Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Making do with what I have

I've made my peace with the fact that I cannot afford my favorite hobbies and amusement right now. I'm still bitter about being out of school and scrambling to pay bills, but I realize that those issues aren't going to be resolved anytime soon. 

I've begun taking mom to the gym. There are senior fitness classes she can attend twice a week and the possibility of a third coming soon to our local gym. This was our first week, so she's feeling more tired and weak than usual. I told her that it's too be expected until she gets back into the habit of exercising regularly. When I first started caring for her in March, I made her walk the grocery store with me for exercise, but once I started working part time that wasn't manageable anymore. I considered the time that it takes to get her to and from the gym, and it seems like this new schedule is better for both of us. Sure, I'd like to use the time to earn money instead, but mom's mental acuity suffers when she's left alone so much. Taking her to the gym gives her the opportunity to socialize with other seniors and gives me the motivation to get back into the gym. My hope is that, once she feels comfortable attending the senior classes without me attending her, I can do my own more challenging workout. It will take a few weeks at least, and that should give me enough time to figure out how I want to spend my time in the gym. 

Today we attended the aqua zumba class. I found it to be a good enough workout for my current level of fitness and perhaps a bit advanced for mom, but she will work her way up to following along with the instructor. At the end of the class, we are rewarded with a soak in the jacuzzi. I kinda expected to have a few hours of rideshare today, but there was no time. Getting her in and out of the pool takes a lot of additional steps in both preparation and cleanup. Since I am now working a both at the San Leandro farmers market Wednesday evenings, I can no longer drive on Wednesdays at all. I already miss the money. The struggle is too real, but I suppose that I still feel pretty good about the change.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sunrise, Sunset

I think I'm gonna start processing the paperwork for mom to go to the dementia facility. She's more confused every day, and the amount of work required to care for her is getting to be too much for me. I thought that I would have some assistance by now, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. She's just uncooperative. She won't let anyone else help her.

I need to go back to work. The financial burden is too great for me to even wrap my head around it right now. It'll take me at least a year to dig myself out of the hole I created living without income for so long. And all the bills... It's overwhelming. 

The house will go to the bank, so I'll need a cheap place to live, if it exists.

Monday, August 15, 2016

At Rest

One of the reasons why I love to travel is the feeling of being a visitor. When I'm a visitor, it's acceptable to feel like I don't fit in. I am not embarrassed by getting lost or mispronouncing a name. I expect to be treated like an outsider. With the recent racism renaissance, perhaps not initiated by but definitely given momentum by Trump's hate campaign, I feel like an outsider in my own country. The pain is often unbearable. I ran from it as long as I could. Now, I'm broke and tired.

One of my passengers asked my opinion of Kaepernick's protests. Of course, he was white. I told him, just as I tell anyone,  that the man is an adult. He has the right to do what he is doing. I don't have to like it or dislike it. He is bringing energy and attention to a very important issue. The ignorant statements surfacing en masse are not surprising. Those are what make me angry. The time for change is upon us. Instead of resisting and opposing it, which is a waste since it's inevitable, help shape it. There is room for everyone to have their fears heard and addressed. If people only listened to each other. I mean REALLY listened, like they do with someone they love and want to help. If we only did that, this would be a much better world for all.

Meanwhile, at home, Mom asked when the white host was going to be back on the funny videos show. Apparently, she thought Alfonso was a temp. Yup, it's even in my own house. It's weird to be the black child of a racist Asian parent. She doesn't like to look at dark-skinned people on TV. It's been forty-two years of this shit. I don't even try anymore. What's the damn point? 

Saturday, August 13, 2016


I'm working part time now. I run a both at the farmers market for a local bakery on Sundays. I drive Uber and Lyft at least a few hours on mom's dialysis days and around six hours on other days. The arrangement allows me to be home to prepare breakfast and dinner every day. With the dementia, mom isn't capable of using the stove safely. I've seen her set dish towels and pot holders on fire trying to make hot cereal, so I set everything up so she only needs to microwave her lunch or put sandwich bread in the toaster. 

In facing two big challenges right now. The first is paying bills, of course. I'm trying my best to piece together enough income to cover a fairly minimal existence. Most of my earnings go to food, gas and tolls. A Mercedes isn't the ideal rideshare vehicle. I have my first student loan payment next month, I'm 800 miles from the next scheduled maintenance on my vehicle and I gotta make tax payment arrangements in October. 

If mom would just do the few things that are required of her, I could find a way to make this work. However, she is not only trying to bend the rules at home. She has been intimidating the dialysis attendant to disconnect her from the machine before her treatment is completed. She doesn't think that I know what I'm talking about when I tell her that there are serious consequences to this behavior. I need to prepare myself for the doctors to step in and place an order for her to be institutionalized. I'm starting to accept that it is unavoidable. She is the kind of person who cannot be trusted to make her own decisions. That probably should've been obvious by now.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

When worlds collide

A friend that I'd been missing recently got back in touch. She revealed to me that she's a medium. She knew all her life that something was different about the way she perceived the world, but it wasn't until a recent traumatic event that she understood just how different she was. I asked some questions. I never really doubted for a moment that she had good reason to believe what she said, but I was still holding on to some skepticism. Then she started saying things that I wrote here, and I am almost certain that she never read them. She talked about my family members, whom she never met, like she knew them. She repeated word for word things the clairvoyant in Phoenix said when I wandered into the oddities shop near my apartment. It was surreal, like a dream.

I found it really interesting when she described the way she receives extrasensory perceptions. I was completely on board until she began acting out of character. It frightened me at first, then I felt curiosity, then I was concerned for her wellbeing and safety.

Between that conversation (which ended mysteriously and abruptly) and its continuation the following day, the strength of our friendship grew in leaps and bounds. 

I have met a few people in my life who are different or special in ways that carry a stigma in our society. I tend to befriend them because I admire the courage it takes to explore and live their alternative lifestyles, but it also scares me. As the child of a Baptist and a Catholic, I was raised to see these alternatives as evil and dark. Now that I have seen so much darkness and evil within organized religion, I am more open-minded. It's each individual's choice to be evil or good, regardless of what kind of spirituality they practice (or lack thereof).

With this particular friend, I believe that she has a gift. But a gift can also be a burden. I feel like I need to step up and make myself more available to her just in case she needs someone she trusts to hold space for her, with her. Examining this feeling brings back memories of other friends that I believe may have needed something similar from me when I wasn't yet capable of giving it. I'm wondering if some of those old connections still exist and if I can nurture them now that I better understand how.

Above all, I'm beginning to think that I've been pursuing the wrong things. I wanted a piece of paper with my name on it to show people. I wanted nice stuff. Now, I just want to know more and to be awed by how much is out there (and in here). I want to feel more. I want to ask more questions that lead to more questions. I want to taste the freedom that comes with having no idea where a path is leading, but being absolutely certain that I need to follow it.

I was so sure that there was no "other" for me. I had given up hope that anything wondrous would happen in my life. I guess I should reconsider.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Between you and your God

Mom often comes and sits in my bedroom. I think she just wants company, so I don't drive her away (except that one time she wouldn't stop talking shit about the rest of the family). I don't engage her because I know that only leads to her baiting me into an argument. I sometimes hush her when she tries to talk over the TV. She has attempted countless times to have a conversation. I don't care. We are not friends. I am her caregiver out of kindness and my own feelings of obligation. I feel bad for her because she has no one else, but I also am aware that she has driven everyone else away. I know that she always blames the other person when they abandon her. Maybe that's why I feel such obligation, but that's irrelevant. This isn't about me. She needs help. I give help. She needs companionship. She doesn't do what is necessary to have it. I cannot control that. I cannot control her. I do often try to explain another person's perspective in hopes that she'll allow me to mediate, but it's just a waste of time. 

The other day, while I prepared breakfast, she made her usual comments about the morning news. She said she wished that someone would shoot Trump. In the next breath, she said she prays that I will hit the lottery. I wanted to tell her to stop - stop praying for me with the stink of murderous thoughts on you. I'm not sure how she can believe that God would (if he was in the business of granting wishes like a genie) grant both a wish to end another person's life and a wish for financial gain. I wanted to repeat what she said back to her so she could hear how crazy she sounds, but I've done that before without the desired effect so I did not bother. I just remained silent. She continued with her running commentary on everyone else's life, and I just let her. It would be disrespectful for me to say what I am thinking, and it would only incense her. What's the point?

When she's being nice, I automatically reinforce my defenses. She has an agenda for everything she does. If she is trying to make me relax, it's because she is planning an attack. I am not fooled by these tactics anymore. Forty-two years have finally taught me everything I need to know about her. She feels malice towards any object of her affection. She is angered by love. Expressions of love are taken as signs of weaknesses to be exploited. She is so different from me. I don't know how I grew up to be kind and compassionate under the rule of someone so manipulative. Then again, I always looked elsewhere for guidance. With her there is only criticism and cruelty. I tried so hard to hide everything that I am from her. Now she depends on the qualities she fought so ferociously to diminish in me. I'm certain that the same God she prays to finds that irony amusing as much as I am certain that she doesn't even see it.