Monday, January 20, 2020

asymmetry in taking care of family

In Western society, there is intense pressure to be an amazing parent to your kids, but it's acceptable to neglect your parents in their old age.

A parent who sends their kid to an orphanage is condemned. But if the same person puts their parent into a not-very-good retirement home and only visits them once per year, that wouldn't get a second glance. They'd get sympathy from their friends, "It must have been hard to put your mom/dad into the retirement home and not know if they're being mistreated."

The asymmetry is interesting.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Difficulty of what to say

I have been taking care of my mom for nearly a year now. I am often sad about it. It is lonely, and I get insecure. 

I talked yesterday to a new friend T, who does some caretaking of her own:

Me: "If I tell people how it really is, I feel like a Debby Downer. I don't want to complain to them a bunch every time I talk to them. Sending a holiday card was hard."

T: "Yeah, my grandma used to send a holiday letter every year saying 'Merry Christmas. Here's all the bad things that happened to me this year. I broke my hip. This problem. That problem. Anyway, happy holidays!'"

Me: "Yes, that is my fear. I don't want to be depressing every time I talk to people. But then if I focus on the positive, I don't feel understood. That is not real."

Some people have surprised me by how they are able to understand and empathize. Others keep making an effort, even though they don't know what to say. I really appreciate both those sets of people. 

Sunday, December 01, 2019

to remain well

Last month, I went to a retreat called "Yoga and Meditation in a Troubled World". We talked about fake news, climate change, feeling helpless and hopeless.

This was my favorite quote from the instructor:
"Self care is like self preservation, and self preservation can be an act of political warfare. To thrive, to remain well in systems of violence and oppression, is how we begin to dismantle systems of violence and oppression.”      -- Audre Lorde, activist

Audre Lorde

She means "self-care" in the sense of being at peace with yourself, not the meaning co-opted by the beauty industry to sell lotions and massages for $$$.

Previously I felt guilty if I felt at peace while horrible things were happening in the world. It was an epiphany to hear that it is actually useful.

Group yoga at the retreat

Saturday, November 30, 2019


I've been reading books by Gloria Steinem. It is energizing!

I'm glad she is living a long life, and has written many books. I hope she writes many more.

Some things she has said, which I like:
Because I’ve had the luck of having friends from Indian Country here—and also visiting a few old cultures in India and Africa—I’ve had a glimpse of a time in which people were linked, not ranked. Those words are a good mantra: We are linked, not ranked.  

If we just stop looking up at leaders, and begin to look at each other, we find our power. [Can I still look up to her though?] 

Without self-esteem, the only change is an exchange of masters; with it, there is no need for masters.

Gloria Steinem & Dorothy Pitman-Hughes

In "Revolution from Within", she talks about how interracial marriage was a crime punished by prison time, until the 1960s. She points out:
Among the many victims of such antimiscegenation laws were Asian men brought to this country by the thousands in the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century as workers -- forbidden to bring wives from their own countries, and also forbidden to marry non-Asians here -- some of whom are still living.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The type of disruption we need

I am glad that Chanel Miller's book is out now. (She was the woman in the Brock Turner case.)

She is a powerful writer. It will be satisfying to see her book make an impact.

Greta Thunberg's speech to the UN was wonderful. Now she is leading numerous protests on climate change around the world every week.

Nancy Pelosi initiated an impeachment inquiry!

These amazing women are making the world better. Today is the happiest I have felt for a while (probably since November 2016).