Monday, June 09, 2014

The importance of children

How we raise our children is the most important thing humans do. But we don't act like it in the way our societies have become structured. This includes the built environment and its relationship to the land, in addition to, all the various relationships we have to each other. 

I was thinking about the importance of treating our child as if they truly matter. I'm sure for some people that is a given. But there are others who have difficulty doing that. And the reason why they have difficulty is because we don't raise our children communally anymore. It used to be people lived in one place or one town or one neighborhood for most or all of their lives. This means they knew the people who lived in their immediate surroundings. The reason why people in small towns used to say they'd call a kid's parents if he was caught doing something wrong because A) living in a decent community means people abiding by the same basic virtues of civility and honesty and, B) the parents were friends with each other, meaning, they shared the same basic values and had common interests. 

Rest in Peace Mom

My mom passed on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 10:15am. 

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The burning away

I'm ok for right now. I also know I'll be okay later. But in the right after part, might get a little rough. Altho, I think I've worked on most everything I needed to with my mom. Not much was pleasant since that's what I remember of my life with her, but there were a few good moments.

Life is a very queer thing for all the twists and turns it takes. I've certainly had more than my fair share of them. Even so, all that remains is the love we felt for each other but were never really able to share it together with each other until now. At least we were able to do that before it was too late. For that, I am truly grateful. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

The Importance of Sharing: A memoir of me and my mom.

It's May 8th, 2014. I've officially been here since very early Sept. 2012. When I got here I already knew my mom's memories were pretty much gone. Not that I haven't tested it to see for sure, but yeah, the memories of the past aren't really there. And yet, there have been times when I've talked with her about the past and the feelings I had about what was going on then and it seems we are able to connect life to life. And tho she can't tell me the story of her life, and she certainly can't teach me about anything she learned about life, which I'll get to later, there are things we CAN share. And when we do, THAT is when I feel "right". And tho I want to connect with her more, for some reason I find it very difficult to summon the energy to do so now. 

I had the energy after my eldest aunt and my cousin came to visit in January of this year, 2014. There had been magic then. It was so incredible to feel life actually be what it should feel like. There we strong connections with them while they were here staying at mom's. My Japanese is extremely poor--I've lost most of what I learned when I was 19 living in Japan for 6 months. This was the aunt I lived with while I was there. I was never more normal than when I lived in Japan. And by normal, I mean more naturally myself than I have ever been in the United States. They are polite, they have a culture that is all about family and our relationships with each other, and they have deeply embedded social protocols that work to keep the peace in society. It isn't perfect because people aren't perfect, and there are always issues to deal with, but for the most part, they are a very civilized people. I haven't done well here in America. 

Which is essentially the beginning of the story. My mother is Japanese. She was born in 1934. November 13th to be exact. In Tsurumi, Japan. This is just south of Tokyo maybe 10 miles. The thing is, she was born and raised in Japan, married an Army GI, came to America, and had me, in addition to other things. But she didn't speak to me in Japanese and I so I didn't really learn it even tho she spoke it to others and to herself, tho some expressions were often repeated and I did learn those. Just not much else. This was America. She wanted me to be American and than meant speaking English. Which I did. Eventually too well for her to understand given the relative size of my vocabulary compared to hers. I eventually came to realize this was going to hurt us later on. And tho I had learned some Japanese during my 6 months there when I was 19, it wasn't enough and I'd need to continue classes to continue learning it. But somehow that got derailed and I never continued after that. And not being Japan anymore I reverted back to life in America. Huge mistake. 

It was from this point forward that things went off track and never seemed to get back on. Although this wasn't the first time it had happened, this particular moment essentially determined the nature of our relationship from then on. The importance of sharing had never been more critical than this moment. After I got back from Japan, I kept waiting for my mom to ask me how was my trip. She never did. If she had I would have told her I wanted to go back. Years later I did finally ask her if I had told her I had wanted to go back to Japan, would she have sent me? I don't remember her exact words but, yes, she would have. One of so many missed chances for us to connect and yet we never did. She was a tough cookie. 

From the beginning she had been tough, but she did tell me that the birth had been painful. She went home before I did because they kept me in the incubator for 9 days. I had been premature and weighed only 3 lbs 12 ozs and 16+ inches long. I was tiny. But being kept in the incubator that way in those, and I don't know how much she visited me during that after she went home, meant that we didn't really bond that strongly. I was, of course, dependent on her for everything during all these early years and wanted to have a kind and loving relationship with her, but like many people I've meant, it didn't happen. In knowing how things were for me I wanted to do better for my own daughter. I didn't want to repeat so many of the same mistakes my mom had made. But there is one I did repeat and that was that my daughter didn't learn Japanese either. If only my mom and I had been able to talk. If only.

As it is now, it's all too late. I got here too late, learned about her CHF too late, and because docs are now just glorified technicians and pill pushers now, the cancer in her gall bladder went completely undetected despite attempting to get it properly investigated a whole year before it hurt bad enough to take her the ER. And come to find out, it was not only cancerous, it was gangrenous. She had a decaying organ inside her body. Unfortunately, the ultrasound they did on it the year before revealed nothing. The ultrasound tech kept focusing on the blood vessels and I kept thinking they needed to be looking for masses or abnormalities in the organs. But that didn't happen and thus that ball got dropped. And since mom didn't complain of any pain, except when you pushed on it but otherwise nothing, it slipped right by even me. It now seems to be engulfing her liver as she is having daily pain in that area. 

I'm gonna miss you mom. And I will continue mourning since I got here for the loss of all that I was supposed to be able to share with you of your life. There was supposed to be time for us to be together, for me to spend time with you, truly learn who you are as my mother and as the person you are. We lost out on so much with each other. I know it's great I'm here now so you can be at home, but for me, there is just so much of your life, how you lived, how you got on, and how you did things. And then to be able to share some of myself with you, and to do things for you and keep track of your health and have you teach to cook Japanese food. And there was sewing, crocheting, knitting which I also did. But most all, the gardening. I had a big one, at least for me at 25 ft. x 25 ft. at dad's. And you had begun gardening way back before I went to Washington in '92. That was at the apartment on 157th behind Gemco which is now a Target. Aw geez, I really wish we could have settled down and had a house but I guess that wasn't something Norman wanted to do. I have no idea why not, other than to punish you for the things you did he felt hurt by whether you intended it or not. You were a gold-digger mom, and not the kindest person. More like a stone bitch but that's how I saw you. You were a tough cookie.

Hey folks, this is how karma actually works. It is true that what goes around, comes around in the sense of reaping what you sow. Oddly enough, the brings up something I was just thinking about earlier tonight, about how karma and chaos theory actually go together. One's life is largely determined by the circumstances into which one is born. Those circumstance, plus all the external conditions of life at the time, have a great impact on the track one's life can take. This is called "dependence on initial conditions." Even hair's breadth off can change everything for good or ill. I had asked her a few months ago if her life had turned out the way she expected or wanted it to go. The impression I got from her was it had not. And I don't think she had been happy for all that much of it. She never got the kind of recognition she had wanted nor did she ever find the right man to shower her with money and luxury and treat her like a queen, except perhaps very briefly at the end before I arrived to live here.

She created me with her own anger. At me for having ruined her plans to divorce my dad and go her merry way. She asked him for one but he didn't grant it and I think a lot that had to do with me. It may also have just the way my dad was cuz he was that way too, and so he never remarried nor even sought out a female companion. He wasn't interested in sex and so that was never a driver for him. And actually, he was a pretty content man with just him and his dogs at home, and good friends to visit quite often. It's a small town in rural southern MN and he'd known some of them since school days. There's something to be said for that kind of life. So, I grew up with him after he retired from the Army but my mom was definitely not happy. Dad was not her kind of man and life with him was just agony in many ways. And then there was this child, her child, but not a wanted child, especially because my dad was not my biological father. This was a secret she kept from him until I was around 7 and she had seen the sperm donor and discovered it had only been a one night stand for him. She thought it had been more but it took 7 years to find she basically meant nothing to him. At which point she tells my dad the truth. I'm not sure why she did other than to simply come clean of it. But still, if she had really wanted the divorce years before, she should have told him then, and then he might have granted the divorce. Too late to know any of that now. I was 18 by the time I found out about it. Mom did talk about a few things before I went to Japan. Not that I paid it much mind at the time as it seemed too much like a soap opera and I didn't, and still don't, care about all that. But she did tell me other things about her life, about her thoughts and feelings about my dad, some of which I understand and see her points.

I really wish we could have talked. Unfortunately, it's time for bed now. Goodnight.

May 9, 2014 1:30 am.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The difference between good and evil is the difference between compassion and cruelty.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Year of the Ox, the year of someone special

fun quiz for myspace profile and blog

Lets101 Quizzes - Online Quizzes


Monday, February 22, 2010

Hellava week

Feb. 22, 2010 The past week from Valentine's Day to today was quite a journey. Valentine's Day had started out better than usual but very quickly deteriorated when my daughter and her dad went on a grocery trip to 'kato. After they had gone everything went quiet except for the wind. With the wind blowing it blotted out the sounds of the world outside. But even more than that, the psychic sounds of the world was quiet too. It was as if Valentine's Day focused everyone and made it a day off from the usual concerns. At that moment it seemed kinda nice.

So I got on facebook to play some Castle Age and looked to see if my friend was online. He wasn't. I suddenly had the feeling of being totally alone and it made me lonely. I thought to myself I probably should have gone them to 'kato especially as the impulse to go had been there, but I overrode it to stay and hopefully chat with my friend. It didn't take long for me to get a funny feeling that maybe he wasn't gonna show. Not long after that my one real friend in this town called me and was hoping I could stop by and visit with him. But given what I was feeling at the time it was definitely not a good idea and I had to beg off on visiting.

After I hung up I was hit with a massive emotional burst like an energy spike in an electrical circuit. All the breakers blew all the pent up anguish poured out of me. It even had a name who I will simply call Rick. I don't really understand all that I felt but it was enough make me have to lie down on the couch. Not even Castle Age or cruising in facebook could be distraction or provide any kind of solace. All I could do was lay there completely flatten by the sheer magnitude of what I was feeling. As the emotional storm swirled within me every so often a gust would hit me and the emotion had nowhere to go but out my eyes and in my sobs. And though I kept trying to find the source of it, everything was too jumbled and powerful even for thought. It was essentially just raw emotional pain. After a while it moved from Rick to my friend and though he seemed to be an important factor it turns out he was only the match that lit the powderkeg. Whatever it was that was exploding out of me went far beyond anything in recent weeks or even in recent years. This went all the way back to childhood but not at a conscious level. In fact there was no mind. It was just waves and waves of feelings gushing out like pus from lanced abscess. And that is perhaps the best description of what happened that day. It also made for the worst Valentine's Day I'd ever had. It will certainly be the most memorable.

At off moments when the storm eased up I'd try being on facebook but didn't have the energy to even do that. Even after my daughter and her dad came home a few hours later I was still in the deep throes of this hurricane. Eventually, the evening wore into night and they went to bed. Around 11:30pm I got on facebook again. This time another friend was online and he chatted at me. I was in no mood for his usual insults and banter and told him fuck you. His response was, u wish. It took less than a minute of our going around with this for me to finally burst out laughing. There was about 15 minutes left of Valentine's Day and he had gotten me to laugh. From somewhere deep inside I could feel something clean and pure and whole and it came out in the laughter. It turns out this dude in OZ with his badass attitude is perhaps the very best friend I have ever had. He doesn't put up with shit, nor does he get lost in it. At least not at a practical level. He is perhaps the realest person I've ever met, kinda like cold steel. And yet, if you can get past that you'll find a pretty interesting guy in there. Not so much for what he knows but for how he is and how he deals with things. In fact, he's the only person I've ever met that can match me for not being shy about things as he is completely up front about everything. Nor is he afraid to confront you about things, not in a hostile way, but directly, which some would take as hostility when it isn't. Needless to say it works for me and we are very good friends as a result. There's certainly none of the usual anxiety a lot of people feel and that is very liberating.

I suppose this exemplifies my own kind of motto of be real, get real in the sense of you get what you give. Unfortunately, too many hide what's inside by wearing a mask and presenting a false face. What is unfortunate for me is that I am almost purely reflective of what people give me in the sense of being like an echo chamber or a mirror. Whatever they are putting out is pretty much what they'll get back. If they are real, they'll get real. If you aren't then it can get strange real fast. Anyway, moving on.

My friend and I talked for a while longer. Not sure how long but enough for me to know that my mood had turned a corner as the day had ticked over to Monday. I don't remember how long I was after that either, but I did sleep that night.

The following evening, Monday evening, the friend who I had wanted to chat with the day before was on. It was a good chat except for a question I never should have asked. I don't know what effect it had and I won't beat myself up over it, but despite what he may say about it, the totality of all we have been through since the beginning of December can only have added to what he's dealing with in his own life. It may also be that my own question to him may have only been a match as well. But I certainly can't take him at his word that it had nothing to do with me as his withdrawal from facebook has not occurred, but his withdrawal from me has. Nor do I blame him for that. What I hope however, is that as time passes and things settle out, that we can become the friends we should have been. For my part I am sorry I pressed on things in a way I never should have. At the same time, the debt of gratitude I owe him will last the rest of my life for that is precisely what he help me get back.

I often mentioned there was providence in this. I still stand by that. Especially when other events that Monday occurred the way they did with people coming out of the woodwork in facebook to chat with me and the interactive dynamic that occurred in Castle Age. Not only that, but I had an energy I hadn't had in a very, very long time. And not only was there a change in me, there had also been a change in the very fabric of things. Somehow, something in the world turned a corner and was back in the right track. Maybe it was only me and it was I that had gotten back in the right track and the rest of the world was just responding to it. Regardless, what I knew for sure was that something fundamental in my life had been healed or sealed and I was no longer existing in a living death, one that I had been in since childhood. This is not to say everything is totally perfect now. Only that I am now whole and capable of not being emotionally devastated because my friend and I are no longer talking. Whatever need there had been had finally been sated.








Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Mask I Wear

A recent event leads me to post this. I first read this about 30 years. I find this as true today as the day it was written.

The recent event is the revelation that my daughter has been using razor blades to cut herself. She has shown me the cuts. It will be a long exploration of why she does it, but the core of it is in this poem. How it happens for each of us is different.

Ultimately it's about feeling connected and accepted. Unfortunately, our society and our increasingly industrialized planet, has not only broken our bonds from what sustains our bodies in the natural world, but the bonds between each other that sustains our spirits and balances our minds and gives us a place in the world.

We now live in a society that breeds both physical and mental pathology at a phenomenal rate. I have no idea what kind of future we are handing our children when we ourselves are as broken as the children we raise. ~NeoLotus

1968
The Mask I Wear

Don't be fooled by me.
Don't be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks-
masks that I'm afraid to take off
and none of them are me.
Pretending is an art that's second nature with me
But don't be fooled, for God's sake, don't be fooled.
I give you the impression that I'm secure
That all is sunny and unruffled with me
within as well as without,
that confidence is my name
and coolness my game,
that the water's calm
and I'm in command,
and that I need no one.
But don't believe me. Please!

My surface may be smooth but my surface is my mask,
My ever-varying and ever-concealing mask.
Beneath lies no smugness, no complacence.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness.
But I hide this.
I don't want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weaknesses
and fear exposing them.
That's why I frantically create my masks to hide behind.
They're nonchalant, sophisticated facades to help me pretend,
To shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation,
my only salvation,
and I know it.

That is, if it's followed by acceptance,
and if it's followed by love.
It's the only thing that can liberate me from myself
from my own self-built prison walls.

I dislike hiding, honestly
I dislike the superficial game I'm playing,
the superficial phony game.
I'd really like to be genuine and me.
But I need your help, your hand to hold
Even though my masks would tell you otherwise
That glance from you is the only thing that assures me
of what I can't assure myself,
that I'm really worth something.

But I don't tell you this.
I don't dare.
I'm afraid to.
I'm afraid you'll think less of me, that you'll laugh
and your laugh would kill me.
I'm afraid that deep-down I'm nothing, that I'm just no good
and you will see this and reject me.

So I play my game, my desperate, pretending game
With a facade of assurance without
And a trembling child within.
So begins the parade of masks,
The glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that's nothing
and nothing of what's everything,
of what's crying within me.
So when I'm going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I'm saying
Please listen carefully and try to hear
what I'm not saying
Hear what I'd like to say
but what I can not say.

It will not be easy for you,
long felt inadequacies make my defenses strong.
The nearer you approach me
the blinder I may strike back.
Despite what books say of men, I am irrational;
I fight against the very thing that I cry out for.
you wonder who I am
you shouldn't
for I am everyman
and everywoman
who wears a mask.
Don't be fooled by me.
At least not by the face I wear.

By Michael Sweeney.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Journeys of the Mind

I just checked and was shocked to discover that my next to last entry was dated back in July of last year. The shock factor is because that was when my time with facebook became extremely active in Yoville and I began meeting people. I had begun play Yoville in early June but it was July when I began to have a real social life within the global village of Yoville.

In itself, Yoville is a microcosm of real life. I call it life on steroids in a petrie dish. Everything you can think of in real life happens in Yoville. Sex, love, friendship, arguments, cussing, making up, threats, drama, losing friends, jealousy, obsession, stalking, and genuine caring. Maybe not car accidents but the people you meet DO have real lives and THEY have things happen to them or their friends or family.

At one time I practically lived inside Yoville giving my time and energy to people who are starved for attention, acceptance, and compassion. Unfortunately, I lost the friendship of a few people who mattered to me, one in particular and it still hurts. I hope someday he'll unblock and we can talk once again. But until then I hope he is well and coping with what he faces in his personal life.

One of the things being in the Ville did for me was to help me become more like the person I always wanted to be in real life. Real life is notorious for not letting you be who you are. But in the Ville, it's much easier because everyone is truly equal. Everyone begins exactly the same and has all the same stuff available to them. The differences are in the way we conduct ourselves, express ourselves, and use what is available to us in terms of income and purchases. The rest is just what we put out there of ourselves.

Well, that's it for tonight. Will continue this later. ^_^

Thursday, February 04, 2010

8 Winds

"A truly wise man will not be carried away by any of the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering and pleasure. He is neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who does not bend before the eight winds."