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Author: kari

Mental Health

Mental Health

Recognizing that we are in a global pandemic, I accept that the priority is not my mental health. That being said, being locked up in a hotel room for the last seven days has re-traumatized my soul.

Grew up under a heavy handed Father figure. My whereabouts were always accounted for. At 17 years old, after a failed suicide attempt I landed in a psych ward, against my will. 18 years old, after stealing Father’s credit cards, locked up in county for two days. Finally, spent 3 months in a work furlough program to complete my credit card shopping spree sentence. And then this last week after arriving home on island, we were brought to a waiting room, where we awaited a bus to take us to a hotel room, where we were to remain until we were freed by the powers that be.

In each case, the authority figure called all the shots. Determined privileges granted. As well as restrictions employed. The right to freely rome as one chooses, is taken away. The good Lord did protect my soul. Thoughts of these memories eluded me while detained. Only now, am I able to clearly see the parallels.

30 years old, with a young toddler in tow. Immigration office early in the morning. Completed and submitted mandated paperwork. Literally 8 hours later all persons behind the bullet proof counter closed up and left. As the lights were turned off and the last employee made his way out, I asked a third time. “What am I to do? I submitted my documents and no one has called me all day.” I was gruffly told, “Too bad. Come again tomorrow.” Second class citizen. Completely disregarded. Wholly disrespected.

The combination of having freedoms removed against my will, and being treated as a second class citizen holds an impact.

Upside? After recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, I was forced to relax and heal properly. And then I see that The Lord reigns over everything. He is in control. Ultimate and complete control. His will.

I did find myself in desperate need of the peace of Christ. I was more reliant on God this last week than I have been for a while. Perhaps He is calling me back to Him.

Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 1:3

Normal

Normal

Fear. Of being accosted. Real fear. For my daughter. Racist encounters every week. Folks refusing service, for fear of being contaminated. It’s become the norm.

What the hell? How is it that this is now the norm? A young woman working in a coffee house is mistreated with regularity because of the shape of her eyes. Encountering racism is expected every week. It’s the norm.

Trump dehumanized Asians. He used racial slurs with relentless consistency. He made sure the current outcome would take effect. He ignited the latent hatred that some have for Asians. It became the norm.

Do you know what it’s like to be persecuted and hated for something you cannot change? This is the shape of our eyes. How we look is simply how God created us. And it is normal.

What is abnormal, is the violence. The unadulterated malicious sin being cast upon us. We are beautiful, we Asians. We are American. We are normal.

Chronic

Chronic

Living with chronic pain. In a word, exhausting. As each hour progresses, energy diminishes. For work. Laughter. And play. Its looming presence relentlessly induces pressure. No relief.

I cannot walk without electricity. How I miss walking. Listening to music. Praying to Abba. Catching up with sisters. Rather than pray, I concentrate on the physicality of the pain. What I can no longer do. Everything I am missing out on.

Lord God in heaven. Thank you for revealing your will. May I suffer for Christ. For His glory. In other words, make me more like Jesus. Through my suffering. With empathy for my husband. And gratitude for all that God has blessed us with.

I am alive. I am in love. I have all of my faculties. I am beloved. I am saved. Hopeful that resolution will be realized. Confident in the Christ who can do all things.

Poetic Pain

Poetic Pain

Two weeks
Abandoned
Orphanage footsteps
Unwanted

17 years old
Disowned
Adoptive family
Unloved

25 years married
Dropped by in-laws
Racism
Bigotry

Only son
Only grandchild
Dismissed
Discarded

Speaking truth
In love
Not accepted
Rejected

Hate
Judgement
No legacy
Deep wounds

Forgiveness
Rather be right
Than reconcile
Alone

Where’s God
He’s central
Reunited
In heaven

Or will we
Many will call out
He will say
He does not know us

Reality
Loss
Hurt
Anger

Silent
Sorrow
Ardent
Ache

Wisdom versus vanity…

Wisdom versus vanity…

What is it like to once be hot, and then not. Yep, it was asked. Used to purge everything to weigh in at a slim size 8. Have walked for 25 years 5-6 days a week for at least 4 miles a day.

Keep my food down now. Have for quite some time. Made the conscious decision to not turn out like some fellow aging bulimics.

Have arthritis in both knees. Hurts to walk from car to building. Have gained weight.

Moving from vanity to wisdom. Have young adults seeking out support and maternal advice. Valued contributor to many lives. Beauty is no longer external. Internally attractive.

Trapped inside my body. Unable to do the things desired. God says reach deeper. He says…rely on my strength. Listen to my voice.

More than looks. So much more. Eat what I crave. Keep it down. That in of itself is a victory. After purging for over 30 years, the power to overcome my eating disorder is paramount.

Eventual knee replacements. This is a sobering reality. Aging throws its blows.

Full disclosure. This bites. Being fat. Immobile. Chronic pain. Yet His grace is sufficient.

Loving myself even with the extra weight and painful immobility. Choosing gratitude. Wisdom over vanity.

Scars

Scars

What are those scars from? The only ones that folks can see. On my neck. The knife cut just deep enough. Scars throughout. My head. My chest. My neck. Scars.

Where did they come from? My girlfriend asked. I do not remember. I refuse to hold memory of when it happened. How it happened.

When my fingers run across the toughness of the scars on the back of my head, I wonder sometimes. How did this happen? And then I am reminded that God protected me from the details. From the memory of my predator and the abuse.

I believe someone did something to me. At a young age. I do not know why it was done. But I believe God was with me through it all.

Things I do remember. Being beaten. Being choked out. Having my arms squeezed to the point of bruising in the shape of hands; searing pain. It was white hot. Still remember it to this day.

My warden was wholly invested. Over the top controlling. Had to know my whereabouts every second of the day. Needed to possess complete control.

Ironic being the object of obsession, while remaining the black sheep. Never really fit in. Always on the outside. Grew up knowing that I wasn’t truly loved. Do you know what that’s like? Being an adolescent with the knowledge that you are not truly accepted. It leaves a void; emptiness.

Do I believe something was done to me? Yes. I do. Do I fully recall? No I do not. I remember being frozen, unable to move. Pinned down, staring at the ceiling. Immobilized and paralyzed. Until I wasn’t. It became a normal occurrence. Simply got used to it.

Where was God during all of this? Right there with me. He has protected me from the vivid memories. Much of the pain. Only glimpses of violence and oppression. The scars remain. They remind me of what was survived. What God brought me through.

I was not loved. I was easily discarded once I found my voice and spoke out. Frequently reminded who put a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my mouth. Forever indebted.

Yet, now with hindsight I see my Heavenly Father. I see how I have always been chosen by God. Unconditionally loved by The Lord. Redeemed through Christ’s selfless sacrifice. A beloved daughter of Yahweh. This I know to be true. And this I will forever remember.

Why White’s Only?

Why White’s Only?

This is a series of questions pertaining to my experience in the western US. Why is our entire cabinet one white non-color? Why have the last four territorial leaders been white males? Why have all my DCs, with the exception of one, been white? Why have ALL the Generals been white (only two women) in over 155 years? Why white’s only?

How is it that out of all the diverse officers we have, for the most part, only the white ones get advanced and promoted throughout the ranks of leadership? Where are the brown and black and red and yellow DCs and cabinet members? Why is our army choosing to invest in white officers over officers that are POC?

Why do we claim to be progressive, and then refuse to promote black and brown and red and yellow leaders, both men and women? Why are we behind the curve on this?

Why do ignorant white leaders say they don’t “have to” have diverse advisory boards? How are we ever going to see real change? Where are the black and brown and red and yellow officers, both men and woman? Why are they not on the cabinet, in DC positions, and in seats of real influence over other officers? Yep, important enough to be asked twice.

Why when the field asks why there is no diversity in leadership, are we told that “There is diversity! Why look at our cadets!” They are not in positions of upper leadership. They are cadets, soon to be lieutenants.

Why do leaders say “Not in MY Army” in reference to the LGBTQ community? And why do white leaders that damage officers and employees, continue to be in charge?

I know a call from leadership may come. If there is no POC, it’ll be one of the many white leaders to tell me to take this down. Ok, before you call me…answer me this. Why?

Romans 12:12

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12 Been my life verse for Officership thus far. Need it now more than ever.

To be joyful in hope right now? A challenge to be sure. Yet I am confident that my hope rests in Christ Jesus. His sacrifice on the cross, paid the price for our salvation. I rest in the hope that this life is temporary. Life after earth will be with God Himself.

Patient in affliction. This one resonates. March 20, 2020 and my Korean face is frightening people. The public has been fed misinformation, and xenophobia is rampant. This affliction feels awful. Fighting shame and self hate. Be patient. This too shall pass.

Faithful in prayer. Face down. In prayer. Why does my daughter have to be exposed to the ignorant hate of cruel people? Lord, please protect her. I will continue to cry out to you Lord. For you are salvation. Strength. Everything.

Feel for David, hiding in the caves. Running from hateful enemies. I want to hide. But I must praise The Lord in the midst of the fire.

There is hate outside. It feels unsafe. Life itself is in God’s hands. We are but dust.

Beginning of the end…

Beginning of the end…

Love walking. Have for 25 years. Lots of terrain. Mountains of Lake Arrowhead. Suburbs of the South Bay. Beach bluffs of Palos Verdes. I have walked for most of my adult life.

Walking has been filled with miles of music, prayer, beauty, angst, and creative energy. It has empowered and strengthened. It has taken me to places figuratively and literally.

Recently diagnosed with arthritic pain in my knees. It now hurts to walk. And I am deeply sad. Sad that something I have found so much joy in, produces indisputable pain. Part of me has died.

I am at a crossroads. Perhaps I must take to yoga, or the water. I just want to go for a long walk. Only now, it hurts to walk. This sucks. It just sucks.

To know that I will always have pain for the rest of my earthly existence. This depresses the heck out of me. And I think of Eric. And I am humbled.

I now sit with physical pain. I walk with physical pain. I still cannot really believe this new reality. What in the world am I going to do? I digress.

In my newfound pain, I look to my husband for help. I watch him live with back and abdominal pain, on a daily basis. Rarely does he complain. Rarely does anyone even know he lives in constant physical pain.

He serves without complaint. He loves without boundaries. His pain reminds him that he is alive. I am not there. Not even close. I am grieving the loss of my agile body. My pain reminds me of what I have lost.

I’ll get there. It’ll take a breath or two, but I’ll get there.

written word

written word

Are you about people
Or tasks
You may get it done
And yet miss the blessing of true connection

Thinking one’s arrived
From a modest childhood
Using position to judge others
Losing complete sight

Lies and deception
Manipulative tactics
For what
Of course, ego

Pride
Beware
It entices and misleads
Ending in shame and self-hatred