Family huh?

That last poetry post….. I started of with an entirely different intention.  I had said to my dad this morning ‘All I want is to help people’.  Followed with ‘I cannot help my sister or my mother’.  And I intended the poem to be about that.. But my subconscious had other things in mind… and *shrugs* oh well.

No I cannot help family or friends the way a counsellor helps a client.  They are not my client!  They are family/friend!!  The relationship is formed a different way, and it simply isn’t possible.  The stranger element, the unknown entity which is the counsellor, the lack of any knowledge of any details of the counsellor, is part and parcel of how it all works.  The fact that a client goes to the counsellor seeking help to cope with their life.  THAT is a HUGE part of it.  Without it….. the desire for change, the desire for development…. and the desperation of seeking help from a professional, from a stranger, to dwelve into their deepest, most intimate problems and memories…. all of that is part of a counsellor-client relationship.

My mother and sister do not seek change within themselves.  What they want from me is for ME to change.  My sister wants me to stop being a tory-hating bleeding heart intersectional socialist-activist.  My mother wants me to stop being bisexual.  Neither of those are possible, neither of those will bring anyone happiness – no not even them.

I am me.  I am happy with me.  They are not happy with me being me.  There is nothing I can do about that.  I cannot change who I am.  I am me.  I am happy being me.

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A Counsellor’s Lament

In the larger picture, the longsighted lens, the distant future
All I want is to help people
To give, to love, to encourage and reassure
All I want is to help people

In the you, is your self, your being, your life, your spirit
To you I am but a mirror
I reflect your love, your beauty, your worth and your music
On my glass plate painted with silver

But if you show hurt, anger, frustration and strive
With love I try to help you,
Your self worth, your confidence, your strength and your drive,
With empathy I will try to boost you.

In your worth, your esteem, your confidence, your breath
Is where lay your foundations to joy
They belong inside you, within you, deep in your depths
Not outside as another’s toy

In the larger picture, the longsighted lens, the distant future
All I want is to help people
To give, to love, to encourage and reassure
All I want is to help people

Sertraline

“You have a dragon to kill”

“Oh you still have issues to sort through”

“You need more tools”

“You need to teach your brain to produce it without help”

“You need to rewire your brain”

So I’ve decided to go back on sertraline.  I realised by week 2 completely off (week 10 or 11 of tapering) that I was a wreck and I’m better off on, but I waited until I was 6 weeks completely off before saying ‘ok, the only person I’m fighting now is myself’ and making the decision.  So while I was making the decision, aside from my closest and dearest – no one was there for me or offering me help…. after I made the decision however.. the above is some of the ridiculous things which have been said to me.  Does a diabetic get told they need to rewire their pancreas, or that their pancreas needs to be told how to produce insulin?  Do people with cardiac arrhythymia get told they can live without their pacemaker if they learnt the right coping tools?

People think that clinical depression mean I am having trouble coping.  You know what I felt when I came off sertraline?

Nothing.

No, really… I felt nothing.

I stopped caring.  I stopped caring about my partners and tried to break up with them.  I stopped enjoying music and baking.  I stopped volunteering because I didn’t care.  I haven’t spoken to my father since before I started tapering.  I read immersive fantasy fiction because it was immersive.  I stopped reading my counselling books because I no longer cared for them.  Each week was maybe 1-2 days total of feeling low, but 5-6 days of total blank apathy. My memory was shot too, but I didn’t care about that.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter.  Is it far fetch to think that the areas of my brain which is most affected by shortage of this neurotransmitter is the link to my empathic response?  To love, to care, and to happiness?

The public response seem to be that there is something wrong with me if I’m taking an anti-depressant.  But I argue that there isn’t, and more neurotransmitters just make me more whole, more me.  It doesn’t change me, it just helps me to be more in touch with me, more in touch with the world.

I am one of the invisible ones, the ones no one hears about.  There are millions of people out there on anti depressants who hold full time jobs and live normal-to-the-outside lives.  I don’t spend days curled up crying.  Sometimes hours maybe…. but we manage to get out of bed and live.  Every day.  I don’t have much ‘trouble coping’.  I just have a chemical imbalance.  That my life is so much improved and so much more wholesome, fulfilling and filled with love is testament to how far biochemistry and neuroscience have come along.  Counselling helped too off course – if i didn’t believe in counselling I wouldn’t be training in the field… but counselling cannot correct chemical imbalances.  It is physical.  It is chemical. At the end of the day we are but a large back of mostly water, some protein, a few bones, and a million different chemical transmitters.

I don’t have a dragon to kill.  I don’t have trouble coping.  I don’t have trouble getting out of bed and going to work.  I do not need to rewire my brain or collect more tools.

I have a chemical imbalance which I correct with medication.

And that is okay.

My bane – Facebook

I am intermittently deactivating and reactivating my facebook account.  I have just completely weaned off the anti depressants I was on for PTSD, and while I am mostly doing okay, I am finding the interactions on facebook fraught with aggression, defensiveness and just plain unfriendliness.  All things which I don’t need while I settle into a new equilibrium of neurological biochemistry.

I do bring it on myself I suppose.  I will call people out for being misogynistic, queerphobic or sex-worker phobic.  That is, on some level ‘asking for’ the backlash I get for doing that.  That last statement was victim blaming.  Which is wrong on so many levels.  Hhhmm.. let me rephrase that.  NO, by calling out misogyny, queer phobia and sex-worker phobia, I am not asking for anything.  I am putting information out there.  I am merely saying that that person’s statement, or share, or whatever, is perceived by me to be misogynist / queer phobic / sex worker phobic.  That is it.  They can chose whether to react to it or not.  Some people do react by saying thank you… but most of the time.. what do I get?  A ‘oh why can’t you just take a joke’.  Or a ‘but this and this and this not this this this’.

These sorts of reactions then require extra spoons to deal with.  Spoons I am currently expending by just…. living.  Yes, living require spoons.  Anxiety and depression require spoons to deal with.  Even at the level they are currently – which is very very very low.  EVERY interaction with the world which requires a response interaction requires spoons.  Work requires spoons and is where most of it goes to.  School, thankfully on break (which is why I’m weaning off now and not in autumn), requires spoons.

Maybe I should put a disclaimer on every comment I live in public.. something along the lines of

[Disclaimer: By leaving this comment, I am merely providing information about what I think of your last statement, you DO NOT have to react or to reply to it, it is merely INFORMATION which you are entirely welcome to read and discard]

There… what do you think?

Why are people not more accepting?  Why is the respond “thank you for informing me my last statement was misogynist.  I will think about why you might think that and maybe rethink my position” so rare it might as well be extinct?

To use an common analogy : When you give someone a gift, is the response ‘thank you, that is very kind’.. or ‘what is this, why did you get me this, what is it made of, what is the carbon footprint of this, where did you get it from, how much did it cost, did you buy me this because you think i need it’

When I comment online, I comment to inform or educate.  Sometimes to share congratulations or commiserations.  I do not ever comment to intentionally attack.  That just isn’t me.  To be attacked in response is… disheartening…. but I can deal with it.  But to be attacked when my mental health is bad and I end up spending 2 days curled up in bed crying… I think that warrants a break from the medium which gives me that grieve.

So… instagram.. my balcony garden.. my blog, my cooking.  And twitter.  Twitter keeps me better informed about world news than facebook ever could – and from people whose opinions I actually care for.  And because I am not an active poster, twitter for me is passive reading… keeping up with the news.  I know how toxic it can be.. but because i don’t have an audience and I keep in the shadows… for now..

So long then… see you twitter….

Twitter : @incoherent_qing

Instagram : @kirhymeswithpie

Food blog : mynofusskitchen.wordpress.com

YKIOK – It’s use in the non-kink, grassroots support & activism sphere.

YKINMKBYKIOK – often abbreviated to YKIOK

I often use YKIOK in discussions on facebook groups and forums.  Unfortunately this is often quickly followed by the question ‘what does that mean?’.  It is a phrase used in the kink world, usually abbreviated to YKIOK but in order to explain or to introduce it, the whole thing has to be used. It is short for ‘Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is OK’

Like some other concepts (eg consent), it is explicitly harped upon more in the kink world than in the vanilla due to necessity. In order for the various kinks to co-exist, and because there isn’t anywhere else to go to talk about that kink, groups of kinky people have to co-exist in the small niche space which they have carved out with many other kinks. So people who like daddy/little girl play may have to co-exist with pony play, who may have to coexist in with shibari/kinbaku/kunbang, and with watersports, scat, needle play, blood play, consensual-non-consent, ultraviolence, and so on and so forth.  Someone who joins a kink community for kink a b & c may become friends with someone who likes a,b,c,x,y & z. This could be on a friend’s feed for example.  People are multi-faceted, and kinky people are often multi-kinky.  So on a forum or noticeboard, one is almost guaranteed to come across something you simply cannot stomach. In that situation, the courteous thing to do is to mumble YKIOK and walk away.

It isn’t an alien concept to the non-kink world. It is commonly known as “horses for courses” “whatever floats your boat” “different strokes for different folks” etc. However the phrases which the general english speaking population use isn’t quite as explicit as YKIOK, because everyone who uses it or read it knows it is attached to the rest of the phrase – ‘but it is not my kink’, so the person using it is both saying, ‘okay this is not my thing… i maybe even really really disagree with it.. but if everyone consents… sure, go ahead, i’m just going to walk away because I honestly can’t stomach it’.

It is something that multicultural, multilingual, multi-ethnic, multi-religious activism or support groups could really do with implementing. A lot of people in such grassroots group are…… underexposed…. to opinions which are different from their own, and may react strongly – which is okay – but in order to co exist with the other strong opinions, people need to learn to walk away without starting a fight, and without losing any face.

*** I wrote this for the same group I wrote the previous post for.  And that pen post is a classic example of where mutual understanding of the concepts behind YKIOK would have been good for the discussion.  If the OP understood that my role to educate can co-exist with his need to make inappropriate jokes, and that while we may cross swords over it, in the larger picture both sides being presented would have been educational to the group as a whole… then we wouldn’t have antagonised each other as much.

Pens & Sex – The Problems.

pensexI called out the problems with this picture on an lgbt group yesterday, and as usual – the OP insisted it was just a joke and no one will really use this to teach children and so on and so forth.

I stand by what I said – and my role as the softest, gentlest, most unaggressive teacher that can ever exist.  I don’t even want to be the person calling this out.  I don’t like conflict and confrontation.  But sometimes, if no one is calling something problematic out – I have to.  I will not sit in silence and I would rather not sit a group which shares things like that and not call it out.  Yes I agree that it can be a joke.  Not funny… but YKIOK.  In a group of 4000 though, I want to be sure that anyone who sees it, also at the very least have the OPTION of reading the reasons why sharing this is NOT OK.

So here goes.  (in no order of problamaticness, they are all problems as far as i’m concerned)

  1. Why red and blue?  I know it isn’t explicitly stated, but the gendered colours and some of the labels used does give away that the creator intend the red to be girls and the blue to be girls.
  2. Including the pedophile label in there, along with everything else is NOT ok.  This is accepting and conflating paedophile into other acceptable, if controversial sexualities and that is never EVER okay.
  3. Why is interracial black and red?  What about the browns and the yellows?
  4. Gang Bang = Lots of men one woman?  Cis-Hetero-Patriarchal much?  Why can’t it be lots of women for one man?  Women have no penises? Hmmm.. Ever heard of pegging?
  5. Harem = Lots of women one man?  Erm.. does this imply that the women are ‘kept’ women?  Cause… in the relationships I’m aware off (*coughs… my own) where there are more women than men… none of us are kept women, and we are sooo not part of a harem.  I would love to have a harem to myself too.. and you know what.. I want both men and women it it… it will be awesome.
  6. Shemale – the term itself.  It is a term which is extremely disliked by the trans community and should never be used – even as a joke.
  7. The whole picture’s usage as a joke itself – A golden rule of comedy is to punch up and not punch down.  In the case of this picture? I don’t think there is a single downtrodden community who can use it without punching other downtrodden community without going into the minutia of the privilege ladder and oppression olympics.

The bottomline is that this post is NOT OK no matter how you swing it.  How you pitch it.  How much you insist it is a joke – it is just NOT ok.

My explanation of all this in that facebook group got deleted because the OP got defensive.  Even though I explained that I understand it was meant as a joke, and I explained my reasons for writing my points was for education of the rest of the group in general.  He got defensive and took it down.  And then he mansplained me…. so yea… it is that level of juvenile backchat.

I’ve left the group for now, and it’s not my first time.  I have more important things to do with my life.  Two evenings at at the charity this week, and other stuff planned for wednesday, friday and saturday.  I also have new post up on my cooking blog.  🙂

Why I am not going to Pride in London this year

The first time I saw a pride parade was in Manchester in 2000 or 2001.  I was either 15 or 16 and I was in the UK either for my sisters’ graduations, or for one of their weddings.  I can’t quite remember which trip it was.  Back then it was just some very fancy people in colourful boas and clothings, and it was all a bit of a laugh, a bit of fun, and not very large or corporate.  The parade happened to go right past the restaurant we were having lunch in, so without planning to, we got to see most of it.

That wasn’t very long after I first learnt the word ‘sodomy’, which had been bandied around a lot during the trial of the ex deputy prime minister of Malaysia.  I won’t go into the politics of that, but suffice to say, because of the way I was brought up – first of all when I first heard the word I had to ask ‘what does it mean’, and when I found out, my response was very much “Ewwwwwww”.

At 15/16, I had no idea what my sexuality was, wasn’t even aware that I had been crushing on girls since puberty (they were girls.. and I’m supposed to crush on guys.. so this inexplicable desire to spend more time with these really hot androgyn girls wasn’t crushes right… or was it?).

Anyway – gay pride – fun, colourful people.  NOT something I would ever do, after all I’m not gay.

My first gay pride in London – I went as a spectator, and I had by that point, fallen in love with the female half of my ‘lets have some fun’ threesome buddies/play-partners.  But it was just play, wasn’t meant to last, and I really didn’t want to be in love with her so… I went to pride.. and I got drunk.. and I kissed girls… MANY girls..

That didn’t work.  I got a good talking to, and that relationship continued.

Pride got put on a back burner for the few years after that – because life developed elsewhere and I didn’t have friends to go with and didn’t have any strong desire to get involved.

In 2014 I diversified my voluntary work portfolio and started to do more stuff with lgbt charities.  In 2015 I signed up to be a ‘flagbearer’.  It was a new initiative and they wanted representatives to carry flags from every country in the world.  I thought that was amazing and I volunteered.  I didn’t get to do it in the end because I was deployed to Sierra Leone for the Ebola outbreak right in June/July.. Oh.. what a bummer for pride… but hey saving lives is more important..

In 2016, I had spent enough time in the lgbt charities / inclusive & intersectional activism scene to begin starting to get really irritated by how pride in London was run.  It is massively commercialised and corporatized.  There were massive rolling accusations of pink-washing, and it became obvious to me that the entire thing was run by a bunch of cis white middle class men.  Oh there was the token women and the 1 poc… but the majority of the committee was of that description.  I wondered if there was any possibility of changing it.  I looked into who could get involved.  I discovered to my horror that none of the organising committee gets paid despite it being a full time job for 6 out of 12 months of the year, and a part time job the rest of the time.  That leaves the only people who can run it.. to be erm.. well.. super privileged people… or… people from ‘the other half’.  Hmm.. Okay that route is shut then… and now I understand it all a bit better.

My partners had no interest in marching, and I had no interested in being counted as a person who made it a success.  But marching wasn’t the only thing one could do, and I could man a stall for SwitchBoard, the charity I predominantly volunteer for.  Hmm.. that’s a good idea, I’ll still be involved, during important representative work for switchboard.. OK, I’ll do that.

So… until 2017 – I had never march in a pride parade.  Of course, by 2016/2017 my involvement in various LGBT charities means I actually have far more options than ever before of marching.  I could march with my employers (KCL/UCL), or my charities (Switchboard, Diversity Role Models, Scouts), or go as a flagbearer.  I wasn’t spoilt for choice..

But as 2017 pride draws closer.. what happens but some big missteps by the organising committee.  The bisexual representation fiasco, followed close behind by the advertising campaign fiasco.  HRM…. Both issues which lie close to my heart as (1) I’m bisexual and (2) I have actively gone with Diversity Role Models into schools to explain to schoolkids why “that’s so gay” is not an acceptable way to describe people and objects.

Sigh… These are huge and I mean huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge missteps by PrideinLondon.  Yea they are doing a good job overall.. but.. BUT, they have succeeded in making me feel excluded, on multiple levels.

So no, I will not grace PrideinLondon with my presence this year.  In any capacity.  I know my presence/absence doesn’t make a darn iota of difference, but it makes a difference to me.  There are enough people marching that ‘stand up and be counted’ isn’t relevant anymore.  The huge number of commercial & corporate bodies marching, and the gradual decrease of charities & community groups is a warning sign to me that PRIDE has forgotten that it started as political activism.  PrideinLondon no longer serves the community.  It is now an avenue for large organisations to show how inclusive they are – which is also good and needed, but it isn’t the activism I have any interest in.

Normalised Everyday Discrimination

I grew up in Malaysia, a land of amazing food and culture coupled with horrifying, institutionalised, politicised nationwide racism and homophobia.

Last week a particular news item took the country by storm.  An 18 year old boy in a boarding school had been hospitalised.  He had been bullied for being effeminate.  Raped with objects and burnt with cigarettes and clothing irons.  By the time the news became widespread, he was in hospital with so many pervasive physical injuries that some newspapers reported that he was brain dead.

A lot of people are very upset.  The lgbt group I help to moderate is in mourning.  They are also angry.  So angry that there has been calls for the bullies to be raped, castrated and executed themselves.  The grief is thick in the air and there has been many tears shed over Navheen’s death.  Some media articles have said that he wasn’t even gay, he was just a bit effeminate.  We the LGBT community don’t care.  He could have been gay, he could have been trans – I guess we would never really know now.  We count him as one of our own, his death the death of family, and we are angry, and sad.

We have all been there, being different in Malaysia is frowned upon, and however it is that you stand out – if your standing out isn’t in an acceptable way, you will be bullied.  I witnessed a cousin who was getting chubby being bullied by family during Chinese new year holidays.  I experienced bullying myself in school for being a girl liking Star Wars (apparently only boys are allowed Star Wars).  I’ve seen bullying at every level – and yes professionally as well as in education.  Racial politics is so pervasive in Malaysian culture, moral policing so rampant – Members of Parliament have been hounded out of their seats for having leaked photos of sleeping in the nude.  (Aside : What business is it of anyone whether someone sleeps in the nude or not?!?!  Malaysia is a hot country!! And the pictures were taken without permission and published without permission, she was violated, but she was the one who had to quit, and not the people who violated her privacy!! GRRRRR!!!)

There is a lot of talk about punishment, talk about the (bad) influence of lgbt-right-activists.  There has been fingers pointing at all directions, but here on my blog I want to point the finger on one thing which few are talking about.  Normalised Everyday Discrimination.

Borrowing from this post which was widely shared after the Orlanda shooting last year.

People of Malaysia: You weren’t the bullies, but you sneered at transwomen on the streets.  You weren’t the bullies but you think gay people are sinful and need saving.  You weren’t the bullies but you were upset at rainbow flags at political marches.  You weren’t the bullies, but you use slurs for queer people.  You weren’t the bullies, but you would vote against legal protections for queer people.  You weren’t the bullies, but you are the culture that built them.  You put the slurs in the bullies’ mouth.  You put the sticks and stones in bullies’ hands.

Normalised Everyday Discrimination.  What is everyday discrimination?  It is the posts I see every day of the queer malaysians group I help moderate.  Teenagers and/or young adults who get disowned and have to leave home because their parents have disowned them for being queer.  Adults with young children who turn their heads away and tell their children not to look when a same sex couple holds hands in front of them.  Purportedly queer-friendly adults, with gay friends, who do introduce same-sex couples to their children, but hide the fact that they are a couple, just ‘friends’.  People who say “I don’t mind that people are gay, but can you please not shove it in my face”.

To this people I say: Imagine coming home from a two week holiday with your husband/wife, going into the office and everyone asking you how your holiday went.  Try describing your fantastic and fun-filled holiday without gendering or naming our partner (which will also gender them).  Imagine spending 4 years in the same work place without ever once referring to your husband / wife by their name or gender.  Does it sound easy?

When we ask to be accepted, we are not asking to be allowed to have sex in front of you.  Merely that we can do things you take for granted.  If you can hold hands with your opposite-gender partner in public, we would like that too.  If you can kiss your opposite-gender partner in public, we would like that too.  If you introduce other friends to your kids as ‘uncle peter and auntie fiona’ and the unspoken implication and acceptance of them as a couple is shown and demonstrated to your kids, we would like that too.

In a country and culture where the politics is divisive and racial, I am aware that this is a big ask.  When children are still told at a young age that the “ah neh neh (racist term for indian) will come and take you away if you run around outside”, or that the Chinese are all greedy money-minded pigs, or that the Malays are all lazy and inefficient – when the culture of discrimination of all types is so pervasive and universal, it is easy for queerphobia to be slipped in there too.  It is easy to tell kids that all queer people have aids, or all queer people are paedophiles.

But I am asking.

For Navheen.

For me.

For my brethren in Malaysia.

Stop normalising everyday discrimination.

 

Dear iBiL

Dear idiot Brother in Law,

In our culture it isn’t my place to say anything about your child-rearing methods, as I was brought up to treat you as a respected and honoured older brother.  But I don’t live in ‘our culture’, nor do I live by it, nor do I see the value in it’s overly deferential rules, so I will write them out here.

I said, about you, in one of the thousands of whatsapp messages to sis2 : I do, currently, absolutely detest him and hold him in utter contempt.

Strong – no?

It isn’t you as a person whom I feel this strongly about – you can live how you want and I don’t give fuck.  But you as a father – now that affects people I love; children I am already observing to take on some of your negative traits.  Why do I abhore your parenting so much?  You are turning your children into the same inconsiderate, uncaring, lower-class-detesting, pseudo-science-believing, middle-class, privileged, materialistic & consumeristic idiot you are.  And when you stare at your daughter in disbelieve when she treats other people the way you treat them – I want to smack your head shout “WAKE UP!!!!!!” in your ear.

Your children can be total angels.  The look of joy on their face when they found two very grateful homeless people to give the brownies to was amazing and beautiful to see.  But in the run up to that moment, you made it all negative with “don’t shake their hands when you give it them, they have pee on it and are very dirty”.  You walked them all around Harrods and told them ‘look there are no homeless people’.  ERm… quelle surprise?  It was Harrods / Knightsbridge.  I had already said in the morning you (a) might not see many as it’s morning and (b) you won’t see any in knightsbridge.  While I am partly grateful you didn’t forbid them from doing it entirely – or made them throw it in the bin (maybe you have a picogramme of humanity in  you after all)… I still find your attitude towards the whole thing unpleaseantly dismissive.

The next time you complain your children don’t show care for people – ask yourself, do you show care for people yourself?  And when the children throws things away unnecessarily, or expect you to buy them duplicates when they loose stuff – ask yourself, do you show them the value of things?  If whole trays of brownies would better be thrown into the bin then given away,

The first time I snapped at you this trip – you had dumped your children with me all day, but left me shackled to within 1km from Harrods because technically we were still doing the childcare together and you were going to rejoin us.  Leaving the children with me isn’t the problem.   I am more than happy to have them.  But give me the benefit of planing, the freedom to take them wherever I want, and the promise that they won’t get told off for anything I did with them.  I am the adult, I take responsibility.

They climbed trees, got stuck and I guided them down safely.  They didn’t have so much as a scrapped knee and no broken bones.  What did I get from you when I send them the only photos I took of them this trip?  “they are lucky i wasn’t there, i am mr health & safety”  Yes, they WERE lucky you weren’t there.

I then spend hours with them in Waterstones, picking books with them.  Not for them, WITH them.  I pointed books they would like, they pointed out books that they liked, series’ they had been reading, and told me why they want them.  I even got the boy to choose two books off his own back.  What did you do for the 20 minutes you were in the shop (but not with the children?)   Run around trying to find comics from the ’80s.  Hmm… fat lot of good that did.  Your daughter asked me for an encyclopaedia on dinosaurs – because her younger brother had one and she didn’t, because she was a girl.  Now in itself is telling.  Why had she not asked her parents earlier if she wanted it that badly?  Did she feel she couldn’t?  You might want to figure out why she didn’t.  And when the boy went “how can girls like dinosaurs”…… I won’t go into how I felt at that statement.

I brought BOTH of them searching through the entire children’s section on dinosaurs, deciding together that the children’s books were a bit light on facts, and then up and down several floors looking for the adult sections.  I love bookshops and libraries which are so large we can get lost in them, and we certainly did this time.  When we found the animals section upstairs, we sat on the floor, with the 6 or 7 dinosaur books which were there in front of us, and we went through the pros and cons of each one.  Some were too heavy for the flight back.  Some were again too light on facts, and after an hour sitting there, we decided, TOGETHER, to buy the book that we bought.

When you got home, after I had got them fed, showered and into bed, reading.  You came in like a bad smell, complaining about London, about how heavy the water you insisted on buying (No, tap water does NOT damage your kidneys…) and how tired you were.  Your ball of negativity then asked to look at the books, you were curious about what they had done all day – fair enough.  When you picked up the dinosaur book and sniffed with disbelief that your daughter would want to read one, and then started to complain about the slight imperfections on it, I was starting to fume.  You ungrateful, inconsiderate buffoon.  You bring your children to London because this is where they were born and you want them to love it, but you regularly complain about it and how much you hate the underground or the people etc etc etc – is that conducive to teaching to loving London?  You buy evian for yourself to drink at home, muttering something indecipherable about your kidneys, but happily drunk tap water before, or in restaurants – the children learn that what adults say about health isn’t to be trusted because their dad blames food and drinks for ailments all the time but never actually stops eating or drinking those things.

Sorry about the digression.  Back to the dinosaur books.  When you asked “why couldn’t you have picked a new one” and I snapped “We were in the adults section, where each book had only 1 copy – not the children’s, because the children’s books were too light on facts for her”, instead of seeing the value of that, instead of seeing your child’s intelligence and maturity in wanting an adult’s book on dinosaurs, you went on to continue smirking with disgust as it’s state and started going on about the marks on the back and how ‘you don’t know how many have sat on the floor reading it’.  FYI, we were on the floor for one hour – books laid out in front of us – analysing each one for it’s merits and feasibility (of taking it back home on the plane), so chances were that WE were the one which got that book a little big inpristine.  After all that when you started to call her over and to point out all the imperfections in the dust cover.  At that point I snapped.  You WILL NOT reduce the time I spent for her into ‘choosing the wrong book’.  I did that with her.  It was time I treasure, and it was incredibly rude of you to (a) not apologise for the way the day had turned out – disorganised and unplanned (b) not thanked me for handling the kids while you did your precious shopping and (c) try to colour everything I did with your overly protective helicopter parent, negativity filled lense.

I was furious.  So furious, I couldn’t go to sleep.  So furious I was downstairs by the canal at 1am pacing to calm down.  When you told me the next morning I shouldn’t have taken the risk of going out at 1am at night.. ERm.. It’s my home, I live here, I walk the canal everyday, I know what’s safe and what’s not.  Again, I am an adult, I make my own choices, I do not listen to anyone and I certainly don’t listen to you about the safety of my own estate where I have lived for 5 years.

My concert the next day was 5.30pm.  It lasted an hour.  My performance was roughtly 5.40-5.50.  You got the kids there at 6.25pm.  For my debut solo public guzheng performance.  That was….. Again… no apology – the women in the shop who gave you directions got the blame.  The traffic jam got the blame.  Getting on the wrong bus got the blame.  Riight, okay… so you are blameless.  I don’t even want to go into how I felt about this.  The way ‘bludgeon’ is in there multiple times and there are many swear words.

I am so furious about all of this because the children are lovely and you are ruining them.  You are teaching them to be inconsiderate, to not care for people who have less money than them, that shopping is more important than going to the park, that perfect book covers are more important than the content, that with money you can buy everything and replace anything, that adults can’t be trusted to be consistent, that it is okay to be disgusted and disdainful and contemptuous openly to people with less, that people with less can be treated like they don’t exist.  You are teaching them that it is okay to be you, and you disgust me.

They are lovely children and you are ruining them.

This has been a long letter.  I shall write the rest of it another day,

With heartfelt emotion,

TeS

Broken

The empathic snail is broken today….

The combination of inconsiderate pain in the arse brother in law.  Two kids whom I can see are starting to take on some of his inconsiderate pain in the arse traits, but are still lovely and I really want to try to teach them more empathy, care, love & consideration for others, and a sister trying patch all of this back together, but is 8000 miles away and can’t do much – has broken me.

I want to bludgeon him…. but I can’t.

Usually I walk away from people like that before they can affect me too much, but he was a guest in my house and his children are my nibblings whom I do care about very much and want to teach the soft beautiful trait of empathy to.  Which means, being the empathic snail… I now want to turn this rage on myself and cut myself open instead, and that is not okay.  This is a breakdown, and it is NOT okay that they have caused this.

I have strong east asian conditioning and I started off the trip by defering to him as an ‘honoured respected older brother’… which clashed very much with my do-what-i-want personality.  That made it okay for him to shout at the kids in front of me….. That meant when I wanted to take the kids somewhere, first I had to consider, can i convince him, if not, can i convince the kids, so that he will agree to go, which really narrowed down the places we could go to because the children already had memories of galleries and museums as being boring places.  As other people who deals with kids more have already told me… you don’t have to ask kids whether they want to go and do ‘place’.  You say “we are going to do this today and it’s going to be fun” and it WILL happen and it WILL be fun.

Needless to say.  This backfired.  I got furious after day 2 when he critiqued everything I did with the kids – after he had left them with me, unplanned, and shackled me to ‘within a bus ride of harrods’.  On day 3, when I had my debut guzheng performance, and he got the kids there 55 minutes late.  I was furious again.  With the kids around, I couldn’t show him any of the fury, and I whatsapped it all to my sister instead, which got some of it out, but not all.  She was very understanding, but it was her husband after all at the end of the day, and while she could rearrange the trip so they moved out and didn’t irritate me so much… while she could apologise on his behalf…. she couldn’t make him realise what he had done to me – how much disrespect he has shown me.

There were many things, but I’ve been petty enough, and the point isn’t what he did, but what is being shown to the kids.

I can write a 100-deep list… but let’s start with this

Shopping (acquiring more material goods, of which they already have an abundance of) is more important than spending time with people… And the mum complains to me the kids loose stuff all the time and they keep having to buy replacements/duplicates.  Hmm… I wonder why…

Limiting human contact is more important than being generous (When we were wrapping brownies up to give to the homeless… all dad could say was “don’t shake hands with them, they have pee on them”)

By choosing more time in shops, and choosing the option of a luxury £100 picnic with dad rather than the pick-your-own-in-the-shop picnic they would have gotten with me…. and because of some nostalgia they had at the park… when they had already been to the park twice on the day dumped them on me unplanned (grrrrrr)… Again they are choosing material wealth, closer family over less close family, valuing nostalgia over generating new memories, prioritising moneyed fun rather than learning the lessons I can teach them.

I can go on… but I have done enough nitpicking.

I feel deprioritised.  I feel unimportant.  I feel devalued.  And this has caused a breakdown.

It is only because children I love are involved  that this is happening.  If they wer adults and they choose wealth over family.. I would say, every time,  – fuck them, and get on with my life.

But they (or rather he) have fucked me around enough… and I am broken.  And I can no longer take the kids this week even if I wanted too – my mental health is now too bad… but this is a lesson for next time.. Get the adults out of the way, and just take the kids for a week, with my own plans, own itinerary, and my own list of soft skills to teach them.  And next time I’ll also teach them to cook!!