JewBu Quest: From Abuse to Happiness

JewBu: a Jew who practices forms of Buddhist meditation & spirituality. This blog documents my quest to 1) heal from sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, 2) come to terms with losing Mom and Grandma to Alzheimers, 3) find balance, explore the spiritual, stay present. Bascially, I've experienced some pretty crappy shit in my life and want to find a way to move past it and find happiness.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Talked It Out: Learning the Tao of Relationships

So I invited Jerry over for dinner tonight and talked it out with him. He seemed like he didn't even need to say anything; that it was understood that we're okay. I told him that I'd like it if he could tell me that he knows I'm going through a hard time and will be there for me AND something about how he feels about me. He (later) hugged me and told me something along the lines of: "I know you're going through a hard time and I'll be there for you as best I can. I really care about you."

I think that I tend to freak out if I don't get what I want or when things don't go the way that I want them to go. I tend to jump to negative conclusions. Part of what I'm learning now is the tao of relationships, I think: to have more maturity about who is "right" and "wrong" (it doesn't matter), to focus on what I'm doing instead of what my partner is or isn't doing, to let go of needing the relationship and focus on enjoying it. (And by saying that I'm learning this - I mean that I'm still in the process of learning this.)

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Feel Like I'm Losing Everything

Ya know, the reason that I am so sensitive about fighting with Jerry is that I feel like I'm losing everything in my life - I lost Grandma in December; I'm losing Mom; I lost my relationship with my aunt and cousins. It feels like so many things in my life are just slipping through my fingers. I want to be able to ground myself in having the love of another person. When things go wrong with Jerry, it taps into my grief and fear that I'm losing everything.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Emotionally Withdrawn Jerry: Another Fight

Jerry has been wanting to go camping at these hot springs ever since we started dating, but the timing never works out. So when my book club got rescheduled for today, I suggested that we take advantage and go. He was futzing around with some friends at a local brewery, so I stopped by at his request. When I mentioned that if we're camping we should get in gear, he sort of made fun of me in front of his friends for yapping. I figured that we wouldn't go. But finally an hour later - like around 6pm, he says that he wants to go.

So I run home to throw some stuff together and take my dog to the doggie sitter's. I get to Jerry's house at 6:45, and he's sitting in the living room chatting with his roommate. I tell him that we gotta go, but he sort of putzes around some more commenting about how I'm nagging or something. Its an hour and a half drive, he says, and I really don't want to get there before dark.

Still, then he says that we need to pick up a pass and some food before we go. We arrive as the sun is setting and because some of the camp sites are closed, we end up driving in the dark. When we find an open camp site, I suggest that we make camp and find our way to the springs in the morning, but Jerry insists on keeping driving and then hiking to where he says he thinks the springs are. He gives me a flashlight, tells me to grab my towel and put away my sweatshirt and we go.

I'm cold and not feeling comfortable hiking in the dark somewhere I've never been before. I suggest to Jerry that we make a time to go back if we don't find anything - because we've brought no water, I'm cold, and it doesn't seem like we even know where we're going. We finally arrive to the end of the road, and there's no visible path. We stumble along, my following Jerry. I tell Jerry that I'm uncomfortable, but he's like not really hearing me; he's determined to get to the springs, which we can now hear.

So he goes off by himself for awhile. I hear this squeaky noise like a rat or something and just really freaked out that I don't know where I am, its dark, and I'm just feeling really powerless. So, I sit down and have a little cry.

Jerry comes back and leads me to the springs. Jerry apologizes for me getting scared, but kinda in a laughing at me sort of way. As I get into the springs, he goes off again to relieve himself, and I'm sitting naked in the springs (which are too hot to really sit in). When he returns, I try to make everything be okay and come over to him and kiss him. But everything feels awkward and just wrong. I get out and just start to really cry. I look up at the sky and think about how powerless I am with what's happening with Mom. Feeling powerless before just tapped into my feeling powerless about everything.

Jerry asks me what's wrong, and finally I tell him, after a little prodding. He doesn't really respond at all and then like tries to lightly change the topic of conversation. I'm feeling so put off at this point, that I get dressed and walk back to the road by myself, just taking some time to put myself together.

When Jerry gets back, he's now angry for leaving him. He asks me what's wrong, and I tell him that he seems to freak out whenever I get emotional. He says that this is how he always is and why is it a big deal all of a sudden. After being really ready for him to just hold me for awhile, he basically says that he can't deal with anything emotional. He doesn't say why or that this doesn't mean that he doesn't care about me or ANYTHING. He seems annoyed with me too, and we walk back mostly in silence.

As we put up the tent, he is barking orders at me and telling me that I'm doing things wrong. Then, when he gets in the tent, he just passes out asleep. So, I'm left there feeling emotional, hurt, and really lonely.

We kinda fought a little more this morning again. He kept barking orders at me, telling me I'm dong things wrong, and then expecting me to be having a good time. On the car ride back, he told me that he's annoyed with me for choosing to fight on the camping trip. I told him that I didn't choose to get sad. I don't even know what all was said. All I know is that I feel like he doesn't really care about me, like he's closed off emotionally, and like I'm supposed to be pretending....I don't know what the hell is going on, just that its all off.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I was diagnosed a couple of months ago with hypoglycemia. Basically, around 4-7pm I often get kinda jittery, sometimes light headed, agitated, have hard time focusing, etc. Tonight and last night around 6pm, I checked my blood sugar to find that it is 70. That isn't crazy low, but I think that its too low for during the day. I don't know enough about all of this. But yesterday, I ended up laying on the floor for about 15 minutes crying and barely able to move.

I made a follow up appointment with the campus dietitian and will go again to acupuncture because I'm just not sure what I'm doing wrong. Probably stress is a factor. I'm cutting back on my alcohol consumption and have been careful about minimizing my consumption of sugar and white flour. I'm really struggling to find afternoon snacks that I can eat - a lot of granola and energy bars have tons of sugar; I'm lactose intolerant so can't have cheese....sometimes I'll have a hard boiled egg and a banana or something - but I want something super portable and easy for when I'm not at home. Any ideas?

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jerry's Home; Get to Teach MY Class

Jerry finally made it home yesterday, and it felt so good to see him. And to finally be able to have sex again. When we were sitting and talking last night, I felt myself want to burst out crying and tell Jerry about how bad things were with Mom. I kept it in though and noshed on Jerry's french fries and drank some beer to comfort me instead. I didn't want to overwhelm him his first day back. He was talking about getting offered to go back to China again next month already; and I told him that I can't leave the country with things with Mom the way they are. I'd be really sad if he left again, although I know that I need to let him do whatever he needs to do.

I got a job offer today to teach this class that I put together years ago on sexual violence. I'm REALLY excited about it - basically teaching this class is the reason that I am going to become a professor. Its a great opportunity too because the department rarely lets grad students come up with their own classes.

Dad called me today all riled up about some parking spot spiel with my Grandma's condo. I think my sister is trying to egg him on with this. I just tried to calm the situation. I may make a call on his behalf, but hopefully in a couple months, everything with the estate will be settled.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wanted: Survivor Poetry - Queer or Trans

I'm leading a poetry workshop next weekend for queer and trans youth who have survived sexual violence, and I need some examples/models. So, if you know of any poetry written by youth, queer, or trans people about surviving sexual violence, please mention it in the comments. Thanks!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How I'm Coping With It

I am trying to just pick up and keep going, but I'm honestly just torn apart by how things are with Mom. I knew that this was coming, but its just so shocking that in a few months, my Mom doesn't know who I am anymore. I hated seeing her like this, and I feel so completely powerless. I slept like HELL last night - having a hard time falling asleep and then waking up every couple of hours.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Few Tips for Caregivers

Here are a few things that worked really well for my Mom:

  1. When watching a movie, put on the subtitles in English. That way she can read the movie as well as watch it; it helps her be able to follow.
  2. A few of the musical DVDs have "singalong" functions. They'll play only the song part of the musical WITH the words as subtitles and highlight which part of the song they're singing.
  3. Give a lot of positive feedback. I'd give my Mom little tasks - ie like when I took her to the bathroon, and when I would tell her "good job," she seemed to do better.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Frustrations of Alzheimer's

I made it to Kansas City safe and sound and type to you from my father's office. We're going to take my Mom out to her favorite restaurant in a little bit. Yesterday night, I managed to get her to synagogue, which she not only enjoyed, but also ran into one of her old friends.

But, she's been driving me crazy. Its not just the disappointment of her not exactly remembering me or being able to comprehend much of what I say to her. Its not just that I have to really struggle to get her to do anything, i.e. go to the bathroom. Its not just that I had to shhhh my own mother a couple of times when we were at synagogue (because it was a silent pause moment and she started talking loudly). The hardest thing is that she snaps at me with this really angry tone that she never took with me before in her life.

I know all of this is just the disease, but it is completely stressful and heartbreaking to see your mother who is barely in her 60s struggling so much just to exist and still be quickly disappearing. I was here a couple of months ago, and the difference is striking. She several times got upset that her parents won't know where she is. (Both of her parents have died, and she says it as if she's some young kid.) This, I think, is a very bad sign. For my great aunt and my grandmother, it was a sign that we had hit the one year left mark.

My dad still doesn't look so hot. He has more color in his face, but his weight is still at 155 lbs. He used to weigh 200 lbs. There's no muscle on him, and since its so hot and he's wearing shorts, it is kinda creepy to look at him honestly. I don't know how he manages with all of this, but it is certainly taking its toll on his body. He looks much like his father did in his 80s. (But my dad is only in his 60s.)

I leave tomorrow, back home to teach again. I am kind of glad to not have to be here too much longer, although sad to not be with Mom. I haven't even made my plans yet for September, in part because I feel very non-committal right now about how long I'll come for. I want to help my parents, but it breaks my heart to see them. It especially stresses me out to be with my Mom.

But for tonight, I'll take some deep breaths and have a drink with dinner and try to savor the time that we have and at the very least give her some enjoyable moments.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Attempting to Remain Connected and Independent

Well, slowly but surely time is ticking along, and it isn't as bad as I feared. I bought a new bike, by myself, without Jerry's help, and I was quite proud of myself. I had to ride it home like 7 miles or something, but it ended up being fun. I'm going to start riding to school too. The bike gives me a sense of independence because I'm not even dependent upon the car. I can just ride wherever my little legs will peddle me.

Last weekend, I hung out with my ex girlfriend and a group of queer women that I've befriended. They're a fun group, although there's always this awkwardness because I'm dating a guy and my ex tends to bring her current boyfriend. She thanked me though for making an effort to be nice to him. Turns out that he's half Jewish! She's Catholic. My boyfriend's Catholic....anyway, a funny twist.

I had lunch with someone else. And I invited my TA out for a drink. So, I'm certainly making an effort. I have plans for when I return from KC to host a lesbian movie night and to go out with this couple to dinner. There's also this art show that I'm invited to at the museum, although I sadly have no one to go with. *A* said he might go to see his Dad for his birthday. Another classmate is in LA. But, maybe I'll just go by myself.

I tried to call Mom, but she didn't know what to do with the phone. I heard someone say to her to talk into the phone, but she didn't say anything. I kept prompting her. And then finally I gave up.

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