Anger.

“BECAUSE SHE IS A FUCKING MORON!!!!” I was screaming at the top of my lungs and actually jumped up in the air, hitting the ground hard with a resounding thump just in case my voice didn’t convey how angry I was. It was almost reminiscent of a child’s tantrum, if my anger wasn’t so great and intense and dare I say fearful. The second of silence that filled the hallways was almost loud. There is a weird pause that lingered in the air right before I forced myself to take a breath. My roommate looks at me in total disbelief. She has never heard me scream like that. In a truth, I actually don’t think I have ever screamed like that intentionally ever in my life. I yell all the time, don’t get me wrong. But that scream was very, very different. It erupted out of a seriously dark place in my soul that I did not even know actually existed. I was out of breath and my noses flares had a mind of their own. I could actually feel my heart beating in such a way I had previously only recognized from after a seriously hard multi-mile run in 90 degree heat. The heat was practically radiating off of my red cheeks. That was not normal to go from practically calm to… whatever this was in that short of  time span. I actually think it was not normal to feel this angry or to let my body take over in this manner, in general. As my mind came back to me I tried to evaluate how I got here. And then it hit me. I became my father. And that terrified me. But probably not in the ways that most people would interpret that sentence. You see, I idolize my dad. He is my biggest male role model and influenced me in the best possible ways my entire life. I love him as much as a daughter could physically love her dad and then some. I am the person I am today based on the ways that he and my mother showed the world to my brother and I. Some of my legitimately happiest moments are when I can make my dad smile. I want to take after Dad as much as I can. But this was something that scared me beyond belief.

The scariest words that I have ever heard in my life were “Dad’s in the hospital, it’s his heart.” I didn’t know at the time that it was what they would later diagnose as AFib (irregular heartbeats) and felt myself falling apart. Even that very day in the hospital, he was basically normal by the time my 13 year old self would reach his bed side  and the sight of him smiling, sitting up, still wearing his dress pants under his hospital gown and making jokes about how the hospital had better TV (we never had cable) were just enough to make me burst into tears even after the nurses kept assuring me he was completely fine and was not in any life threatening danger. And before this story takes any other dark turns I am just going to jump right to the end. Dad is fine and today is as healthy as he has ever been. I talk to him all the time, equal amount about politics, both of our workplaces, life and bowel movements. Our most recent discussion involved my poking fun at him at dying his salt and pepper beard that was just starting to grey. This poking only occurred after years of dad embracing old age and slightly shaming my mother for plucking out all her white hairs. Dad is fantastic. Dad is living life to the fullest. But more than a decade ago, he was not. He was a lot angrier back then. He took everything he was into himself and would have rapid bursts of rage. In his defense, Dad owned (actually still owns) his own business, he has people in his life that made life difficult at times and at the time of his heart attack, my brother and I were at the height of the worst of our combined teenage years. But after his attack, Dad changed everything. He completely changed his diet for one matter, he started to exercise more for another, but most of all, he smiled more. That is actually what he will tell people. He will point to his deep crow’s feet that decorate eyes and say that these are what saved his life, the many years of more laughing and smiling. He never took things as seriously as he had in the past. He learned to let go of the little things and just worry about what mattered the most to him, mostly Mom, my brother and myself. He shrugged more, and found the good in everything. A few years ago, Dad’s doctor said that his heart had improved so much, it was almost like he had never had heart problems in the first place.

I can tell you exactly why I screamed like that day. I greatly disagree with the opinions of said person I was screaming (obviously) about but the thing is, that person probably doesn’t even remember the disagreement. She probably shrugged and moved on with her life. I will not go into too much detail, but my deep disagreement with this person is actually a big deal. The decision she made reflects the decisions made by so many other people and that decision will affect lives. Many lives for the worst. So I wasn’t irrational going off about an outfit decision or lunch choice. Her vocal opinion was a big deal and hit me really hard. So yes, I almost felt in the right to feel the way I did. But my anger, that was making her problem my problem. I should not be fighting this person’s mind but their concept. I let her get under my skin, crawling deeper and deeper into my mind and letting her subliminal message rage havoc on me. I let this happen. I cannot let this happen again. So this post is for two reason. It’s a bit different from what I normally write. One it is to show my appreciation for Dad as a person. To show how much the will of a human can literally save lives. Second, it’s a reminder to follow in his example. I am putting it in writing and out in the open. I will refuse to let my demons take over me again. I will not other people define me. I will chose my life’s outcomes. Because I can. And I will.

Never giving up,

~C

Problems?

This is the dilemma of the day. Right outside the facility where I work, construction accidently hit a main water line. So they had to shut off the water to our building. That was yesterday. The company rented port a potties for us today. And have plenty of bottle of water. But for someone like me who not only pees a lot but also hates using port a potties, this was not great. The first time I was able to go to the Panera that was less than a 5 minutes drive away. But I tend to wait until the last minute before I let myself pee (you know, to get all the nutrients) so when I left to go, I had to go bad enough that I almost just aborted mission and went in the bushes outside the facilities. But then knowing me, that’s when one of my managers would walk by and that’s how I would get fired and then that would be the reason for termination I would have to put down when I apply for new jobs. So I run to my car and speed off. I run into the Panera just in time, come out and then order a coffee. I know this seems like the exact opposite I should do since coffee basically runs straight through me but I really needed a coffee right then and there. I also bought a baguette 1) because waiting made me hungry 2) I was hoping the bread would soak up the liquid. I know that’s not how it works but maybe it’s all mental. It’s not all mental, I had to go again like an hour later. And I ate a third of the baguette just because it was there, I stopped being hungry a while ago. What category can we put these issues in?

Lost in my Own Mind

Disclaimer: This is much more like a stream of consciousness post that has very little editing and it makes barely any sense at all but my desire to post this took over my desire to edit it.

Has anybody ever completely loss themselves in their own mind and thoughts? I mean to the point of being delusional. When it’s on purpose, it seems to be okay but when it’s an accident, that is pretty terrifying when reality hits you, like the unexpected bowling ball flying through the air and smashing into your skull. There is a moment of wonder and how you got to this point and then a moment of complete self-loathing that you lived so deep into this imagination. is there even a point in which you can come back? Of course yes. But, my problem is that I normally don’t want to. Not everyone is going to understand this. I do feel like we are a very specific breed of people. The kinds of people who make up worlds in their heads and can configure them into such detail and specificity that it’s practically real to them at least. When reality sucks or is taking a little too much of a toll on the mind, some find this alternative world to be an escape. It’s like a fantasy but not at the same time. Unless you have experienced it, then it’s a difficult concept to grasp, unfortunately. This isn’t like, I am fantasizing of being the next winner of American Idol or some other singing show even though I cannot sing at all. This is more of, I am creating  whole in world for myself in which a person (more like a character) that is like me but isn’t entirely me had this entirely new life that involves  a rough childhood, singing on the street for money during the day and bartending at night and then being  seen by a producer and forced onto the show against their wishes but ends up blowing everyone away with their true soulful renditions, winning the show and then becoming one of the most iconic voices of their age. But this fake person not me and I do not want it to be me. I just want to be able to go to this fake made up in my head reality every once in a while to allow myself to pretend to have this experience that I will never have in my entire life but I am perfectly okay with not having in my actual life. I just want it in this fake life that is not mine but only exists in my head. Did that make any sense at all? Probably not.

It’s a creation, a field of possibilities where everything happens for a reason. A place that, dare I say it? Is just much more fun for me to be in then my regular life. I do actually feel guilty for going into my mind so often. I do not have a difficult life. I actually have a blessed life fill with love, laughter and experience. I have never gone hungry, always had what I needed in life and cannot say that anything horrible traumatic has happened to me to the point of a mental break. My life as I know it is pretty wonderful. And yet, why do I escape to this mind fantasy as much as a do? Is it because I am selfish? Is it because I keep thinking things are going to get better? Is it because I am focusing on what I don’t have rather than what I do have? Or is it because it’s fun? It’s almost like a drug, this mind escape of mine. A place where everything that I need is at my disposal and where nothing can go wrong unless I dictate it. Then maybe it’s actually a control issue. Am I a control freak? In such a way that when things do not go my way, I flee to the place where things always go my way? That is pretty messed up. It’s almost like a tantrum, and I hate tantrums. I understand why tantrums happen but there is something about seeing it occur from an outsider’s perspective that gets under my skin. It can be a child or an adult but it makes me cringe. Which is hypocritical of me I know because of course, in my life time I have had tantrums. But when why does it bother me so much to witness this behavior in others. It’s a lack of control I guess? It’s crazy almost how my mentality works like that. My selfishness. This part of me that I want to change so much.

But is has saved me on a few occasions. Just a few days ago, I was out at a bar when a young man approached me pretty brashly with the intention of making out and maybe dancing. I really had no desire to do this but I was relatively intoxicated at the moment. In a general, there would have been a chance that I would have ended up following through despite knowing in the back of my head that I shouldn’t. But because I was able to escape to my mind, and realized that this person was not as gentlemanly as the other character that I had made up in my head. I realized that I would rather not so I walked away. I had lost myself so much in my mind that I decided that I would rather just sit at the bar by myself and go there rather than interact with a real life person. This truth about that night is a bit of a double edged sword. One, thank goodness because my evaluation of that situation the next morning made it seem as like I would have made some bad decisions if I had decided to follow through. However, would I have had the same reaction if the person was different. If the person who approached with a nicer attitude? Or just treated me nicer? And I would have just turned them away to be alone with my own thoughts? Is this an actual problem? Now I know what it means when they say that a mind is a dangerous thing. Is this normal? Am I running solo on this? Do I have a problem?

Putting the Fuse in Confused,

C

Please Pass the Toilet Paper and Other Love Stories

Warning: This one has bathroom humor in it. It might be slightly disgusting to some. Just like many of my other post. I am growing slightly surprised and ashamed that this is actually becoming a trend in my blog.

“What’s so funny?” I came out of the bathroom just in time to see my parents cracking up over a story I definitely had missed somewhere in between peeing and brushing my teeth. Dad wipes a tear from his eye. “Oh it’s a great story about Mom. But I need to give you some historical context first.” Right, cause all of the best stories start off with that sentence right there. But before I begin writing, I’m going to be very honest/ I did not do too much research on this subject to check up after my Dad so I’m not sure how accurate this all is… but I think I got it generally right. At least for the purposes of this story. So apparently: Back in the day, in Korea where my parents both grew up, newspapers and book pages doubled as toilet paper for them. Literally, taking the reading material into the toilet with you and when you were done reading, you wipe yourself.  My dad actually makes references to ripping pages of a book to uses as toilet paper and it doubled as a bookmark. (I must take this time to confess how that broke my little bookworm heart if we are going to be frank but that was the very least of Dad’s concerns or cares so I chose to not bring it up just protruded my bottom lip in protest). Then around the 1980s, or at least this is around the time my parents remembered this happening, toilet paper started to get introduced to the country and it was revolutionary. This paper was specifically for the bathroom and was going to be less tough on the tushy. The problem was that compared to what they were previously using as toilet paper, the current version of toilet paper we consider ordinary was the softest, most luxurious paper that should not be wasted on bum holes. So apparently, it was not uncommon for around that time for Korean households to use toilet paper as napkins or tissues instead of in the bathroom. It doesn’t not seem that strange when you first read that but let it sink in first.

Dad had moved to American many years before Mom came (actually to get the story straight Mom moved after they got married). Because of this, Dad had figured out some of the more obvious culture differences while Mom was still getting used to everything. Soon after Mom moved, they were hosting a dinner party so she could meet a bunch of Dad’s friends. It was going to be one of those fancy dinner parties to impress. She made the most lovely spread of their favorite Korean foods. My dear mother is hands down the best cook in the whole entire world and I will fight anyone who dares to question me on that. Additionally, the thing about Mom that you wouldn’t really expect is that she is actually kind of a perfectionist. Her dishes actually have the appearance of top restaurant quality because in her head, presentation is just as important as taste. So here is the wonderful spread that she prepared that I can only imagine without a doubt looks insanely beautiful. My dad was marveling at it all when Mom suddenly runs out of the room saying something along the lines of “Oh my goodness, I almost forgot something important.” And when she returned, right in the middle of the glorious dinner she had taken hours to make look so fabulous, she plopped a roll of toilet paper. (At this point in the story, Mom interjects by saying that it was in a pretty toilet paper holder but Dad still adamantly makes the point that it was still a roll of toilet paper in the middle of the dinner table) Mom sighed, taking in all her hard work while Dad froze. How was he supposed to explain this to her? His new bride, who had worked so hard and was unbelievably proud of herself, just put a strictly bathroom only prop on the same table they were going to be eating on and also serving friends on. He was ready to drop the hammer when he looked into her eyes and felt unbelievable swells of love at this beautiful young lady who was doing everything she could to make him the happiest man in the world. So in the end, he didn’t tell her. Apparently he didn’t tell her until much later (like years).

Some may think of this as my Dad either chickening out or making my Mom look like a fool in front of his friends. And while that might be at least partially true to some extent if we play devils advocate, the real thing is that when he tells that story, you can still hear the pride in his voice over the hard work my mom put in that day after all these years. Sure they crack up over it all and we all poked fun at Mom, who takes it with grace and humility, but you can tell Dad knew exactly what he was doing. Dad didn’t tell her at that moment because he loved her too much. Because he appreciated her and her dedication. Because she was so happy not knowing. Because to hell with his friends if they made a silly comments or facial expression. Because in that moment all that mattered was that everything Mom did that night was absolutely perfect to him, including the toilet paper, and he wouldn’t change a thing about it. You see, to me at least, that is true love. My parents have been together for 27 years now as I write this. They never let anything like this get in the way of their relationship and I still hear them talk about how they love each other more and more every day. I was once borrowing my Mom’s laptop just a few years ago and accidently saw an email Dad had just sent her counting all the ways he loved her. P.S. if Mom or Dad ever reads this, I promise it wasn’t an invasion of privacy. It was a pure accident. (….are they gone? Do you think they bought it?). The point is that Mom and Dad set the bar pretty darn high and someday I can only hope to find love like that myself. One where I can put toilet paper in front of my spouse before we eat dinner with such pride and importance that he only complements me on a job well done because he knows that is only thing in the whole world that matters in that moment. Screw Cinderella. That’s my version of perfect fairy tale ending.

Putting the Fuse in Not-Confused,

~C