Written By: Helen Lum Lum
So, I've been working on this blog entry from before Christmas. I've rewritten this piece 5 times already. Each time I've written, I would get a decent amount down but by the end of the day, I'd have to stop to attend to daily life and get distracted and stop writing. Each time I returned to my writing and picked up where I left off, my mind would wander and I'd be on to a new subject. Please bear with me while I figure out a way to stitch these 5 subject matters together to make it one continuous piece that makes sense. Otherwise this may just end up as several different blog entries.
I am so exhausted from being overwhelmed and distracted. I feel like a desperate person. I hate this feeling. I feel like my life, my children's lives, our happiness is at stake and I cannot get my life together to help myself or my children. I feel like the biggest loser ever.
Waking up now and seeing clearly for the first time is hard. It means, I have to face reality and take control of my life otherwise somebody else will take control of it. This is the story-line of my past. Growing up pleasing others and living for others, but now realizing that I have given away my power, I no longer have to live this way, so what do I do? What do I want and how do I get there? My ex has given up battling me in court over the children so, at least that's a big load off my chest. So this begins a new chapter for me in my life. I see what I want but don't know how to get there. I wrestle with my own internal self sabotage and question if I am smart enough, resourceful enough, good enough to have what I want, and is what I want even what I want?
I understand that all sorts of people in this world exists, but if given the choice, one should not choose to live with harmful people. One should get away. So this is where I'm at. I don't feel like pointing fingers right now. I'm not one to Point fingers and blame others. I want to take full responsibility for my own actions..
Since I don't want to blame others for my predicament, I need to find a way out and I need to figure it out alone as a single mother. I feel old, poor, broke, useless and broken living in the Bay Area, one of the most expensive places in the world. I'm at Point A but need to get to Point B. I see that the path is long, scary, boring and tedious. I don't want to travel down that road. It has no guarantees. I am not even sure the path will lead to where I want to be, but I will never know unless I walk it.
I guess everyone feels this way when making changes and attempting anything new. It's scary. Sometimes it's worth it in the end and sometimes it's just a big fail and then you have to refuse to settle and try again until you get to where you want to be. I need to build up my confidence somehow and not let the negative self talk get the better of me. How do I do this when I'm feeling so overwhelmed and beat though? Do you think as long as we are alive, there will always be opportunities for change, to try new things, or do they just end one day? If they just end, does life become stagnant? Does stagnant mean boring, predictable, no growth so no knowledge gained?
Let's talk about the source of suffering. During winter break, I found myself an angry person. I am not an angry person by nature and was feeling very unlike myself. If you haven't figured it out by now, when faced with certain situations in life, I can become quite analytical. It is important for me to cut out the bullshit and get right down to the nitty-gritty truth. The truth is reality. One can end much self generated suffering if one would just get down to the nitty-gritty.
Much suffering we go through in life are caused by failing to see reality and an invested attachment to our own delusions. An example of this for me is this last past Christmas when my so called "Uncle" and his wife, plus a couple of friends came over for Christmas dinner. I've known the majority of these people since I was a 12 year old child, and when "Uncle" was in his early 20's.
After dinner my "Uncle" went off to sit on the couch while the rest of us remained seated around the dining table. From the couch "Uncle"sent me a text. In the body of his text, he had asked me to go visit him in his home and that no one would know. My first impression was that he was clearly hitting on me, plus he had zero regard toward his wife nor the sanctity of their marriage. Then my second thought was that perhaps his lack of fluency of the English language must of resulted in text miscommunication, but then he also texted in Chinese characters that I am very pretty. So yes, he was hitting on me.
After all the guests left, I was able to feel how upset I was at my so called Uncle. I was so disappointed that I shed some tears and called a couple of friends to vent. I felt so naive, as if I was a trusting fool. I felt like such an idiot. I felt disappointed disillusioned and cried for a lost part of my childhood. I wanted my "Uncle" to remain a decent man who thought of me as a niece, not a creep who would be willing to disrespect and cheat on his wife.
Now, a week later, after recalling Christmas dinner and finding myself triggered to tears again, I realized that this matter needed further exploration. Why was I so affected by this? Pondering the situation, I realize now that the title "Uncle" comes along with my expectations for proper behavior. If he is referred to as "Uncle" then he must play the role of "Uncle." These are just roles though. Roles aren't real. There isn't any truth in playing out a role. The truth is, however that this man I called "Uncle" isn't my Uncle at all. He is not related to my family in any way and he knows that. He will behave as he will behave, role or no role. He was the only one of the two of us that Christmas who was being real, distasteful maybe, but still being real. I was the delusional one. I was the one who had expectations and was attached to it. I made myself miserable when I did did not see the truth. This led me to think about the source of suffering.
A lot of mental and emotional suffering exist because of lies and delusions we often times create, plus our unbending stubbornness to retain them. If suffering happens because we do not see the truth, then coming to terms with truth should end emotional suffering, but it doesn't. This is because the attachment to the lie has already been set. In other words, if we choose to believe a lie over a fundamental truth, get attached to the lie, insist on it being the truth, not accepting reality, and get angry and frustrated over it, we are not living in or choosing reality. We are stressing ourselves out and doing ourselves a disservice. Although, I suppose we could avoid being hurt as soon as we are able to recognize the moment when we have stepped outside the bounds of reality. I mean, why even bother arguing if you are able to accept reality? The solution is to step out of your own way so you can see the truth. I'm not talking about truths that are out of our control, however, like being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I'm talking about the things we have control over, the ones where we could change the outcome of if we lived with mindfulness. Emotional pain exists. Sometimes we can avoid it and keep it from ever happening in the first place if we choose reality. Truth is truth. To judge truth is ridiculous, futile and shows a lack of reality on my part and a preference for delusions. That's not the person I want to be.
Now I am realizing the error of my way. I am not condoning my "Uncle's" behavior, nor am I blaming, judging or feeling victim. Instead of choosing mind games for myself, I am just going to be an observer. There is no longer any judgment as the observer, only acceptance of truth. It is still important to exercise boundaries though. I actually thought I was already living as an observer but clearly I was not. I need to be more observant. I need to be paying better attention. I need to be more humble.
I think a chapter has ended in my life and a new one begins. One where I am more aware and continually striving to not exist in illusion. I will not expect anything.
Living this way may be much easier.