the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Boundaries. Trust. To write love on my arms.

It’s been one year and one week- and I’ve found others on Twitter that deal with this, too. NO, it’s not just a teen issue. It’s also not just a female issue. This issue actually knows no gender, age, or other circumstances- anyone can deal with self harm.

the tao of jaklumen

Trigger warning: I am about to write about subjects such as self-harm, self-mutilation, co-dependency, emotional enmeshment, and so on.  There will be at least one photo.  Please, please take care if such things upset you, especially if any of these are issues for you too, dear readers.

Looking back

Yes, I’m going to write about it, now.  Maybe some of you remember To write love on her arms (it’s a short post, so I have included most of it, as follows):

Two years ago, I learned that my daughter turned to cutting to deal with the crushing stress in her life.

She turned to it again two nights ago when Cimmorene lost it with Boy when he would not go to bed for several hours.  Cimmy let me know, because she knew I wouldn’t be angry– how could I?  I dealt with it myself.

I cut myself years ago…

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Happy Mother’s Day, through Good, Bad & The Ugly

I am still working on a post about the Mother Wound concept, so, for now- a post about Mother’s Day, from the archives.

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Mother’s Day can be a mixed bag for me.

My whole blogging experience started out with trying to sort out the anger I had with my mother, trying to heal a lot of inner wounds and self-loathing from past emotional rape and other traumatic experiences.  It didn’t help much that HER mother was also part of the dysfunctionally tangled web that was much of my childhood.

I had to set some of that aside when my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

That said, I must give credit where credit is due.  I was born and bred to be domestic.  My mother (and my grandmother) taught me a lot of skills as such that have served me very, very well.   I suppose this was easier to impart as I was the only male child.  I know it sparks a small amount of envy at times: I’ve said that I like…

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Candle in the window

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Bringing this up from the archive; #domesticviolence was an actual thing for us. (Really, really.)

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Candle in the window by jaklumen & family
Candle in the window, a photo by jaklumen & family on Flickr.

I love you, my dear, every time I go

You have a way to let me know

No matter how upset I may be

I know when I return, I can always see

That signal waiting home for me

Welcoming me home with light so low

That sign so warm, that candle in the window.

A candle in the window like this always let me know that it was okay to come home, after an argument.

Prayers and warm regards to Bill Hamilton (who is dealing with COPD), samara’s BFF (who is dealing with cancer), and a good friend of mine (who is dealing with T-cell lymphoma).

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The continued loneliness of a SAHD (in 2015)

Based on a post written October 18, 2011. 

I am still sick and bloody tired of the stigma that is attached to Stay-At-Home-Dads, and house husbands.  I never like answering the following question: “So, what do you do for a living?” The people that ask it are rarely satisfied with my answers.  They are usually fishing for employment status, and often they wince and writhe with uncomfortable facial expressions and gestures once they learn I am on disability.

It was worse when I was younger, and lived in a slightly more affluent part of town.  The most uncomfortable reactions were at church, of course; it’s not unheard of for mothers to work, but fathers working has been the norm for LDS families for many decades.  I stood out like a sore thumb.  It was worse when my children were little.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  My current ward (congregation) understands my situation, mostly.  There were dozens of fathers taking turns looking after their babies, and I got help, mostly when my son was little (Neru was school age by the time we entered the ward).  But of course they were all gone at work weekdays, and I never much enjoyed church playdate activities, as women dominated any conversations.  There was only so much common ground before topics slid to things that really didn’t pertain to me as a man.

Then, of course, there were all the challenges autism presented– Cimmorene got really overwhelmed for a time, and so the Primary leadership would come to me when Boy was throwing some conflict.

The media is all about Mom

I enjoy being a parent. But EVERY SINGLE parenting magazine I pick up is “Mom.” “Mom.” “Mommy.” “Mom.” and it’s blatantly obvious in the advertisements, as if Madison Avenue believes that all dads still will have nothing to do directly with their children– because that’s Mom’s job. Sure, there are articles about SAHDs and such, but far, far, far too many keep the taboo in place.

Just one of many examples. This was part of a Cool Whip campaign on their Facebook page. Image credit: 360i_bucket at Photobucket

I speak of print, but as I saw “social media” unfold, and come into the mainstream, the message persists.  Note, dear readers, that what I had written previously was about WIRED– specifically about “GeekDad“, and “GeekMom”.  The contributors all seemed to cling to the status quo.  GeekDad contributors, if they wrote about parenting, wrote about it as if it was almost an afterthought. I cringed when Jonathan Liu demurred and said he just “happened” to be working at home to be a SAHD.  So I left GeekDad articles behind and started reading GeekMom articles more, because they would talk about parenting issues more directly.  But then it was the same “mom talk” drift– they’d quickly shift to topics that really were about women, and not really about men.

I see this image WAY too often– as if Dad blogs aren’t really a mainstream thing.

What… am I supposed to climb back to my video games, tools (hand or power), and assorted mannish hobbies?  Please, understand.  It’s pretty discouraging to see the onslaught of sites that either refer to “Mommy” or “Beauty & Fashion”, and I go and see that the voices of fathers will be pretty few.  If men respond, they rarely identify themselves as fathers.  It was very, very true at GeekMom… almost ZERO responses from men.

My world has plenty of yin, plenty of yang

There is this notion that women drive social media because they drive conversations in general, but I call bullshit.  Men will talk for hours upon hours about subjects that interest them.  Why the hell aren’t they comfortable talking about parenting?   I’m also very weary of the post-war stereotype that “men do the work outside of the home, women do the work inside.”  Cimmy’s helped me a ton with DIY projects (unless it’s electrical- then she leaves it to me) and I cook most of the dinners.  On the stove.  In the oven.  I broke the grill my parents passed down to me, and I haven’t fixed it yet.

And since my back has grown worse, Neru and Cimmy help me with the yard work.

Disability has already got this SAHD feeling like an old man

I was grateful when an old family friend moved into our neighborhood.  We are usually comparing notes on cooking, food preservation, music, mechanics, and many scholarly topics.  His children are about the age Cimmy and I are; he was friends with my mother-in-law since childhood.  He is retired, although he is miserable if he isn’t working on something.  He’s an amputee since he blew off a bum leg with a shotgun (long story), but he likes to keep busy.  Despite a miserable first marriage, he is happy married again to a woman that is full-time employed.  He welcomes my company, and Cimmy’s, too, when he is at home, although he is rarely, if ever, idle.

Generally speaking, the only people I can socialize with during the day are retirees.  (My mother recently retired, but that’s another very, very long story.)  Maybe that’s just as well; the sciatica, the neuropathy, and other health issues have got me acting like a grumpy old man.  I couldn’t stay in the mommy world.   And I’m not in a daddy world.  There aren’t many guys my age in my daily activities I can relate to. I can’t help it. Stereotypical guy stuff costs $$$– especially what many in my men’s group at church do. Firearms: $$$. 4X4 wheelin’: $$$. Fishing: $$$. Paintball: $$$. And so on.

I would write about how I was considering asking to attend the older men’s group at church, but, again, another story for another time.  I’ve struggled for a long, long time to relate to men my age.  There’s got to be something for the modern world.  I don’t have a business to pass to my children.  I was never that interested in sports.  Anything I am interested in is not one of the national pasttimes.  Most of the time, if I’m hitting the gym, it’s because I’m desperately trying to get better, either taking Cimmy, or Neru.  And that’s growing rarer all the time.  I try to be involved in my children’s schooling, but I cringe when the phone rings and someone (usually not connected to my son) makes the assumption that they need to talk to Cimmy.  I guess they need to hear my stories about failing student teaching and all that.  I’m aware of how schools work.

Once again, I feel like this is just a pointless rant.  The more I search the Internet, the more depressed I get.

 


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I STILL want a dog.

Dear readers, I’m a church-going religious man.

I don’t talk about it much because I really don’t want to hurt anyone that’s been burned by organized religion.  But I mention this because yesterday was tough.  I was home, in terrible pain.  I just couldn’t seem to get ready on time and told Cimmy to go ahead and take the kids without me.

I saw these images slowly appear in our mutually shared Dropbox. Cimmy uses a Samsung Galaxy tablet, and since Boy destroyed our Canon PowerShot, it’s now the primary photography tool.  Because Cimmy is a little bit protective of her technology, it now means she’s also our principal photographer right now.

This evoked a FLOOD of emotions.  If you don’t follow all the links, dear readers, just observe that I have blogged about wanting a dog, and researching service and therapy options, for at least five years, or more:

 

JJQ#18: Pets

 

I want a dog.

 

More on the service dog quest.

 

Yet more on the dog quest

 


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REBLOG: …the father becomes the son. (more thoughts)

About a week ago, Cimmorene remembered where she was during my father’s near-death experience, and the weight of the sacrifice that I made to encourage my father to resume his life, so mine could begin.

the tao of jaklumen

[ADDENDUM: 11 January, 2015]  When my father first told me of his near-death experience, many years ago, a flash of memory hit me, like a curtain being drawn from my mind, to reveal the light of the morning sun.

I remember begging, pleading with him, to go back, so that I would have a chance to be.  I did not remember all, but over the years, I came to know the deep sacrifices that were made in those moments.  I would revisit them when he nearly died, again, and each time I climbed up on the surgeon’s table, the last time being the 7th of January, 2015.

This is my Atonement with the Father.

JOR-EL: Once, when you were small, I died, while giving you a chance for life.

It was a shock when I saw him.  He was wandering around aimlessly, obviously not in his body.  He was NOT…

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REBLOG: When women abuse boys.

Three years after I wrote this post, a news story broke that was much closer to where I live. This woman was not a teacher, but was the town mayor for a time, and her husband was the high school principal. The name? Linda Lusk, then 49. The boy? Only 14 at the time. The town? Prosser, WA, just 45 minutes from my home.

The news agency that covered the story– 20/20 and ABC News– also covered the story of Mary Kay Letourneau. Years later they returned to both MKLT and Lusk, and in my opinion, whitewashed a lot of their stories. Fualaau, LeTourneau, and the two girls– now teenagers– were portrayed as a happy family. Lusk was shown with a young 20-something man who was supposedly the new love of her life. No mention was made that he was married, and eventually returned to his wife and child.

See also A Survivor’s Journey: The Challenge of Triggers & the Media

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                          <div>         I'm an avid reader of periodicals. I generally read more news in print than I do online.

The Associated Press recently decided to do a series of stories on teachers who sexually abuse their students. I was shocked at their emphasis on male teachers. Have the stories of Pamela Smart, Mary Kay LeTourneau, and Debi LaFave said nothing that did not bear repeating? While many offenders may indeed be male, it in no way diminishes the crimes of those who are female.

I decided to research the stories of the women a little more. On the surface, the horrors seem apparent enough. Smart’s case seems especially bizarre to me since the media focus was on the murder of her husband. There is fairly discussion of her methods of preying on Bill Flynn. LeTourneau had two children by her victim, and is now married to him. LaFave currently blames her…

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