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I am not ok

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Adlham posted 3/21/2021 02:21 AM

I've had a lot of time to ponder, like everyone else. I've spent a lot of that thinking about racism and how do you put into words how it feels?

Which then led me down the merry rabbit hole of the Asian myth perceptions and how my mom has totally internalized it.

Which led to...well of course she did. She was abandoned at age 4 because she wasn't "pure." Japanese were notoriously racist assholes, among other things.

So she grew up internalizing not being good enough. I've heard about this all my life. And I realized that I have internalized so much of it, too.

I look fairly white, though I turn a nice yellow in the summer haha but because my mom is obviously Asian, I grew up experiencing a lot of racism. I have never forgiven the Brownies chapter for not letting me join. I was the only girl NOT able to join.

Not. Good. Enough.

That was a real mindfuck to realize I have been complicit in letting my voice be silenced.

And even worse to see how badly my mom has bought into the Model Minority myth and why she did so and how it has just fucked us both up has been a lot of fun.

And then some racist, misogynistic asshole decides to shoot up Asian businesses and killed eight people, six of them Asian women.

I really am a trainwreck right now. I don't feel capable of being coherent in a linear fashion.

This week has just been a lot. So much of what I've been slowly processing is suddenly all in my face and it's overwhelming. Thousands of Asian voices finally all crying out that we've had enough is just a lot.

And every day, something else comes out that just makes it worse. The one survivor is a Hispanic man. While his wife lay dying in another room, the fucking cops arrested him! No one told him his wife died until they realized their mistake & let him go.

This is a pain and rage unlike anything I have felt before and I don't know what to do with it.

I'm drowning in it.

I am not ok.

Edit to fix typo

[This message edited by Adlham at 2:21 AM, March 21st (Sunday)]

HeHadADoubleLife posted 3/21/2021 03:02 AM

Hi Adlham.

I don't know if I'm the right person to be responding to this.

But I saw this is a late night post, and I've been there, in almost frantic desperation for someone to respond, so I figured it was better to say something, anything, rather than let this sit.

I am so incredibly sorry for everything you're going through. But I also get how condolences probably feel empty. Repeating how sorry I am won't undo everything you've endured. It won't undo everything this asshole did.

So, how can we best help you?

Adlham posted 3/21/2021 03:15 AM

HHADL, I honestly don't know.

I'm just so overwhelmed.

I feel paralyzed by it. I don't know how to start untangling it all.

There's just so much. My maternal/biological grandmother was forced into prostitution by the Japanese government, which is partly why I put this in general.

I want us to be able to talk freely on wherever we go.

I just know I can't keep this all inside. It's just such a different and new pain. And so deep. I feel like my chest has been split open to expose my heart and God, it hurts.

Karmafan posted 3/21/2021 03:25 AM

Adlham, I hear you. What happened is just horrific and itís not surprising you were triggered by it. One thing I would say, although seeing your momís failings in not rising above a minority mindset can certainly help you process your own feelings of racial insecurity, I think you need to find it in you to forgive her. Childhood traumas are really hard to overcome, and invariably inform the adult we become. It must have been particularly hard for her, to experience discrimination from such an early age, and in two different countries! Obviously I donít know your story, but maybe she was under the misapprehension that, by not reacting to racial abuse, she was somehow shielding you from it. You need to absolve your mom Adlham.

Racism is everywhere and more subtle that youíd imagine. Obviously I live in a different country from yours, but one I moved to rather than was born in. And although my ethnicity is the same, I experienced racism nonetheless. Even now, 24 years later, I come across angry (and ignorant!) people who, after hearing a hint of an accent, ask to speak to my manager - it gives me intense satisfaction to inform them that I am the manager

HeHadADoubleLife posted 3/21/2021 04:45 AM

I feel paralyzed by it. I don't know how to start untangling it all.
I get it. I've been very triggered by the events as well as the news coverage of the past few days, and I don't have nearly as many layers to contend with as you do.

I know it can feel daunting to try to explain all of it. And the only way to untangle this is to start pulling at the thread and see what comes, as scary as that might be.

I'll throw out some things, and you can let me know if any of it resonates with you. You can also tell me to shut up

There's just so much. My maternal/biological grandmother was forced into prostitution by the Japanese government, which is partly why I put this in general.
This is big. This is a huge wound for you, and it's understandable why these events are overwhelming for you to process, because they encapsulate so much.

If I'm following the details of your story, it seems that your grandmother was forced into sex work, and your mother was abandoned due to her "impurity" as the child of a sex worker (possibly even the child of a sex worker and an unknown father?). There is a LOT to unpack there.

The hypersexualization of Asian women is extremely dehumanizing. So is trying to squeeze yourself into the "model minority" box. Both of those stereotypes feed off of one another, too. And you seem to have both of them running through your family history. That kind of inter generational trauma is a LOT to live with.

And then to be confronted with it day after day, hour after hour, in the wake of this kind of tragedy, is understandably overwhelming.

This week has just been a lot. So much of what I've been slowly processing is suddenly all in my face and it's overwhelming. Thousands of Asian voices finally all crying out that we've had enough is just a lot.
So, first thing's first, breathe. You've already identified that this pain you're feeling is much bigger than just the pain of the collective trauma the AAPI community is feeling. Are there ways for you to hold some of that collective trauma at bay so that you can focus on you and your own personal pain?

For example, limiting your news intake for a little while? If you don't feel you can stop looking at it completely, maybe just once a day? If you have friends or family who are reaching out to talk about it, pour over new details etc., can you set some boundaries with them about that contact? Like hey, I get that this is a lot for all of us, but can we please talk about something else for a bit?

Now, lets confront some of these false narratives.

First off, you ARE good enough. Always have been, always will be. Nothing you did or didn't do, accomplished or haven't accomplished, nothing about the way you look or where you come from justifies how you were treated as a little girl, or how you may continue to be treated now.

Same goes for the victims of this raging asshole. Their race didn't justify it, their place of work didn't justify it, their gender didn't justify it. Period.

I just know I can't keep this all inside. It's just such a different and new pain. And so deep. I feel like my chest has been split open to expose my heart and God, it hurts.
I can see the pain dripping from your words here. I'll dive into how this immediately hit me, and maybe you might recognize some of these feelings.

IME, the deep pain comes from the familiar. The repeated behaviors that you've been screaming about at the top of your lungs, and yet they plunged the knife in again anyway. How you saw it coming, because it's happened before, but the foresight doesn't help you because you're not the one holding the knife. And you can't get away from it because just existing puts you in a position where you might encounter one of the knife-wielders.

The sharp pain comes from the new. The escalation. The way in which the deeper, familiar repeated behaviors and the anguish you feel from them is now amplified because they took it to another level. Not only did they stab you again, they stabbed deeper, then twisted the knife. It was already bad enough, it didn't need to get any worse, if others had listened, if we had done something about it, maybe this wouldn't have happened. But it did, and now it's even worse than it was before.

The real discomfort for me lay in tying the new and old pains together. Seeing how they played off of one another, and identifying the underlying feelings that went along with them.

So what about this pain feels new to you? Can you name it? For me the newness was about the depths of the betrayal, dehumanization and objectification. About not wanting to accept that these levels of depravity existed in the world. Every time I thought rock bottom couldn't get lower, it did. And it hurt me to realize that a human being was even capable of this.

What about this pain feels familiar to you? Can you name it? For me, it almost always comes down to powerlessness. That no matter what I did, or said, no matter how I dressed or acted, that this person was going to treat me as less than. That everything I had tried to do to be the "perfect girlfriend" and then the "perfect wife" and "perfect stepmom" didn't matter, the hits just kept on coming anyway.

When I tied those feelings together - the shock over how low someone could go, as well as my own powerlessness to stop them - I got to my biggest issue, safety. More specifically, the lack of it. At certain points in my marriage, I felt unsafe simply living in my own home. I didn't know what new low I was going to discover. I didn't know what I would wake up to. I didn't know if my body was safe from being objectified, or my mind was safe from manipulation, gaslighting etc. I was a target for violence, sexualized and emotional, just by existing.

I think that feeling is amplified even more by the fact that you, and the victims of these crimes, feel this same lack of safety just going about your day to day lives. Simply existing in the world makes you a target for violence. And even if there is only one potential perpetrator in the hundreds of people you interact with in a day, there's really no reliable way for you to discern which one it is. So you're left feeling uneasy and unsafe all of the time, because of the depths of depravity people will stoop to, and your powerlessness to control them AND your inability to identify the specific threat, so now the threat feels like a low level haze all around you.

So, what can you do right now to create safety for yourself? Like I mentioned earlier, it might be distance from some of the information coming out about this case. But I also completely understand the impulse to stay informed, so it's easier said than done.

Are you currently working with an IC? If so, it would probably be a good idea to check in with them. If not, now might be a good time to find one.

What can you do in the next few days and even weeks to increase your feelings of safety? Both emotional and physical. If it were me, I would probably order in groceries for the time being, so that I didn't have to go out in public and deal with the potential anxiety of that. I would also try to take any "extra" stuff off of my plate. Can you take time off of work for a bit? Even just limiting your hours in a day might be helpful, to give yourself time, and let your brain and body rest. You know this from dealing with the trauma of infidelity already, but your body is in overdrive trying to keep up with your emotional state right now, so you need to make sure you're fueling it with sleep, water, and food (even if it's just a protein shake).

Can you exercise? Even just a walk around your neighborhood. If that feels like too much, getting outside and soaking in some sunshine is good for you, even if all you're doing is sitting drinking a cup of tea.

I know that's not something you can do right now in the middle of the night, though. Also, part of the "unsafe" feeling for me was this feeling like I couldn't escape from my own thoughts. So another thing that works for me when my mind is racing and I need a distraction, but something that will settle my mind rather than make it spin out, is Sudoku. I carried around a paperback Sudoku book for months after DDay, and whenever I would flood or feel overwhelmed, I would stop whatever I was doing and just complete a few puzzles. You really can't focus on anything else if you're going to complete one, it's not something you can do mindlessly, so it helped get my brain to focus on something else. It felt like a reset, like when your phone is acting up and you turn it off and then turn it back on and now magically it works again. I really liked the feeling of putting a pencil to paper, but if you don't have access to one, there are multiple apps for Sudoku too.

There are also tons of adult coloring books. I know it seems silly, but it was nice to have something to occupy myself with that didn't take too much thought/effort. Yes, at certain points even silly Sudoku puzzles were "too much" for me, and coloring was all I could muster. I'll be honest, I even gravitated towards the kids coloring books, because the adult ones, while very pretty and interesting, often have complex patterns. And even making a decision about which minuscule detail to fill in with which color was too much for me. There's no shame in grabbing a random kids' coloring book instead!

Anyway, I hope you are able to take tomorrow (today?) to rest and take care of yourself, in whatever ways work for you.

[This message edited by HeHadADoubleLife at 5:07 AM, March 21st (Sunday)]

NorthernMSB posted 3/21/2021 05:14 AM

Adlham I am really not the right person to reach out to you, white woman in her 50s, but I will. I donít have a shred of anything other than Caucasian/Jewish (non practicing) heritage. However, I grew up in a family that globe trotted and a Dutch mother with a unique mindset. She was born in Indonesian in 1939 and imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp from 42 to 45 with an older sister and her 24 year old pregnant mother. They survived. My Oma lost the baby and by the time the war ended my mother was a couple days from death from starvation and disease. This shaped who she was. Most of her family in Europe died in Jewish concentration camps so she wouldnít have been safe there either.
Her outlook from this experience could have been to retreat into hatred and racism towards the Japanese but she took the opposite approach. I donít know how she did it but my sister and I grew up with deep respect for all people and a delight in the differences of culture and richness of traditions. Ethnicity and any other factor that sometimes sets people apart were non starters. I am deeply grateful for my upbringing and with my dad working in most countries in the world throughout my life, I have had the privilege of meeting extraordinary people.
I do not know how to help you Adlham, but wanted to let you know I cannot stop thinking of your words. I acknowledge your rage and have felt utter bewilderment in the last bunch of years at the attitudes of people towards others. I feel impotent about what to do, if there is anything to do and feel I have no place in this fight because of my own privilege. The only correlation I might have with what you are feeling is when my husbandís friends insist the Holocaust never happened or when they take shots at my sister and her wife. Please take care of yourself and your family. I wish I could help in some way beyond just writing these words.

siracha posted 3/21/2021 10:33 AM

I am so sorry sweetheart . I cant imagine a more perfect storm please eat well sleep exercise and if you have pets just cuddle them and watch goofy tv .
I hope my story can give you something of value , if not i hope it doesnt sound out of touch with what you need
Over the past 4 generations members of my family have been victims of mass slaughter colonialism religious persecution incarceration refugee status violent racism ....infact the whole shebang . The only thing we managed to escape was actual poverty .
I often blame my parents for things that they couldnt give me like a stable childhood , healthy values , a lineage that leads to queen victoria etc . But the one thing i wish i had more than anything else ...hands down... i wish i had a mother who was able to brush her teeth and wash her self every day. My mother (whose life was no picnic who has any number of great qualities ) is also a grade a narcissist abusive and an addict. Her untreated depression meant i spent years of my childhood in absolute shame and despite having reasonable economics we often lived in a house so filthy i would wake up to the sound of cockroaches in the kitchen .Everytime i see a cockroach anywhere on the planet i want to get on the phone and yell at my mother for hours . I can never rid the world of cockroaches but i do have some role in moderating my own feedback loop. Its easier said than done but once you recognize a few good competing stimuli you can deliberately just redirect to one of them. ( cats yoga and chocolate for me )
Political policy is one thing and should never discount the role of heritage but day to day i do believe that Lineage is both very important and very unimportant. For eg noone has lived my life and my disadvantages or advantages but we are all living out some version of the same human emotions .
Similarly noone has your stories or your triggers but we all understand the final common pathway of sadness and you are absolutely not alone in this .
Sending you love and strength and prayers .

HouseOfPlane posted 3/21/2021 10:48 AM

Youíve been heard, Aldham

DevastatedDee posted 3/21/2021 11:15 AM

I am so sorry, Aldham. I've been hurt by seeing racism aimed at those I love, but I haven't been the target of it. It angers me, and yet I can't fully understand not being the one it's directed to. I married and had children with a Puerto-Rican man and have dealt with stupid assumptions about my children due to their last names. My grandfather informed family behind my back that "I could do better than a Mexican". Ignorant fool. I didn't quite understand how white trumped everything, even gender, until I was in a relationship with a black man. We'd go out to a restaurant and at least half the time the wait staff would hand me the check. The nicer the restaurant, the more likely this was. No matter how well-dressed and put together he was and how casual I looked, I was the one assumed to have the money. It seemed my skin color made up for my gender in that scenario. I experienced things being with these two men that I never saw when in relationships with white men. And that's with men. To be a woman and deal with racism is a step beyond and I am so sorry that the world is so utterly stupid. I imagine you just want to scream at everyone sometimes.

BraveSirRobin posted 3/21/2021 12:06 PM

I'm so sorry, Adlham. I can't pretend to have been through what you're experiencing. All I can offer is to walk the path alongside you as an ally who sees and validates your pain.

marriageredux959 posted 3/21/2021 12:34 PM

I am so sorry.


Cooley2here posted 3/21/2021 12:47 PM

I am so frustrated about this sex trafficking. Itís my understanding that many of these so-called massage parlors have undocumented women who do not want to be there. I went to a meeting close to Atlanta about the sex traffic and it is just so scary. These girls are kidnapped, paid for because the parents are so desperate, and some are young girls promised good paying jobs. However it happens they are smuggled into the United States. How does that happen? If you have a place in your community where you can volunteer to help these women please do so.
I am so, so offended by anyone who hates any race, religion or ethnic group. Itís just sick. Iím so sorry what you and your mother have had to endure.

BearlyBreathing posted 3/21/2021 15:06 PM

(((Adlham))). Thank you for sharing your pain with us. Itís an honor for us that you trust this space.

I see the rupture in your heart as a long overdue start to healing something that began generations ago. The pain is real and has been buried so so deep that you didnít even realize it was there. It was the noise in the background with no name. And the fear that comes with seeing that pain so clearly is a trauma of its own. The wounds of our ancestors follows us until we face it. And circumstances and tragedy have brought it to the surface for you.

You are not okay and you should not be okay. This is big. Please find a trauma therapist to help you through it. If possible in your neck of the woods, consider one who is open to trauma therapies like those studied at MAPS. But regardless, I think just seeing and speaking of the trauma, brining it out in to the open, will be the start of acknowledging it and healing your heart.

And if this tragedy, BLM, and #MeToo donít clearly illustrate how damaged our society is, then donít know. I just donít.

Sending you virtual hugs and like BSR stated, willing to walk with you through this pain.

HardKnocks posted 3/21/2021 16:01 PM

In solidarity...

HellFire posted 3/21/2021 16:27 PM

I'm so sorry, that you've ever had to deal with anyone treating you as if you are not equal.

I've read your posts. You are a kind,insightful, compassionate woman.

You are enough. You matter.

Adlham posted 3/21/2021 16:36 PM

I just want to say thank you.

I am processing what you have all said and it's all really super helpful.

I will write more later. I just need to breathe for a while.

Thank you with my whole heart. Seriously in tears. Thank you thank you thank you 💜

rambler posted 3/21/2021 17:12 PM

We just have to be strong and allow people like this win. Keep posting and we will be there for you.

Adlham posted 3/22/2021 02:00 AM

I came across this today. It really sums up the Asian woman experience-

"I am apparition and flesh, fantasy and nightmare. I am Suzie Wong, Madame Butterfly, Geisha Girl, China Doll, Miss Saigon... I am adopted daughter, model minority, professional woman, sewing woman, shopkeeper, peasant woman, war bride, mail-order bride." -HJ Spillers

@HHADL & BB- you know how you're too close to see what the problem is? And someone comes along and points it out and suddenly, it all falls into place?

Being descended from a sex worker who was forced into it has been the biggest, most awful trigger, seeing people make ugly comments and assumptions.

I mean, yeah, I went there, too. Who wouldn't? I don't blame anyone for that. It's the disgusting sexualized comments that are killing me.

Especially because most of them were older women. They have families, for God's sake. How painful must this be for them? Bad enough they lost a loved one. But to see some of the foul things people say...

It's multi generational pain. It feels like it's carved into my DNA and because I'm just starting out on this journey of digging deep, this is just overwhelming.

To all, I appreciate you so much. I love that you can relate more than you realize. And empathize.

I'm still digesting. But it's less overwhelming now. And that is because of all of you.

DevastatedDee posted 3/22/2021 08:32 AM

I find it disgusting that anyone is downgrading the tragedy because they think any of these women might have been sex workers. They were people. They aren't less-than either way. I don't know or care if any of the victims were sex workers. That does not matter. An asshole shot and killed people for his own reasons. These women do not own his reasons. They were people with hopes and dreams and friends and families. To look at the victims and wonder about them sexually is so much like "what was she wearing" in a rape case. To hell with all that.

Jeaniegirl posted 3/22/2021 08:53 AM

They were Women. Hard-working women, some younger, some older. Mothers and Grandmothers.

((((( Adlham )))))

One thing that is warming my heart is how people are stepping up and donating money for the children of victims. I think that is ONE way people are showing their PURE DISGUST with this horrible act by a horrible man. They are helping their children and Grandchildren.

Everyone of us needs to stand up...... Speak up. Against any type of Racism EVERY DAY.

"to be silent is to assume you agree."

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