So in case you don’t regularly read this blog, I have put up a caution sign to make this next post legal.
Today I was happy for the first half. I microbraided my hair and put a feather in it, I went to the beach for twenty minutes and drank chocolate milk before my therapist appointment in Haleiwa. I was feeling positive about my life.
And then about just after I got back from therapy, a new mood hit. I was so lethargic I just could not anything. And I was feeling ultra sensitive, like if a flower petal poked me I would jump out of my skin, that is the level of sensitive I was feeling. I also learned some fun facts about vaginismus and vaginal scarring today. That’s right kids, you get to google it because I don’t feel like giving you details.
But on the positive side I did get to see my Hawaiian grandpa, who- long story- is Tongan but lives here and married a Hawaiian. And when I got to the Polynesian Cultural Center today I got to see Papa ^_^ My Samoan father. And I had lots of good news to tell him such as getting chosen for a Tahitian dance solo but also competing for the best solo if that makes sense- and the other girls all took Tahitian dance before so I am very very happy and excited to have a chance to even get a solo.
Also I had a cultural tiff with a Tongan boy but I will write a separate post for that because this one is too much drama as it is. I didn’t choose drama. The drama chose me.
So after Haleiwa I went to my Hawaiian Studies class and if I’m being honest I learned more in that class than I think I have learned in any other class ever. We learn from nature. We learn about life, we talk about ideas and opinions, we garden together, laugh together. It’s the most amazing open air classroom and it allows for Hawaiian aloha spirit. We chant in Hawaiian and repeat prayers to the ancestors or to God for the health of the land and our class and really it’s just the best. But of course today I went into my shell after my appointment with my therapist.
See the big thing with talking to her was that I realized that I really, really, don’t want to be the traditional LDS mother. I don’t want to stay in the house all day taking care of children. Heck, I don’t even want to have my own children, I would rather adopt. I realized that in my religion we highly prize self-sacrificial behaviors. Your life sucks? Go help someone else fix their life. You have ebola? Please come to church today anyways and God will make you strong and ease your suffering. Your best friend just died? Man up, smile at everyone, and say how happy you are that they died and left you. You are an overworked, overtired mother struggling to take care of your kids and yourself, here is a demanding church calling. Or oh wait, we called your husband to be bishop. You can visit him in “prison” on Mondays for Family Home Evening.
Evil Writers Anonymous told me not to do this anymore, but I’m in a sarcastic mood and yes I know full-well this is offensive overgeneralization at it’s finest And yet I will say it because, if it offends you, my evil plan is working. Because you have to spend at least a moment thinking about why, and hopefully in that moment, you will use your brain and see something you didn’t see before. mwahaha #suckitevilwritersanonymous)
The point I am trying to make, which as I sat on that couch in Mahealani’s office, is that I came to a head today. I realized that what I was before, was a bootlicker. I was so devoted to making everyone else happy that I never had a moment to myself! I based my worth, on my ability to be the “perfect girl”. Good grades, clean the house, do the chores, play the violin fantabulously, practice until your fingers bled, smile at mom, lie to mom about problems, never cry in front of dad, never bring him an emotional problem, bring an emotional problem to mom and she would have a breakdown so just hold it in and handle it yourself, don’t show emotions at school, don’t misbehave, don’t wear short shorts, don’t think about sexual thoughts, don’t have sexual feelings… There was not an aspect of my life that was not influenced by family and religion.
Sports was one of the only things I did for me. And as I became anorexic, we see how well that ship sailed. Whenever they talked about sex and marriage in the church I was super avoidant (that starts from age 12 or younger). I was taught extremely strict laws of chastity and told all sorts of horrible consequences for fornication of any kind, including masturbation or same sex attraction. I hated myself for any feelings toward boys. I beat myself up for it so badly that those feelings shut down. I put my hands up and ran away from my mother when she tried to explain tampons. One time I tried to put one in and I blacked out and threw up.
I had no memory of the rape. But in those times I thought I could make myself have sex if it would make my husband happy. If it was the “right” thing to do to go to heaven. But now, with my life experiences, I am beginning to ask the biggest questions. What matters to ME. Where is MY worth? And I am coming into myself in the sense that I am shoving outside of that box that my religion and my family put me in and I know that if I stay practicing many teachings from that religion, if I continue to be in that community, it will contribute to the worsening of my depression and my illnesses.
I am beginning to realize that my worth has nothing to do with my “virginity”
*quotes because I’m not a virgin and I wish I could say I’m damn proud of it, but I think it’s more appropriate to say that part of my personal journey is learning not to give a damn BECAUSE my worth has nothing to do with anything I do or anything that happens to me. I have a spirit inside me that is priceless.=I am priceless. I cannot be replaced.
I am beginning to realize that if I do try to tick those LDS checkmarks of get married, have kids, I will be signing my own death certificate. I cannot keep pouring myself into unsustainable actions that bring me no peace. No solace. No contentment. I don’t have enough of myself to give to another person or kids, I am too worn out and tired of trying to take care of my sick, broken self. I don’t have enough to give! I am tired of over and over again going to church, beating my head against the wall, trying to sort through everything that is said what is true, what is not, what is opinion, what is doctrine. Makes my head spin round. I was raised my whole life to believe every word that comes out of these 70 year old white men’s mouths. I was raised to think theirs was words from the mouth of God.
So my rapist was a man of authority within the church. So what then? He told me I was a whore. He told me it was my fault. He told me it was my responsibility as a woman in the church to do what he wanted to do to me, that by nature of his church calling and his bloodline, I was his property, and that I was to keep it a secret (or he would kill me and rape my little sister). He was supposedly cleared- by another priesthood holder- to be able to go into God’s sacred temple and perform religious ordinances. And that priesthood leader is supposed to know, from God, who is worthy and who is not.
And yet this man raped me in a basement one day, and went to the house of the Lord the next.
Are you beginning to understand why I’m like this?!
And then when I remembered the rape through a sudden, violent, horrific onslaught of severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that made me relive the rape day and night for 2 years, and I was put through hell, I realized that what I believe is the most important thing in this world. That I do not have to listen to them to be a good person! That if I need to do something to get better that doesn’t follow their specific whimsies, that that’s fine! THAT THEY ARE HUMAN AND THEY MAKE MISTAKES AND IF I FEEL BAD ABOUT THEIR COUNSEL, THAT I CAN CHOOSE A DIFFERENT PATH! That I can live my own life! That I will not be less of a person for not doing the Mormon thing the way everyone else does it! Sure, many people will say I’m going to lose everything, that I will shrivel up and die without the gospel, that I will not reach my full potential. That my purpose is to be a mother and there is no higher calling I could ever aspire to.
I don’t know. I think gravedigging is a rather noble profession…
But I think, that they have lost focus of the spiritual aspect of religion in their lists and tic marks. I am learning the gospel of knowing God, by knowing yourself. Because each of us has a spirit and if we are children of a God, doesn’t that make sense that knowing ourselves will help us to know the Father? Is it not true that just the mere actions of going to church do not make us who we are? We, make us who we are. Our every belief, thought, feeling, shapes our actions and we become what we cultivate there, in our mana’o. Our heart. Our truth.
Now that the philosophical rant is pretty much done, let us move on to the drama.
Scene: I went to the Polynesian Cultural Center and the first conversation is with Papa my Samoan dad and the second is with Teddy Bear. You should really go back and read every post with his name there because otherwise my sick burns will be lost on you and I don’t want that.
“Guess what! I have a newphew! My older brother and his wife had their baby!”
“That’s great. Now you just need to catch up.” wink-wink
“First of all, it’s not a race. Second of all I have an injury, it’s called MEN.”
And then he laughed so hard we had to change the subject because we have talked boyz before and he knows what I’m like. And then I listed off all my good news and he told me one of the Samoan guys at the village lives close to where I’m moving to. Yes I am moving this week. On top of everything else.
So then I’m on my way home, wrapped in a cape of banana leaves from Papa, and I run into Teddy Bear. The 6 foot 5 Samoan who used to call when I was in the hospital. Who used to sing to me when he walked me home from the library. Who used to videochat me shirtless and ask me to kiss his bicep. Who I singlehandedly saved his sorry GPA with my mad skillz in English tutoring and I am the reason he is not back in Samoa right now, a failure and a dropout. Thusly I am the reason he is here, kissing darling Princess, when his sorry butt deserved to be thrown back to Samoa. THAT is the guy. And yes I will link the other blog posts involving Teddy Bear so you can understand this exchange. Princess is his girlfriend. He is standing outside a restaurant swinging a taped up pole kind of like colorguards use to practice with but in the crude mini shape of a fireknife. When I was in the hospital he got a third degree burn and he is still bandaged up. I’m the one who threatened to beat up him and all his friends with a stick if he didn’t get taken to a doctor ASAP.
He went that very night. Imagine that.
I am such a good friend.
He asks me how are you and I say
“Life is crazy, but I’m crazier, so it’s all good.” (I swear I don’t memorize these lines. They just happen)
“What have you been up to?” he asked
“OH, my brother and his wife just had their baby! Look, I can show you a picture.” I said, pulling out my phone
“Aww…Don’t you want to have a baby?” He asks, smiling at me with a sparkle in his eyes I roll my eyes
“You men wish.”
Not even a full moment of silence and then he talks again.
“I miss Princess. She’s in Utah right now. I miss her so much. I want to hug and kiss her so bad.”
“OH, that must really suck. You have a girlfriend to miss. I feel SO SORRY for you. AT LEAST YOU HAVE A GIRLFRIEND be grateful for what you have, jerk!”
“Aren’t you happy for me and Princess?”
“Yah but at the same time I hate your guts.”
“Because I don’t have that! I want you to be happy, but it sucks for you to flaunt that in front of me and rub salt in my wound.”
“I thought you hated men.”
“That’s why I’m trying to be friends with men is so that I will hate them less.”
He tries a few more tricks
“Man I miss my girlfriend.”
“You miss having your girlfriend to kiss and hug and have sex with, I got that the first time. I know. You can stop talking to me about it.”
“Oh no, we haven’t had sex. We’re saving it until marriage, that very special time when we make those promises.”
“You know, Mormons are crazy. What’s the point of waiting? It’s the same thing either way.”
“No, it’s to keep it special. If you share it with someone else then it doesn’t mean anything special when you get married.”
And I just looked at him
“You realize who you are talking to right?” And I was thinking some of us don’t get a choice! Some of us are savagely raped at the age of 4. Some of us become men’s F-toys by brutal force and we don’t have the chance to save anything for marriage.
He does a brilliant subject change
“Look at this cool move I can do with the fireknife!”
“Isn’t that how you nearly burned your leg off?”
He continues to spin the fake fireknife stick and drops it. And tries to do something cool, and drops it again while I watch. And one of my things is that I don’t leave a conversation until I take leave. So I don’t just walk out without saying “Hey I got to go”. Polynesians, do that. But I don’t. I think it’s so awkward to just be talking and then have someone just leave.
So then as this is happening, another Samoan guy walks up. This is the one who wants 6 kids and he and his white as milk girlfriend-now-child-bride decided this on their first date. And he is on the phone. And I am curious as to why. And then I catch a glimpse of the phone, and he’s facetiming her.
The woman he lives with. Who sleeps in his bed with him every night. Who he probably last saw maybe 2 hours ago. And he hangs up on her after saying “I wuv you” and then he says
“I miss my wife so much.” to Teddy Bear, and then Teddy Bear says
“I miss my girlfriend so much.”
And at this point I am about ready to shoot myself in the head and meet Jesus. Because there is so much hormonal sap in the air you would need a machete to cut through it. There is no air to breathe! They were like, radiating the love hormones. It was sooo uncomfortable to see these grown men titillated over these women. I was like my goodness, boys, just go hook up with your respective women somewhere, and don’t come out in public until you do because you are making the words “separation anxiety” equate to complete debilitation. Seriously. Dogs. Men. What’s the difference?
(the difference is that one is loyal)
Asides: for me, I see sex as something you just get over with. I am used to that style of talking about relationships, in American high school, all anyone talked about was sex. When where who how is she pregnant what position what size. We were so… Obvious about it. And if we wanted to hook up with someone? WE DID. At the age of 16 many American teenagers are no longer just passing out cutesy love notes, we are passing out love notes and condoms. Not the religious kids necessarily, but many many many of the ones who weren’t.
These men, are 25 years old. And in my eyes, they’re acting like lovesick puppies.
And I am the type of person who will visibly gag when I encounter that. And at the same time I’m so damn jealous of the fact that they have a significant other that they get to hug and cuddle with (and have sex with, except I’m not at all wanting any sex at all right now) that I’m just like “f you. Just go hook up. Go on. Stop rubbing salt in my wound and just go f- her.” (there is a savage among us).
Now, back to the story.
“Man, these guys are taking a long time to come.”
“Gee, I wonder what that feels like. To wait for someone who said they would come and never show up. Does that upset you?” sugary sweet voice with murderous undertones.
“No.” He said
“Yeah, you’re just standing there, waiting. You got everything ready, and they didn’t come. Gee you went to all this effort and they never come. I wonder what that feels like.”
And then he tries a fireknife move.
Teddy Bear is looking lost and sad and then the other Samoan guy asks him what’s up and he says his girlfriend is in Utah and he misses her (because fourth time is the charm). And I said- and you need to imagine that I am a black girl saying this because that is the mannerisms and tone of voice this entire conversation is happening in.
“You know what you should do, you should write a heartfelt letter.”
“You should write a long letter telling her all about your love, douse it in cologne, and mail it to Utah.” voice dripping with sarcasm.
“No, I’d rather just” and he hugs himself and then makes an ice cream slurping sound
“I thought you were going to wait til marriage, ho.”
“No, just kiss her! Don’t you know you want to kiss the person you love when you see them?”
“Oh, Teddy Bear, do you miss your girlfriend that much?”
“Yeah, he misses her so much, he feels like he is going to die. In fact, if he keeps talking about it, he will die.” And I reach my hands up like I’m going to strangle him.
And then it’s like I’m not even there and then they CONTINUE to talk about their SO’s. LIke BOO. NOONE THE FREAK WANTS TO HEAR THIS. GO SUFFER IN A DARK CORNER.
So I look them in the face, snap my fingers, say
“OK. I’m leaving you.” turn,
And walk away.
As I walked away I realized oh my gosh did you really just have that conversation? And I occasionally get an answer from myself and myself nodded and said “Yes. Yes I did.”