Archive | March 2012

Haunted by Homework Memories

One of my worst waking nightmares from childhood was homework, especially maths, when as a very scared seven year old I tried to do as best as I could. I did not understand maths very well, and instead of explaining it to me my adoptive father just become very angry at his stupid daughter. He slammed his fist on the table and shouted, “Just write a number, any damn number!” and swore loudly at me. I was thinking feverishly about what number I was supposed to write. I could feel my pulse when, very frightened, I scratched a number on the paper. Again he shouted, “How the hell can you say that this is correct?” and swore at me again. He grabbed my pencil, pounded his fist on the table once more and yelled at me to go to hell.

My adoptive father was excellent at maths himself; it was what he did for a living, it came easy to him, and he was very proud of that. But he just couldn’t believe that anyone could have trouble learning it, especially his own daughter. This homework terrorism would last for hours, several times a week. And it always ended up with me crying, and being put to bed while I heard him complain to the world and everyone about how incredible stupid I was. “How,” he asked, “is it possible to understand absolutely nothing?”

This went on for years. Whenever I brought home a poor test result to be signed, I got yelled at and beaten,  so I tried to sign them myself. This was of course discovered, and so I was beaten for that, too. But what was a frightened little girl suppose to do? I have so many awful memories from the years that I was in primary school, and they often come back to haunt me, telling me how stupid I am, just like my adoptive father used to do. I wish I could just forget them all.

~ Khara

Advertisements

Better Energies for Mother Earth

Last night I watched a movie called “Freedom Writers”, which is about a teacher in a class of troubled teenagers, who gives her students the opportunity to believe in themselves. It really moved me; many of her students had very hard lives, and tough upbringing, most of them on edge with the law, engaged in gang activities and racial conflicts.

If we could measure all the tears in the world, they would fill an ocean. And if we took all the hate, anger and bitterness in the world, it would surely be enough to fire up thunderstorms, and stir the ocean with hundred foot waves. How did the world become like this? Do we raise our young ones to hate the principle of equal rights? Are compassion and empathy antique words whose meanings have been forgotten? Why can’t people treat each other with respect and love? All the hate in the world makes me sad. Watching people having to deal with terrible issues every day, living with fear, hate and hunger.

Sure, I have problems of my own, but deep, deep down, I have this naive hope of making my life better, to turn me into a better version of myself, a fellow person and resource for my family, friends and the rest of the world. My wish is that I can reach out to people with this blog, and in some way inspire others to see hope, even in such simple yet beautiful things as a rainbow after summer rains.

That others may may be willing to look for, and able to find, the beauty in the world. Like sunsets, or quiet waves on a beach. Have you ever seen a flock of deer, crossing a mist-covered field in twilight; or a family of squirrels playing in the trees; or a hare leaping through the forest? The first snow falling before Christmas; or the Northern Lights at night, with colours and shapes shifting from moment to the next?

There is so much in this world to be happy for. We should all treasure Mother Earth, the living planet, and start protecting her by changing our thinking and come to agreement on how best to share the world, make peace with each other, and reach out to the next generation, to treat animals and other forms of life, all of Gaia, much better than we do today. And to treasure her gifts to us. If we take care of her, she will provide for us. We must only learn to share and to love each other, regardless of skin colour, religion or culture. I have in my soul this vision and dream of peace … that together on Mother Earth we can do it. Let’s all meditate to create more energies of light, happiness and love on Earth.

Namasté

Inspired by: “Freedom Writers”, a true story (book published 1999, film published 2007).

An Invisible Path of Tears

“Welcome into the world, our Little Shining Star; this is your name and our present to you, our dear little friend.”

She got her name from her father and her uncle just after she was born. Her brown eyes stared at Mummy for the first time, a mother she would not keep for very long. Mother died one afternoon, not a year later, with the baby girl beside her in bed. The oldest sister heard the baby crying and came running, shouting “Mother! Mother!” over and over. “The baby is crying for food!” Then she saw their mother lying there, dead, and she picked her little sister up, her tears falling to the ground. She ran out into the garden, shouting “Appa! Appa! Umma is dead!”

The father lost his wife that day, four small children lost their mother; a tragedy so great, no-one ever believes it will happen to them. With the aid of an uncle they arranged a funeral ceremony. But it was winter, and because of the frost in the soil, the actual funeral had to wait until spring.

I was that little bundle. I came into the world in spring, early in the morning in a little house in the countryside, in the land of the morning calm. It was a modest and simple house, seen with Western eyes, but a good home. I was the last of six children; our brother, the oldest, died when he was only twelve years old. Our first sister also died very young, maybe five. So when I came there were four sisters. We were poor, and there was little to eat. Our mother was very sick after six childbirths, starvation and various illnesses. Our father worked hard, trying his best to provide for us, but with the farm going badly from lack of rain that year, there was only so much he could manage.

He loved our mother, and he loved us, but when mother died he was left alone with the responsibility of four children, and struggling to make ends meet, desperate. He tried to make money by gambling, but he lost, and turned to drinking.

He realized he had to do something, and made a painful decision; one morning he brought my three sisters and me along on what was to be the journey of my life. The time had come when we had to go different ways for a while; since my father could not support all of us, I was to be placed in a children’s home to be taken care of until he was able to do so himself.  That road was like an invisible path of tears. All of my sisters said goodbye and cried, my father was in tears when he whispered to me one last time, “I love you, my little shiny star”, like a faint, mild breeze into my ear, “I will come back for you one day, when life is better”.

My Korean name means shiny star. Little did my father know that we would never, ever meet again. Shortly after I was put up for adoption, by the children’s home, without his knowledge. From this point on my story was that of a dandelion child, like a small seed on the wind, set for destination unknown, a journey where happiness too often was drowned out among despair and sadness.

~ Khara

Wuthering Heights

I’ve always loved the novels “Wuthering Heights” and “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte and her sister Emily. I was drawn into “Jane Eyre” from the first page. I loved reading about the loneliness, hopelessness, sadness, cruelty and hardships in life, because it struck a chord deep within me … I have been there myself, I’ve experienced it all. To read the book, and later see it as a movie, was a very strong experience. To follow Jane from childhood, watch her grow up, and see how her life at last blossomed was so empowering. I know that this book moved my heart, all the way down into the pit that I was in, to make me hope.

I started to think that there was a purpose to my life too. I was as sad as a child could be and at one point I did not wish to live anymore, because life had taught me hate and bitterness, the feeling of rejection, and of being a burden, unworthy, and guilty for not being grateful for it all. Still, deep inside, I hoped that someday a prince would appear from somewhere, like Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty. He would arrive on his white horse and fight for me. Well, my prince did appear a few years later in a little, green car; a very tall man in a tiny Fiat, with a glint in his eye, who knew all there is to know about computers. I fell for his humour and kindness, and from the start we talked, laughed and cried together, and became each other’s soul mates.

We have two daughters, who are growing up as we speak, thirteen and twenty years old. We’re a little family, and I’m happy to see that the future is looking brighter ahead of us, that the children won’t have to struggle with the same questions as I have, or the sorrow that I have carried with me from childhood. My deep grief ends with me, and that is a good reason for going on with life, to make sure that our children will not have scars on their souls like the ones I have, that they won’t remember a mother who beat them, or a father who told them daily how stupid they were. That they will some day see the magic of life, that they will be happy and become good mothers to their own children, and look back at happy childhood memories, of kind words, of good things big and small, and that we, their parents, told them that they are precious and loved, and that we are proud of them … things that I never had when I grew up.

Even my wedding day was nearly ruined because the day before my adoptive father got drunk. He called me and said that any invited guests who had not replied directly to him would not be allowed to come. Period. This was my one special day, and he threatened to call it off. I knew that a few of those invited had not called him, and feared the worst. I was lost in tears, and I had to phone everybody and and ask them to please, please call my father immediately. The wedding day was hardly better. When he walked me down the aisle, he was almost drunk off his feet, although he tried to hide it, and in front of the priest and everybody else I had to tell him to go and sit with the others. On the one day that I was supposed to feel like a princess, I ended up sad and humiliated.

Time will heal, they say. I wonder how long it will take before I can ever truly forgive my adoptive parents, if ever, for everything they have done. I still feel unwanted, although I know there is no reason to feel that way anymore. But even though they are both dead, their voices still live in my head … they keep telling me everything I was used to hear. I try to ignore them; sometimes I win the battle, other times I’m completely lost, and I only want to sleep and forget. I keep asking myself how much longer this has to go on. My life feels like an ocean filled with tears, always moving, from tiny ripples, to giant storm waves that would sink any boat … this is how my feelings go from day to day. What happens the day I run out of tears? Is that even possible? I can only go on, and try to find out.

~ Khara