Another day that I don’t look forward to journaling. My ego is in full roar today. My ego is so loud right now I can’t listen to teachings. I promised someone I would do prostrations today, but I did not do them. I willingly dived into my ego, so that I could see all of the delusional thoughts in the way of understanding refuge in Sangha. I am not enjoying this, but I need this.
I noticed a lot of crap coming up. I have fallen into an old mindset that I have suppressed and hid away. I have been remembering high school. I fear writing about this because I do not want to trash my dad and my step mom. Please understand at the time this happened I was suffering under heavy delusions, so there is no way to say what was really happening from their side. This is purely my delusional view of the situation during that time. I also should mention before I start saying what happened that my mind wasn’t clear at this time. I was on adderal which caused anxiety and birth control that caused strong swinging emotions.
When I first moved in, everything seemed like it was going to go great. I had been feeling a lot of pressure to succeed living with my mom and also felt very boxed in and not able to grow. So, I was very excited at a fresh start at life living with my dad and step mom.
I had run away from home at my mother’s house and took the car my dad gave me for my sweet sixteen present. Mom wouldn’t let me get my driver’s license because my grades were not good that semester and she didn’t like the young man I was spending my time with. He was paranoid schizophrenic and not a very good influence to say the least. He was also the boy I lost my virginity to. I was a freshman and he was a senior. I new the moment I first saw him(before we even said hi for the first time) that he was the one I wanted to give my virginity to. After freshman year was over, he left to go to college and I started life as a softmore. After a few weeks, he randomly showed up at our high school again. He got kicked out of college for lighting his roommates shoes on fire. We decided to catch up after school and he expressed that he wanted to run away. I encouraged the idea feeling like I needed to break free from my life too. We found a way back to my house and waited until mom came home to sneak in, grab the keys, and take the car my dad gave as a present. We had to wait for her to come home because she had the keys. Since I was only 16, the car was registered under my mom’s name. We took off, drove a few circles in Oregon, and then headed up North to Washington. He was planning to flee the border. Mom reported the car stolen and we ended up being arrested. I was taken to Juvenal Hall. Mom dropped the charges, but the State of Washington continued to press charges and I was given my first misdemeanor. This action hurt my entire mother’s side of the family, but I didn’t feel guilty until my aunt broke down and started crying while we were driving in the car. The day I took off, she was supposed to pick me up from school, but I wasn’t there.
After this, my dad and my grandma both invited me to live with them. I chose my dad and was so excited to reconnect with him. I was ready for a fresh start. I was ready to do well in school and do all my chores like mom had always wanted me to do. I successfully pulled this off. I had a 4.0 GPA, was involved in marching band and art club, was given an award by the principal for one of my essays, did all my chores, and stayed out of trouble. I was the daughter my mom always wanted me to be; but perhaps, this isn’t what my dad and step mom cared about. My step mom revealed to me towards the end of the two years that they had not taken me in to to provide refuge from my mom like I thought when I agreed to move in—they took me in to fix me.
At that time, I had completely fallen for Bay Area innovator culture. I wanted to solve the world’s pollution problem. I couldn’t read when I was in the second grade, so my mother had me tested for a disability. She took me to, I believe, the Stanford Medical Center and they gave me an IQ test. I scored high in math and spatial ability so they said I would do well in fields like engineering. After this my mom started strongly encouraging me to pursue life down one of these paths. I saw a news report when I was around 8 years old showing people lined up to go to a clinic in San Francisco because the pollution had gotten so bad they couldn’t breath. I was inspired and made it my life goal to use my strong points to solve the air pollution problem. I spent my entire life building up to this. It is a cultural belief in the Silicon Valley that to be innovative you must be inherently unique—that this is a good thing, and your designs must be completely one-of-a-kind. In-order to achieve my goal, I purposely went against the flow and would do everything possible to be completely unique. I absolutely refused to fit in.
My step mom and dad seemed to be professionals at fitting in. Not just fitting in, but having a great reputation in the community. I heard from my cousin that recently they won an award from the city they live in for having such a beautiful home. Maybe in high school, I was fucking up their reputation. After the fact, it seems like my step mom just wanted to teach me to function in society, but I believed society was the definition of evil. Our society had so many problems and I spent years trying to figure out how to fix them. Now that I have reflected on the 8 worldly dharmas/concerns, I see that these are things my dad and step mom truly believed would make them happy. During high school, I was starting to shed my material desires and started realizing those things didn’t bring me happiness. This mindset probably really freaked them out.
When I first moved in, I was so excited to be there. My step mom took me shopping I assumed to help me settle in. Maybe, that is how she bonds. I don’t really know. I immediately felt a disconnect with my dad and it was awkward. I was so excited to reconnect with him(when I was young, our relationship was really strong). We immediately figured out we didn’t have much in common. I would only talk about three things: psychology, reality, and my own inner explorations of the mind. My dad tried teaching me about famous actors and musicians that to most people were common knowledge. I tried to listen, but I couldn’t have been less interested. I didn’t remember anything he tried teaching me. After a year and a half of living there, It was painfully obvious we weren’t connecting and I told him how I felt. He said we should talk about something and hang out. I was so excited at that idea I immediately began talking about a new nature of the mind that I had discovered, but he cut me off by saying, “Why do you always have to be so deep? Why can’t you just talk about the weather?” This is an example of how different I was from my dad and step mom.
My step mom would say things regularly that would really hurt my self esteem. I somehow got the message from her and her daughters that I was ugly, fat, and undesirable. My step mom was desperately trying to teach me things like small talk and how to fit in in society; but like with my dad, nothing stuck. It also didn’t help that the Adderal caused me to behave robotically—making it so that I couldn’t be more like her cheerleader daughters. I didn’t realize the growing tension between us until it had gotten really bad.
The first year I was there I spent the majority of my time having sex with my boyfriend at his place. It was obvious between our time together that I had major daddy issues. I always wanted to role play scenarios where I was controlled or dominated by him. I cried after sex a lot and talked about how my dad hated me. I was obsessed with the idea that I was hideous and always would ask if he wanted to put a bag over my head during sex, or get plastic surgery. Unfortunately, he agreed to the plastic surgery idea which made my self esteem plummet further. Also, hearing the way my dad and male friends talk about female celebrities in an objectified fashion made me feel like I could never be beautiful. On top of that, both of my step-sisters had been cheerleaders at one point or another and one of them kept eluding to me being fat. Meanwhile, I was starving.
By the end of the first year, it was made clear that I was not a member of the family. The house was filled with pictures of the family, but not much of me. There were four poster sized pictures of my brothers and step sisters, but I was left out. Towards the end of the two years my step mom said, “Just the family is going camping this year—Lonni, me, the twins and Tom—not Dannielle.” (Lonni is my dad and “Tom” was my dad’s friend and I decided to change his name for this blog.) She glared at me. I was startled as I didn’t see how I provoked it. I kept digging with my dad trying to find out why I wasn’t allowed to go camping and my dad finally admitted that they were embarrassed of me and that I “didn’t know how to act.”
There was another time that my step mom told me that I was costing the family too much money with food. Granted, my appetite was large since I had a high metabolism. She created a cubby system in the fridge for me and the twins. We each had a cubby with our name on it and it would be filled with food. I was almost 10 years older than my brothers, but we were given the same amount. Slowly, my cubby stopped being refilled. Even though my cubby stopped being filled, I would get yelled at when I stole my brothers’ food. Before I stopped receiving food at home, my step mom and dad found out that I had been saving up the left over lunch money instead of buying food with it, so they stopped giving lunch money all together. I became so thin that I could see all of my ribs down my front and back in the mirror. My breasts were so small that I could see the ribs that would normally be hidden by them as well. Sometimes, I was allowed to eat dinner with the family, but I still got the message that I wasn’t allowed to eat. I received the message that I was a burden on the family and not a member of it—that they were ashamed of me. The majority of the food I ate came from my boyfriend’s houses; because of this, I started to associate my worth with sex. I needed to provide something in order to be loved and the only thing I had to offer was my imperfect body.
After about year and a half of living with my dad and step mom, I became suicidal. I had never seriously considered suicide as an option since I already believed in reincarnation and that the result would be the hot hells. That is until a particular experience. I was trying to make a magick wand by carving a branch with a kitchen knife. The knife slipped and I somehow sliced my thumb down the middle. I went completely through my finger nail. In shock, my first instinct was to look for dad. I walked from the living room to his bedroom door, but I didn’t want to go in because I was losing a lot of blood and didn’t want stain his carpet. It turns out he was in the garage and when he saw the blood he seemed to angry. He said, “Oh no, I am not cleaning this up,” and then he found an old rag and threw it at me. I wrapped it around my thumb and laid down. My mind was spinning. I discovered that losing a lot of blood felt good.
After that, committing suicide by bleeding to death sounded pleasant. I still believed I was going to the hot hells, but I didn’t care because I viewed the desperate, constant pain I was in as a permanent hell within a human body. I was willing to go to hell for a five minute high. I got very lucky and while I was considering suicide the thought spontaneously arose, “If I commit suicide, then who is going to solve the air pollution problem?” Then I thought, “If I commit suicide, then how do I help the other people that feel the way I do now?” I decided to live and find a way to be happy to help the other suicidal people in the world. After about eight years of trying to figure out how to be happy involving intense therapy sessions and later Buddhist mentors guiding me, I felt like I was happier than the majority of Americans, so I decided it was time to help suicidal people. After reflecting on how I could guide someone out of that mindset, I realized what saved me were those two thoughts to help others. I realized that I could never give someone a spontaneous thought like that and determined that I needed omniscience to truly know how to help people. I had no choice now—I had to realize enlightenment.
I told a school teacher that I was suicidal and he took me to the school counselor to talk about it. The counselor asked if he could talk to my parents and I clearly said no several times, but he didn’t listen. My parents thought I was trying to shame them and became very angry.
I had decided to live but the pain was immense. When in extreme amounts of pain, I would lose connection with my body and collapse. I once landed where I could see my arm and ordered in it in my mind, “Move! MOOOOVE!” but nothing happened. Only when the emotional pain would subside, would the paralysis end. This would happen in public places and no one ever stopped to help. I was embarrassed for myself. I had decided to live, but had no coping mechanisms. I started to look for ways to feel pleasure. I had been taught by some friends previously how to steal and was pretty a natural at it. I had vowed to never take any form of intoxicants when I was five and never broke this vow, but I liked the high of stealing. Eventually, I got caught three days after I turned 18 and went to jail my last time.
The second year with my parents I would label as neglect. It seemed like when I came home, my step mom would leave, and when I left, she would come home. I am not sure if this was by accident, but for months I went without social interaction. My dad was never home the two years I lived there because he had a 2-3 hour commute to work both ways. I took a psychology class in high school during this time, and we learned about an experiment in the 50s when they gave children everything the needed to survive, but didn’t give them any social interaction with people. The children inexplicably started dying. We covered that people need to be touched to be psychologically healthy. I remember questioning when was the last time I had been touched, but couldn’t remember.
During this time, I also wasn’t receiving the medical treatment I needed. At one point, I thought I had gotten pneumonia. I accidentally inhaled an mnm and for months after that I hard a hard time breathing and had a horrendous cough. I couldn’t lay down or else I couldn’t breath so I had to sleep partially sitting up. Maybe, they thought it wasn’t as bad as it actually was. Also, my wisdom teeth came in, but I wasn’t taken to the dentist. Some of my lower teeth are crooked now, but luckily my mouth had enough room for my wisdom teeth to come in.
Up until this point, I had been accepting all of the insults my step mom had been saying and I thought maybe in order to not be suicidal I had to start standing up for myself. We started fighting and she would talk to my dad in the other room. I’m not sure what about, but I think she was saying I had to go. I don’t remember exactly when, but towards the end my dad called my mom over loud speaker and said, “You need to take your daughter back,” and my mom replied, “I can’t, I just can’t.” I felt abandoned by both my parents. I didn’t currently have a boyfriend, so I felt completely unwanted, a burden, and alone. I asked mom for clarification on what I can’t meant a few years later and she said it was both financial and because I had caused her so much pain when I ran away from home. A couple of weeks later, I was kicked out and ended up living with grandma. Grandma was an endless fountain of love and exactly where I needed to be.
Please, please, please understand that my view of these two years is delusional and one sided. I was not an innocent victim and they were not the evil aggressors. Even the quotes that still ring in my mind today are out of context. I often cannot remember the context of the situation and what lead up to them saying those things. In actuality, I played a strong part in the way I was treated and cannot expect them to be Buddha—especially since I myself do not have the qualities of a Buddha. In fact, I happen to know that they love me.
When in a session with Karuna, we talked about my step mom and I was able to realize that she loved me. I realized that all the actions she took were lessons about fitting in with society and how to be happy from her own understanding of happiness. Since I was a lousy student refusing to learn, she became frustrated with me. I cannot expect for her to have the quality of patience when I myself do not have it; therefore, I cannot judge her. The fact that she was trying to teach me how to be happy, even though I disagree with her philosophy, means she felt love and compassion towards me. When I realized this, the world literally began to look more rosy.
I also now realize any negative experience I had was due to the negative karma from previous lifes. This makes a lot of sense to me; as I have watched my mind be scrubbed clean of negative karmic imprints, become less delusional, and more subdued over the past years, I have also simultaneously experienced better karma in my life. The two appear to be one in the same.
I also know that my dad loves me for two reasons. 1. I once had Christmas dinner with him and grandma and he gave me the warmest hug I have received from anyone my entire life and told me he loved me. This is even after an entire awkward dinner where I disturbed his mind with things he didn’t want to think about. 2. Even when he kicked me out, he made sure I had a soft landing by calling my grandma ahead of time to make sure she would take me in.
So, you see that they are not demons, but due to my inability to perceive what happened correctly, I characterized them as such.