.
Every night we had dinner together, walked together, talked together, and fell asleep together.
You spoke to me of promises to visit sooner than later.
You held me purposely,
and kissed me tenderly.
I was beginning to believe I loved you as more than just a temporary casual sex partner.
Why did you speak to me of promises to visit soon?
Why did you worry about if my feet were cold on the overnight bus?
Summer was ending, and we had to go our separate ways.
You cried first, but it ended with us both as blubbering babies.
And I thought I could end it there with both our tears,
but why did you give me the sweetest kiss goodbye on the lips?
You can’t do tears, hugs, and kisses like that if it’s just a summer fling.
I don’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to think.
We’re thousands of miles away now, and will be for a very long period of time.
But I’m still searching for a way to say goodbye.

Harry Potter Marathon

Okay, I don’t have much to say tonight. Although that might be due to the fact that I’ve been entirely distracted by this Harry Potter marathon that’s going on on USA and SyFy channel ❤️

This series is definitely a significant part of my childhood. I day dreamed about what Hogwarts would be like really if it existed, and what life would be like if I met a witch or wizard. No dreams about being one since I was past 11 years-old when I first began reading it, but ah, they were really wonderful dreams. I love everything it gave to my imagination. Also, the theme song is lit, haha. Thank you to John Williams for creating a theme song we all recognize within the first second (seriously, in one second I can identify the theme song).

Really funny thing I’ve just noticed, between the first and second movie, Daniel Radcliffe goes through puberty and you can hear how his voice changed. His face loses some of the baby fat too, so sad. I absolutely loved the first movie. It was positively up to the task of matching the imagination.

Alright, back to the marathon! Have a good night everyone.

Toxic People: Those Closest to You

Really, the title should be Closest to Me.

I would say that ever since I can remember, but perhaps not since I was born, I have had a toxic family. This is a rather personal and touchy topic, so I’m not sure how much I’ll divulge just yet, but we’ll find out as I go along.

I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but I was pretty much neglected and abused for the majority of my childhood. I don’t think my family did it out of purposed ill-will (well, none except perhaps one), it just turned out that way because of who they are as individuals, and because of circumstances in life. Only recently have I come to consciously recognize just how toxic my family members are for me. Not all of them, but as a general pod, my family isn’t good for my healthy balance. I recently moved back in with my mother because of my whole I’m changing career paths, I no longer am working, I will be studying again choice. It’s always a struggle living with family after you’ve had adult freedom. I got my first taste of it when I came back. There’s a bit of (a lot of) a tiff within the family right now, my mother and my step-sister being in the center of it all. Of course, any family members nearby get dragged into it though, which is precisely what happened with me.
I’m not going to say what happened, but it resulted in some very terrible words exchanged between my mother and I and one of my brother’s. Some really really awful verbal abuse came out of her mouth toward me, and it honestly pissed me the f*** off, and also hurt my feelings, and made me realize how terrible it is to be with my family, and also how terrible a person she can be. It also showed me how closed off she is too. I know I close myself off from others quite often, especially from family, but wow. She closes herself off from everyone too but with a different method than mine. I recall her saying she can make it on her own without us, and the feeling I had at that exact moment was the two aren’t the same. You can make it on your own, and being without us are two separate things. You can make it on your own, but we can be there while you do that. We can also not be there. It was also at that moment, recognizing my thoughts, that I realized I am so different from her and perhaps the rest of the family. I don’t think anyone in my family would have thought the same thought that passed my mind at that moment.

I can’t say much more without revealing too much, but it makes me feel sad that I feel that I cannot relate to my family or be close to them. It makes it doubly sad to me because I think that at least half of the family thinks I am the one who gets along with everyone/I am the one who is closest to being able to reach out to all the family members. I haven’t figured out much more on how I feel about that. I want to love my family. I say I love my family, or at the very least I care about them. But there are some moments where it seems clear that I don’t act like I love them..

Learning New Things at Any Age

I’m at a certain point in my life where I feel very much like I am late, but it’s not too late yet. I’m in my mid-twenties, in the process of doing an entirely different career change, and in the middle of this process I took a break and watched Christiane Amanpour’s Love Across the World documentary series.
It’s a 6-episodes long series, each episode covering a different country and how love, intimacy, and sex stands in their culture and current society. It was really interesting, and I liked it a lot because that topic also interests me. Episode 4 covered Germany, and I really loved the ending of the episode because (spoiler alert) there is an old 55 years-old woman who only just learned how love could be different from what she had imagined and experienced her whole life until then. The concept that the world always has something new to learn and experience, and that what you learn or experience can resonate so personally in your life, that inspired me and gave me hope. I have felt for a few years now that things were really stagnant, and my experiences in life were dull. I wasn’t learning anything new, and I don’t want to wait until I’m 55 to experience something mind-blowing and new, but the possibilities exist out there still, and that excites me.

I’ve clearly not been using this blog site very regularly. I’m still figuring out how to even make this blog site seem less like I’m a blundering teenager (actually, I’m trying to figure out how to present myself less like a blundering teenager in my regular life too), and I’ve got a lot of work to do. The thing is, that episode made me feel a little better about how ‘behind’ I am. Obviously it’ll take some time before I understand the blogging sphere comfortably, and that used to make me feel pretty nervous. I thought well, it’ll take time, but I ought to know it now if I’m going to try and blog regularly. Now, I feel like there is time. I would prefer to learn it sooner than later but I have time, and it’s okay that I don’t know it all right at this moment.

I made a lot of plans for this new and different path I’m going to step on. I’m afraid. I used to be a lot more excited. Several very disheartening things happened in the past month and a half that nearly extinguished any hope I had of succeeding. I’m trying to build it back up right now. I’m taking a leap of faith in myself and trusting my gut feeling that I can’t always be passionate about my goals. There’ll be stumbles along the way, and this just happens to be the first one. I’ll have to struggle and perhaps suffer and not enjoy what I’ve chosen, but I’ll still want it. The hope that I’ll experience something I can’t even imagine right now is keeping that diminished passion lit.

USA – Sexual Harassment Allegations

There was a lot of talk about sexual harassment and rape following the Harry Weinstein allegations. It seems that there is much concern regarding what women say, or don’t say until weeks, months, or years later. Concern about sexual harassment and rape has always been an issue on college campuses as well. I remember my very last semester at Berkeley, there was a wild kidnapping incident. It was wild because the girl who was kidnapped was returned alive, but was raped and she didn’t couldn’t identify who the kidnapper rapist was. Not too long after her return, another case happened where a girl was kidnapped right off of campus.

I want to pose a question, maybe more than one, to the people out there discussing this topic. Have any you ever seen a child being corporeally punished for the first time? Or even for the x‘th time but by someone who had never hit them before? Have you seen the expression of shock and surprise on their face? And then suddenly they register that what just happened was painful, they didn’t like it, and began to cry. The child does not immediately realize what has happened or even why it has happened. They also don’t know what to do after the fact, so they sit there, feel bad, and cry.
What about when you watch people playing team sports, perhaps soccer? Imagine being a team member. You’re running, doing your part, and suddenly you are hit by the opposing team, and even though you knew there was a chance of being hit, attacked, maimed when you stepped out onto the field, you don’t quite register what just happened until after it’s already happened. And even after you register what happened, do you know if it was a foul or not before the referee calls it?

My point is how can people expect a person to know to say “no” when assault, harassment, and rape are not something you can easily comprehend until after the fact? To add to this, an incident of rape, assault, or harassment is not socially acceptable. It isn’t like a soccer game where you walk out knowing that yes there’s the possibility of a foul happening and there’s the reassurance that people watching the game, refereeing the game are going to be on your side when a foul happens. When you go out to attend a party, or when you’re walking home from school, or whatever you are doing, there’s no support from the community reassuring you that if someone rapes you or assaults you, someone will be there to call out a yellow card and ensure that you’re alright. The interrogations that victims of rape receive are so invasive that it feels like a different kind of rape just penetrated them all over again. Rather than receiving support, the victim receives a sort of blame and guilt. It doesn’t happen all the time that the victim receives blame and guilt, but clearly as seen by the discussions concerning this topic, most times the victims are the ones receiving shame instead of the abuser.

The point I’m trying to make today is that the whole “why didn’t he/she just say no” argument is not reasonable. The examples I gave before have very quick and short time spans in the sense that a hit happens in one second, versus a rape which might happen over a span of several minutes. However, please keep in mind that there were “warning signs” coming from all over as well. The child was misbehaving, the soccer player had the ball, the parent or person giving out discipline told you to be quiet, the soccer player with the ball was very close to the goal. In a rape case the “warning signs” are all there too. The victim stayed at home, the victim went out, the victim sat down on a spacious couch or their bed. It all comes down to the the idea of placing the responsibility on the victim to not be raped. The responsibility should be on the attacker to not rape at all.

A quick extra note about the people who decide to speak out much later after the rape has happened. A lot of those victims get asked why didn’t they say something earlier, and I want to point out that no one wants to drag out a bad history into their present life. Imagine a two years, five years, even ten years expired can of worms was left inside the darkest part of the pantry. Someone begins talking about cans of worms, and you suddenly remember that you had that really old can of worms sitting back there. Are you going to purposely go the pantry and take that expired, rotten can of worms out of the pantry, open it up for everyone to look at and discuss too? Clearly the can of worms is representative of rape, but imagine it being any dark secret that you don’t want others to know about. If you don’t have the courage to expose your own dark secrets to the world for inspection, please don’t expect a rape survivor to expose anything of his or her own experience.

Outside the Window

My apologies to anyone and myself for not writing in so long. I have my excuses, but let’s not get into that shall we?

In a spur of the moment moment, I decided I wanted to maybe do a daily creative writing prompt idea. We’ll see if I actually stick to it daily, but for now let’s talk about what’s outside the window.

It’s spring, and there’s been spotty thunderstorms all week. A cat was waiting for me as I got out of my car after work today. He was a spotted cat, black and white. A little fat for a stray. He walked me toward my front door and ran away just before I turned the curve up to the porch. The porch really needs some work. The bushes are growing out of their boxy shape and into pointy cloud shapes. Dandelion wish flowers are flourishing all over the front yard. It seems cat scat is also flourishing a bit on the yard. Damned cat. I set my two lunch bags down on the porch as I struggle to find the right key to open the door. There are only four keys on the ring, why in the world is it so difficult to grab the correct one? Finally, I get the right key, and unlock the door. I pick up my lunch bags and realize there are also ants on the porch. Spring huh?

Ok, that’s all I’ve got right now. It’s getting a bit late, and it’s a weekday y’all. Work awaits me in the morning.

Have a good, thunderous night.