DAY 25

CW: Description of violence

As a kid, I heard some things from Warden that I would never forget. One of the things she said to me was that she forced an old man to buy her papers. Verbally insulted a poor homeless old man to buy papers from her. Did she show any remorse? No. Did she regret this? No. In fact she told me that this is how much she needed to sacrifice. Now, I was aware that she completed her masters at this point, with no student debts, no mortgages, no loans to pay so I am not quite sure why she was driving around carrying papers to be recycled.

Her father bought a car, a house and paid her education. She worked for a multinational company a decade prior to the incident. She is able to be violent towards a stranger, an innocent, homeless old man, stole his money while driving a car. What was on her head? If she did sacrifice than should not she at least attempted to find a decent job? She managed to hold a reasonably good position at a company, a desk job, a usual 9 to 5 job. Why not apply to other companies?

Sometimes I wonder if she is wanted by local police officials. Some people may believe that she is not capable of hurting strangers. I witnessed three by my own eyes before I even reached ten years old.

I envy those who believes that my warden is not capable of physically, mentally and financially hurting others. I wish that was true. I wish I never witnessed what she did. I wish I never knew. I wish I can see her as a person who is incapable of violence, like how some people view her.

She physically attacked a woman who lied to her husband about the business opportunity. Her husband was rather trusting and he admits this. One afternoon, she pulled her car to the side of the road. She got out of the car, she physically attacked this woman in front of my eyes. I sat in the car and I was scared. It was horrible.

DAY 19

This is my average routine when I was 12.

  1. Wake up in the morning and practice piano. This is early at around 5 am.
  2. I would eat all sorts of fruits before taking showers.
  3. Get ready to go to the mall. Warden likes malls. She would drive us to the mall to go to starbucks at say.. 8 am. So early that there were only few stores that accept customers. A neighbor would ask why we go to the mall early morning. As ridiculous as it sounds, we had no wifi. We could have had wifi router if Warden gets one. She never did. Why? That’s a question I fail to answer. I would eat buttered croissants, 3-4 of them. It happened many times that starbucks would run out of croissants because I had to fill out my stomach while Warden browse through the internet. She’d spend hours on her laptop sitting in the corner of starbucks dine-in place.
  4. Mall day, everyday. I would spend a whole day in the mall.
  5. Lunch at mall. Usually Caesar salad.
  6. Dinner can be at the mall can be at home. If at home, I will be the one who cooks.
  7. Sleep.

She likes to shop. Oh how she loves perfumes. Designer brand perfumes and designer bags. This shapes my personality. I appreciate efficient shopping in the mall. Actually, I prefer to thrift.

As you can see, school was not listed above. Warden has enough means to pay my tuition but she did not. I did not enroll at a school when I was 11-12.

DAY 16

Some Things I wish I was told during childhood.

1. It is not your fault that you are abused

2. Children can go through stress too, and that is okay.

3. Your emotions are valid, your feelings are valid.

4. You deserve to feel safe at your home.

5. You are not owned by your Warden

6. Discipline should not be violent.

7. It is okay to be uncomfortable around people who harmed you.

8. You have a right to say no when you are touched in private areas.

9. You are not responsible for other people’s feelings.

10. You don’t need to be an abuse survivor to be a resilient adult.

DAY 9

I am thankful that I am able to choose to give up vanilla milk. I used to be forced to drink it until I turned 10. It was always served in a great quantity. I always feel nauseous trying to finish it. She did not serve my milk in a glass but in a flower vase. Mrs. Warden made me drink creamy, yucky milk in a flower vase. It took me five hours to finish. It tasted horrible. If I puke and spit out the milk out of reflex, she would pinch my arm to push me to swallow it. About three hours after the milk is served, it would be cold and very creamy. It would not smell great either. The smell was horrible. I was not allowed to sleep until I finish it.

Everyone asked why she gave me milk despite my age, also why the unreasonable portion. She said it is because I am a picky eater. I have never been brought to a therapist to be treated, so I am not sure what led to this. I would conjecture that this was caused by mental stress.

I am 21 and I still can’t make myself drink a vanilla milk. Almond milk is ultimately better for me.

Day 8

Mrs. Warden established some rules to regulate my social life.

Here are the rules:

1. Never initiate meetings or playdates

2. Saying yes to social meetings is a sign of mental weakness

3. Have to be on perfect behaviour for a week in order to go to playdates and meetings.

4. Maximum 10 text replies (all day)

I failed to meet these rules therefore I never had a chance to socialize like other children would. I wish I can go back to my childhood and reverse it, but I can’t. I am not even able to maintain conversations with people. I’m socially awkward and anxious.

DAY 6

I had dreams, routines, hopes, but somehow my life was a chaos. The echoes of my hopes and dreams were not as persistent as my auditory hallucinations. I did not know who to talk to and at that time, I did not even know that this is one of the symptoms of schizophrenia. Abnormal Psychology is not a subject I learned when I was nine years old. I did not miss any classes, but I missed homeworks. My head was exhausted, and my heart carried a weight that never detaches from me. I became tired of this constant paranoia that attacks me without mercy. It stops when I sleep at night or when I nap. As soon as I gained my consciousness back, it will return to haunt me, to make me suffer for simply existing. Are our fears real? I never slept when the voices threatened me. We would like to think that reality is perceived through our senses when we are awake and fully conscious. These fears were mine. They were my reality; as real as the sound of the wind that echoes through your ears.

One day, I asked my uncle of what he would do if he had thoughts that tell him to do things. He said that it happened to him, but I cannot relate to his experience. The voice in his mind demands him to pull a hair of someone in front of him. Oh how I wish mine sounded like that. Mine threatens me to death. Mine told me to kill myself. Mine told me to jump from the third floor. Mine told me that if I look into the bird’s eye, I would die that day. Four years after the conversation, I learned that what he had was intrusive thoughts. There was something helpful that he shared to me at the time. He said that it is good to pay attention to whatever task I am doing. One thing at a time. Be aware of my diaphragm as it moves when I breathe. He told me to immerse myself to the task I have at hand. As a training process, I initiated more chores, specifically dishes. I washed the dishes with my hands and a sponge. I absorb all information I gathered from my senses. The smell of the lemon dish soap, the foaming sponge, its soft texture, the plate I just used to eat my dinner. I imagined that my toes were like roots that hold me, strong and steady. I found calm for a split second, but I felt it. When your heart is at peace, even for a split second, you would want to repeat it. For a split second, I was in my own little heaven. For a split second, my mind was befriending me. For a split second, my heart was free from the tormenting voices of terrors. I noticed not just one sound but five. My nose not only it detects one smell but three. I saw many colors, many of which came from the bubbles from the dish soap. I felt calm for another split second. Washing the dishes became my favorite chore. I always looked forward into it. Seconds became minutes. Minutes became hours and hours became days. Days become months and I have been free from these voices for 11 years.

DAY 4

Feline Friends

TW: Description of abuse, child abuse, bullying.

During my developmental years, I had very few opportunities to make friends. I have never been so timid or shy. I can use one hand to count how many times I had play dates from when I enrolled in elementary school until I enter high school. The overly restrictive rules she established explain the difficulty I have in understanding dynamics of friendships. As one gets older, the opportunities to make meaningful friendships become slimmer. Unfortunately, I have not been able to resolve the results of overly restrictive policies she established during my developmental years.

To satisfy one of the basic human psychological needs which is to maintain some degree of social interactions, I adopted stray cats. I was fairly picky. I had conversations with them, pretended that they could understand and reply to me.

I was bullied at school, physically and socially. With poorly developed social skills prerequisites, this puts another layer of challenge that I failed to decipher. I enjoy academic environment, the smell of petrichor on the soil in the school garden, empty classes, and the smell of old books in the library. I had beautiful mornings in school that I will forever remember.

My least favorite part about my elementary school was the afternoon. This is when I had memories  of my head being hit by my classmate’s fist, finding my school shoes in the garbage, and my notebook full of sketches of a naked person that I have never drawn. I was often tired, physically, and mentally. I was desperate for a friendship that I started to accept being bullies if that means I have some classmates interacting with me.

After school, Mrs. Warden would pick me up and God forbid I try to maintain some conversations with anyone after class is dismissed because my right arm will turn blue the next day from being pinched mercilessly or if lucky, she would take my money and meaningful little things that I keep in my wardrobe. I asked her why she is different from the parents of my classmates who allow them to socialize and make friends. She would shout and tell me that I am ungrateful, impolite, and that I should just be under the custody of my classmates’ parents. I am neither in my parents’ custody and yet I will lose hers? I cannot take that. I apologized with my tears and fear until my forehead hurts from crying.

At home, she would give me a plate of blended rice and vegetables that someone with high appreciation of foods would not eat. Mr. Warden even said that he would not eat it. It was not a soup. Humanity has not and will not come up with a name to describe the dish she made.