letters no. 2 (new years resolutions)

[on-going documentation of new year’s 2014 resolutions – sub-section under letters]

Dear A. & A.,

This morning, I took Hobbes out for his morning outing and it was just too cold for me. With the wind, we are hitting -25ºC today which isn’t what we are used to here in Toronto. I actually like winter, but this is colder than I would like it to be! Burrrrrr!

Hobbes doesn’t mind, though. His fur is very thick and curly. When the wind blows he jumps around in it all happy.

Yesterday, Chaeli had her first tryout for the Varsity Co-Ed Badminton team (grade 4 to 6). She has her second tryout session next Thursday morning so we will let everyone know if she moves on from there.

It is hard for people in her grade level because they are up against kids much older and who have been playing badminton for a while. But that’s okay. We told Chaeli to just try her best and more importantly, to have fun! Because if trying out for a sport isn’t fun, then what’s the point?

She did have fun, she said. A lot of fun and is looking forward to next week’s tryout.

Chaeli’s school is also celebrating International Day next Friday. They have to bring some type of food that represents where they are from. In the past, Chaeli has brought things like Italian meatball to represent Grandma’s Italian side and Tatty-Scones to represent Papa’s Scottish side. This year, we think she will bring some Chinese deserts to represent the Chinese side of my side of the family. She will probably where a Chinese outfit customary to what girls use to wear in China (and still do on special occasions).

Anyway, attached to this letter is also a recipe I would like to pass on to your mom and dad. It is a no-fail recipe we enjoy making a lot. Please tell your mom and dad to substitute the chorizo sausage for Italian sausage if they can not get a hold of that type of Spanish sausage (here in Toronto, we would have to go to a special butcher to get them).

Hope all is well! Stay warm!

Love, Auntie Shy.

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artificial nocturne

I’m just as fucked up as they say
I can’t fake the daytime
Found an entrance to escape into the dark
Got false lights for the sun
It’s an artificial nocturne
It’s an outsider’s escape for a broken heart

the past.

my memory takes me back to when i was about chaeli’s age – 10 or 11. there i was sitting in the kitchen of our old house. my father, standing there beside me – hovering over me.

math. it stared back at me. numbers. something that always confused me.

he was talking impatiently, asking me to solve the problem. but i couldn’t. i barely could see the problem from the notebook anymore. and as i sat there, sweating and staring in silence, his voice started to get louder… and more anxious.

fear started to creep in as i desparately stared harder and harder – hoping, praying the answer would come to me.

there was a long period of silence before a thud was heard.

i don’t know if that thud came from his hand hitting my behind, or when i landed on the kitchen tiles after flying off my chair and under the kitchen table.

the pain of the impact his hand made on me was very real and very scary. but i was in so much more pain from not being able to please him. not being able to solve that math problem.

why couldn’t i solve it? was it true? was i stupid like he’s told me i was before?

why couldn’t i have just solved it?

the present

we’re sitting at my aunt’s and uncle’s place after dinner.

my uncle has diabetes type 2. just like me though he’s had his for 25 years. but he’s managing it. and i go to him, and my aunt as she’s been a big part of helping him manage it, for not just advice and knowledge…. but mainly for support.

and for empathy.

empathy has become a theme in my therapy sessions. i have learned that my childhood lacked empathy. and as a result, i give myself very little empathy – and through that, i have a lot of guilt. mostly from things i had no control over. it is this pain from this inner turmoil – this guilt – which has caused anxiety over every decision that i make, not just in the present, but struggle of past decisions and fear of making wrong decisions of the future. everything i do, i fear if it’s the best way.

the best way – my mother always made me see what was the best way. if some one hurt me at school, i was told which was the best way to have avoided being in that situation. if i planned to take the public transit downtown, i was instructed to the best way. on my best friend’s wedding day, when i was maid of honour (which was with such great honour, i might add, as it was one of the best days of my life), i was told my hair was not the best way for the day. the list goes on.

my father – he never told me what the best way was. he just expected me to know and i suffered his wrath if i simply did not know.

basically, a lot of people/parents will give a statement of empathy such as, i’m sorry you are going through such pain, BUT…

the ‘but’ usually negates the empathy. and that’s okay to some extent. we care and love our family and friends so much that we want to fix their problem, forgetting that the first reason they came to us was not for a fix, but simply for empathy. as humans, we’ve probably all made this mistake.

the issue with me, however, was that it was rare, in the past mostly and sometimes in the present, where i even recieved that first startement of empathy. and so, a lot of what i came home with, my problems, my struggles, was made apparent that i was responsible for everything. not accountable in some way, shape or form, but completely responsible. even if it was not my doing, somehow, i could have prevented it.

and so, i sat there at the dining table expressing my concern over my glucose levels as for the past 2 weeks, there were very high spikes i could not account for (nothing changed in my diet or exercise – yet, my levels would got up sometimes as high as 3 units after a similar lunch i had 2 weeks before with very normal readings afterwards).

i was very upset, i mentioned. and frustrated.

my dad then interjected and told me, “yeah, but, you have to take control of your sress and not obsess over this.” it wasn’t what he said. it was how he said it – a manner that expressed, this is your own-doing. there was frustration in his voice – and while i understand now that it’s his own anxiety and worry over my health, that he has no time for empathy and just wants to fix my problem for me, i was just so angry at him for not being more sensitive.

and so i responded, “yes, well, easier said than done.” in other words, okay… thanks for the piece of unwanted advice. perhaps you would like to tell me HOW to do this since you seem to have all the answers?

he was not happy with my one liner. and started to raise his voice, arguing with me that he KNOWS it’s not easy, etc. i ignored him then and returned to my conversation with my uncle who was, at least, giving me the reassurance and support i was searching for.

all the time, i thought to myself, if i wasn’t so depressed, i would be laughing. here is a person telling me to take control of my stress and yet he’s arguing with me and stressing me out even more. how is this helping, i wonder?

the summary

the above is simply an exercise of my thoughts from this past week, which links to what i posted yesterday.

i understand it is up to me to tell my parents how i require the support yet at this point, i’m not sure i’m ready to try this step as it would be a very big step. anyone who knows my parents, would understand how big it is.

the issue is that i could tell them but they would either argue back and say that they’ve always been supportive of me. or that they simply would refuse to reflect on their own path of self-improvement due to what i had already mentioned in my previous post, their lack of self-awareness.

the above video and song by metric, is a song that is close to my heart at this moment. i do not know exactly what the intentions were behind the meaning of this song, but it seems to mirror how i feel these days.

the trick with therapy

my last therapy session was good – very good. we did a lot of digging. so much was uncovered that i added another session between this last one and the next one which i had planned for early may.

i figured, before the session, that i would be ready to go every couple of months as planned. but as soon as i got home, i emailed the lovely, friendly receptionist (they chose a good candidate to take care of business in their office) and asked for another session between now and then. so about 5-6 weeks appart between each sessions.

this was my own decision and my therapists never puts any pressure on me as to when i feel the need to return. everyone is differnet. some people need to go weekly, some monthly and some, just go ever other month or so for a “tune-up”. some need more time to process the information and put it to good use before the next session. and some require the frequency to be more intense because it helps with the motivation.

i chose to make it sooner than later because i feel we’re at a crucial part of this digging.

it’s tiring, though. and painful. what i mean is that old wounds were open. i went home and for the past week since i saw my therapist, have been flooded with painful memories of my childhood. memories not forgotten but simply put away or off to the side.

there was some frustration though… these are memories i thought i was over. things that have been dealt with. i want to move on with them. i thought i had moved on from them. but the reality is that these things from the past are still here in the present. perhaps they are disguised in different shapes and forms, but they are very much still here. either metaphorically as the culprit of my anxiety/depression issues. or, evern more painfully, embedded in my current relationship with my parents.

now, as i mentioned already, i do not want to hold any ill-feelings towards my parents of my childhood. which is probably why i am frustrated with these haunting memories that have caused so much emotions.

but the truth is that, perhaps, my frustration lies in our relationship at the present moment. and i’m aware now that something happened between my father and i this past friday, just a couple of days after my therapy session, which angered me and opened up the flood gates to some of these horrible memories.

it’s a reminder – when something happens in the present, it automatically links, for me, to the past. and until i deal with my personal demons – and learn how to handle my current relationships – this will always be the case. at the least, through my progress in therapy, i’m able to link this cause and effect relationship.

it’s tricky – to be strong enough to go through all this digging, opening old wounds and NOT go to that dark place where it’s easier to just point fingers and blame them and think, you did this to me! this is the way i am because of you!

i don’t want to go there but during the most painful parts of these past few days, the temptation was there. but what point would that be? it would be vengeful and spiteful – and that will not help me in the end. plus, i know my parents just didn’t know any better way – they were raised in probably a harsher and/or more abusive way than how i grew up. and part-way through my adult life, i could see there was regret on their part.

the best thing i can do is to try and deal with this – and move forward. i’m lucky, very lucky, to be more self-aware of what is going on inside of me. unlike my parents who still to this day struggle with the concept of self-awareness.

i use this ability of mine to make sure i be a better parent to my own daughter. because i don’t want to put her through what i went through – i don’t want to pass on this anxiety/depression issue to her. i hope she has a future of much greater freedom than this type of inner prison i’ve been trapped in for decades.

valentine’s/family day weekend

well, we couldn’t celebrate valentines becuase my PIL were here for a 4-night visit. i suppose you could say we did celebrate family day… though ideally, my type of family day involves just doug, chaeli and i. at least for the one day.

yeah – couldn’t happen. not that it was a bad weekend. but i am pretty exhausted from all the entertaining. i felt we were constantly shopping for food, making food, shopping for some more, and then doing one laundry load after another.

i need a weekend for the weekend i just had.

i just have to face it. i’m no good with seeing family so many days in a row. i’m learning that i am just more and more the solitude type. or at the least, i need solitude in between visits. at the end of each night, i think my head wanted to explode. i do wonder if this is part of my anxiety disorder – a lot of noise, not just volume, but different kinds all at once, makes me easily confused. my concentration starts to suffer and i even use the wrong words often.

anyway – i’m really not into celebrating valentines. but as the date approached, i realized it’s been far too long since doug and i had a date night. the last time was probably over the thanksgiving long weekend where we celebrated 2 days and 2 nights for our 10th wedding anniversary.

even if we had valentines day to ourselves, i probably wouldn’t have wanted to go out for dinner. but it would have loved to have just been able to go to a nice cafe somewhere downtown. or go snowshoeing for an hour. something low-key.

not all is at a loss – i will make sure we get a date night at some point.

even still, doug bought me a bouquet of flowers on v-day. it was a sweet gesture!

grow up – because i need you

basically what i ended up telling my mother today:

“stop it… stop making this about you!

i am going through a lot right now – my mental health, my physical health and a lot is going on at work.

i work really hard to be a good wife, a good mother and a good daughter.

i try really hard at all of these things.

but you guys sometimes put more expectations on me than i can give.
it’s too hard and it’s too stressful – it’s not good for me.

i need you to grow up and start acting like an adult.

i need you to be a loving and supportive mother.

so stop making it sound like everyone is against you.

it is NOT about you!”

i could go on about what triggered this – as in, what event(s) took place to end in this type of confrontation. but why bother. it doesn’t matter what it’s about. what matters is that anything and everything gets twisted around by her (and sometimes my father) to the point where it becomes a battle of some sort.

a simple thing that should bring happiness and joy, gets turned into something ugly – just because there needs to be one side that has to be right. one side that has to show that they know more than the other. that things HAVE to be done in a particular way.

and if that doesn’t go as pictured, there’s this drama. this ‘poor me everyone is against me’ martyr.

the above rant to her was not meant to gain pity. it was not meant to pull a guilt trip even though inevitably, it might have.

i felt good that i said those words to her because it was with a clear conscience and with the purest intent to tell her that i can’t give anymore than i am already giving at this stage.

this was not just about whatever brought this on recently. this is something over years and years of the same thing coming to light in different ways. but all the same within.