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.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mom Had a Heart Attack

I got two phone messages from my sister on my cell phone. It was a sign that something was wrong. But I was in a meeting with my advisor.

She told me that Mom had a minor heart attack this morning and collapsed. She's now in the hospital having tests run. I feel horrible because she's stuck there sort of by herself. Dad left unannounced and we aren't sure what his story is. I'm sure he's just exhausted after having been woken up at 6am with this news and taking care of things. I wish that I was there, but I am super booked up this week with work and augh!

They're checking her to make sure that this minor heart attack is the end and not the precusor to a major heart attack. I'm nervous. My sister says that she doesn't notice any damage, but she put Mom on the phone, and Mom didn't sound very coherent at ALL. Dad doesn't seem to realize that Mom can't be left alone at the hospital. Hopefully, it is going to work out to have some companion type person stay with her tonight. I called around, but I can't find someone from here and the hospital would have to approve it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Am I Capable of a Real Relationship?

I've been told a lot lately that now isn't the time to be in a relationship; there's too much else going on in my life - Mom's Alzheimer's, trying to take care of Dad, a move ahead of me in two years when I complete my PhD. The teacher of the Imago class said that I'm just not ready; after I asked him what someone should do when they're attracted to the wrong people (or people who will only hurt them and are not open to healing Imago processes). He said I should work on myself until that changes.

The song "Kind Friend" by the Indigo Girls is playing. I used to listen to this song a lot in KC when things were tough and think about my friend Kathy and be grateful that I had our friendship. I miss her and my cousins. Augh, why do I focus on the things that are gone or missing instead of the things that I have?

I just have learned about myself that I do better when I'm in a partnership. I eat better, have more balance in my life, actually have a sex life, am more relaxed.... I want a partnership. But, I wonder if I'm capable of it. Are these people right that it isn't the right? Will it ever be the right time? My life has been filled with excuses of it not being the right time - moving around, other things to focus on, etc. When will it finally be the right time? Can I ever learn to put all of this pain, these patterns that I learned as a child to run away from people to protect myself because Dad was always so hurtful, this baggage...can i ever learn to put it all behind me and be able to approach another person with love?

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fantastic Camping Trip

This weekend, I went camping with friends and had a fantastic time. It was SOOOOO nice to have some time just to be and relax. My friends were super supportive and reaffirming of me taking care of my needs. It just felt really great and was fun and fabulous...even though the winds the last night got up to 50 mph!

But, as soon as I got back, the stress quickly seeped back in as I got home. I'm missing deadlines. I'm not producing things at the level of quality that I need to. I'm exhausted. I'm sick of dating. I want more vacation.

I'm super happy that things are so good with my family, and very relieved.

Mom's developed some new weird symptom where she's losing control of her hand and will just jerk it around sometimes. She bumped up her finger pretty bad. But, otherwise things are pretty much the same according to my dad and sister.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Complete Exhaustion

Last night I had a date with Michael who basically said that he wants to move forward into a relationship and probably doesn't want to see me anymore if I'm not there. So, I guess we may stop seeing each other. Michael is the guy who is super sweet but who I haven't felt that attracted to. But, we have a great time together, and I feel us developing this friendship which could turn into something more. On his end, I understand that he keeps taking me out for these expensive dinners and what is he getting in return.

My neighbors were outside and being very funny as Michael and I were discussing this in his car at the end of the date. One actually came up and looked at the car and then went to my front door. So, I got out and talked to them, breaking the awkwardness in the car. Turns out that a different neighbor was smoking pot and burning stuff, and they just wanted to check up on me since this car parked in front of my place was also there earlier in the night. It was kinda funny and they were embarrassed later for clearly breaking up my date. But, it was nice to chat with them, and they are lending me a sleeping bag.

I came home and for the first time in a while didn't chow down on anything. I just relaxed a bit before bed. Then, I slept fantastically and a half hour later than usual. But, I'm still exhausted today and took an almost 2 hour nap when I felt a migraine coming on. I missed this workshop that I was going to go to on campus. I'm just exhausted. It is hard for me to work even now; I kinda just want to watch tv on the couch and snuggle with my very cute pooch. But, I'll press on.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Insomnia, Feeling Broken, and Acceptance

At first, I felt super empowered about coming out to my family, but as time went on, I started to really worry about what Dad would do. My anxiety about this and things with Mom and school and everything have really been taking a toll on me. My insomnia has really kicked up another notch, and I've noticed that I'm stress eating like every night before bed, and it has messed up my digestion.

I tried going to a meditation workshop on Sunday. It was in the gorgeous location, and there were a lot of people there. But, I still had a hard time getting into it. In part because I missed the Saturday stuff, having had to be at a breakfast with my advisor. She had told me to send out an email to tell people to go to this one restaurant - - and then she shows up at a completely different one and made us come over there. Augh!

Anyway, my sister has been great recently. And then, as she was checking in with me, I got a call from Dad. He got my letter.

He sounded a little bit chocked up. He said something along the lines of: It isn't the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in the world is to have to lose your spouse and best friend. She's the person that was there for me to lean on through the hard times in my life, and I can't lean on her now. Now, I have to take care of this little girl that she's become.

Then, he gave me some spiel about how he and Mom tried to be an example for my sister and me (clearly hinting that I'm not following the example when I date women). But, then he was like okay, let's talk about these new phones that I bought and how the weather's been.

I'm kinda in shock. Clearly, Dad's feeling broken. He even said at one point how he sees his life as basically over other than taking care of Mom. Otherwise, he would have really tried to fight with me, I think. I'm feeling a little broken too - I can't relax, can't sleep, can't stop eating so much, getting stuff confused all the time. I even showed up at therapy today at the wrong time.

When I came back later in the day for my appointment, my therapist and I spoke about how I have this pattern of spinning out of control with anxiety and ending up like a hamster on a wheel running around feeling more and more ragged.

And here's where I continue with that pattern: I have a date tonight, which I'm sort of not in the mood for. This weekend is my camping trip, which makes me anxious because I'm not quite sure what to expect and not feeling super comfortable being dependent upon the people I'm going with. I going to go start up on taking anti-anxiety med before bed on nights when I'm super stressed so that hopefully I can start getting some sleep again. I'm going to try to make myself finally workout after a little hiatus. I'm trying to finish my exam and my fellowship application......

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Coming Out to My Family

After two days of migraines and ridiculous amounts of stress, I decided that I need to stop carrying around extra responsibility and stress when I don't need to. I decided to finally come out of the closet with my family about being bi. I started by writing my dad a letter:

Dear Dad,

I’m writing this letter because I have something to tell you. I don’t think you’re going to like what I have to tell you, but I’m hoping that telling you this way in a letter will let you have time to digest. I’m telling you this because I love you, and I want to be honest with you.

I am bisexual. This means that I am attracted to both men and women, and I date both men and women. The first time that I dated a woman was a couple of years ago and that relationship was the only one that I’ve had with a woman. But, it will likely not be my last. And I’ve noticed that not telling you about it has an effect: I do care about what you think, and my fear of your disapproval has kept me from taking a relationship with a woman seriously.

Being bisexual may seem like an odd thing to you, but studies such as the Kinsey study from the 1940s indicates that the majority of people are bisexual to some degree.

I don’t know if the next person that I date will be a man or a woman. But, I don’t want the choice to be based on my fear of what you will think. I want to be free to choose the person that I feel is the best for me.

I know that you love me. It is very hard to mail this letter for fear of losing that love. Although you may not understand about being bisexual, I hope that you still love me now. Know that I am the same person now as I was before you read this letter; you just know one more thing about me. I am still [Karma]. When you are ready, you are welcome to call me so we can talk about this more.

[sis] doesn’t know yet; I wanted to tell you first.


- - -

Next, I called my sister. I spoke with her and my brother in law today. They were both great. They told me that they actually already knew because of myspace not being so private after all, and that they don't think of me differently. They think Dad will FREAK out though and recommended that I have them do some sort of spy work to get the letter before my dad gets it. But, I reassured them that I'm ready for the consequences.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rocking Girl Blog

Marj has graciously awarded me a Rockin Girl Blogger. Thanks Marj! This tags me to name the 5 women bloggers who really rock. Here goes:

1) Tafka PP's Going Slightly Mad

2) April at Thriver's Toolbox

3) Deb at Yellow Wallpaper

4) Shari at Literally Blind Sided

5) Ani at My Dissonance

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Stress, Anxiety, and a Food Coma

Ah, where to begin with the stress of today. I had someone coming to clean the house who kept changing the time, and then finally showed up to explain that her cleaning partner and husband wasn't coming because his diabetes is so bad that he's having severe leg pain. All the while, I'm trying to finish this fellowship application that I need done like yesterday. At the same time, I'm talking to my sister who still hasn't heard back about this job that she had a second, third, and fourth interview for yesterday.

I had dropped my car off at the dealership this morning because there was some sort of recall. I explained that I had a meeting at 3pm, but was told that I could be picked up at 2pm no problem. At 2:30pm, I call and find out that the driver is still downtown picking people up and not even on his way. The dealership makes me sound somehow horribly selfish: "you're not the only person we have to pick up."

So, I just jumped on my bike and ran up to campus. Somehow along the way, I forgot about yesterday's change of meeting times, so while I showed up just about on time for the meeting, I hung out outside the room for almost 20 minutes, hearing some voice in the room and thinking I was early and didn't want to bother my advisor. When I walked in, they asked where the hell I was, and I just felt like such a schmuck. It was the airport spiel all over again.

They told me that this other fellowship I had also planning on applying for, I'm not actually eligible for it. And I feel bad for just always making these big mistakes and not being on task.

I mentioned Cory to my advisor who told me that she does NOT approve. It actually made me feel better about it because I know that he's not the guy for me (despite the amazing chemistry), but it still was a big thing to start the process of letting that go.

Then, I came home and had to immediately walk back over to the dealership (because they don't give rides this late). As I'm walking, I call Dad. He tells me that Mom had a bad day and was walking with one shoulder much higher than the other. He took her to the facility nurse to be examined and was told that she's fine. He also mentioned that it seems like the sleeping pill isn't working. So later, he got a message that she won't get the sleeping pill anymore.

Now here's where this makes me mad: Dad and I had agreed that the pill isn't working, but I talked with him several times about not just cold turkey taking her off of it so the sleep doesn't get worse and about him not talking about this with the nurse facility but instead actually talking with the doctor. But, apparently its being done cold turkey. Dad said: "I'm just the messenger." I wanted to yell back that he isn't just being told what will be done; he's in charge. Mom never sees a doctor, and this issue is important. Plus, Dad blames every issue Mom has had since she started the sleeping pill, on the sleeping pill. He said that it was wrong of him to try a sleeping pill at all. I WANTED to scream back that maybe if she actually got on a sleeping pill that was controlled release like I suggested that it might have helped (since her problem isn't falling asleep, its staying asleep). But instead, I just calmly explained that since she's been getting steadily worse, we can't really blame EVERY symptom on the pill.

So, I made myself some comfort food with LOTS of cheese and white wine and went into a food coma and fell deeply asleep on the couch. I hope tomorrow is better. Oh, and its Dad's birthday, I see on my calendar. Lovely.

At this stage with Mom, it is just WAAAY too hard. She isn't properly under the care of a doctor, but REALLY needs to be. The facility doctor's nurse's assistant will just okay for the doctor whatever, but they've totally ixnayed the possibility of trying an anti-anxiety for her sleep apparently. I should say that I called the doctor's office when I got home. Even though Dad asked me not to because it was already 8pm there. But I don't care. I care that my Mom is being set up for a horrible night. The nurse's aid told met that they don't taper off sleeping pills and that he recommends this anti-depressant trazodone, but Dad isn't okaying that, so she'll just go with nothing. I hate that I wasn't given options for Mom - it was either she takes this one thing or nothing.

Clearly, I'm way too stressed out. But, what can I do to lower the stress level when things are still going on with Mom, everything's a fight with Dad, sis and her husband are still unemployed, and I'm way behind with my work.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Sorting Things Out

It feels so good to be back at home. I hosted "Lesbian Movie Night" last night. Fifteen people showed up, and I was a little annoyed when this friend who blew me off completely for my birthday asked me to do all of this work to have the night be a surprise party for her partner. But, others were really considerate and made up for it.

Cory called me yesterday afternoon. I was very excited to hear from him, but he seems very not that excited about talking to me. I get the sense that he's the traditional kind of guy who doesn't express tons of emotions. Again, perhaps a red flag, but his call just brightened up my day.

On the other hand, I had this date on Saturday night where I felt no chemistry or butterflies at all. My date, Michael, who I've gone out with several times before I left town, is a really good guy. He is very considerate, can relate to what I'm going through with Mom, is really focused on what I need. I think that he's the kind of guy who could just give me what I need. But, while we were listening to this concert, I found myself thinking about Cory (who probably wouldn't have even gone to a Classical music concert with me) and wishing that he was there.

Last Wednesday, I went to this Imago class. I asked the teacher if we can just move to be with people who will give us what we need instead of ones who we are more attracted to. He said that there won't be much attraction. This whole spiel probably isn't making much sense, but I refer you to Joe for background on the theory if you're interested.

But, I feel like I'm not being fair to Michael if I keep seeing him when I'm not feeling anything, even though its comfortable and safe to date him. I feel like I should try to not get that attached to Cory because there are so many warning signs and he's made it clear that he doesn't want a long distance relationship and won't ever leave Kansas City. But, I don't actually want to do either of the above.

In the meantime, I'm attempting to throw myself into my work and catch up. I SOOOO want a vacation but I feel like I need to spend as much time as possible in Kansas City and should probably go there in December. I'm going to put off buying tickets, I think, even though they're going fast since its the holidays.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

From One Life to Another

I feel like my life in Kansas City is very different, very separate from my life at home. I've written before about how I feel this difference with my life in Israel. There are different values, friends, lifestyles, etc. And it always feels very odd to pick up one, put it on for awhile, and then drop it for another.

These last few weeks have been SUPER stressful. And it hasn't yet stopped. My connecting flight was canceled, so I had to spend last night in Phoenix and only got a little over 4 hours of sleep. I got a ride from this guy that I've seen here, Michael, but I had to keep calling him to change the flight details because of the stupid airline, and I feel bad for asking that of him. My chin is all torn up from kissing Cory's scruffy face a couple of nights ago. I have piles and piles of work to catch up on here.

I went to therapy today and just cried and kvetched. This is all so hard. And there's no end in sight. I don't know what will happen with Mom, only that it will be bad. I feel like I don't know how to help her like I used to, but I still feel really driven to try to help her. Things are so complicated with my family - I want to connect to them so that we can be united for Mom, but they tend to hurt me. I think that I'm feeling a little culture shock. I'm also completely exhausted even though a took a little nap about a hour ago.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Feeling Uncertainity

A lot has been going on here in Kansas City, getting increasingly intense as I get nearer to going home. My sister set me up with this guy, a friend of the family, and I've really developed feelings for him. At first, I was really put off by him because he comes from a very wealthy family, and it really seems to define him. But, then as I got to know him better, I see that he's this really great guy - super considerate and giving. And we have a lot in common - were raised very similarly and both have anxiety issues from overly controlling parents. And, there's crazy chemistry between us. Chemistry that is soooooo non-existent with the people I've gone out with back home.

But, he's clearly not going to leave Kansas City. And he wants a very different lifestyle than I do. So, he doesn't seem interested in pursuing a relationship with me - even though we've been seeing each other like every day now and we're having some of the best sex of my life. I came very close to falling asleep last night in his arms. But, I thought that might offend and freak out my Dad if I wasn't here when he woke up.

And then there's stuff with the family - Dad yelled at me the other night, and now we're barely speaking. During our earlier family meeting with my sister, he told us that he might move Mom into this really horrible nursing home where my great aunt was (the one he wanted to put Mom into before I pushed him to go the assisted living route). It is just really large and institutional and has more of a hospital feel than a homey feel.

Things with Mom's facility are still bad, but I feel like if I say anything then it just makes Dad more likely to move Mom into that home. I'm going to go today over to the Jewish home that has an Alzheimer's unit, even though Dad doesn't like that place.

I feel like in general, I just don't know what I'm doing. I haven't gotten much work done. My relationship with my Dad is all messed up. Things aren't good with Mom's place, and I don't even like being there because its frustrating as hell. I'm getting emotionally invested with this guy who lives here who doesn't want to pursue things, and who I probably won't even hear from when I'm out of town. I'm still tempted to tell Dad that I'm bisexual. I don't know what Mom needs or how to help her.

All I know is this: tomorrow evening, I'm going home. I'm going to throw myself into my work. I'm going to try to get a lot of exercise, meditate, and do yoga. I'll focus on taking care of myself. And until then, I'll just try to keep from going mad.

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