The Little One in the form of an Owl...(but don't tell her I said that!)

February 29, 2012

Spell "Constipated"

         My child is Pollyanna  incarnate: her glass is always half-full, even when it's empty; she usually answers my scoldings/reminders with a "Ooops!" followed by a "O-Kayyy" and there tends to be skipping involved; this is the girl who has turned my impromptu relaxation technique for night-fears (Relaxed Body, Easy Mind) into a meditative ritual which includes angelic improvised signing, praying for the "Europeans who are suffering" (during the cold snap some weeks back), and, of course, her storytelling* that reminds me this Pollyanna comes with her own lessons; this is also a girl who will begin most mornings with a gentle request, "Can you please help me to not suck my finger today, please?"   
         To say she has an amazing propensity for adaptation is an understatement given all she's been through since I've met her. She has adopted the cultural norms of our quirky family with enthusiasm "Ohhhh, today our plates are verrry colorful!" Yet has retained the most endearing lessons and habits of her past as seen this past Christmas when she single handedly swept and rearranged my father's bachelor-pad house, even sweeping cobwebs out of the corners, all the while affirming, "I'm cleaning because it's CHRIST-MAS!!" as if this was the natural inclination of all eight year old kids.  

         I will admit, though, her spirited embrace of the new and the old is when it comes to academics.  And it has slowly dawned on me that the inexplicable pattern of radically mood shifts I've come to notice are in fact associated with a particular kind of learning: ESLReading and Spelling make my Pretty Little Pollyanna turn into the dreaded Mute Zombie Child (making Mondays and Wednesdays kind of.....horrific).
         The Mute Zombie Child is a girl whose gravitational pull leaves her spending hours lying in a fetal position on the living room rug, her finger thrust deeply in her mouth, and her eyes dilated with apathy staring off into nothingness; this girl responds to any and all external stimuli with just further eye dilation; this girl is mute and will shudder with such ferocity when forced to speak on threat of punishment; this girl forces me to get up, get a glass of water and literally spoon feed her, her eye medication pills (she is supposed to have some freaky medicine fetish so you can see how this would be worrisome); her only exceptions to her apathy are during mealtimes, when, for the brief period required to chew and swallow, she will once again take on the form of an active, engaged human being.

         Well Monday, I awoke to the sound of rain! Real, clickity-clack against the roof, rushing down the gutter, fills the air with a crisp chill RAIN!! I have never lived in a coastal city (oh wait-Miami...L.A...New York-never mind) my point is this: in Dar it never rains, like, NEVER. And people seem to think this is pretty normal.  Well, I haven't done a survey or anything, but no one's making any offerings to the Gods in supplication, no rain dances are happening that I can see, no dismal shrieks of DROUGHT, no locusts swarming in clouds, you get? It seems that no rain = business as usual here. For the Little One and I, this is beyond weird.  We come from a country where the clouds are like Powerful Gods, morphing themselves into shapes and creations that defy simple physics, and to walk below them is to walk in understanding that at any moment they can choose to unleash a deluge that will make you and your fellow countrymen rush for the nearest overhang and stand there stupefied at the wondrousness of falling water.  

          Rain, in Uganda, is a legitimate reason to not show up to your destination, and should you attempt to brave this phenomenon people will reflexively assume you are mad and shout abusive things at you believing you do not understand them anyhow.  Rain is a frequent occurrence that holds the extraordinary weight of a volcanic eruption in Polynesia, a tornado in Utah, and so forth.  We miss the rain! Don't get us wrong, blue, grey skies and hot, sandy beaches are cool and such, but it is a bit......stifling to not have the heavens shout at us and unify us in bowed heads of humility and surrender. It is a relief to have ones thoughts drowned out by Mother Nature every now and again (this is a new term for Ms V and her favorite question of late is to point to something and say, "Is this Motha Nay-chah?".....sweet).

         Despite my mother having not turned up when she was supposed to and the rain having already stopped leaving behind bulging grey clouds (both of which put us in that awkward limbo of suspense), we managed a relatively normal breakfast in which there seemed to be all signs of normal life coming from the Little One, including voluntary speech. I then set myself up in the living room trying to get my mind clear and ready for some creative flow. Not soon after I caught Ms. V, out of the corner of my eye, quietly slip from her chair, finger in mouth, and glide herself down to the floor, as her eyes grew large and empty ("Ah, God!! It's not even 11am!” I mentally hollered). Sometimes this is just from boredom so I said casually, "you have English today so why don't you go over your homework and your spelling?".....several silent minutes passed with no recognition that I even existed let alone had spoken, finally she crawled to her bedroom, her finger still protruding from her lips. This began what would ultimately be an excruciating morning trying to get Vannesa to read and practice spelling all of 8 vocab words, with total failure.   Meanwhile I desperately struggled to pierce the fog in my own brain while sending dagger looks at the fat, grey, lazy clouds outside which mocked the futility of my attempts (even the Sun was failing to find a clear path, why should I think I would have better luck).  

         Some days, no matter how hard you long for flow, resistance is all you get and on Monday, Ms V, the Sun, and I had no good luck trying to overcome our individual stagnancies.  My relief when she was finally whisked away to class was tempered by the fact that I still found my brain incapable of any clear, original thought, though it was exhausted from trying to pull any sort of active response from Ms. V.  Meanwhile, the Sun continued to fart moist streams of heat into the atmosphere, an embarrassment to its usual, direct and unabashed rays.

         When she returned from class, V was revived enough for me to confirm it was the class itself, hanging over her head like those fat, grey, lazy clouds, that put her in such a foul mood in the first place.  She was not her old self, exactly, but the evening did move by with a little more ease for both of us.  The hidden sun finally surrendered its fight as evening approached and gave me reason enough to do the same. All three of us went to bed happily rejecting any further claims to the day.

         Yesterday, the rain repeated itself but with much more vigor. It actually seeped the ground and the air in a crisp freshness that still lingers today and will likely surprise the sun by the need for a little more effort on its part to make the ground hard and dry and dusty again. It was a soothing sight to watch the rain do what we couldn't do the day before: flow. It was inspiring, if for no other reason as it was a reminder of how natural and effortless flow is supposed to be (Relaxed Body, Easy Mind).  It helped that my mother had finally shown up the night before and the morning was filled with the distraction of her offerings scattered here and there, treats and trinkets from a far off world.  My mother is a tornado, all by herself, and for once, her invasion into the home was not a disruption to peace but a clearing away of the dust and static fog.  

         And once that fog was cleared, a gem of triumph re-merged that had been forgotten in the previous day's miasmic mood: 

         She calls me Mama now. 

February 22, 2012

We do not Choose the Families we Have NOR the Families we Make

        We went to the mall on Saturday.  I feel so restless with this anemia shit; I haven't been anemic in years and I forgot how....insidious it can be.  I talked of biorhythms with regards to my Cycling/Spiraling theory, but really, I tend to turn every experience I have into a bout of psychoanalytic, intellectual introspection: "I have no thoughts, I just need quiet and grey (?)" It's not always mental Lady! Did a bit of research, turns out these are all Grade A symptoms of anemia (including the heart palpitations I mistook for anxiety over possible past, present, and future failures). My particular kind of anemia-there's like a BUNCH with obnoxious names all with different causes but similar symptoms (the one caused by heavy prolonged drinking did lead to some serious anxiety re: past/present/future-bah!)-but I'm pretty sure, my particular kind of anemia is due to the malaria meds I had to take last month and a change of diet that is now absent of leafy greens (I do not cook leafy greens, alas....)
         Well, good to know; there's something else to blame in my body other than my mind for once (stupid blood) but since I am now so out of it physically I have nothing to do but think, let the introspection begin continue...
         The mall idea was with the hopes of finding some really good vitamins till mama returns with the hard stuff (check!), but also to give Ms. V an outing.  But all the while I was just so TIRED, and it bothered me that she should have to make do with a tired mama. It also made me realize how attached she is, not just to me, but to my every single movement.  I watched other children her age and younger play around but she clung to my each and every step and breath, mirroring them with her own.  If I didn't find something interesting, neither did (could) she. When I finally begged to sit down, children played and looked and moved around us-she looked with her eyes, but her body stayed right next to me; so close, as if she wanted (needed) to know if even the hairs on my arms moved, so hers could do likewise.
         I struggled with being frustrated by this, by trying to will her independence, because the fact is: just as I'm getting the hang of this, just as I'm getting accustomed to that attachment, she will be an adolescent, and her previously suppressed autonomy will burst forth, probably with fierce expression. I will shudder to think how I once lamented that all I have to do sometimes to get her to keep still is hold my breath.
         At night, I watched her play with a toy I found for her and I thought about families; I thought about my own and the one I'm creating.  One of the noticeable differences with other people in the mall and us, was they were all families with siblings, and we are just a pair.  This is beyond rare in Africa; it is so freakish that the waitresses where we lunched couldn't help but interrogate us throughout the meal with smiles of suspicion (a total of 3 different women at least 8 different times came and asked probing, personal questions we were forced to mumble awkward answers to through half chewed bites of chicken*); it must have killed their minds to wonder how we came to exist-a question I couldn't really answer.  Coming from a family of six, I had heard of only children, but what that must have actually looked like was beyond my imagination-sorta like Pluto maybe?
          Later she told me of a dream she had where her doll turned into a baby, and we adopted her and gave her a new name, and she was ours (but I refused to breastfeed-ha!). Oh poor Little One, she wants a family so badly (liking freakin Penny or Annie) but all she's got is me; no amusing characters seem to be coming forth to fill in the blanks.

        I do think about my future children and how easy they will have it compared to her: there is no way I will be able to exert this much demand and training on a future child, especially one I've raised from birth. I will have learnt some and given up some; but Ms. V must take the brunt of that learning.
         But it is give and take: when we do evolve into a "proper" family, I will be distracted by a husband (!), a potentially unruly adolescent, and other Life things; my future child will not get the benefit (?) of the intense and sacred study I give to Vannesa. I know her; I know her by a twitch of her shapely eyebrows, a hand movement, a pull of her mouth that even she doesn't know is happening, a change in her voice. And I usually know what's causing the shift (physical, emotional, circumstantial) and in which direction (negative/positive). Of course I encourage her, sometimes push her to articulate her needs and feelings for herself. Sometimes I let her in on my knowing-power and she looks at me like I'm magical. That's a special thing, to be known so intimately; being the third child, I can attest to an awareness of the absence of such Knowing in my upbringing; I still long for my mother to know me and I am perplexed by how much she does not.  But that's just it: I was the third child and Life's distractions were a bit more....demanding during my childhood.

        People always mention how I was my mothers "purse" because I was always attached to her (I like to joke I now live in her purse, and then I cry inside) but my memories of her are of absence and longing. I clung to her because she was always disappearing; I still do; she still does.
         People also remember me as the epitome of the incorrigible, in-suppressible, fully expressed, egocentric monster: "I want what I want when I want it"; I threw horrifying tantrums of such grandiose proportions, I would have undoubtedly been severely medicated had I been raised in today's America.  My sister is the first born and I think she took the brunt of my unimaginably young mother's parental learning, much like the Little One (except my sister had the benefit of a sibling who came just after her and was the obedient and willing follower to her adventures). She resents me terribly for my insisted recognition of Self. She doesn't get that it's give and take:
         When my siblings were younger they lived in a country and culture they knew and felt safe in; they had two mostly functioning parents, friends that looked like them and thought they were normal, RELATIVES, activities....they had a family.  By the time I was old enough to remember we lived in isolated seclusion within and without our home; our house was a place of fear and loneliness and absence (Lord, it would be terribly pathetic to try and paint my childhood so mono-chromatically, but I'm try to make a point, there was a very real distinction from before and after the big move) There was a suppressed and congested dysfunction (confusion? trauma?) that filled our home like a cloud; everything I saw was perceived through that thick and weightless presence (that part is true, totally true, that's what so pathetic about all the good memories).
          I think of my mother choosing my father though the implication of darkness was present even before her first child; I think how she would do it again, and again, and again....But of course it was not as she intended; she did not intend on a family broken and shut down, on moments and memories of having to escape in bare feet and having to choose between younger and youngest who would escape with her (I was younger, and so it goes....), and of all the effects and results (there are good and bad damn it, this is a story NOT a fairy tale) of that family we had.

           I think of my future children, of my future adolescent, and I wonder how long it will take before she realizes that whatever place we are in, it will not have been by intention- well, certainly not mine. If she questions-if there are uncomfortable repercussions and she demands to know what I was thinking taking this on, cleaving her into my life, I will answer: It was not a thought or conception of the future, I just chose you because, in that moment, it made sense....

           And I would do it again, and again, and again.....

February 20, 2012

Give Me Faith and Joy

    (I needed to Pray today):

"Dear Father,
         I come to You again; I come on all fours, crawling slowly,...hesitantly; eyes cast downward, forehead kissing the floor, to Beg again for Your Mercy and Your Strength. I am ashamed to ask for Your Love, to need You so much once again...
         Why is that?
         Why do I think that when I feel Your Grace fill me up, that then I must fling myself out of the safety of Your embrace and rush off blindly and boldly to fight my mortal battles?
         Why do I think I need to abandon my Need for You in order to meet my needs in the world?
          I hate that I think of Life as Good when I forget to pray.
          I find Your Voice in the quiet stillness of Desperation. Others seem to take Pride in carrying the Knowledge of You through their lives; I think I have to make a choice between Your Love and living my life. So I get quiet and still and seek that desperate place so I can be near You. When there is movement I only remember you in intellect and careless, neglectful gratitude.
          I Love my Life, but I NEED You. God, of all the things that I have ever asked of You and all the things that I will ever ask from You, please teach me (gently and lovingly) to be proud of this Need.

         There is only one person I have ever known that would perhaps make a similar confession. My love for him, in many ways, is born of this common conflict.  I would that we be the ones to teach each other this lesson. But that is another prayer for another day..."

       I think I need to trip the fuck out. I am planning my summer and I am planning a trip it has taken me three years to feel ready for.  I am planning a return-of course in my mind this will be an Epic   Odyssey/Alchemist  kind of a return; I will be changed and glowing with understanding and new insight into an old life.  (All of this may be true but such glowing tends to last for a brief period of time before all your regular issues new and remembered revive and dull your shine).

      I've been thinking more on this cycling thing. I think of how scared I am of the recklessness of my happiness; not happiness as an objective concept-just my own.  When I made this Odyssey/Alchemist journey back to a home I'd never known, it came from the same epic nature of those other heroic journeys; it was a quest, a submission in the form of a  quest, to come closer to God.  I made a pact with Him that I would allow anything, miraculous or trying, to happen to me if it brought me closer to Him. Straightening by Fire, it's called.

      Now, three years later, I am beginning to realize that that "fire", at least for me, comes from my own rejection of the Truth that He exists even in my peace and my joy. If God's Voice is in the clouds, I think He only speaks to me on dark grey days during heavy downpours; on the light, airy days of life I get so caught up in the blueness of the sky that I miss the wispy, white, whispers of Him floating by.  Or sometimes I just don't look up, as if the brightness will blind me.
       I think that's what that frantic, over the ledge, feeling is when I get caught up in the moment-um. I fling my gratitude at Him in a half-assed way: "yeah, way to Be, but Love, I gotsta go, I gotta keep moving, I gotta be pro-DUC-tive(in sing-song Oprah shout)!!!  And then that part of me, the one that made the pact, gets annoyed at my silliness and says, "well, bitch, I guess we gotta make it rain again, cause you seem to be forgetting our mission." That is why I have to back away from my life, back out, searching for the grey.  There I can throw myself into questioning and analysis until I finally hear Him say, "I'm. Right. HERE!" And it feels beautiful.  It is so easy to be joyful, it really is beautifully simple, but I find it excruciatingly difficult to be joyful and to hear Him at the same time. But this cycling in and out of my life, this losing myself just to find Him is getting old and tiresome.

       A dear friend of mine just wrote me that we were both Truth-Seekers (Amen!) but she wished she could find Joy in it, as I do.  But I don't; I get very frightened of Joy because I can feel the Truth slipping away like those, light, superficial clouds on a sunny day; Truth becomes insignificant to the brightness of my Joy.
      I want to have the two combined in one peaceful Knowing; I want to end the cycles and just have momentum and stillness so harmoniously intertwined that my life mimics the ocean: going nowhere, but always moving. ninety percent of the people I know who understand this conflict (not many do) but have somehow left it behind in their lives to ride their oceans waves, have done a LOT of acid (and other psychedelics).  They've tripped time and time again: sacredly, indulgently, capriciously-"anyone want some choc-o-late??", "here, lick this." (of COURSE this was all done in places where these things are LEGAL, so I am in now way endorsing or advocating for criminal activity). And I really think it's done wonders for them (the people I'm thinking about, not ALL people EVER, etc-whatevs...)

       I gotta trip until I see God in not just the downpour, not just the fluffy, light clouds, but in the whole fucking sky, the trees, my skin, the wind. (Turn on, Tune in, Drop out man-ha!)
      Like Arjuna, I get so damn caught up in the morality of living, it is time Krishna shows me the BIG picture....

       You know, it is moments like this where I get....perturbed by the philosophy of the Guru. I mean the whole idea-as I've found in my spiritualizing, is that the Guru comes when you ready-the Guru being a mortal being who has ascended through the journey of transcedence just far enough so that he can be in Communion with the Divine but still remains on the earthly plain to help poor suckers like me figure this shit out. Like the Jimminy Cricket of Spiritualism.
       Well??? Where is he? I have been invoking my Guru ever since I began this whole journey-and still-nothing. I am READYYY.  Hmph, I am suspect that my Guru is sleeping on the job-or WORSE-he's chilling with folks like Madonna and Gwenyth Paltrow who showcases on Goop how ever so lovely he is in helping her rid herself of her "suffering": "macrobiotic or microbotic, how would I have ever known what to do..." Hmph and double hmph.  



February 19, 2012

Is It a Cycle or A Spiral...or just another piece of His Puzzle? (WARNING: pic of copulating snakes below)

        The other thing about transitions and the other thing I've learnt about myself: a transition is a gateway, when you go through something, it tends to lead somewhere.  I am never where I was before, which contradicts the concept of a cycle, but lends a beautiful, and again organic, confirmation to the feeling of a spiral (an "up" spiral, if there is such a thing, not the downturn leading to rock bottom kind).  And now look where I am? Debating my child's own cycles and how they mimic or differ from mine.  This spot, it may feel familiar-the same need for quiet, the same soothing grey; but just here-no, I've never been here before...  

        In writing the last post, I looked up Barbara Kingsolver to make sure my remark was not just something I pulled out of my.....I tend to do that. The first thing I noticed is Bean Trees, a book I first read in high school and has been one of my favorites ever since, is a book about a young woman who accidentally adopts a child! How did I forget that? It's sad how many of my possessions I've lost in my more dramatic transitions, especially the clothes books.  Other things I saw about her in links that for some reason will not properly load, but include her official website: she moved to Africa as a child-I thought that was just part of her novel The Posionwood Bible; she considers herself a "scientist who writes"-I consider myself a Philosopher who thinks too much, and activist who thinks too much, a writer who thinks too much, you get?; she believes "the writing of fiction is a dance between truth and invention"-I would agree and add the Living of Life is a copulation between thinking and doing. 

           I think I wouldn't ask so many questions on life, if I'd been allowed to keep some of the answers I collected along the way.  Now it's sort of like my conversations with God (haven't read the real book): God shows me a piece of the puzzle and I say-meh? and he replies, "what do you see?" And I look, and I look, and then suddenly I see, "Oh! There you are!" Then he gently (or not so gently) turns me in another direction, and asks, "What do you see?" And I look, and I look, and the same frustration and longing exists, but it's always a different version of Him; and so, the spiral continues.

  COPULATION: I always think of snakes when I use that word, and I love using that word.   Big Gianormous snakes LOVE to copulate!

       Do you know what horrors I had to look at to find this picture that was supposed to represent all the cool Nature shows I watched as a child? The internet is one sick place, I tells ya. What large snakes.....ahem....mating has to do with nano technology, the reader can find out.... maybe it's porn....kidding, but really I doubt I will sleep well tonight-grrrroooossss!

February 18, 2012

Is it A Cycle or A Spiral?

I know something about myself that I haven't always known.  I have a rough time with transitions. Any transition, no matter how small, throws me for a loop, or into a loop as it were.  I knew this week would be tough. The Little One and I are on or own for the second time ever, and this time for much longer than two days.  Added to this, she has begun her lessons this week.  One would think this was cause for a celebration, but instead her increasingly familiar mood shifts, coupled with my own withdrawal into quiet has left us both in a funk that seems to feed off each other. I know what's going on with me, but am at loss to see why it should result in such exacting expression from someone else.

         For me, what I've come to call it is Cycling.  I have this theory I'm working on about my biorhythms-my physical, emotional, and mental states of being. I wrote about it last month, in a post I never posted, because then the cycle continued and it didn't seem so relevant anymore-life went on; things were fun, crazy, but mostly manageable.  And now when I know I'm just coming out of yet another of my...introversions, I still don't have much to say, I'm just remembering I have words. But I do want to write about it at some point-maybe a lot-until I get it right.  I think it's an amazing thing to witness about myself, though harassing to go through.  The threat to slip into psychobabble and very really psych-fears is... restraining, but who gives a shit.

          For the past few years I've witnessed an increasingly palpable wave my moods shift through, a cycle that begins say at the end of the month. I love the start of the month; I am always so ON IT, so AWARE, so high with connection and comprehension.  No matter what is going on in my life, these first two or three weeks (if you count from the last week of the previous month) find me in my most creative and initiating mood.  Even if I'm not doing anything new, I am usually remembering what I'd thought to do before but just never got around to it.
          Then it all goes to pot around the middle of the month-I say around because if I am being very careful and aware I can note a few days of.....frantic feeling where I'm still doing, still being thoroughly extroverted and functional, but it's like I'm Wile E. Coyote just after he dashes over the ledge, just after he realizes he is over a ledge, just before that realization leads to his downfall...literally.  Those are those few days-say the 13th to the 15th; it's where I'm already over the ledge, but now it's dawned on me, and peeeewww, splat, there it is. 
              I stay in an introverted funk, having nothing to say, no thoughts come to mind that I can lucidly follow let alone share.  [This is where we bring up interesting little words like depression and seek help. Yeah, you would say that, I would too unless I was me-which I am.]
           The thing about these cycles is they are not pathological though they are organic and natural; I don't feel bad at these times, I just go still and quiet, which only feels bad when I feel like I'm supposed to be the extroverted doer-maker-organizer I am at the other side of the cycle (like when it's the Little One's first week alone with me, and she's got lessons and tutors, and outings Oh My!)
            Without fail, no matter what is going on around the 23 of the month, I snap out of it-well NO-I slip back into the other side of the cycle.  Suddenly words, thoughts, and connections are alive in my brain again-like WOW (ha! can you tell I'm not quite there yet?) And that's it; the cycle starts all over again.
            There's another thing I've noted about this cycle thing but with less definition, it is that I think it happens throughout the year as well, but that may just be residual effects of living in a cold climate.  I am high as hell in February, my life just feels tremendously filled with activity even when it's just in my mind; in March things are okay, but in April and May I get that funky over the ledge feeling again-I'm usually working out like crazy, working, seeing someone new, but it's all starting to slip away for some reason. New guy disappears or turns into a sociopath in human clothing; working out hits a standstill, usually related to some such illness; and so on, and so forth.

         There, I've written it all out for once, not that it makes me sound at all normal or healthy, and worse, not that I have even begun to explain the nuances of this revolution-like those time-lapse photography videos of a carcass being devoured by insects in the forest-this is a messy, but beautiful thing. I just don't really know what it is yet.

          I began this post discussing transitions-this is a whole new layer of dealing with my tiresome self. You would never know it to look at me, unless you really knew me, and even then only if you were especially brave and curious.  Life continues as before-food is made, jobs are done, people are called. There may be only like 3 days of the 10 day downturn where I seem off or tired, but I know when it is there with some inexplicably exact timing.

           This last time it happened on...Friday, the day I went to the gym at 6am, the day I came back and did 3 loads of wash (by HAND-ahem-Africa), the day I took the Little One to the eye doctor, and sat there waiting to be called on a lovely, sunny afternoon, scratching at the crease in my arm, even though it didn't itch.  And my Logic mind thought-ah shit-what IS that itch?
            And Saturday we made a morning trip to the market and continued on to a lovely day at the beach-except that I was exhausted from too much gym time and I was expecting some-ka-guy (that's Ugandan for bloke, or mic, or homie) to maybe show up, though I didn't really want him too, and night came and all had gone well-it had been lovely, lovely, lovely...and I thought-fuck me, what IS that itch?
            Sunday I let myself read in bed thinking, let me just breathe and take my vitamins.
            And Monday she began her lessons but missed one because the driver forgot to show up and I thought-fuck me-I can't FIX this (nor do I even want to care)!
             And suddenly it just seemed all so tiresome. Meals were cooked, lessons were had, laundry was folded-but all the while, I was just so tired, each thought seemed to way down on me with its emptiness; like I just had nothing to say, nothing to give; like I just wanted to crawl into a simple grey space (not black, not dark, but the white was a bit too bright for me) and sit and lose myself.  This time around it was in SAG Award clips on youtube which led to any and all interviews of Ricky Gervais (who is beyond brilliant-I didn't know); followed by Adele songs on repeat (who is soooo talented-I didn't know) all things I never do and were utterly unimportant.

          Normally this is all okay for my life, not doing, not thinking, not being so damn...out there for a few days, can make me feel reborn (and yes, even in the biblical sense). But now I have this child who is perplexing to us-my mother and I-in her refusal to initiate anything with her imagination.  No matter how much attention I give her, she starves for more; like she can only participate in her life when I am right there next to her participating in the exact same thing-and It. Is. Never. Enough.  Her startling slip into apathy just because I have nothing to say to her in the 20 times a morning she comes and sits with me on my few days of introversion (I mean, feel free to watch the SAG Awards with me dear, but I am SORRY, I have no comments-especially not based on what an 8 year old, who has no idea what an awards show is, would notice or think about.) disturbs me as it strikes a very different cord than my own reclusion: I am not apathetic when I am quiet; I am biding my time, like a butterfly in a cocoon; I am doing what I gotsta to do, before I can fly free again. 
           Now she has storybooks, but won't so much as read them without me there; we've done calendars and paintings and shell decorations-even fucking papier-mâché- but when I leave my computer (where I admit I've thoroughly lost myself this week) to check on her in the 3 hours since she woke up to a prepared breakfast as usual, I find her lying on her bed sucking a finger and looking like some traumatized individual. I wake up at 6am to give her eye drops (she is not a morning person and this latest ritual may be contributing to her listlessness) then lie back in bed in an anxious panic trying to think of what in the world I'm going to say to her when she wakes up; literally willing the morning not to come. Not because I don't want to talk to her but because, just now, I can't think of a word to say to anybody; I just want to absorb and let my mind rest a bit.  

             My continued anemia may only exacerbate this situation, but that's why I mentioned the cycles; this is how my mind does; this is my cycle. I once read that though Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible; Bean Trees) one of my all time favorite authors is happily married with two daughters, when she is ready to write she actually moves out of her home and lives in a one room shack.  The PoisionWood Bible this is NOT, and perhaps will never be, but I've always had an affinity for that ritual of withdrawal.  

           It's times like this I wish we still kept to the ritual of oral tradition; I have a strong feeling that not too far back in my ancestral history, there is a woman who could tell me exactly what this was all about, and she would have a name for it, and a reason about it and it would NOT include the words depression and seek help (it's amazing how much conditioning can be blamed for our individual suffering; believing something is that when all along it is this, and instinctively knowing that difference exists but having no proof is enough to drive a person mad)

            The thing about transitions is they tend to make an already daunting task of inner harmony a bit...ungraceful for me; I get there, I almost always get there; but it's not always so pretty.  Well the Little One and I do share the same blood. Perhaps that's why her behavior frightens me so; I used to watch her mother do the same thing when she would visit us-she would lie under the dining table and mumble to herself-but again, she wasn't actually pathological, she had just shut off somehow because of a lack of stimulus.

          But how much can I stimulate another person, when I myself am watching award show clips just to give my head something to think about?  If I take her to the pool, she looks longingly at me waiting for me to come and play, ignoring all the other children around her. If I take her to the beach and after playing around for awhile, I try and just drift off in watching the light fall on the waves, she loses interest in her singing and dancing and sits next to me, not enjoying the view, just depressed that I don't want to sing and dance all the time.  I can barely find the words to articulate my own journey, how can I be expected to change all of who I am in order to keep this person happy? Is that an expectation-did I just make that up?  Is it okay for me to cycle down and just read quietly, is it ALLOWED? Is a mother really expected to lose herself in her child's needs just because that mother’s needs don't seem so especially critical? (meals are made, floors are swept, medicine and home remedies are given with sincere care and love)  I just don't know what to do with this little girl who has some of my weaknesses but very different strengths; how do I get her to snap out it, so I can be left in peace to snap in?


February 6, 2012

Swallowing a Chicken and Choking on a few Bones: The highs and Lows of this Weekend (2)

           Yeah, I can be a cool caretaker sometimes, and I'm pretty hip to the whole yoga = bonding, discipline, rhythm, and fitness thing.  Namaste and whatnot. Which works out oooookkkay, except for the fact that Vannesa is convinvced everyone but she is "very, verrrry FAT." See, she thinks this of everyone, get it? So clearly, you know, she is not an objective, you know, person to ask about whether or not I am FAT. Cause. I. Am. Not.  I'm just rocking the whole sloppy mummy look right now, getting into character and whatnot.  ANNNND, I gotta feed this child 3 freakin square meals a day, and unlike my recent previous existence, a bag of crisps and 6 beers does not count as 2 of those meals. ANNNND, I watch cartoons and fall asleep at 930, instead of going out dancing till 6. ANNNND, I maybe sneak a few extra chocolate bars just because I am sick and tired of having to share everything I eat or justify why I should get more. IT'S A LOOK, you get? 

            Wait......right, right,cool caretaker/yoga mom thing. So sometimes the Little One can get a little distracted staring at all my various body parts, in my half dressed, suedo-yoga-no I'm not wearing a bra or underwear-outfits, as it contorts and gracefully flops into various asanas (I am NOT doing one of those mommy blogger things where they use motherhood as a reason to feel insecure about things they were probably always insecure about-my shit's, not tight, but I've always been stretchy and soft and obvi kids have nothing to do with it, so I'm just saying this is different).  This is not helped by the 3 emmaciated mzungu chics that are on the video we follow (again I have always thought they looked emmaciated, but defintely living in Africa highlights the differences between our bodies and mzungu (white) women's bodies) and apparently when living with an 8year old, we lose, they win.  
             So Friday's yoga was going great, GREAT, like Zen-I think I see God-were soooo in tune-great, when the Little One starts in:
            "Eh! But when you a do-ing (bridge pose) it's as if you are plegnant (no american r's yet, too cute.....punk). Your stomach is like this.....your bleasts a like....."(whatevs, not so cute now)
            "Yeah...that's the way it's supposed to look" Okay, yes, zen, breathing, releasing-
            "But why when you a do-ing...(bridge pose) and you come out, yo buttocks a like wata (water) like......and mine a like, mmhmm, like just normal?"
            "Whatever, just do your breathing and leave my body alone. I don't even know what that means." (Like what does that mean? Like water?? Are they??? Grrr....)
            We are now just coming out of Savasana, into "blissful" awareness:
            "But you, you're like fat. You are sooo fat. Your like, I think it's time you had a babbyyyyy. You're fat like for having a babbbyyy. Becuase you have bleasts like what, you have butttooocks. I think you are ready, not so? You better find a husband before you get tooooooo OLD." (Did she need to add the sing-song to get her point across? I think not.)

              But that's okay...I bid my time, and later that day I got that little chicken-eater good

              After we left the clinic, it was late and we were all grumpy with hunger so we dashed off to an idyllic seaside restaurant that is so breathtaking and magical, one shouldn't really be able to "dash off" there on the whim; one should have to solve a riddle from a troll, give an ugly hag a pedicure, at the very least sit in traffic for a good hour. But not these Goddesses, it took us longer to grumble about where to go, than it took to get there and be seated by the water, just in time to see the moon rise and the tide come in.  I enjoyed it but was a bit perturbed about how matter fact Ms. V is about this treat (my mother has broken all semblance of her self-imposed, one big outing per month, rule to take the Little One here willy-nilly, whenever she is too lazy to think of something else.)  So the two of them even know by heart what they are going to order.  For the Little One, this can only mean one thing: CHICKEN.  Lord Almighty, this girl o' mine may seem like a little Owl, but when it comes to food, she is all Chicken Hawk.
            It must be noted that when the Little One first found herself in our home she had the same big spirit I've grown to know and love but in a body that had not seen brighter days; it had seen days of enjoying a cup of tea for dinner; enjoying white porridge for breakfast and lunch both; enjoying the smallest sweet like it was a feast; always enjoying, always appreciating what she had, but never getting much, and most definitely not enough chicken.  So when we first met her, her tiny little tummy could hardly eat a whole leg and thigh before becoming stuffed.  But in just a few months of over-indulgence, our girl has expanded, mostly in height and bright skin, but has also developed an enormous capacity to consume her favorite foods.  She actually gets drunk on them. 
           As I witnessed this 8 year old polish off an entire 1/2 of a rotisserie chicken plus 3 serving of fries in about 40 minutes give or take, before getting up and staggering-and I mean staggering-off to wash her hands, I thought, 'I think we've created a monster'. She would have kept going, but my horror was hard to contain, and I begged to her to cease and desist. Well-actually-I regaled her with horror stories of snotty skinny girls who thought they could eat that way forever until they hit puberty and became obese beyond even..... ME . Ahahaha-I mean, of course, this was all out of concern, you know, for her well-being and whatnot.....hmph.

          We only managed to take some leftovers home because my mother saved hers for me (I'd had the seafood pizza and Ms. V is seriously freaked out by seafood).  Throughout the next day, as we walked around looking for bodas, Ms. V, with eyes glazed over in withdrawal, had to waddle from side to side with her belly pushing out in front of her and her hand on her lower back for support.  She looked like she would give birth any minute to something with feathers and beady eyes; this thought must have occurred to her as well, because at dinner, when I pulled the leftover chicken out and cut it in half, immediately serving a piece to Vannesa, her eyes got large with trepidation and she could all but murmur, "no thank you, I don't eat the bleast, hehe." (yeah right, I thought, I've seen her eat everything but the beak and feet in one sitting) But it looked like someone had choked on her words and was swallowing her fears-hehehe.

         The chicken incident had lead to a very serious discussion with my mother about the need for restraint in the amount of her "favorite foods" we allow her to consume at once; thus far we've been riding on the "she needs to catch up" theory, but seeing the emotional pleasure and compulsive behavior developing in her eating habits led me to offer the contrary theory that we could just be developing a fatty-muck-fat-fat eater who she will be skinny forever (this has often been seen with previously stunted or malnourished children who then get the benefits of unlimited eating). This discussion led to a screaming match after for some inexplicable, irrational, completely unnecessary...okay, anyhow, one thing led to another and my mother reneged her previous rule that the Little One was never to eat ice cream in Dar, leading the Little One to waddle her drooling self over into the ice cream store-which I cancelled at once.  The screaming match was held off until at home, in the car, with Vannesa in the house getting ready for bed. Perhaps my anemia and my mother's high blood pressure caused us both to go for blood-it was messy and may have very likely led to the Pretty. Shitty. Sunday.....

         But what I learnt, as I sobbed and typed and tried to grapple with the enormous DRAMA of my woes, what I learnt as I read another bloggers light words of a dark pain so much more unbearable than anything I was trying to contrive, is that not everything has to be so serious-even when it is;  not everything has to be so real, just because it happened.  

          As for my liquid ass and her chicken fetish, we were both forced into humility by that harshness of anothers perspective.  The truth hurts, but only if you choke on it, so just swallow, breath, and move on.... 


Swallowing a Chicken and Choking on a few Bones: The highs and Lows of this Weekend (1)

         Dr. Gloria is the outpatient physician who I saw when I was diagnosed with Malaria a few weeks back.  There is nothing special about her, really, except she does her job, professionally, thoroughly, and kindly; this makes her EXQUISITELY distinct from any Ugandan doctor, working in Uganda, ever. Yes, yes, this is the part where I say, "well not ever..."- Hmph. We Lovvvve Dr. Gloria. So despite the unusually long wait in a fairly empty clinic, our threesome trip to the doctor's was pretty okay.   I was checked for Malaria...again, still going through fluctuating levels of weakness and total blah-ness: "Oh! But why are you back again? Are you not getting along with Dar?", "Oh no, no Dr. Gloria, I love Dar I just..." (did you hear that Ug doctors, she remembered who I was and showed concern for my well-being despite knowing I was NOT in the exclusive categories of having TB/having HIV/ being an infant with Malaria/ or any of these in tragic combination-just because I am not dying doesn't mean I don't count. Hmph!!) Dr. Gloria ordered some more in depth blood work and urine sample for a certain kind of bacteria as well as Malaria. 

           In the meanwhile, Ms. V also had to have blood work as well to begin a chart as she has been suffering from acute stomach pains since long before I knew her (so like longer than 6 months) let's just say since she was young.  I held her in my lap while the lab technician (in the 1 month I've lived here and 3 times I've seen him, he has demanded me to learn Swahili as soon as possible at least 30 times, so I told him to make sure I stop getting sick and I will learn, he agreed) prepared her big needle.  The Little One has no shortage of stories at her Hulk like transformation if faced with an injection; apparently, she bites; she wounds; she maims, and swears there is a whole slew of broken nurses out there who can attest to this fact.  Having just felt the pinch of the large needle he was preparing for her, I was a bit.....nervous.  I held her in my lap, one arm firmly wrapped around her free arm and both legs, while I whispered soothing comments into her ear.  She discussed, with squeakily thin voice, the approaching needle and I swear my heart beat right through her otherwise still, calm, chest. We survived.  

          She was given de-worming medicine and revealed yet another quirk in her personality-the girl LOVES medicine.....almost as much as Chicken! Which, well......It was so bad she almost cried at the idea that her medicine came in a single dose and mine was much more-weirdo! (actually, no, I think I can guess the history of this going back to her mama, but let's keep this light.....enough) It turns out I didn't have Malaria, or the weird bacteria thing.  BUT (ahem Ug "doctors" this part is called doctoring) While I sat in on the Little One's consultation, Dr. G listened while I threw out other suggestions for what was bringing me down, and ordered a hemoglobin test, and Yaayyy, guess who knows her body? Turns out the Malaria had brought me down a few notches and I was anemic, enough to explain the tornadoes of emotions and behavior a few weeks/days/hours ago, thank you very much-well...... mine, not my mother's, and certainly not hers of today; she is just a crazynarcissistic, neglectful, careless-urghhhh-keeping it light, keeping it light......

          Dr. G did nothing more but give me some vitamins to keep me going till I replenish the ones I used to take in Ug. (If she's very good I'll give the Little One one tomorrow as a treat in lieu of the chocolate I will eat, hehehe, I'm getting good at this).  Well, actually she did a whole lot more as far as reviving-well- establishing my trust in some-well-one practitioner of western medicine.  Even lil Ms. V has a sad tale of being ignored by some stupid dr. over her stomach issues, and she agrees, Dr. G is super. We <3 Dr. G.....

           Speaking of hearts, in case anyone reads this blog they may notice the large, red Owl distracting them from all of my elquoent thoughts, musings, and stories while it hangs from a tree and-what-farts? I found this lovely "gadget" at blogamation and yes, it may very well look like I am a novice blogger who threw some random, ill-placed, ill-sized, gadget on her blog, just because she figured what a gadet was and how to attach it.....well, okay, that is exactly what happened. But lemme tell you this, after getting over the initial distraction, I have fallen in LOVE with My Little Owl, because of course, it's her-the Little One.  With her big wide eyes that see everything and her enormous heart made up of layers of experience and wisdom and innocence and curiosity, My Little Owl sits atop her tree, watching me write her words down. I check with her now and then as I edit what I've written, knowing that maybe just now she would disapprove of the exposure, but hoping that by the time she finally chooses to learn to read and understand what and why I've written, she will trust me enough to approve.  So thank you Blogamation for my Farting Little Owl!

          But hey! I do have one reader, huh? My gratitude to my first follower Ms. Z. After my almost bout of diarrhea (ha!) at seeing I had a follower I was much relieved (haha!) to see it was a familiar.....friend, though new.  Ms. Z, in my head, is played by Helen Mirren, not just because of her profile pic, but because her writing depicts the same flawless Grace that is embodied by the actress.  When I first found her blog I wrote her a long email about how, though it seemed we had absolutely nothing in common circumstantially, her writing hooked me, like when I sit by the Indian Ocean in one spot and literally watch the tide go out and come back in again: so flawless and so graceful. She's cool, but I never sent that message because I'm Ugandan, and Ugandans are good-damn good-at stalking.  I wasn't sure if there was some Blog-Stalk law or something, and trying to play it cool I kept my cheesy analogies to myself, till now.

          Ohhh, I know why I keep making potty comments, the water in my bathroom is out, so the toilet is on my mind-on my lazy ass I gotta go alllllll the way to the next room to poop-mind. 

          I've written and re-written today's post 3 times, when it is usually a free flow.  That's because yesterday was actually a Pretty. Shitty (ahahahaha-that one wasn't even on purpose). Sunday and I've been trying to document why in so many different ways, but each felt wrong and heavy and pointless.  Until I remembered the chicken and doing yoga with Vannesa...


February 2, 2012

Brigit Has Her Say

Brigit is said to have been born at the exact moment of day break, she rose with the sun, her head radiant with rays of luminous light, associating her with ascended awareness, enlightenment, new beginnings, sun beams and warmth. She is celebrated on Imbolc, falling on February 1 or 2, celebrating the return of the light and the coming of the spring.  Thus her solar aspects may also represent Brigit as the Promise of Spring, the Bringer of Light after the dark months of winter. This energy brings with it HOPE, renewed enthusiasm, renewal, and new beginnings.

Brigit is considered a Triple Goddess, yet many references distinguish Brigit differently than the traditional Triple Goddess aspects of Maiden, Mother and Crone.  Rather Brigit is frequently referenced having three sister selves with three distinct roles, Lady of Healing Waters, Goddess of the Sacred Flame and Goddess of the Fertile Earth.  These roles are then multiplied through Brigit’s vast and varied responsibilities . . .

             Today began on an ascending note.  One second there was come quiet grayness: I did not know who I was or what I felt for the future.  I was in a pre-dawn limbo, clinging to the dreams of the night before, shying from the nightmares.  
             My mother and I were both pulled to convene, but I'm not sure we knew about what or why. It felt like a ritual we had not meant to take part in, but that may be just the retrospective knowledge that a Goddess had arisen to claim her Authority and Bless us with her healing.

            Our communion began with an ironic discussion on the subject of communication. It didn't go well, and "we are NOT communicating" became the pat phrase to explain why we were getting heated as we tried to analyze how better to communicate, especially vis a vis disagreements had in front of the Little One and especially those that are about her.  I would have thought all this pathetic and never dared to mention it, except somehow during it, something happened.  The sun rose and so did Vannesa, and the exchange shifted to one of personal revelation.  "I am afraid," I blurted through unexpected tears, "that no one will allow me to express negative emotion."  I had become so raw seeing how the slightest scolding from me would shut Vannesa down into a frighted, trapped, broken animal-whereas the same. exact. words, from my mother would inspire an assertive, receptive, good-natured response.  And there was that same my mother's eyes and body, during what I believed to be a simple, mildly uncomfortable exchange.  "I don't know how to be heard" I groaned, "without having to make a big deal of it."

        The way it goes, the way it's always gone, no matter the form-letters, jokes, broken dishes-I use to express negative emotions, is that people scrunch up and pull away.  And that is, in and of itself, So. Very...lonesome; but it gets traumatically worse that the very same people, the very same ones, yearn, demand, and nurture all that is healing and nurturing in me, never understanding, never accepting that the latter comes from the same source as the former.  I am one being, yin/yang, positive and negative. And my passionate expression of one  is the very same flame I use to fuel the other.  That is the conflict I bare; my confession to share.  I am revered and rebuked, nurtured and negated for things that come from the very same place deep within me.  The conflict is in the reception (expression); I feel faithful in the belief that the source is one whole...holistic being.  

      My confession left a feeling quite different from resolution, there was none of that. There was a gentle meditation on the Truth behind my revelation.  It was sacred, even if we didn't know we knew it.

     Somehow this bright sunshine day led us to take charge, the Little One was strangely drawn to me-well strange as there is usually a balance or her affection slightly favors Mukaka when Mukaka is around (but this isn't so terrible: I'm understandably more childish around my mother, and anyhow they hardly get to see each other, and lastly I would do the same if my grandmother were around).  But today her beaming eyes shined directly on me, like I was...well...a Goddess; and she was beautiful for her attention, though it frightened me to think how I would...manage such fierce light for the next 9 hours or so...

            We went back to the school that has given us our last hope for getting her placed; we went determined to communicate our position: "yes, you do want her, forget what the papers say, she is a light and we need a fireplace to nurture her; here, she. will. thrive". Brigit had spoken for us, it had already been decided, "yes, we do want her, we know she can thrive; we just may have to wait..."  It was good, it was very good.

           Today was a day were the sunshine seemed to burn our fears up, then bathe us in healing light of faith and inspiration.  I gave Vannesa "work" to do, "we all have to work don't we?"  and so forth, she tried to shrink in; she tried to not believe in herself-but the light was too strong for her to hide.  When she was finished she sighhhed, "I could have never believed I could do so much, Ahhh God."  I laughed, "I always knew it," I replied, "Ehhh? Since you met me?" she questioned. "Since I've gotten to know you, more and more I think, look how much she can do when she just tries!"...

             The Malaria kicked in around 5, I had to give in and lay down.  When my mother came I hadn't started dinner, she went right to it, and it was only hours later that she realized I was ill.  She had a huge report she swore she would do, and she never even mentioned it once.  The flow by evening was as if we were all one; there was no longer a need to speak. 

            Three Goddesses are we still searching for the right, the authority, to be in our power, but today we were Brigit in her 3 potent Selves; she didn't ask us to be bright, or cool, or nurturing, she just rose with the sun and in her light, we thrived.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

"Goddess Brigit inspires, empowers and encourages us to express our Truth through our purpose.  She offers assistance in releasing and transcending fears; self-limiting patterns and unhealed energy, helping us to feel protected and supported through any and all aspects of self-expression and communication."
Who is Goddess Brigit

          The night ended on a funny note as far as Truth telling goes (in Uganda "funny" more often refers to disturbing, uncomfortable, unnatural, wrong. But in Uganda, we have no negative feelings-no wait, we have no words for negative feelings): I was snuggled up to the Little One- we were both reveling in the peace and love and nurturing that occurred between us and within us today; plus I was feeling quite ill (either Malaria again, or tooth gone rot-most likely both-but surely not throat cancer...?!?) 
          I was sick and she was sick of the ghosts that have been hampering her dreams and evening hours. Silly little children's fear, right? Not to this proud heathen.  There's definitely some superstitious happenings that have been going on in the last few days; individually, each of us have felt...invaded (even as I write this I hear her whispering in her sleep and the feeling of a real conversation occurring in front of my blind eyes is making my mama-bear fur stand on end). 
         So we were snuggled, and what begun as scary ghost stories turned into giggling real life stories that were far scarier than the idea of astral-travelling evil relatives and a recently passed mother's protection:

             "Aunty please sleep with me!! When you sleep with me, I'm so comfortable."
             "You're comfortable when you sleep with anyone."

"Yes, that's true."

              This introduction led to the topic of the very few men that were listed on the "it's okay to sleep with" list. This in turn led to the topic of why other men were not okay to sleep with. This topic was disturbingly led by the little one:

             "But I don't want some man, you know, kissing me, ewww gross!"

             "Why would a man want to kiss a little girl? (please, please, please say you just heard from so and so that such and such)

             She leans in like an wise owl schooling a naive little chickadee, "You knowww, in Uganda...heh...there are men who kiss. littlechildren.

             I try to re-assert my authority on the subject, proclaiming my vast understanding of the evils of pedophilia. "Yes I know, those men are everywhere. They are very very sick and bad.

             "Yes, I know." She looks at me trying to asses if I am worldly enough to handle what comes next; and I'm fairly sure I am not but will attempt to fake it.  "Let me tell you..." 

            What comes next is a play by play account of the cancer-stricken man who lived across the street from her and her mother's apartment, the women (and girls) who frequented his home, and the group of little girl's who avidly stalked him in order to report back to authorities-guess who was their leader...
              In the first episode, she'd witnessed said man approach a "beautiful, half-naked" woman walking down the street, propositioned her, led her back to his house, and had some sort of...relations with said woman (I could not lie there and let her try and describe what she did not understand, I had to insert..."gross things?" to stifle my mental freak-out), the most scandalous being he reached over her and stuck his hand in her..."what is this they wear? bla? As IF wanting to TOUCH her breast!" We both looked at each perplexed and disturbed by this possibility (well I was disturbed by the fact that this conversation was happening, but there it is). I got a comic relief from my disquiet when she explained her return home:

         "So I ran home and my heart was just beating: UH-HEH, UH-HEH..." she pants heavily, demonstrating, rolling on the bed, closing her eyes with hand to little chest. "Mummy asked me what happened and I couldn't even talk...I just lied there until I was asleep"

         Part 2, according to her, was the "not so scary" episode, involving a child, who judging by the height she indicated was about 2 or 3 years old, but considering her heroic escape, "she was a clever gal", she sounds more like Jackie Chan aged 35. Though I was too curious to know if she actually stayed and watched the whole episode above, this time I begged for her to cease and desist, I was SCARED, this was too REAL.  She denied my request-welcome to the big girls club:

         "And now he brings home a young gal, and he says 'take off your dress' but she was a clever gal and she says 'no! why should I?!' and he says, 'so I can give you medicine', so the gal took off one dress but she had one on underneath." 
          And the man gets angry, and he shouts at her, she hits him, he shakes her, she kicks him and runs out of the house. 
         "When I saw her kick him I thought, eh! this is a clever gal. I told myself then that if anyone tried to kiss me, I would kick them just like that gal. So when she came running, for us, we called her, 'eh come, come!' And I said, 'wow, clever gal, good job'. And she screamed, 'RUN, Ruuuuunnnn, don't stay here!!' And then she just...ehhh-started crying and shaking like what."

        Mind you understand, though her mother had not given express consent to these...investigations (I hope, I hope, I sincerely hope) Each of these episodes (I will assume they were more and it was only her mercy for me that made her end her tales) were immediately reported back in detail to her mother, and the response was more to confirm what a bad man he was, than to try to heal or reinstate the innocence of her child.   

        This is not a story of trauma, this is a story of communication and it's to POWER:  Are you afraid of the dark?  I know I am.  But don't let the dark know; tell it to go to hell.  You got an evil-witch sending you bad dreams? Sing a child's song about how stupid she is to make you think of your biggest fear-losing the ones you belong to...again.  If there are dirty men in the world and you know too much about it, make a list of all the men you feel safe with, and torture your Aunty with a scary fairy-tale. After all she's there with you, and the dark is not as powerful as her warmth and her love.