Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Saturday/Creative Day: Last week, finally cleaned the bathroom, I was impressed with myself because I was sick so I didn’t expect to get to it. This week was a blur, we took a COVID test, we did have COVID, I don’t know for how long it was coming on because we had fevers for a long time with the other flus ext we have been having. It hit me pretty hard since I have asthma, but not as bad as those who need the hospital. I didn’t take good care of myself since my kids were sick too, so I took okay care of them and myself, but not as good as if it was only one sick person. I couldn’t hold water down due to nausea, I didn’t feel like suffering so I took Dramamine and that helped a lot, peppermint helped too. My sister made a lemon ginger soup and I think that helped a lot, but it’s hard to say, even with everything I did to feel better I was very sick for two days and then medium sick for a month.
Sunday/Faith Day: Two weeks ago I was getting tired of my dad’s communication style and this week we were essentially fighting. Though I walked away from a prolonged fight, he swore at me and said all the things to me I assumed he felt, that he didn’t support me or my parenting, that he wanted things his way and found my ways annoying that he didn’t respect my boundaries above his own convivence. It’s horrible to hear those things, but it does make me feel sane that the suspicions I had about how he felt were how he felt and why I feel so drained parenting around him, constantly feeling either undermined or judged. I don’t love him enough to have a really passionate, back and forth fight about anything with my dad. His opinions cause me a lot of exhaustion because he makes me being myself the upstream direction, when he isn’t around me being myself feels like an effortless flow. He has a desire to be respected, but his outbursts and disrespect of others prohibits much deep respect for him to develop. On a positive note I was excited to get some new school supplies, dictionaries, writing work books. Being sick with COVID wasn’t easy, but living in a dysfunctional family made it twice as bad. During hard times is when you see if you are part of a good family, they could make it better, or they can make it much worse. It saddens me for my kids to see weakness from the elders down, in our family older people don’t know or act better, it’s the opposite. Our kids are our our hope for emotionally functional, ethical, whole human beings and we are trying more not to damage them, then to guide them, because we are a broken and lost family from my parents generation, I am a pivot just trying new things, striving to be healthy and non-toxic, and my kids are more able to have integrity or genuine meaningful relationships than myself or my elders. I don’t feel brave or happy to give my kids a better life, instead I’m jealous, and I grieve that my family of origin was so messed up and broken. I do do my best always, but I’ve never fully felt good about all the toxic things about my parents passive aggressiveness, or critical lashing out at children who don’t support their adult emotions, which they don’t have healthy patterns to manage on their own. Even if I’m grateful for what my parents have done for me and given me, the overall emotion for the way they raised me and the relationship we have is hate. I hated the way my parents treated me as a child, but as an adult I saw that parenting is very hard and relentless and I understood that they worked hard, though I still hate the way they treat me. It made me strong having to rely on myself, but I would trade that any day for parents that supported me instead of opposing me or even ones who stood aside without feeling the need to discourage me.
Monday/Unity Day: Last year I wrote “I don’t like the family tension but I can refuse to feed into it more than what it is on it’s own.” I’m still doing my best with that. I cleaned up mold that was bothering me, I’m cleaning it more than I ever used to clean, but it grows so quickly that there is always some mold that makes me feel guilty I haven’t gotten to cleaning, I feel paranoid it leads to us being sick more than other families and I and the kids worry about them getting asthma, but it’s a tropical reality to deal with some amount of mold more than in dry places where it happens once or twice a year on accident, our whole environment molds and walls, ceilings, floors, baseboards, all items, clothes, paper, books have to be de molded monthly.
Out of the mold that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of covid
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and cockroaches
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my clutter.– WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY – Hawaii Remix
Though I had a lot of chest pain this week, which I have seen doctors for before, but they aren’t interested in investigating due to my overall good healthy and kind of youth… and I haven’t felt good, I’ve made small changes in my environment, scrubbing the shower, doing a good job teaching US history and I see that I’m making Towards Choices, things that lead me to my goal life, which is where I use healthy discipline instead of ranting at my kids in a toxic way, healthy organizational habits where grime doesn’t sit and clutter doesn’t become a hazard, healthy education where the kids have strong skills for spelling, math, chemistry but they have time for art or music or interests, I haven’t cared at all about cooking or healthy eating, at this point in my life I’m tired of worrying about healthy eating, healthy eating didn’t keep us healthy, unhealthy eating hasn’t affected us in reality, unless we get diabetes or high cholesterol I actually can’t find it in my heart to care anymore. My daughter lost faith in God this year and I’ve lost faith in “healthy” eating, maybe I don’t know what healthy is, but in that case I still don’t and to hell with it.
Tuesday/Self-Determination: Last week sick with the Coronavirus, this week still sick. I found out a week later a lot of people in our area were sick, especially kids, we really slowed the spread in Hawaii, but now that we are getting sick work places no longer care and there isn’t financial assistance anymore, I wish that it hadn’t become a political issue as much as it has, but here we are now, this is when our community is ill and it’s no longer in vouge to get time off or rent assistance. I’m grateful that we had a lot of food going into the sickness so there was no need to shop, I’m one of the bigger eaters and I can barely eat so that did help, but we had a lot of frozen food and food starting off, I wouldn’t want to get anyone sick with this, it’s not killing us, but it’s a bit more unpleasant than the normal flu.With the normal flu I was tired, I was sore in my throat, I had gunk in my lungs, with this one I’m not tired because I’m too weak to do normal stuff so I just sit around like a gargoyle, unhappy, but very upright, I am sore in my heart which makes me paranoid to avoid activity even more, I have a ton of super sticky gunk flowing out of my lungs at a gross rate, I drink a tea or coffee then excrete mucus into the cup at a gross rate, but the mullein tea dissolves it enough that it doesn’t stay in my lungs, when it does build up there it feels like I’m drowning. I feel bad because other people have it worse, they don’t have food stocked, or money to be comfortable, or a place to be alone and be able to use the bathroom without cleaning it for others, I feel bad others were more sick and died, I feel bad also that other people were less sick and got back to life after a day or didn’t even notice they were sick. I know it’s illogical to feel bad about being not sick enough and too sick, but that’s how I felt, which is why I almost didn’t write about the week I was sitting in bed with COVID. But I may want to remember someday, that we fell in the middle, that we were sick for a month, that I didn’t like it, that the half of the family that was vaccinated didn’t get less sick or recover better, I may want to remember that there are reasons I am stressed out and don’t preform better my tasks I want to get done, I also have been going for over a year and don’t want to break the streak.
Wednesday/Collective Work Day: Last week we stayed home sick my daughter had a high fever I was looking up what doctor to take her to if it didn’t break in the next few days, there isn’t a lot to choose from where I live. I found a doctor but didn’t go because her fever broke and we COVID tested at home and found out why she was sick. I’ve had diarrhea almost the whole COVID, if I don’t eat I don’t have to get up so been doing a lot of not eating and not drinking so I can enjoy sitting up in bed with my tea/spit cup. I was using spit towels, but the smell of COVID spit, or mine at least, is nauseating, and for whatever reason the smell of spit cup isn’t? I am sick enough I don’t feel bad for not doing much. I would have let the kids play instead of doing school work if they would play without going crazy and getting in trouble, but they won’t, so we did our easiest school work, spelling, history, English, no piano, no Spanish, not this week… but even as we are sick I see a lot of improvement in the subjects we focus on. I’m “integrating” the material so we learned about Lincoln dealing with civil rights and ethics, and also Ghandi and then Martin Luther King Jr reading about Ghandi and also Nelson Mandela reading about Ghandi. So it’s a message of how the world affects America and how America affects the world and I find it inspiring that America does affect the world in being a think tank, then looking back on the Bill of Rights you can see how we became a think tank. I had a hard time putting it to words that all our amendments show both progress and flaws, injustice is why there were amendments, but the fact we moved forward says something good. Essentially I don’t agree and am not a fan of the founding fathers America, but I am a fan of Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr’s dream of America, so I’m happy that my kids learn real American history not the lies I learned in public school in the 80s, because some American history is great or beautiful, but when you water it down with lies it detracts from what was special and when you call us the greatest it seems to detract from the reality of the suffering and disfunction that was inherent in colonialization and what really boils down to unlawful subjugation of one group by another group who invents a fake right to do illegal things and then believes in their right that others may not do those same things to them. It’s amazing that people went from fighting a just war to smoking pot in one generation, from my dad’s generation of wealth seeking to mine of minimalism and relationship building/experience seeking, to now we want even our fast food delivered to our houses and we are on opioids and depressed at the stress of life. America’s freedom has been as dark as it has worthy, freedom to subjugate others, murder, steal, victim blame, sell drugs, take drugs, but also to dream of civil rights, to work towards equality free of class and race, to imagine things, discuss things. We are free thinkers more than free people in some regards, but that freedom to think hasn’t lead to good health, but rather increasing anxiety and depression, the freedom to create a life style has lead to unhealthy physical choices, unhealthy fiscal choices, often unhealthy ethical choices. Freedom isn’t free. During the pandemic the loss of freedom was worse then my loss of imagined safety or security or stability, I never identified with being an American despite having always been one, but I had always been enjoying the sense we had more freedom than the rest of the world and more public say on government intrusion and restriction, but that was simply not the case in 2020, we had an average amount of freedom similar to China, and that murdered my sense that we live in a country that is above average. The rhetoric of history made me believe the US is both horrible and wonderful, but in my experiences living here are that it’s a mediocre country in health care and education and treatment of women or creative people and average in safety and stability and economy, somewhere from mediocre to average is what I’ve experienced, but to be fair it’s never been horrible in my life time. Sometimes it’s questionable or messed up, but I’ve not had to walk over dead bodies to escape from my slaughtered village, there is injustice and there has been large scale injustice, but what we deal with today is walking over one dead body not a village of them… people still slip through the cracks, but there is some sense of being willing to sacrifice for others, there is stability provided by those who sacrifice for us, it’s not quite solidarity, but there are good people and there is the capacity for further change within the limited freedom we enjoy. My son felt bad that president Lincoln got shot, he said “poor president Lincoln,” I never heard anyone else say that, I think most of us see famous people as vessels for history and fail to see them as people, my daughter didn’t have that reaction, she was more surprised that presidents could be shot. Watching Martin Luther King Jr, Lincoln and Ghandi get shot proves that weird phenomena I have trouble explaining about US history, Martin Luther King Jr and Lincoln both got shot for freedom of speech, which is a right of the bill of rights (the first one), but rights are not by default protected, so it’s a freedom, but it’s a freedom that isn’t free. I struggle to explain that we don’t have rights as much as we have goals to have rights someday, I don’t want to deny what there is, but what there is isn’t the same as what there is on paper, history is so much more fictitious and distorted or at least subjective then the other subjects I teach that it leaves me feeling confused and somewhat dirty so much more than teaching the music scales or multiplication tables, history is a subject that I don’t understand but am trying to teach, which is a place I don’t like to be… but nonetheless it’s going well, my kids are able to see how it ties together from place to place, period to period in a way I never did. Even though I don’t love history I want them to be informed about why things are structured the way they are, and history also holds a lot of insight to human nature and perhaps better ways of life balance from before we modernized and became riddled with anxiety and depression so much that it seems to be the minority who has good mental health.
Thursday/Cooperative Economics Day: Last week very sick. This week somewhere between sick and very sick, not feeling super eloquent. I feel broken, I feel like my family is broken, I feel like my country is broken. I went to check my student loan amount to see if the law suit against my school failed or went through, there was a -$20,000 loan forgiveness application but it couldn’t process because it’s under a law suit, so I can’t pay my student loan of -$40,000 repayment will restart in June I think, but I can’t start the application about any reduction because the country isn’t able to agree if there should or shouldn’t be a reduction, the country is in essence fighting between how much power the president vs local government should have, something going on since Lincoln’s time. I miss the kids having their father around since he left for work, it’s our 11 year anniversary Sunday and we are apart because of COVID, it through off where we lived multiple times, because it changed our travel months because we couldn’t fly out of California at all, then we couldn’t fly out of Hawaii without a mask on my 2 year old who wouldn’t wear one… I’m sad to be spending my anniversary without my husband, we aren’t divorced but the kids have been apart from him so much over the past 3 years I feel like he is missing them growing up and though he isn’t helpful to me much, he means the world to them. He is looking for a place for us to resume living with him our normal half the year, I don’t know how long it is going to take, we would have bought a started home if it wasn’t the pandemic, other people bought and sold, but he is skittish of home buying and now waiting for the market to bottom out further. So another way COVID destabilized our family life was the housing shift up and now down, in our case it got in the way of having a home and for many months being together, and in the months we were together there was trauma I really believe wouldn’t have been there without the stress that added to taking my daughter to therapy, but maybe the therapy will long term have provided us with better mental health than if we didn’t need to go and then go? Because we learned PCIT, parent child interaction therapy, which shifted my mind from kids should do what they are told to, we should train our kids to do what we expect them to do, which was really good to help me reach my goals, but it put me at odds with my dad even more than before, which had been draining… I think the one word to describe COVID as an event and as an illness was “DRAINING”.
Friday/Creativity Day: Last week I was so sick I didn’t care about my lack of productivity this November/December/January. This week I’m sick and the days are passing in a blur of managing nausea vs dehydration, feeling pretty bleak but wanting to be supportive and inspiring to my kids. When they ask for the next meal and I make it, I feel like a hero, then I go rest, the stress from being at odds with my dad doesn’t go away, but it simmers down. He apologizes and then immediately goes back to criticizing my kids in a way that irritates me and I can keep silent about hating him, but what I can’t do is even imagine ever really loving him or respecting him no matter how much I try to be grateful. Ghandi said “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” That inspires me to just accept that I hate my dad, that I will probably always hate him. I spend the day online reading about other people who hate their dad, which is about 50% of people and I know my dad resented his dad, but I think he didn’t develop good communication skills himself, so though I don’t blame him for who he because I do blame him for who his IS now and I don’t hate him because I want to hate him, but it’s just impossible not to hate him for me. When I am around him I have trouble singing, playing music, feeling comfortable, talking about my goals, I’m afraid of him throwing a fit I don’t want to deal with, trying to bring me to his view points in conversation which he won’t, blaming others for his emotions which makes me upset and sad, and now I’m afraid of him swearing at me in front of my kids, which makes me ashamed of him, ashamed he hasn’t learned better then that. The way he argues only makes people hate him, and I haven’t found a hack to not care enough to take the burden of hate off myself, even though I would like to not care, it affects me enough that I do care, because it is a bad environment and it remains as bad blood between us because the apologies are insincere. I don’t expect more, I don’t expect him to get better, I don’t expect him to understand, I think he has either growing dementia or just a personality that he is right and he will yell at you to not prove it… But it’s a lot of dads out there like that, maybe the average dad.
Last Year to This Year
Last Year: I was cleaning, excited to teach chemistry, restarting teaching martial arts, we had our chickens still.
This Year: I don’t keep chickens anymore because my dad complained a lot about their poop, but this year the front of the house is covered with dog poop instead I don’t see how he doesn’t find it gross to leave poop all over the front yard and back yard and pee smell in his room. I don’t want to talk about it with him, I don’t want to talk about anything with him. I wish I had saved more for my own house and I wish I had a dad who wasn’t both picky and dirty. I felt bad for hating my dad’s mess and guilty about mine, but that didn’t feel any better then admitting to myself it’s hard for me to live with someone as dirty as my dad is comfortable being, but it has always been both difficult and frustrating living alongside my dad’s mess.
Live – Lift – Love
Live – I was on survival mode getting through cooking for the kids, spitting up mucus and all of us running fevers until we got better from COVID, I had moments of joy with the kids still, it’s just kind of an underachieving blur that runs from meal to meal.
Lift – Looking at last year lifts my spirits, seeing that we did have chickens, it meant a lot to me for the kids to experience real agriculture during agriculture class online, online school is not something I’m going to bad mouth, it’s a tool I use, but integrating it with hands on learning is a completely different experience. Even though we may not keep chickens anymore I really enjoyed that my kids had the experience of raising chickens from chicks and collecting eggs, it was a really connecting experience between my kids and myself and my husband and myself, even though it divided my dad and I what really divides us it the way he responds to his anxiety, not the reality, and not that he has anxiety, but the way he expects others to understand and then be ruled by his fear is really off putting for me. If I would have lived my life based on his fear I wouldn’t have married, I wouldn’t have kids, I wouldn’t have done martial arts, I wouldn’t have gone to Brazil, I wouldn’t have drove a motorcycle, I wouldn’t have ever been myself or lived my fullest life, it’s really frustrating that instead of working to manage his fear around his life he wants others to manage their lives around his fear that he doesn’t fully communicate so it’s not only stupid, but a stupid guessing game, and I don’t like to play stupid guessing games about restricting my life based on fear. It lifts my spirits that we had chickens before, I just wish I would have had my own home to have them on my own terms, that was a mistake not to save more for that. I am glad I once hoped to live my best life at my dad’s house, even though it didn’t work out in the end, I had an open heart to start fresh with him and just see how we got along.
Love – I love my children, though I feel unsettled at times by not being a home owner I will always fight with others to try to protect my children from being criticized excessively or being exposed to toxic media or toxic ideas. It’s more about that I love them and want them to go through life with healthy coping skills that will let them live their best lives. I was noticing feeling a lot of hate this week, but when I think back on it, it had always been there. The reaction of a sensitive child with a critical parent is either to crumble or hate and I chose/chose to hate it. But by ignoring my own feelings of discomfort in the name of giving my dad a chance to know the kids and perhaps to get along with him and have a positive relationship with him as an adult I gave up the chance of feeling comfortable in my own skin, feeling more at ease raising my kids without judgement and being able to focus on my own goals/dreams/well being without near constant distractions from him wanting attention or complaining or just making the noise of his preferred life style that interrupted mine. I felt less peaceful to enjoy loving my children and felt less love for myself while living with my dad this past year and if I could go back in time I wouldn’t have put myself in the situation of living with him with my young kids, now that they are almost big kids, I regret not being alone with them to play and be silly and be happy without the burden that my dad brings to the table emotionally whenever he is around. I know why I tried out of hope, but also wanting to have our family know each other and to make sure I knew my father as much as I wanted to know him before he is gone someday. I did all those things, but I didn’t realize the cost to my kids knowing and liking my dad would be me knowing for sure that I don’t. Mostly he off balances me when I am already struggling to balance the kid’s school vs play and I want to organize my stuff but I’m playing catch up cleaning our mess and his mess until I give up all together. I wanted to see if it was a good fit, but what I found was that honestly it was a bad fit, my loud, messy dad doesn’t really like loud, messy kids and I don’t like him either, not honestly. So super negative and maybe hard to understand if you are reading it and not seeing it, but it feels therapeutic to write about what has been draining my energy and why some of the goals I had last year are still on my plate this year…. I may delete it later, but without writing it I didn’t really allow myself to be honest with myself and I didn’t realize how much I was trying to get along out of guilt to be a good daughter, when I maybe can’t be a good daughter, maybe I wasn’t meant to be a good daughter and a good mother and I’d rather be a good mother and fight with my dad any day he calls my son greedy when he isn’t or complains about our noise when he is just as loud constantly. Any sense of wanting to get to know my father more has been replaced by regret that I didn’t use the time and energy to get my own home found/bought/set up instead. But the one thing that happened is it drove me to create our scout non-profit to be out of the house and that was good, so I have something beautiful and good born out of something strenuous and bad just as my kids are good things that came from my bad childhood in a sense. So good from bad, but I see a lot of work left ahead that I have a responsibility to become a home owner and put more distance between my dad and I so I can breathe easier and enjoy life more, because I’ve given him a fair chance now and a lot of time and memories with my kids and now I’ve extended the olive branch enough and it’s time to start setting up a sanctuary for my own well being with either emotional or physical boundaries, but I’ve suffered enough trying to support my family during the pandemic and trying not to ask for much, now I need to be honesty about what didn’t work, what doesn’t work and where I can go from here.