Right off the bat: will you take a moment to click vote 10 times for my poem and essay in a contest?
Now, here’s the story…
Earlier this year I asked for your help. I asked you to donate so that my family could pay off our last month of rent in Seattle, and get to Florida in order to stay with my husband’s parents. If you follow my blog, you probably know my relationship with my in-laws has a…history. One that, looking back through the lens of the past few months, very much resembles the abuse cycle typically associated with intimate partner violence. There would be periods of unexpected, unwarranted gifts, intense generosity, and inclusion in family dinners and outings. Always followed by the inevitable gutpunch. Demands that I leave their home. Below-the-belt insults that prey on the vulnerabilities I was naive enough to express during times of peace. Shouting fits that ignored my children crying in the same room. Cruel gossip tearing me down to every other member of the family, ensuring that if my in-laws don’t like me, no one else will either. It was because of this that I wrote shortly after arriving, “I don’t know what the future will hold, but for now I’m going swimming.” Continue reading →
Thoughts of suicide are common in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other mental illnesses, or who are going through hardship in life. Although suicidal ideations are fairly common, they do not in and of themselves indicate that a person will actually commit suicide. That does not, however, mean they should be ignored. Even if a person is claiming thoughts of suicide “just to get attention,” those claims should always be listened to and responded to with compassion, care, and support–preferably in-person support. Ignoring suicidal “cries for attention” can lead to actual suicide.Responding can be as simple as sitting in a room with the person, holding them, sleeping near them, or giving them a hug. If you can’t be physically with them, phone calls or texts are the next best solution. But this is in response to suicidal feelings and ideations. If someone is truly suicidal, then being left alone is never an appropriate response (unless, of course, you hope for that person to die–let’s hope there’s nobody out there whose friends and family actually want them to die).
Letting go is hard. When my mom was a young teenager, her family left Cuba in disgrace. In 1966, the Revolution was over, Fidel Castro was in power, and many of the changes that would prove him a ruthless dictator were already taking place. My grandparents were both teachers–intellectuals were reviled in communist Cuba because they were considered among the most outspoken against the new regime. Before she left, my mom saw signs posted around the campus where her father taught, declaring him a traitor. The government seized their house, and they were only able to bring two suitcases among the five of them. I’ve never seen a picture of my mom as baby for this reason. On the airplane, she had to surrender her Cuban passport for refugee admissions to the United States. To this day, she has never again set foot in Cuba.