Reading Mary Higgins Clark on my Kindle on my iPhone
I feel dizzy
I look up
To make sure the world’s not spinning
Just the train
I try to brace myself
I’m not going crazy
You’re not going crazy
You’re just depressed
Suicide is not the answer
Suicide is never the answer
Death is never the answer
And what if you regret it?
Then it’ll be too late
And you can’t do that to your mom
Which is the thought that saved me in high school too.
I just want to get away
Is that too much to ask?
But I got to let it out somewhere
Before it explodes in little explosions
And I have to clean up my little brain splats on the floor
Where I ponder my perpetual fear of going crazy…
You know how you have perpetual, chronic fears that don’t make any sense? In addition to the usual ones like, fear of heights or whatnot, mine is the fear of going crazy. I’m not sure when it started. But for as long as I can remember I’ve always had that pulling in a part of my mind. Like, not for real for-real, but just enough to occupy my conscious mind and make me worry is it possible, is it likely.
Iris Chang, an incredible historian and journalist, and author of The Rape of Nanking which I still can’t bear to read, killed herself at age 36. She had a husband and a 2 year-old son. She wrote “I had considered running away, but I will never be able to escape from myself and my thoughts.”
I received your email from Amy and she thought I may be a good person to write you since I am a young Asian woman myself as well. So I apologize it took me a week to write back but your email meant alot to me and I am so glad you wrote and reached out for help and advice.
First, just to give you a little background on myself: I was born in Taipei, Taiwan to an abusive dad. My mom tried to leave several times and finally left home and the country when I was five, leaving me and my brother with my abusive dad. A year later she returned and brought me back to the US to join her and my new American dad. I had a much better life from then on, but still struggled with being shy and then growing up dealing with racism in white, middle class towns. I majored in Asian American studies in college and learned alot about oppression and racism in my teens and twenties. At age 26, I flew off to Hawai’i and surfed and wrote. Unfortunately, I fell into a seriously abusive relationship there and isolated as I was from my community, friends and family I stayed caught up with him and brainwashed for a year. I managed to get myself out of that situation but he harassed me for the next year and it was terrifying and simply emotionally exhausting.
I have come a long way from all of that. It’s only been 5 years but I have since finished a book–called Manifesto for Young Asian Women and am working in the feminist activist community in New York City and learned alot about sexism and feminism. I understand that at times you feel like no one else in the world understands or cares (even when you have your family around you) and I have considered suicide once too. What I would say to you now after coming out from all of that is you need to hold onto a perspective while you are in the doom and gloom feeling. I know it feels like the end of the world or you wish it was but you need to have the faith and trust that it will get better. Like they say, “This too shall pass.” It’s just a matter of time. Also think about the things you appreciate in your life and things you are doing well. There are always some positive things even when it feels absolutely horrible.
It takes alot of patience and alot of inner reflection. It’s not your fault that you fell into those relationships with men who treated you badly. It’s natural that you hoped they would change. But to make sure you do not fall into that situation again, you need to look at what types of men you are attracted to and how to distinguish between ones that treat you well and the way you deserve to be treated and those who don’t and won’t. It’s not easy. I know. But the time to start is now while you’re young and have your whole life ahead of you to do what you want.
Do you have anyone that you can really, really talk to? An aunt or a mentor? Someone who can encourage you when you feel really down and out? Try to not listen to the other harsh, critical voices, though it is hard if you live with them and it’s your family. If you have access to the internet look online for inspiring stories of other young women who have done amazing things and draw strength from them. Www.worldpulse.com, for example, is an amazing site of stories from women worldwide.
And do what makes you excited and happy and want to get up in the morning. Surfing makes me happy. Swimming does too. Dancing. Do those things that make you happy often. Don’t look for happiness from others but really from yourself. As my friend used to tell me, “You cannot expect others to fill your glass [usually boyfriends]. You need to be able to fill your own glass.” It’s taken me years to really understand that. And I am still working to improve myself as well.
My very best,