when it matters : the dream wears off

WordPress records tell me that I first drafted a version of this blog on October 22, 2018. It has taken me two years and 8 days to finally release this into the world in its “final” form. 


One of my partner’s pet peeves is hearing people talk about their dreams. Not their ambition-type dreams, but the dreams that you wake up out of. The kind where you’ve just cracked open your crusty, itchy eyes and you’re still trying to shake off the residual feelings that you were just mentally steeped in and just HAVE to tell someone about it.


I recently had one of those bizarre, captivating dreams. In this dream, my childhood best friend (hey, Mirna) and I were in her little sister’s apartment (a place I’ve never actually been and am not sure it exists) and one of our best friends from teenager-dom was there. He was hanging out in the spare bedroom and I noticed him from the corner of my eye.It wasn’t strange that he was there; when we were young and all hangin’ out, we were always taking over our friends’ homes (sorry parents and relatives). It was strange because he’s been dead for ten years. Mirna tells me that maybe I shouldn’t go into the room to talk to dead friend, and of course I ignore her.I approach, all dream-state-like and question said dead friend, “Hey, uhhhm, I thought you were dead? Where have you been the past ten years? What’s going on?” But I don’t wait for him to answer.Instead, I tell him, “Okay, wait, I have to pee, hold on,” (even in dreams, I have a tiny bladder) and his response is “Wait, we only have so much time before the dream wears off!” And then, I guess I’m snapped out of that dream and into another one.


But that’s it. That’s all that fucking happened. Thanks, dream-dead-friend. Was there a message you needed to relay to me from the other side that you just didn’t get to?Yeah, maybe I’m mad at him still, for his sudden departure from this plane of existence. I don’t know. Ask my therapist.


Shortly after said friend’s sudden death, I’d wake up with my dreams and reality swiftly blending. Just upon waking up, it was as if nothing had changed, until I remembered. One of my closest friends had died in a bizarre accident, days before, and his departure was saturating every waking and sleeping moment of my life. He had been part of many firsts in my life, and I loved him deeply, as any 16 year old would love a person who they spent most days out of the week with. Funny, how you can be suspended in feelings like that, right upon regaining consciousness and reality hits. 


My mother had been watching over me during those long days and long nights, when friends had left for home, and even when they were asleep on the floor rolled in blankets and sleeping bags or next to me. This particular morning, I was alone with her. I wiped at my eyes and sat up to look at my mother. Her hands were crossed on the arm of the armchair beside my bed, and she began to tell me a story of her life that she’d never spoken aloud to me before.“When I was young and about to be married, my fiancé died.” She said quietly, simply, frankly. I sat up quickly to lean in and listen, resting my pillows against the window

“…What?”


I wanted to ask more questions, but that was all I could get out. In the nearly two decades of my fragile little life (teenagers, so dramatic and bursting with emotion, am I right? That was me), I had no idea about this part of her life and that she had gone through something like this. Her warm brown eyes, graying around the edges of her irises, responded first. With empathy, with wisdom, and with love, remembering. Oh boy. Gear up. Grab the tissues.


“He was hit by a car. He didn’t make it. The neighbors were gathered at my mother’s house as I was walking home from the market.” I imagined a dusty, rural road and a young Lao man with messy hair crossing it, wearing leather sandals and whistling, without a worry. I couldn’t come up with a face. I could only see my mom, right then.“I’m sorry mom.” I began crying again. There was no doubt I was skipping whatever the fuck was supposed to happen that day.


“Don’t be sorry.It’s been a long time since.It was his time to go.I’m fine now.”


She let these words come out slowly and certainly. I looked more closely at my mother and measured the lines of worry across her forehead, and wondered when they had first begun to appear and to settle in.We were both quiet for a long while, morning sunlight streaming in through the battered windows of our aging family home.“Why didn’t you ever tell us this mom?” I asked, after the tightness in my throat had lessened enough to speak.Her response:“It didn’t matter that I told you. Until now.”


Lately, I’ve been thinking about how trauma and depression can have you floating through life as if you were asleep. How many dreams do you fully remember? How many days do you fully remember?I’m sure many of us have experienced the familiar inability to scream, to run, to punch, to fight, in a dream. (Have you ever had all of your teeth fall out in a dream? Yea, it’s awful. Do not recommend.) Your motor skills don’t work. You can’t function like you intend to. Things are fuzzy. Things are dark. Things are bizarre.Either you feel pain when you’re struck or shot or stabbed in a dream, immensely, or you feel nothing at all, and you wonder “WTF?”


I want to feel. I don’t want to feel. This is what my wrestling match with depression is like.When I feel nothing at all, despite every reason to be happy, to be sad, to be excited, to be joyous, I know that a depressive episode is at my doorstep.When I can acknowledge and really feel my senses and clarify my feelings and put reason behind why I want to explode or break down and feel alive (in all the ugly and beautiful ways)… the depression has worn off. I’ve done whatever it is that I needed to do to take care of myself, or enough time has passed or … I’m not certain what it takes but pretty sure that it matters when the dream wears off and what it takes to get there.


Mom and me in Hawaii, summer 2010, just a couple months before the conversation mentioned in this blog. …we all had our phases, didn’t we?…
Drake, Preston, Mirna, me. RIP Preston Ray. Yeeeaaa we all wrote music together; we were teenagers. That’s another story.

portkeys

Some moments in life when they’re happening you think to yourself “I will remember this forever.” Some moments happen and you’re unaware that they’ll remain with you for the rest of your life, even if you resist and even if they’re buried deep within you. Occasionally, they will float back up to the forefront of your mind. Sometimes you won’t be prepared for it and you will find yourself crying at work. Or in the supermarket. Or just on a walk in your neighborhood.


Those moments with floaty bits that come to the front of your mind can be sparked by seeing and experiencing a piece of mail in a backpack (before she left, my sister asked me to save her mail for her…so my secret place as an 8 year old was my backpack), crayon boxes (dad thought new crayon boxes were completely frivolous if last year’s were fine, which is NOT what a first grader thinks AT ALL), white bread and vanilla ice cream (IYKYK, my Southeast Asian fam) in a way that is connected only to you and your life’s history.

Thunderstorms. Pepper packets. Puffy, blue winter coats. Go Fish. Phone books (remember those?). Sometimes they’re not objects but scenes. You might witness a sweet-nothing moment and feel something tugging at your heartstrings. Or the smell of a sterile place makes you feel sick.

These moments are like Portkeys that snap you to a time and scene rather than a place. You’re transported. You feel like you did on that day, in that moment, in the monster’s presence. Your heart races. Your throat tightens. You are a naive adolescent again.

If you’re not familiar with the Harry Potter world in which I love to get lost in annually, usually near my birthday, a Portkey is a magical object that serves as a transportation tool. When you touch this seemingly inane object, you are magically transported somewhere. (Link to a very HP nerdy site)


How did I get here? Let’s start with an on-again, off-again relationship.

Which is what my relationship with my counselor was for a while (yea wow millenials all cringe at the sight of those words in relation to something between another person). The spring that my fiance proposed to me, I “graduated” (my words, I think, not my counselor’s). I had been relatively healthy, mentally, and we put a pause on my previously bi-monthly sessions in therapy.

It was a wonderful summer. Picture perfect, in my memory. Freshly engaged, loving my work, life on the upswing, looking forward to a trip to Hawaii to visit family I hadn’t seen in years. Occasionally the depression and anxiety would knock at my door and I’d slam the door shut in it’s fuckin’ face, dust off my hands, and pour myself a celebratory drink.

And then one day, a sweet little child in a baseball uniform popped into my workplace, walking next to his dad. I watched them talk and laugh, head towards his dad’s desk, and the little boy plopped himself in an office chair and spun around. Joy. His father worked and he read (or was he playing a video game? Probs.) and I sat at my desk. Wanting to sob. I felt a few powerful emotions all at once. “This is so sweet!” “I wish I’d had a dad like that.” (See previous blogs if you don’t know why I’m saying that.) “Why am I about to fuckin’ cry?” So I called up my counselor later that day and told him I’d just had some childhood trauma pay me a visit. “When can I see you next?” [Insert millenial joke about dating here.]


My general questions before deciding to either do things or not do things include “Is my life inhibited by this?” and “What will the repercussions/consequences of my actions be?” and “If x is preventing me from living my life to the fullest, being present, and enjoying x, then I need to do something differently/do something about x.” Seeing children happy in the company of their dads should not make me want to cry.

So therapy was on again. Hello darkness, my old friend. Let me fight with you again.


Then, last fall, I met Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist, Difficult Women, Hunger, and many others. Sitting in the audience with two of my best gal pals, I hungrily swallowed up her words and tried to memorize her voice and listened to the brave and fortunate souls who were able to pose questions to her at the end of her readings.

If you have read anything by Roxane Gay, you will know how profoundly her writing can affect you.

You will think, “Yes, demons, come forth and let me slay you!” She calls them nemeses.

And so it was, for me. I was profoundly touched. I prepare for battle. I am mother of cats. I am a Lao princess warrior, and I have an army of elephants, and I will smash. my. trauma. into the. ever-lovin’ ground. (That actually is written in Lao history, elephants in battle – and then! A general was crushed by his falling elephant and that was that. More on that later, it’s from a A History of Laos by Stuart Fox.)

But the thing with trauma is that you do not know when you will be challenged to a duel. You do not know what object, scent, or sound will call out to you, “Heeeey girl hey, I am about to mess. you. up.” And so, how do you prepare for battle when that sneaky bastard, childhood trauma, doesn’t play fairly?


Yeah, I don’t actually have a complete answer to that question either BUT I will say that understanding how and why this happens has been empowering.

The thing with Portkeys is that you’re not transported anywhere unless you touch them. Now I know how to handle Portkeys; some of them, at least.

Rethinking Freewriting in the Age of COVID — BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog

By Christina Larocco For years I’ve adhered to the Julia Cameron/Natalie Goldberg school of freewriting: at least thirty minutes, longhand, anything that comes into my mind, as soon as I wake up. This method has been tremendously fruitful for me in the past, especially when I’ve been blocked or don’t know how to fix an […]

Rethinking Freewriting in the Age of COVID — BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog

I really enjoyed reading this blog, as I’ve been grappling with my own writer’s block + impostor syndrome + uncertainty this past month.

spoken self & sisterhood

Lao word of the day: euy (sound out each letter and then say it, real fast) and you’ve got it. It means “sister.”


“Describe your sister. In Lao.”

I’m sitting cross-legged on the couch in my counselor’s office and not as present as I should be, confused as to why I’m irritable and miffed about my relationship with my eldest sister. It’s a late fall day, and I’ve been hating how short the days have been getting as we approach winter. I don’t feel like cooperating.

But I’m in therapy for a reason, so I take a deep breath and start.

“She was loving. Kind. Thoughtful. She used to let me pick out my outfits when I was getting ready to go to school in kindergarten.”

I stop. My vocabulary in Lao isn’t what it used to be. I don’t know the verbs and the adjectives to describe my memories in Lao like I used to. It’s hard to think of what words to say. But it’s not the words that get me.

“Go on,” he urges gently.

“She raised me. She was my best friend growing up. We did everything together. I followed her like a shadow.”

…silence… weight. the familiar feeling of heat in my throat. I can’t swallow. Clear as day, in my mind’s eye I see me and my siblings piled into an old tub pretending it was a pool in the backyard on a summer day, an activity engineered by my eldest sister for her kid siblings.

“I miss her.” I choke this out in Lao and then I say it in English. (I mean, this dude has been listening to me speak in Lao for a few minutes after all, so throw him some familiar words right?)

And now I’m fucking sobbing. I keep on sobbing. I suck in air. I breathe. Now I guess I’m just crying, normally. OOP nope, sobbing again. It’s a painful however-many minutes for me. It’s the kind of cry that aches from deep within that spans time and space and what I know and don’t know.

My counselor is quiet, supporting me from across the room. Listening. Waiting. Patient. It’s not the words that get me; it’s the language I’m speaking.


When I was young, my sister inspired me to (eventually) write song lyrics by once encouraging me to “make up the words” to songs that I didn’t know that played on the radio when she was driving us somewhere. It was a lightbulb moment for little me. It delighted me and stayed with me forever. I wrote then, and I write now.

She would make something out of nothing – in a good way. Cutting and pasting pictures from junk mail to make collages with me. She even made an entire card deck so that we could play Go Fish (money was tight) and to me, she was an incredible artist. In so many of our family photos, she’s holding one of us in her arms. The best big sister we could have.

She was always there for me. Until she wasn’t.


When I say “my sister ran away” many people ask, “Well, how old was she?” and I stop and think … she was at least 18. Leaving home is common for 18 year olds in American culture. But not for my family, and definitely not under my father’s controlling watch. To leave was to break a family, household rule.

There were circumstances that I didn’t understand that lead her to go. I realize now that I forgive her. Was there anything to forgive in the first place?

Suddenly, I was alone. I didn’t have that kind of bond with my other siblings (not yet at least). I felt abandoned by someone who was the world to me. Left behind. And I held on to that feeling for decades.

I missed her. But who could I tell? So I held it in. Until that seemingly normal, “I’m grouchy” day in therapy.


Language has the power to unlock memories and emotions.

“Discovering your Self in language is always an epiphany, even if finding the words to describe your inner reality can be an agonizing process.”The Body Keeps The Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk

I’d been hitting a wall with describing how I felt about my eldest sister. Why was I so annoyed with her? What couldn’t I understand? She experienced so much pain and trauma; she did what she had to do. How could I continue to be upset with her for something that I felt like I understood now, as an adult? How had I forgotten this initial upset that was followed up with so many other things I could. not. understand?

Until my counselor asked me what language I spoke growing up.

Lao and English, interchangeably, was my response. My parents mostly spoke Lao, and my siblings were the ones who taught me English until I entered grade pre-school.

How much I had loved and adored my big sister when I was a little girl, and the pain that I felt when one morning, the family rises, and she is gone … returned to me only when I described her in Lao.


She and I have lead very separate lives for a very long time it seems. But we’re okay. We’re re-building our relationship. And I miss her. I finally told her so.

Love you, fam.

-Lasamee

Our most recent hangout, post cry-fest in therapy: my sisters (the one closest to me in age & the eldest), me, and ma.

what a shame

it me

I’ve deliberated about a project that I’ve thought about for most of my lifetime: telling the story that my family carried with them away from the mountains of Laos across the Mekong River through the skies and to Texas. But I’ve mostly been still, immobile, glued to my spot, and unable to move. And I’ve been silent, afraid, pensive, anxious, sad, playing memories over and over, thinking about how best to paint these pictures as genuinely and honestly as possible and to honor the people within them.

“Why does it feel so wrong to be me? Why am I afraid for people to know who I am and where I come from?”

“The long-term consequences of trauma?” offers my counselor*, a couple of years after we’ve started digging in and doing the work that might enable me to speak. In 2018, he recommended a few books to me that I’m still working through. How on earth did I get through grad school?

True, but maybe not entirely the reason. I realize that a lot of it is shame, for things out of my control.


When I was a child, I was ashamed of being different from everyone else. Different in the sense that I was isolated and couldn’t visit with friends after school or attend the countless birthday parties and hangouts. Different because no one had ever heard of Laos. Different because I didn’t know certain American cultural references. I didn’t meet another Lao child out in the world serendipitously until college. And even then, we were legally adults. Magically thrown together as roommates at the university. I have a feeling we might have been the only 2 Lao girls in that freshman class that year. 

Growing up, I was ashamed of being poor. My refugee parents tried their hardest, and we always had food on the table and our basic needs met. But that didn’t mean that I didn’t have to pick through bags of donated clothing to find “new” shirts and pants that would fit me. (And with my tiny, southeast Asian frame, hand-me-downs, especially from strangers, never fit me correctly.) That didn’t mean that I could afford to participate in any extracurriculars that might cost anything to the family, including time for my little hands to work and help at home.

I was ashamed that people would know that my father was traumatized by the war, traumatized by so much else he couldn’t and wouldn’t talk about, and belittled in a country in which he thought he would be welcomed as a hero. And because of these things, he traumatized his entire family, the ones from whom I wish he could have sought solace. Shame for being my father’s daughter; I am sorry.

I was ashamed of my name even. Moving from grade level to grade level, class to class, apologizing that it was “hard to say” (it’s only 3 syllables), raising my hand to pronounce it correctly and feeling a burning sensation in my throat. Until I finally adopted “Laci” which doesn’t even honor the way you say my real name; it just has similar phonetics. La-suh-me. Lasamee Kettavong. Now, my heart swells when people learn my name and work to say it correctly. To me that is an act of love.

Me and my sweet mother, who gave me my name.

Shame prevents you from doing a lot. Fear eats the soul and paralyzes you. But we only have so much time to really get to know ourselves in this realm of living, so I’m shedding the shame and swallowing the fear.


I’m not certain but pretty sure that I have taken on this project because I am the last child in my family and the one born in America a few years after my family’s arrival on Halloween Day, 1989. No one’s asking for this story, but it’s one that threatens to have me implode if I let it simmer and leave it alone. There’s no pressure from any of my siblings or my mother; just support, happily scanning papers that arrived with my family in their International Refugee Committee bag of official documents when I ask for them. I feel that our family’s story is not so different from immigrant families stories today, and that we have a lot of work to do. Together, with, and for others. 

I can’t imagine the agony that my mother and father would have felt having arrived as refugees and asylum seekers only to have their children ripped away from them and kept in detention centers. It is horrendous that this has happened to so many. 

I’m not certain but pretty sure that there’s no better time than right now to do something about the horrendous things, shed the shame, and swallow the fear that maybe has kept you from moving. 

—-

*Important to note: I started going to therapy after a shitty breakup in 2013 and on the advice of a dear friend who’d also recently started therapy and it improved their life immensely. I’ve gone from counselor to counselor, for various reasons, and finally really dug in to working on childhood trauma with this particular counselor. Don’t give up if you feel like therapy will help you/your mental health but you’re not clicking with someone. Search around. It can change your life.

Continue reading “what a shame”

“don’t call me pa”

Warning: this is both a sad and happy story.

There’s mention of domestic violence and related things.


It’s Father’s Day and yesterday was World Refugee Day. Today, I share with you a story about my father and my family who are Lao refugees.

I release this from me and to the world because it has been a weight to carry these last couple of decades. Those near to me know, and some do not.

If a bomb is hidden and buried and you stumble across it, you might lose a limb, or your life, or part of your soul to it. If it is uncovered, you can detonate it from afar. This is an allusion to Legacies of War and the honorable work that they are doing to clear Laos of unexploded ordinance (UXO) dropped on the country during the Secret War, 1964-1973.

This is part of my discovery.


In Lao, you call your dad “pa” (pronounced like “paw). The last time my father was in our family home, he told me not to call him dad. I was stunned, and knew that he was in a mood. Nothing was out of the ordinary, aside from my late return home from school because of a volunteer activity. I am done trying to rationalize his behavior but for years, I spent energy on trying to do just that.

“Don’t call me pa” was a warning, and my instincts told me that things were about to go south. Go south they did.

For my father, a mood could be:

  • Grumpy silence
  • Stomping through the house
  • Yelling about something or someone to anyone nearby
  • Cleaning and loading his shotgun
  • Aiming said shotgun at family members, like his 10 year old daughter, and asking “Do you want to die?” (What a peach, amiright?)
  • Waving a knife around and threatening to kill family members

That night, he was in that last mood in the list. My older sister, mother, and I managed to calm him down somehow. Or were we pleading for our lives, but in different words? It felt like hours.

Finally, he put himself to bed in the living room. (If you’re wondering, I am and have been in therapy for quite some time and have made slow and steady progress in unpacking all of this.) I stayed in touch with my best friend, messaging her that I might have to ask her to call the police to my house. My sister told me to discreetly pack a bag, pack a bag for mom, and be ready not to return to the house after school/work the next day. I still do not know how she could think so clearly. I doubt anyone in my household slept at all that night.

And that was it. The last time he was ever a part of my life in any kind of meaningful way.

We filed a police report, and he was picked up. I don’t know the exact details of how that happened, but it makes me sad to think about it. I have compassion for my father despite many, many episodes like the one described above in the years he was the oppressor of his own family.

He is a strong but broken man. He is a monster but also my father. He is a veteran of the Secret War. I am certain he has PTSD that has never been addressed. He is a Lao refugee in a land that is so far from home to him, literally and figuratively. This is what I think about on Father’s Day.

Nai Kettavong, my father
My father, Nai Kettavong, veteran of the Secret War, refugee living in the U.S. photo taken in Laos in the late 60’s or early 70’s for his military documents

It’s not all darkness, violence, and family secrets though.

I have two amazing, funny, smart, and loving older brothers. And they are incredible fathers to their children. I am in awe and admire that they are so caring and supportive of their kiddos despite not having known that growing up themselves. I am proud of them for breaking the cycle.

I am fortunate to soon have extended family that includes fathers who protect and provide for their loved ones, rather than the opposite.

I see love all around me, and I am ever thankful for it.

with love and light,

Lasamee

we can’t live in fear.

As a young girl, I never dreamed that I would travel as much as I have fortunately been able to. I didn’t think I would ever leave Texas (damn this and love this huge-ass state that takes 8 hours to get out of in either direction). I didn’t think I would ever have any close friendships and love the people who I am fortunate to be able to love now. My sweet friends who make me laugh, help me to cry it out, and share long, long, conversations for hours on end. How do we do that? My in-it-for-life partner. My soon-to-be in-laws. My deepened, improving relationships with my family members. For them, I am so grateful.


My father kept my immediate family isolated and only allowed us out of the house to keep up appearances (school, occasionally church on Sundays, or allowing Mormon missionary visitors…definitely another story) and to generate income as we could, as he himself did not (could not, truly) work. We socialized with a few other Lao families and always on my father’s terms. The consequences of speaking out against him or pushing back were severe. So we did not.

I was a lonely child, despite having siblings, for they were as lonely and oppressed as me. My mother’s oppression at my father’s hands is a different but interwoven story. We didn’t show each other affection; we didn’t say “I love you”; and we didn’t give hugs or receive them. How deep that hurts a child is too far to measure. We express our love now. I hug my mother several times before we leave each other these days. She laughs and always says, “Another? Okay!”

We were in it together, and we made it out.

I endured a decade and a half, broken up into The First Ten Years and The Last Five, of my father’s cruelty, while my older siblings lived most of their adult lives in his hold. My mother spent over 40 years with him. We are all still dealing with the repercussions in our own ways, and somewhat, together. (Huge thanks & shout-out to my counselor.)

My sister, Samout, in the darkest times and the most painful, difficult ones when faced with leaving our abuser, would say “We can’t live in fear.” And those words mean even more to me presently, compelling me to think about what living in fear did to our wellbeing back then, and how living in fear might, if we let it, affect us today.


These days, the responsible thing to do is socially distance ourselves from others and to keep calm, wash our hands, and try to live and function as normally as possible while working to protect our most vulnerable and each other. Having time to reflect, I know that right now, we are all in this together. Not just me and my family, but our community, our world, our existence as parts of a whole.

What is “this”?

The staying in our homes and/or having very limited movement outside. The trying to hold it all together when it feels like everything’s falling apart. The frustration that we are not fully in control. The loneliness. The yearning for human interaction. The desire to hug friends and loved ones. The wondering “When will this end?” The aching for things to be “normal” whatever that picture is for each of us.

I’m writing this for myself, but I hope it can help you somehow.

-Lasamee Kettavong

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Eve of Birth

Someone near to me gave me the idea that our birthdays are our personal holidays. I agree. How do we celebrate holidays? Food, drink, fun. Gifts, sometimes. Traditions. Since this marker of time is my annual renewal, I’ll treat it as I would approaching new year’s and make some resolutions. To write. To create. To share. At last.

My therapist would be proud. I’d make an A. Sometimes I joke about “getting graded” and how I “failed at therapy” today. More on that later. Probs not healthy, right? 

Someone else (or multiple people, surely), not near to me, came up with the idea of the 27 Club. Musicians and celebrities who passed at the age of 27 in the late 60’s and early 70’s are in this tragic club: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison… That’s where it started (Idk, fact-check me and Wikipedia), and oddly enough, in recent decades, other artists and actors and celebrities have passed at this age too: Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger. What’s the connection? Fame? Drugs? The coincidence of age? I don’t have the answer, but as I reach 27 (tomorrow) I’ve been thinking about what this means for me, since we’re all universally connected after all. Or maybe I should focus my energy on Saturn’s Return.

I think that something within me that has needed to die, that hasn’t served me (ever) will pass into the unknown and leave me. I will be happy about it. I will be glad. I will be lighter. I will be free. I’m declaring it now, so 2020, goddamnit, don’t disappoint me.

I’m exploring this with the The Wild Unkown Archetypes Deck and Guidebook, created by Kim Krans. I’m slowly leading myself through The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. I’m dragging my feet on Forgiving the Devil by Terry D. Hargrave. I’m committing to this journey with Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I’m finding relatability and feeling less alone with Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. I’m consciously taking stock of what I consume and cook with Salt, Fat, Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat, Controlling Your Drinking by Drs. William R. Miller and Ricardo F. Munoz, and Hawker Fare by Chef James Syhabout. Gotta nurture that body and mind. Honestly, I’ve given up on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, so if you would like a copy, you can have it. If I were to designate these readings as a workshop or course, I might call it something like: Not Certain But Pretty Sure, For Adults. Wanna join me? Let’s have a book club. I have to thank my therapist for many of these recommendations. #mentalhealth #normalizecounseling

I’m holding myself accountable by writing this, and giving it to anyone reading.

In my 27 years, I’ve been

  • An infant and can’t remember much of anything but absorbed some developmental things that I’m sure affect me to this day
  • A toddler who saw some SHIT, man, that no child or anyone should ever have to see
  • A young girl who was weird and academically brilliant (that’s what I was told, my teachers’ words, not mine, I’m not that full of myself, thanks) but so awkward, sad, anxious, trapped, uncertain, hopeless, etc., etc.
    • MAN, I LOVE school. I miss being a student.
  • A teen/young adult – not sure how even to describe this, still kind of embarrassed about who I was, hah. Haha. Oof.
  • An adult finally coming to terms with the trauma of being the child of refugees and realizing that you can’t hide from your past and that ghosts can be living people and memories can be locked in by language and who occasionally allows a run-on sentence for the sake of whatever poetry is even though she teaches writing and composition

Today, I’m doing my best to sort this all out.