January 8th, 2018


On Lava Caps and Fresh Rice

 I got a look at the smoldering mess that was under the lava cap sitting on my emotions when, of all things, my husband asked me if I shouldn’t be using the old rice in the refrigerator rather than cooking some more for the eel and rice dinner my son and I were having.  John was having to eat grits and eggs because he’d had periodontal work done earlier in the day, so he wasn’t even eating with us.


I said, “No. There isn’t enough. Jet and I were just talking it through.”


And he came back with a, “I didn’t hear your conversation.”


And Jet chimed in with, “We talked about it in the car, Mom...”


And I said, “No. We were talking about it as we came into the kitchen.”  And I got a whole lot angrier for what seemed no reason.


It took some talking and working things out before I could get at what was really going on with it all.


I am sick of the fact that the women who have been sexually harassed basically being told that it’s their fault that it’s still going on. That because more women didn’t complain, didn’t press charges, didn’t publicly call out the men who behaved badly, more men were allowed to behave badly and keep on doing it.  That we were complicit in the societal behavior of making it so that men could victimize women.  When, in my head, the problem is with the men who are doing the shit they’re doing, not with their victims. Blaming the victim makes me so very angry. Except... except... except, yes, silence is being complicit.


Yeah. Talk about lava and leaps. *sighs* What the hell does this have to do with rice?


Thing is that I was raised as a good Chinese girl, that I should always just take what happened and not complain, that complaining was for the weak; and you just kept going and doing what you had to do.  This is also taught to men. But additionally, it was obvious that a Chinese girl should always have her reasoning, her thought processes, her decisions while creating questioned by others and that they should always be right in what they tell her she should be doing and what she should be correcting.


It was a part of my personality that I should always be open to being questioned and always open to someone else improving what I’ve done or thought or created.  It also allowed my parents to do some things that are now considered abusive, and it also allowed boyfriends, bosses, and others to do things that now would be considered harassment or outright abuse. And it means that I just “take it” when someone criticizes or questions or second-guesses every one of my decisions.


It also allowed me to really get better faster when I did have mentors who were better than I was at the thing that I was pursuing; however, it really messed me up when someone who was abusive and was worse at teaching or communicating what they were good at went at me and told me what they thought I was doing wrong.  And they were wrong.  I got better, with age and experience, at telling people who were wrong to fuck off, but I have to be angry to do it, which is unfortunate as it means that I have to be afraid of their opinion, first off. 


And it all makes me completely complicit in just allowing men to tell me what to do most of my life, in letting their opinions override my own even when I had good reasons for mine; and the few times I really fought for what I knew was right, I turned out to be right and I wonder, now, about all those times I just gave up. What if I'd fought those then? And worse yet, what if I'd just been courageous enough, brave enough to not worry about getting hurt, and just speak up gently?  I can't go back, I can only keep working on getting better at it with the next thing I do. 


Including whether or not I should be making fresh rice for my dinner, when I’d already thought through all the reasons why I needed to along with the one other person that would be affected by that decision.


It’s not that John was a terrible person for asking. He wasn’t. He wanted to make things easier on me if there already was rice that hadn't had to be cooked. I just triggered on a mountain of other stuff that was going on in my back brain from all the other stuff I was working on in there. He really didn't need to question my decision, which I'd made with full input with the people involved, and when I said something about that, he apologized and will try and not do that again.


And perhaps, I'll just have fewer questions about my decisions in the future, and more practice at speaking gently when someone does.