First let me say I was not physically abandoned by my family. This is true despite it being threatened with being taken to an orphanage and left there. But developmentally, psychologically… I was abandoned at an early age.
It was often threatened to be driven to the orphanage when I was young. On more than one occasion, I was put in the car and was driven around. All the while, I was being belittled and told that nobody would want me. I lived in fear of those car rides.
But more than that, I was abandoned when my mother looked the other way. She knew what my father was doing. She did nothing to stop it. She looked the other way. I had no one to protect me. My grandmother looked the other way too. In some ways it didn’t seem as sinister as my mother. I think she had almost no power when it came to my grandfather.
My parents were simultaneously over-involved and under-involved in school. On the one hand, bad grades were severely punished and usually involved a message to the teacher asking what happened. But good grades (what I usually brought home) were ignored.
Abandonment is a tough issue for me. I’ve learned to rely only on myself. Not having someone who cared enough to stop blatant abuse scarred me for life. And trust… Well that’s a tricky one too. It all goes down to not having someone who cared and left me to my own devices.
Creating a Dialogue With Your Inner Young Child
From: Cathryn L. Taylor M.A. The Inner Child Workbook
1. What is her favorite food?
Fried chicken. But only her grandmother’s chicken.
2. What is the activity she would most like to do?
Read. She could read all day and all night.
3. Has she done this before? Is so , what happened? If not, ask why.
She reads all the time. Her favorite book is still Green Eggs and Ham. But now she can read it on her own.
4. Ask her to tell you about her fear of being blamed and criticized or of doing or saying something wrong.
She is always afraid of doing something wrong. She’s terrified she’ll bring home a bad mark on a school paper even though she’s only in Kindergarten. She’s terrified that she’ll be taken to the orphanage for real this time. She’s afraid of messing up her dances. She doesn’t want to disappoint Miss R.
5. Does she feel overly responsible? Why?
Always. B was just born. She’s supposed to take care of him when mom is drunk.
6. What does she need most from you?
She needs me to understand that she wasn’t a bad kid. She was a good kid in a bad situation.
I’m exhausted now. I’ll try to finish the remaining questions in the near future.
I’ve tried for a long time to write this post. Rationally, I know it’s something I shouldn’t be embarrassed about, but I am. I feel so different than everyone else. Again, rationally I know there are other people who feel (or don’t feel as the case may be) the same way I do. I just don’t know how to go about connecting with them. I suspect for many it’s a big secret. I sometimes think it would be easier if I felt attraction for women. Or men. Or both. But I don’t. I don’t feel anything. I have no interest in the whole dating, marriage, relationship scene. If you would ask, I’d say I’d identify as asexual.
I joke around that I watch football (the American kind) just for the huddle and the tight ends. I find nothing about male butts in tight pants appealing. I feel as guilty about that as I would about trying to fit into Lesbian culture.
I used to think this was a consequence of the abuse. That it was a PTSD thing. But maybe I’m wired this way. I firmly believe sexuality is more hard wired than environmental. My brothers are of the same no relationship mindset, but they have a normal sex drive and find women attractive. I don’t judge their choices and I understand the not wanting relationships. I think those similarities are enough to point at the toxic environment we grew up in. But I’m definitely different from then. Then again, I took the brunt of the abuse, especially from male relatives.
I can hear people out there saying it’s totally understandable to feel the way I do about sex, other people and relationships. But I can’t help feeling like a freak. There are so many survivors that go on to have normal relationships, be it with the same or opposite sex. I can’t even work up the sexual energy to try to see where I might fit in on the spectrum.
I’ve looked at men of all kinds. I’ve looked at women too. But I feel nothing. It’s like there’s a huge part of me missing. Well, missing according to societal norms. Maybe I just need to learn to be a little kinder to myself and live with what God gave me. I know it’s possible to thrive in society without be married.
But honestly, I’m stuck. I’ll be moving back to Korea and I’ll have the same psychiatrist. I don’t know if I should bring it up with him or try to find an English speaking therapist (probably easier said than done). If anyone has words of wisdom, please share them. I don’t know if it came out, but this really has been bothering me for a long time.
The face in the mirror (both physical and mental) is obviously distorted. I got my recommendation letter from my old old boss this evening. I laughed aloud when I read it. I mean no disrespect to C, but the way she saw me is not the way I saw myself. I remember this happening once before when getting letters for grad school. Even though I checked the box on the form waiving my right to read them, every single one of my professors put a copy in my hand and said read it, but not now. When you’re home. I laughed myself silly. How could these people that I respected, and even worked with on research think this way of me.
I thought I had put that behind me. I thought I had grown a bit of self esteem. But all I can think is who is this letter about? Can’t be me. I’m just you’re average everyday run of the mill teacher. There’s nothing excellent or outstanding about it. Part of me wants to edit it to make it reflect the real me. But at the moment, I don’t know who the real me is. Is the woman in the letter or is the woman I look at in the mirror every day?
Speaking of which, I do see changes, especially with the dental work. But I wouldn’t describe myself as pretty. It always bugged me when my last boss pointed out I had a pretty face. Or, pretty by Korean standards (pale skin and blue eyes). I printed out one of my hanbok pictures and gave it to my dentist because it’s the first picture I’m smiling in. He and his wife think I look like Renee Zellweger. I don’t know what to think.
All I know is I was at the dentist 3 hours today and the Novocaine is wearing off leaving my mouth and body screaming in pain (yay for sunny and 55 to 40 and rainy overnight). My dentist loaned me a Robin Cook book that I haven’t read yet (Chromosome 6) so I’m going to climb in bed with two fuzzy body warmers.
Chocolate honeycomb martini | Wholesome Cook.
My best friend Melanie, who lost her battle with breast cancer on Thanksgiving, loved chocolate martinis. When we would go out, she always got one. Usually more than one. I liked them too, but I’m not much of a drinker. When this post came through my feed reader, I immediately thought about Melanie. There are days when I still can’t believe she’s gone. But I do know she’s around. I can feel her presence. And I know every day when I use something she taught me about teaching, she’s there. I’m sad and I miss her very much. But I know I’m blessed to have met her and to have been able to call her a friend.
So Melanie, this chocolate martini is for you.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m just a superficial person. What shows on the surface is often different than what I feel and think in private. I find it hard to express how I really feel about situations and things so I tend to say what I think people want to hear. I may be privately thinking, I hate you bitch and I don’t want to help. Instead, I say, no problem, I’d be happy to do it.
On the positive side, I’m better at identifying what I’m feeling. On the minus side, I don’t often let people see it. Is the old fear of expressing myself leading to punishment a good reason for hiding what I’m feeling? Or am I just a bad person?
I can see a lot of black and white thinking in this. I know I should try to see the shades of gray. But I can’t. It all gets lost.
So where to go from here? It seems like a scary proposition to tell other people what I’m thinking and feeling. Is it just the next stage. It’s kind of like standing on a ledge making preparations to jump into the ocean. It probably won’t hurt to jump, and it’ll be fun. But I just can’t make that leap.
I was with two very good friends a few weeks ago. R kept asking if I was OK. In reality, no I wasn’t. I was depressed, anxious and stressed over trying to find a new job. Yet, all I could say was that I was OK. I know my face betrayed my feelings. But I couldn’t take that leap to say it. No I’m miserable. I worried. I’m scared. I don’t want to go back home and look for a job. I want to stay here, but recruiters are dragging their feet.
I got the results from my thyroid panel. They’re “normal”. Note the quotes. In the US, the normal range for TSH has been changed to .3-3 from the previous .5-5. Korea appears to use the old values. Now, if I were at home, I’d just argue with the doctors. Point 1: I’m outside the new normal values (by quite a bit actually). Point 2: I have quite a few of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Point 3: Whatever this is is starting to interfere with my life.
I don’t know why I’m so hesitant to ask the doctor here about it. I’m afraid of coming off as a hypochondriac, I guess. But I can’t deny how bad I feel, both physically and mentally.
I wonder how different things are with healthcare in terms of culture. In the US, it definitely isn’t frowned on. But there is a lot about Korean culture I don’t know or understand. I think my first step is going to be asking one of my Korean coworkers her opinion. I trust H and we’re definitely good friends. If necessary, she’s probably go to the doctor with me. My doctor does speak pretty good English, but there are always communication difficulties. They even crop up when both people speak the same language.
My goal is to just feel better. I don’t think I can blame this all on depression. There are just too many physical issues that can’t be explained away by brain chemistry wackiness.
So I’ve been thinking about self worth the last week or so. I think I shocked a coworker when I said something to the effect of “But am I worth it?”.
Let me backtrack and explain things… I’ve started going to the gym. There’s a full service gym literally catty-corner from my apartment. I had to get over the “I’m so fat and people are going to point and laugh” feelings. Not that kids on the streets here don’t point and laugh… sadly many parents don’t bat an eye at this behavior. And I’m not just talking little kids, I’m talking older kids and teenagers. But that’s beside the point. I’ve started going to the gym. Yay for me. For the most part the trainers there leave me alone to walk on the treadmill. Two of my coworkers also go. They’re my motivation right now. They’ve threatened (semi-jokingly) to drag me by my toes if I don’t go on my own accord.
At first I was planning on paying by the day (about $5.50) because my plan was to go three times a week. N and D (my coworkes) had other ideas for me. I’m going to go daily. I did pretty good last week. I went four out of five days. I missed Tuesday because we had a work event to attend. So at 7000 Won a day, that was going to get expensive pretty fast. I opted to get a montly membership (about $70). If I can keep it up, I’ll get a three month membership when my month is up.
That’s the back story. I said something at work like “I hope it’s worth it.”. A coworker (Nor) said “Of course it is! It’s an investment in you!”. Which I replied. I hope I’m worth it. Not only did this shock her, it seemed to offend her. I haven’t told her about my past. In fact, I’ve only told N very small bits about my past. So I can see how Nor doesn’t understand why I’d say something like that.
Anywho, I have to keep reminding myself that I am worth that money.
I went to bed last night. It dawned on me as I was lying in bed. Ivory has me trained. I was all the way by the wall, basically smushed into the corner. She was all stretched out on the other part of the bed.
It’s true what they say. Dogs have owners; cats have servants.
I have an adorable ball of fuzz. I’m so excited. It’s only in the last couple weeks I’ve felt like I’ve completed the grieving process with Sparkler. I loved her so much. But, I knew I didn’t want another guinea pig. I knew I wanted a cat. Now, you have to understand, Korea is not a cat country. No serious. It’s really not. I went to a dozen places before I found one with a cat for sale. And dear lord was she expensive. But she was totally worth every won I spent. She’s been in my life less than 12 hours and I can’t imagine living without her.
Right now, she’s curled up in (on?) one of my shoes. Once I coaxed her out from under the bed, she started to play. She has one of those mice on an elastic string tied to a stick. She loves it. She was going crazy. She’s purrs like no cat I’ve ever heard before.
I’m still working on the name thing. I know her Korean name will either be 눈(noon) which means snow (and eye) or 구름(goorum) which means cloud. I’m sort of leaning toward 눈. I’m just not sure what English name to give her. I’ll take suggestions. You’ve helped me name animals in the past.
So here are some pics of my new baby.