DAY 22

I asked my warden, “Why is it so hard to maintain peace with you?”.

Obviously she did not answer. Obviously she thinks everything is my fault even when my right arm has bruises from her. The log I created reveals that she have burst of anger every single day.

I keep a list of what made Warden angry, because I never recognized the pattern of her temperament. I tried to study her, see how frequent she would shout and be violent also what caused them.

I kept a log for about a year. The log tells me that she would be angry for almost everything. Any trivial things could turn into a drama. You could compliment her looks and she would be angry and turn violent towards you. You could grab some cutlery while she is in the kitchen and that would turn into a huge drama. There is no pattern, her violence cannot be prevented.

This left people who are closest to her to struggle just to love her. It is difficult, if not impossible to maintain a relationship with her. It is easy to like her when you are at a certain distance. Do not get closer.

This is perhaps the most useful insight I have gained from years of observation.

This made me go into a cycle.

  1. I am in desperate need for a mother figure, so I view her as a mother.
  2. There will be conflicts and drama, out of pretty much everything, I will try to de-escalate.
  3. She will give silent treatments after being abusive, I will be heartbroken, betrayed. Silent treatment can last for two weeks.
  4. My heart is broken and I would be reminded that she is not suitable for being a mother figure.
  5. I long for a mother
  6. Repeat to #1.

I still would consider myself to be mother deprived, I don’t always know how to deal with this. It is a loss, I haven’t recovered from it. This is my first and last heartbreak of my life. I long for a mother. Not a perfect mother, but at least not abusive and antisocial.

DAY 18

CW: Description of mental abuse.

Warden does not want me to be like her sister, my schizophrenic mother. Warden thinks it is her job to make sure I am not like my mother in all areas, good and bad. My mother graduated as an MD, making her the first medical school graduate in the big family. She has a soft heart, she never hurt someone else physically nor show any inclinations to abuse others around her. Like everyone else, she has strengths and weaknesses.

I am my mother’s first born. I have resemblances, identical mannerisms to my mother. I am introverted and love to spend my time alone during lunch time. Like her, I love making poems for fun. This concerns warden because she would associate these activities to development of schizophrenia.

I was very young when warden alienate me from my biological mother though she live in the same roof as warden and me. Warden said that I have my mother’s genes. These genes are not good genes, she said. It is as if it was my fault to have my mother’s genes. If I appear nervous in front of the crowd, warden would say, “200 million genes”. She thinks I have 200 million genes of my mother. To put on a perspective, humans have 20,500 genes.

Unfortunately I was too little to understand the scientific facts or to learn the basics of genomics. For a long time, I thought I was cursed that I share similarities my mother. I thought I will be schizophrenic, I thought I will be everything but good.

She hates my mother, they are at odds but somehow I am punished for being my mother’s daughter. I expressed my discontentment to my warden about her habit to call me out for everything that my mother has done before. My mother is a person, she would do things like writing, pursue her hobbies, studying, stressing out, etc. I should not face the consequences of her hatred towards my mother.

When I said, “Would you please stop saying, ‘200 million genes’? I have my mother genes! I can’t help it. Just stop, please. My mother’s genes are not all bad”. Warden said, “I am not shaming you, I am just warning you that you are like your schizophrenic mother, so when I warn you, you should be grateful”. My mother has lips, I have lips, so what? My mother is shy, I am shy, so what? My mother likes to write, I like to write, so what? So what, warden? Warden, your schizophrenic older sister aced her medical school. I would be so happy to be a doctor just like my mother. I will be so happy to have a tenacity like her.

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 15

At the age of six, my biological father drove me to school when he asked me if he could marry someone else and leave my mother.

I replied, “Yes, you can marry her”. My mother, isolated because of her mental condition, never fall for any man since. I felt very culpable to have “given a permission” for him to marry someone else.

That morning, I asked my biological father why would he leave my mother. He said, “Your mother is tired taking care of you”. I asked him, “Would you leave this woman if she’s tired too?”. He said, “No. She would not be tired”.

His response left me puzzled.

Before I turned seven, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she refused the biopsy and refused to get treated abroad just so she can be close to me. Her choice to refuse biopsy led to an incomplete diagnosis which accelerates the deterioration of her organs. The doctors cannot administer her the right treatments because they didn’t know which type of breast cancer she has.

My grandmother was an inpatient at a hospital 10 minutes drive from where I lived. Her second daughter, my Warden, was spending a lot of her time there. Since I was a minor, I had to stay close to her. I spent months sleeping in the sofa-bed inside my grandmother’s room. I went to school from the hospital and would return to the hospital.

Relatives said I was mature for my age. I looked poised and composed despite the divorce and witnessing worried oncologists coming in and out of my grandmother’s room.

I amused myself by making up algebraic equations after school. I made simple equations made of letters and numbers. Warden would asked me to go get some things at a store across the hospital. She never went by herself. I was always been asked to do such errands. There were restaurants and stores across the hospital yet there is a busy road that separates them. The road is full with motorcycles and clumsy drivers.

I asked my Warden what would she do to ensure my safety. She said, “I will watch you from here”. She is five floors high. This does not make sense even to my younger self. She can’t save me if someone was going to harm me. As a way to ensure my own security, I walked closely behind adults when I was going out. Considering the abnormally high population density, I am quite fortunate to have never been kidnapped.

DAY 12

I was never allowed to feed myself until I was in the 6th grade.

My breakfast used to be cereal or toast. My lunch for school was almost always the same. Rice and a processed meat. I never liked the menu for my lunch. By 1pm, I would be very hungry. My eyes would be heavy, I would be dehydrated, and my blood sugar will be exceptionally low. I never slept in class, but it was extremely hard to focus. I was a picky eater, but I never got to pick what I wanted to eat. I was forced to like foods that I did not like. I remember I enjoyed the chicken katsu in the cafeteria, but I was not allowed to get them. My lunch box never had chicken katsu in it. I also liked noodle soup. My lunch box always had rice and process meat. There were things I like to eat, and rice is not one of them.

My problem is that I would not eat something that I did not like. Aside from being a picky eater, I also was stressed and very anxious. My appetite was strongly correlated with my psychological well-being.

After school, I would be asked to eat what is left in the lunch box. That will take me about 3-4 hours to complete. By the time I finished the leftover in the lunch box, my dinner will be served. Another pile of rice. I hated rice. My stomach was tiny, I was skinny and stressed. I was unable to swallow food like other children my age. I needed to drink water to swallow my food. Mrs. Warden fed me. She fed me with big spoon, big lump of rice with cooked vegetables inside it. Eating was traumatic for many reasons.

DAY 11

Teachers liked me, maybe not all of them but surely there were few in elementary school. They all agreed that I was a loner and have no friends. I was a loner back in school. I had lunch in the corner and never really socialized. Teachers asked Mrs. Warden why I never really made friends and Mrs. Warden would ask me. My grades were attached in the green file. Mrs. Warden would receive the file and bring it home. She would sign the papers inside it. My grades were great, but that never left Mrs. Warden happy. She would complain that she needs to sign them when my biological father could have sign them. I asked why she signed them, and she said it is because I am not her daughter. I do not recall when the first time I know I am not her daughter. I am aware of this for as long as I remember.

During parent-teacher conferences, I would be left alone in the car. I would wait alone in anxiety and anticipation. She would come back and told me that the teachers felt bad about me that is why my grades. Years later, I learned that teachers are not allowed to fake grades. I deserved my grades and they were not faked.