I don’t know where to go from here.
There is a part of me still debating whether the appropriate punishment for my flawed existence is death. A part of me just can’t see a way out of not being able to cope like a normal person with life. How do I get that off the table?
Or do I leave it on the table, and consider it later. I mean, do I say to myself right now we’re all really busy (interesting how I slip very quickly into parts-oriented thinking),and let’s think about suicide later. Right now, our plate’s kind of over-full.
It’s not yet 4 am. I woke up very alert at 3, and it was like I really just woke up. I mean, to many sources of stress.
Exams start in 2 weeks and somehow I haven’t been able to finish teaching all of the material in any of my classes. How did that happen?
Well, I do know. Because I am leaving, and I haven’t been able to face that. And usually towards the end of the term I start looking at what we covered and what we didn’t cover, and I readjust the plan so that it does fit. And I didn’t do that, because the end of the term=I am leaving, and it makes me lose my mind. I have mainly been working at not losing my mind.
I can’t quite believe that child abuse and neglect has done this to me. Somehow, it has become really clear to me that I am quite a competent person, I am emotionally perceptive and skillful, I am organized and able to create and follow up on plans. Except when stuff gets triggered. And stuff gets triggered all the fucking time. Somehow, this year has made me see it.
This is not me. My failures are primarily not me. They are from abuse. I lost my purse a few weeks ago, and it was a day when Arts Sir spent my free period trying to discuss with me my departure and what I was going to do and how I would care for C and what if I couldn’t get a job. And I could not keep my mind organized after that. I dissociated, and I could not get communication in my mind back.
There is a “me” who isn’t the trauma, and yet I have to live with the trauma every day. I have to live with what happened to me somehow. I have to live with the activation in my body. I don’t even know what really happened to me. I know what the effect was. But nearly everything I thought I remembered last year, I no longer feel sure about. In my current thinking—which might change—I actually believe I might never know. The memories were not formed properly, and trying to force the bits and pieces into narrative memories sets them up for misinterpretation and distortion. It did help to do to have memories, even if they were the wrong memories, because then at least I had some explanation for what I was going through and some way to work through the emotional end of things: there was something to talk about.
I know the abuse was severe, and I know it affected me, and that’s kind of all I know.
C wants me. I am still struggling with that. That has kind of popped into place for me. I have these pictures stored up in my mind of expressions on her face I did not recognize and I can see over time in different situations. That look is want. I went to see her on Sunday and found her in the canteen, and she got up to ask for her food, and there was an expression on her face, I did not recognize and that expression was want. It was little girl and it was “I want you.” It wasn’t that obvious as an expression, but it was a mode or a part that I realize I have seen before.
I do not know why anyone would want me. I think I feel that way because my own feeling of “want” has been suppressed all my life, so I don’t really get it. I don’t really get “want.”
She came to my house on Tuesday and she really wanted chow mein and momos and this is always difficult for me, because in Country X things are confusing. I don’t know how to get things done like a normal person would. I don’t know why it’s so complicated, but it is. There is this odd thing in Country X where people just say no. Like, in India, if I go to a shop and the thing I want is not there, they will say, “Oh, in this particular shop you might find it.” Or, “We are out right now, but we will get more tomorrow.” Or, “Even wait an hour.” They go the other way, and will hold out promises of the item being there even if the chances of finding it are zero. But here if there are none and they could make some for you and they will be ready in 20 minutes, they won’t say this. They will simply say no. There are no momos. This was really noticeable to me in the Capital City when I first arrived and had to buy a lot of things to bring to Y-town. There were lots of “nos.” And being a foreigner and not knowing the place, I was at a total loss, because people were completely unhelpful.
There is something about the culture I still don’t get, and it might involve no not really being no. I think it is actually quite important, and affects my relationships with my students, because they also think no is not really no. But I was really frustrated with my class a few weeks ago, because they constantly fight over every tiny thing with each other. (He won’t give me my ruler back is very popular.) And I suddenly realized I fight. The matron tells me no, and I keep pushing until she says yes. In the US, I would not do that. A person in authority says no, and I accept it.
Anyway, I have not learned to fight for momos yet, and I don’t understand how to fight for momos. So C came and there were no momos and no chow mein, and then suddenly I was informed of a shop that had momos on hand. Only, the chow mein wasn’t prepared, so we had to wait for that.
But I think there must have been some point when C realized. I made pancakes and bought cake for her and brought back momos and too much chow mein and I went to all of this effort for her, because I want her. I know she likes those things and I want her. I want to give her things she wants. I didn’t make a big deal out of anything. I just set things down on the table and told her to eat. I think there is something different about that for her. It is different from the things I have seen people do when they are indulging a child. Like we had a teacher who would give biscuits only to one student, and he would say things very complimentary, sweet things to her while he did it. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. I do think there is a depth that comes through in how I do things for C, and I think it makes her want me. I think it makes her feel I am good.
I am not sure why that is important, but I think it is.
C is switching this week. I mentioned that. I asked her to talk to The Boy last night. I said will you talk to your brother. “Yaaaa” I got back right away. I said he went to the shop and I will call will he gets back and some other stuff. No response. Then, “Who are you?” Which totally freaked me out—what if the phone was seized? What the hell am I doing? “C’s mom.” “Ok”
That was still C. Defended child. But some part of C honestly did not know who I was. She switched in the middle of the exchange and did not know. So she is stressed.
I am sure she is stressed about exams and she cheated on a maths test and got caught (maybe her friends were trying to cheat off of her—I can’t really assess the degree of her culpability) and she is stressed I am leaving. In about a month, she will go to her village, and in 2 months I will leave. There is something about being physically too far from me that is stressful for her. The Boy is the same way. He can’t leave the bazaar and go home sometimes. It’s too far. He can go to a friend’s house, but he can’t go farther than that. There is like some kind of leash his heart is on and it understands about geography.
She is stressed and she is switching. I have to help her get through this. I have to get myself through this and I have to help her get through this. I don’t know how, but I have to. I have to figure it out.
I can’t just push her away or just push me away—which all of my thoughts about death really are. She’s a real person with real feelings. I am a real person with real feelings. I have to figureit out.